Churchill's British Resistance - The Auxiliary Units


St Keverne Auxiliary Unit Patrol and Operational Base

This page as last updated at 8:01am on 17/7/14

Thank you for selecting information on the St Keverne 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.

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

St Keverne is a large rural Parish on the Lizard Peninsular on the extreme Southern 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The IOs were being withdrawn from around August 1944 leaving the Area and Group Commanders.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. St Keverne was part of Group 2 along with Manaccan, Porthleven and Mullion. They were under the Group Command of Lieutenant Walter Eva and 2nd Lieutenant Leslie Bawden both from Manaccan.
The Area Commander was Captain H W Abbiss from Truro. In January 1945 Captain Abbiss  was awarded the MBE (Military Division).

The four Patrol Sergeants and Group Commanders met once a week at Porthleven in a back room of The Ship Inn. The daughter of Lt Walter Eva can remember sometimes being allowed to accompany her father. The disappointment of having to sit in the car was soon overcome by fish and chips on the way home.

Manaccan Officers

Officers and NCO'S in the Lizard Area.
Back L-R : Sergeant Harry Moore, Sergeant Frank Strike, Sergeant John Gilbert and Sergeant Sinclair James. Front L-R; 2nd Lt Leslie Bowden, IO Captain John “Jack” Dingley and Lt Walter Eva.

Currently unknown

Sergeant Sinclair James a market gardener, guest house proprietor and taxi owner.
Hubert Hicks who worked at a market garden.
William “Bill” Leggo a farmer.
George H Bloomfield a farmer.
Leslie Roberts
W Gilbert Richards and his younger brother
Roland Richards discharged January 1944 to join HM Forces. He owned his own business as a lorry driver.

Patrols from the Lizard, Cornwall

Patrols from The Lizard.
Back Row L-R: Hubert Hicks, Reg Lyne, Walace Rogers, Marcell Plantain, Leslie Roberts, Gilbert Richards, Freddy Chegwiidden, Eric Bennetts, Melville Peters.

Middle Row: ? , William Leggo, ? , Harry Tressider, ?, Gerald Lee, ?, Sidney Williams.

Front Row: John Gilbert, Frank Strike, Leslie Bawden, Capt John Dingley, Walter Eva, Sinclair James, Harry Moore.

St. Keverne Auxiliary Unit Patrol

Back row: Leslie Roberts, Gilbert Richards
Front row: Bill Leggo, Sgt Sinclair James and Hubert Hicks.

The OB was located near to Roscarnon Plantation about one mile North West of St. Keverne village.

The remains are on PRIVATE LAND and have been accessed with kind permission of the land owner.

The OB survived in a good condition until 1993. It is now in a ruinous state. It is all but destroyed with limited access into maybe an 8ft x 6ft section, complete with the concrete block wall and heavy timber lintel.

The “Nissen hut” structure has completely collapsed except in one section of the escape passage.

Size of OB and entrance/exit etc: The Defence of Britain database simply recorded it as: “It was similar in shape to a small Nissen hut.”

Evidence of the entrance does exist but as an open air “gulley". The escape tunnel was approximately 15ft long emerging at the surface under a tree root.

St. Keverne Auxiliary Unit Patrol

Hubert Hicks in the OB around 1993 from Operation Cornwall 1940-1944 by Viv Acton and Derek Carter.

Looking out the escape tunnel

St. Keverne Auxiliary Unit Patrol

Looking through the OB remains towards the escape tunnel

St. Keverne Auxiliary Unit Patrol 5

Escape tunnel emerging under the tree roots with the curved block built end wall beyond.

St. Keverne Auxiliary Unit Patrol 6

RAF Dry Tree
Copyright IWM (HU93043)

RAF Dry Tree, a Chain Home Radar Station on Goonhilly Downs seen in an RAF photograph circa 1941 was a known target for all of group 2.

St. Keverne Auxiliary Unit Patrol

RAF Trelanvean near to St Kevern which in 2014 is in the process of being developed to include an educational area.

Training took place at Porthpean in St Austell Bay. It was ran by Captain Robin Williams who is remembered as a tall, dark, thin man, full of life and enthusiasm.

There were weekend training courses for setting explosives and grenade throwing.

Unknown but it is assumed they had access to the standard arms and equipment.

Sgt. Sinclaire James was the brother-in-law of Sgt. Harry Moore who kept Zoar Garage near St Keverne and was in the Manaccan patrol.

Hubert Hicks was a single chap of about twenty when he was recruited (born 1922) and was living at home. His parents knew he was involved in something but didn't ask, just let him get on with it.

William “Bill”  Leggo was a farmer.

Stuart Emmett and Gareth Wearne for discovering the OB location and local research.
Alwyn Harvey recorder for Defence of Britain Database
Susan Carter, daughter of Lt Eva.
TNA ref WO199/3391
Hancock data held by B. R. A
1939 Kellys Directory
Operation Cornwall 1940-1944 by Viv Acton and Derek Carter.

If you can help with any info please contact us.