Churchill's British Resistance - The Auxiliary Units


Lansallos Auxiliary Unit Patrol

This page was last updated at 8:06am on 24/10/15

Thank you for selecting information on the Lansallos Auxiliary Unit Patrol and Operational Base. This patrol has also been recored as Lanteglos-by-Fowey. The information below has been supplied by our Devon CIO Nina Hannaford.

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.

Lansallos is a small hamlet and parish on the South coast of Cornwall.

From the very first meeting in Whitehall on 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The IOs were being withdrawn from around August 1944 leaving the Area and Group Commanders.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. Lansallos was part of group 6 along with Morval (Looe), Launceston, Liskeard, St Germans, Pelynt, St Keyne, Menheniot, St Juliot, Coads Green and Bridgerule (now in Devon). They were under the group command of Captain G H Sergeant from Liskeard along with Lieutenant W Crichton (discharged May 1944 due to ill health) and 2nd Lieutenant J F William Mewton.

 Captain G H Sergeant from Liskeard was also the area Commander for this and group 5.

Currently unknown

Sergeant (as of February 1943) Brice Charles Gudmunsen of West End, Lansallos
Corporal (as of March 1943) Leslie Mutton of Lanteglos Highway
Ronald Libby of Coombiland, Lanteglos-by-Fowey
James “Jim” Rowe of Penkelly Farm
Richard Williams of Trethake Farm, Lanteglos-by-Fowey
Maurice Sanders of Tregemellyn Farm – where the OB was built.
Remembered as a patrol member but not on the nominal roll is:
Frank Paynter of Lanteglos-by-Fowey.

Ronald Libby – November 2000

The picture above was kindly supplied by John Jolliff (From the son of Joe Northcott from Pelynt Patrol)

It is thought to show the Cornwall Group 6 patrols which consisted of St Keyne, Morval, Menheniot, St Germans, Pelynt, Lansallos, Liskeard,St Juliot, Coads Green, Launceston and Bridgerule.

Back row far left: Reg Wakeham (Pelynt), Joe Northcott (Pelynt) rest unknown
Middle row far left: Ned Broad (Pelynt) rest unknown
Front row far left : Ralph Webber (Pelynt), Charlie Barrett ( Liskeard), unknown, unknown, Sgt.Jack Bickford, rest unknown.

The Lansallos Auxiliary Unit patrol built their own underground operational base in a small field about 200 yards from Tregemellyn Farmhouse, Lanteglos by Fowey.

The Patrol dug a large pit, built a nissen style hut in it and then buried it. The OB measured about 18ft x 10ft.

Lansallos Auxiliary Unit 1

Tregemellyn Farm

A camouflaged entrance in the form of a hatch which had  weights attached to assist opening and closing, was added. Various explosives, fuses, and time pencils were stored in the bunker, but it was not used for accommodation purposes.

There was no emergency exit and the OB. Various explosives, time pencils and fuses were stored in the OB but it was never used for sleeping purposes.

The OB has long disappeared with the general reshaping of field boundaries and hedges.

Currently unknown though an assumed target would be river traffic on the River Fowey.

Currently unknown though it is remembered that much of the training took place in the Liskeard area with some of the other local patrols.

Site of Rifle Range

The Patrol built their own 200 yard rifle range in a valley between Trethake Farm and Trethake Mill near Lanteglos-by-Fowey. Firing from left to right across this valley.

Unknown but it is assumed they had access to the normal weapons and equipment seen here. Weapons remembered include .22 rifles, Sten guns and revolvers along with grenades.

Maurice Sanders only told on his death bed of his involvement in the resistance. Although younger than most and without the WW1 experience of many members, Maurice was selected for his marksmanship - as a youngster he earned his pocket money by lamping rabbits with a rifle at night and was renowned for his accuracy.

Young “protege”, Julian Silkstone vividly remembered, one day standing next to him holding his shotgun when a pigeon flew past, Maurice pivoted elegantly for a large man and brought it down with a single shot.

“If I were picking a resistance team, Maurice would undoubtedly be number one!
Although he never went into much detail, I distinctly remember him telling me he used to be "on patrol" during the war. I took that to mean part of the Home Guard, which I guess is exactly what others were supposed to believe! Sums him up really - trustworthy and reliable.

Maurice was of course much older than I. I guess he was born in 1915 and he died in 1998. He was an immense character in many ways, a potent mentor to me, a great story-teller, with a fine sense of humour, but a temper not to be mixed with! He was quite short in stature, but was immensely powerful and afraid of no one. I think I am right in saying as a young man he was the all-Cornish wrestling champion! He would certainly have been a handful for the Germans!”

Maurice was brought up on Tregamellyn Farm.

The present owner confirmed that they knew of some involvement of the farm in the war effort but had never found the Operational Base.

They mentioned that in one paddock they now "ploughed gently" as in the past he had unearthed several incendiary/explosive devices which may have originated from air raids around Fowey.

Alwyn Harvey recorder for Defence of Britain Database who credits:
Information supplied by Mr. Ronald Libby of Carne Farm, Lanteglos by Fowey.
TNA ref WO199/3391
Hancock data held by B. R. A
1939 Kellys Directory
& Julian Silkstone.

If you can help with any info please contact us.