Churchill's British Resistance - The Auxiliary Units


Constantine Auxiliary Unit Patrol and Operational Base

This page as last updated at 6:23pm on 12/8/15

Thank you for selecting information on the Constantine Auxiliary Unit Patrol and their Operational Base in Cornwall. The info below have been supplied by CART's Devon CIO, Nina Hannaford. If you can provide any more info please email

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.

Constantine is a compact village but one of the largest parishes in Cornwall, boarded on the South by the Helford River.

From the very first meeting in Whitehall in July 1940 the Intelligence Officer for Devon and Cornwall (named Auxiliary Units SW Area) was Captain (later Major) J W Stuart Edmundson an officer in the Royal Engineers. He liaised with the regular army and received supplies and equipment and formed all the Patrols. He was assisted by Lieutenant (later Captain) John “Jack” Dingley who became IO for Cornwall in 1943 though he may have assumed the roll before that.

In November 1943 Devon and Cornwall were separated and  Edmundson was succeeded in Cornwall by Captain John Dingley and in Devon by Major W W “Bill” Harston who would remain in command until near stand down. At the end of Harston's command he would cover “No 4 Region” being the whole of the South West Peninsular and Wales.

The IOs were being withdrawn from around August 1944 leaving the Area and Group Commanders.

After 1941 a “grouping” system was developed where some patrols within a demographic area would train together under more local command. Constantine was part of group 3 along with Redruth, Mabe, Perranwell, Philleigh, Truro, Perranporth, Newlyn East, Grampound, St Colomb, St Mawgan, Probus and St Denis. They were under the group command of Captain H W Abbiss from Truro along with Lieutenant F J Yeo and 2nd Lieutenant E K F Harte.

Captain H W Abbiss from Truro was also the area Commander for this and groups 1 to 4, covering two thirds of the county.

In 1945 Captain Abbiss was awarded the MBE ( Military Division).

Locally, Perranwell, Mabe and Constantine were under the command of Lieutenant Alec McLeod. Though official records show McLeod was called up to HM Forces in July 1943 he is present in many stand down photographs. He may well have been called up but returned to Auxiliary Units when his roll was realised.

Currently unknown.

Sergeant H Pascoe
Corporal S Goodman
Ernest S Harris who lived on the farm where the OBs were located.
James T Caddy a Butcher.
Percival Warren
Henry Toy

Cornish Auxiliers

Taken at Idless Woods 1944
Known to be a stand down picture of at least group 3 and the officers from group 2.  Major Harston is in the middle of the second row with Captain Abbiss to his right. James T Caddy is in the second row from the bottom, second in from the right.

Constantine Auxiliary Unit Patrol 6

Constantine, Mabe and Perranwell Patrols. Not all Patrol members present.

Back L-R : ? S Goodman, William Dunbar (Mabe), Gerald Medlin (Mabe), Unknown, Clarence Thomas (Mabe), James Caddy (Constantine), Herbert Snell.

Middle L-R: Unkown, Sgt. Pascoe (Constantine), Lt Alec McLeod, Sgt. Donald Welch (Mabe), Unknown

Front L-R: Percy Terrill ( Perranwell), Unknown, Unknown, Unknown, Rex Rapson (Mabe), G Berryman (Mabe), Unknown.

Constantine Auxiliary Unit Patrol 7

Constantine, Mabe and Perranwell Patrols. Not all Patrol members present.

First Operational Base

Constantine Auxiliary Unit Patrol 1

The Constantine Auxiliary Unit made use of a small derelict building just North of Brill Hill as their first Operational Base. Unfortunately security was soon breached when the local Home Guard unit used it as a target on an exercise. As a consequence  this building was evacuated and a new OB was built in a nearby quarry. Though on PRIVATE LAND it can be viewed from a permissive footpath in an adjacent field

Constantine Auxiliary Unit Patrol 2

The building is approximately 18ft by 12ft and appears to have, at one time, been divided into two “rooms”. The length of building runs North West to South East.

Observation Post: Currently unknown

Other physical remains nearby: The Quarry workings which contained the Operational Base of the nearby Mabe Patrol are clearly visible from the first location thus making visual contact between the Constatine and Mabe Patrols possible. 

There is also a trig point on the brow of the hill roughly mid distance between this and the Patrol's second OB.

Constantine Auxiliary Unit Patrol 3

View from the OB looking East to Falmouth Bay.

Second Operational Base

Having moved from the derelict building on Brill Hill, the Patrol built their own Operational base in an old disused quarry on the adjacent Crowgey Farm. Though on PRIVATE LAND it can be viewed from the public access lane.

Due to the remoteness of the chosen location it was erected above ground.

After the war it was moved and utilised around the Farm. It is currently unknown if it survives today.

Auxilier and once landowner, Ernest Harris is recorded as having described it as being built from nissen hut shaped corrugated iron sheets and measured 15ft x 12ft. It was used mainly to store explosives.

Observation Post: Currently unknown

Other physical remains nearby: The first Operational base on the North East slope of Brill Hill

Constantine Auxiliary Unit Patrol 5

Constantine Auxiliary Unit Patrol 4

Site of the Constatine patrol's second OB

Observation Post: None found.

Currently unknown but the Patrol's proximity to the strategically important Helford River and the Port of Falmouth cannot be ignored.

Currently unknown locally. It is known Constantine Patrol had regular training exercises with Perranwell and Mabe patrols under the direction of Lt Alec McLeod.

Currently unknown but it is assumed they had access to the standard weapons and equipment.

Lieutenant Alec McLeod was a local quarry owner as part of Freeman & McLeod Ltd. It is known one quarry he owned was where Mabe patrol were based and he may have had ownership or knowledge of the quarries used by Perranwell and Constantine Patrols.

As a child Violette Valentine (nee Caddy) (daughter of James Caddy) recalls a tale that he got in trouble for attacking his Sgt by jumping off the edge of the quarry during an exercise, how true that is I am unsure, but it made us children giggle. She also recalls finding a gas mask in with a box of old items on the farm. After farming at Trengilly he eventually settled in 1951 at Tregonning Farm near Newquay in 1951. He remained active in farming up to a year before he died on June 1st 1984.

Alwyn Harvey and his work on The Defence of Britain Database, TNA reference WO199/3391, Hancock data held at B.R.A, Auxilier Ken Welsh, Ian Butland, Violette Valentine (nee Caddy).

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