Churchill's British Resistance - The Auxiliary Units


Launceston Auxiliary Unit Patrol

This page was last updated at 9:56am on 24/12/13

Thank you for selecting information on the Launceston Auxiliary Unit Patrol and Operational Base. This patrol has also been recored as Lezant Patrol. 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.

Launceston is a market town close to the River Tamar that marks the boarder between Cornwall and Devon.

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The IOs were being withdrawn from around August 1944 leaving the Area and Group Commanders.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. Launceston was part of group 6 along with Lansallos, Morval (Looe), 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 George H Sanders
Corporal Alfred C Mounce and his older brother
Reginald R Mounce
Sydney Hill
Albert E Pauling
Richard H Wearing
Thomas H Trewin

The picture above was kindly supplied by John Jolliff (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 OB was within a silver mine in Greystone Woods next to Greystone Bridge over the River Tamar to the South of Launceston.

It is unknown if any structure of the OB is still intact or in situ as the mines are capped. It is also unclear which of the many mine shafts were used but pictured is the largest which also has man made trenches around it that could have made escape more possible. Please note this OB is on private land.

Size of OB and entrance/exit etc: All that is currently known is that there was a corrugated iron structure placed within the silver mine.

Launceston Auxiliary Unit Patrol 1

Capped Silver mines with trenches between

Launceston Auxiliary Unit Patrol 2

Largest mine

Launceston Auxiliary Unit Patrol 3

Looking down into a mine.

It is known that the patrol pre-drilled holes in Greystone Bridge to to use to destroy the bridge if necessary.

Launceston Auxiliary Unit Patrol 4

Greystone Bridge. Cornwall looking over at Devon

Currently unknown

Unknown but it is assumed they had access to the normal weapons and equipment seen here.

Currently unknown

Alwyn Harvey recorder for Defence of Britain Database
TNA ref WO199/3391
Hancock data held by B. R. A
1939 Kellys Directory
Mrs G Perry

If you can help with any info please contact us.