Churchill's British Resistance - The Auxiliary Units


St. Mawgan Auxiliary Unit Patrol and Operational Base.

This page as last updated at 11:17am on 30/6/15

Thank you for selecting information on the St. Mawgan 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.

The parish of St Mawgan-in-Pydar is in North Cornwall four miles north east of Newquay.

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The IOs were being withdrawn from around August 1944 leaving the Area and Group Commanders.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. St. Mawgan was part of group 3 along with Redruth, Mabe, Perranwell, Philleigh, Truro, Perranporth, Newlyn East, Grampound, St Colomb, Constantine, 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).

Currently unknown.

Sergeant Arthur Warne, a lorry driver from Trevarrian.
Corporal Joel Rowe, a farmer from Tolcarne
Joseph Rowe, a farmer from St Mawgan
Eric Line, a horticulturist from Mawgan Porth
J A Cooper, a farmer from St Colomb
Reginald T Bone, a farm worker from Trevarrian.

Other confirmed Auxiliers who lived in the area that could have been part of this patrol include:

John Edyvean discharged on health grounds December 1943
Reginald W Hobba transferred to 13th Battalion (Bodmin) Home Guard

The Operational Base of the St. Mawgan Auxiliary Patrol was constructed in a small, disused quarry a few yards north east of the hamlet Trevarrian, half a mile south of Mawgan Porth.

The original walls of the quarry doubled as walls for the OB, which was located in a pit in the corner of the quarry.

Corrugated iron sheets were used as a roof and an old lorry chassis was thrown on top of the OB as camouflage. Entry was via a wooden door. The OB measured 12ft x 15ft x 8ft in height. 

It is thought that the OB has been destroyed.

Mawgan Porth
The OB is thought to have been located in a quarry in the top far right of the wood. The structures on the skyline are buildings connected to what is now Newquay Airport.

Looking up from sea level towards the OB location on the right.

Currently unknown, though the proximity to RAF St Eval and RAF Trebelzue (later RAF St Mawgan) which is now part of Newquay Cornwall Airport would make these obvious targets.

Copyright IWM (HU92963)
RAF St Eval 1942

Meetings of the Patrol took place in two caravans located at Tolcarne Farm which is between the OB location at Trevarrian and the village of St Mawgan.

They also met in fields south of Bre-Pen Farm to the west of Trevarrian.

Currently unknown but it is assumed they had access to the standard equipment. Explosives and ammunition were stored at Tolcarne Farm in concrete pipes let into the ground. Covers were put on top of the pipes as protection.

J A Cooper, a farmer at Dennis Farm, St Colomb is recorded as having been discharged December 1942 to join the RAF but was returned to rejoin the Patrol.

Alwyn Harvey and his work on The Defence of Britain Database. He credits Auxilier Corporal Joel Rowe whom he was able to interview.
TNA reference WO199/3391
Hancock data held at B.R.A

If you can help with any info please contact us.