Churchill's British Resistance - The Auxiliary Units


Canvey Island Auxiliary Unit Patrol

This page was last updated at 10:42am on 29/4/13

Thank you for selecting information on the Canvey Island Auxiliary Unit Patrol located in Essex. The info below has been compiled by Dr Will Ward CART CIO for Dorset.

Research into this patrol and its training is ongoing. The information below is published from various sources and is by no means conclusive. If information is not listed below it does not necessarily mean the information is not out there but normally means CART researchers have not found it yet.

If you have any information on this patrol or can help with research in this area please do contact us.

“Jack” Ford (Cecil George Ford) was the Group Commander.

Not known by CART.

Name DOB Occupation   Died
Sgt George Billardis 1901
Cpl Rupert Stanley Ives 1907 Shopkeeper    
Pte. Edward C B “Ted” Cutler   Farm Worker    
Pte. J Hawkes        
Pte. B W Hall        
Pte. A J Brown         

George Billardis was born and brought up in the East End of London. Like many he moved out to Canvey Island and was living there by the 1930s. After the war, he emigrated to Australia to live with his daughter. Rupert Ives owned and ran a Shoe shop in Furtherwick Parade on Canvey Island throughout the war. He had been born and brought up in London, but ran his shoe shop from the early 1930s until long after the war. He was a keen local cricketer and was said to have been a good fielder and quite good as a batsman. He was one of only two Canvey players ever to hit the ball out of the ground and into nearby Chamber’s farm. Ted Cutler worked both as a cowman and also did the milk round as well, using a horse and cart as was usual in those days.

Don Handscombe from the nearby Thundersley patrol recalls that the Canvey Island unit was frequently under strength and there was talk of merging with his unit. He can only ever recall Rupert Ives and possibly one other member. This was because of the semi-urban nature of Canvey and the lack of suitable men to be recruited.

According to Thundersley Auxilier Don Handscombe, the Canvey Island OB was built into the sea wall. This is not surprising as much of the island is below sea level at high tide. Apparently the OB regularly flooded with high tides as a result was little used. The exact location is not known, but it is likely it would have been washed away during the 1953 floods when a large part of the walls were breached and destroyed by a combination of high tides and on shore winds, resulting in many deaths.

The gun battery on Canvey was the target of one exercise.  They managed to creep in and lay dummy explosives all over the site, causing security to be tightened.

A local resident recalls that Ted Cutler reported his training to have included swimming in full kit across Hadleigh Bay which separates Canvey form South Benfleet!

The patrol would generally have the weapons shown here

Ted Cutler was said to have stored guns and maps in his spare room.
Rupert Ives recalled in 1984 that their weapons dump was bulldozed by the army having been cleared out. He also recalled the large dump in a manor near Bradwell on the Dengie Marsh, which was likely that held by Reg Sennitt.

After the war, Rupert Ives and his wife were keen members of the amateur dramatic group. One play involved him dressing up as a German Officer, as shown in this excellent article.

During the disastrous floods of 1953 when scores were killed on Canvey Island as the sea walls were breached, Rupert Ives opened his shop to hand out shoes to those who had lost them.

Evening Echo 5/6/1984 “Hunt for Army’s legacy of death”