St. Breward Auxiliary Unit
This page was last updated on 11/5/15
Thank you for selecting information on the St. Breward Auxiliary Unit Patrol and
Operational Base. The information below has been supplied by our Devon CIO Nina Hannaford and a member of the
public called 'Highcannons'. It also appears on the derelictplaces website.
St Breward is a village in North Cornwall on the Western edge of Bodmin Moor.
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
The IOs were being withdrawn from around August 1944 leaving the Area and Group Commanders.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 Breward was part of group 4 along with St Teath and St Issey under the group command
of Lieutenant R Drew.
The area Commander was Captain Harry W Abbiss from Truro who controlled two thirds of the County.
It is currently unknown when the patrol was formed.
Cpl. Jack Old
Morley Tremayne ( Tremaine)
William James Pooley
Thomas E Sleeman discharged to join HM forces February1943.
Please note this location is on
St. Breward Auxiliary Unit had three hide outs. A main unit which utilized an old mine origanally cut looking to
investigate if ore was there. The entrance was made smaller and the natural enviroment made it hard to find. A
back-up hide out was located away elswhere 'between two small rocks' with a third hide-out as the bomb store. This was also in a disused mine.
The area the OB is located in.
Patrol entrance 1
Patrol entrance 2
Inside the OB
What is left of the bunks.
This picture is looking up from the main tunnel at the 'lookout' exit. About half way along the
tunnel a smaller tunnel runs upwards at about 70 degrees with an opening into an area of scrub. The exit has been
blocked, I suspect for safety reasons.
There is some information available on the internet and it occasionally gets a mention in local press. The press
reported the existence of the main unit on private land and that the local historical unit had visited. The report
also stated the whereabouts was being kept secret. The main hide-out is by it's nature hard to find but given the
location in the mine it has been able to survive. Untill recently there was mention even of bunks remaining.
I spent some time looking for the back-up hide-out only getting scratches and torn clothing from gorse and
brambles for my trouble. Assistance was brought in for the remaining units. In the case of the main and the back-up
hide-outs thet are both located on steep hillsides leading down to a river. Both areas are thick with undergrowth
which means you are not going to spot them unless directly by. We searched by spreading out in a line to transect
We have not located the back-up base.
The upward shaft from the main base for lookout/escape purposes hidden away in the gorse. And has been blocked
At the end some 120 feet later are the burnt remains of the bunks with the rusty ironwork.
Observation Post/s: Currently unknown.
Unknown but it is assumed they had access to the normal weapons and equipment seen here.
Stephen ('HighCannons') from DerelictPlaces website, Auxiliers name
provided by Stephen Lewins (CART CIO for Northumberland), TNA ref WO199/3390, Alwyn Harvey recorder for Defence of
Britain Database. Hancock data held by B. R. A
If you can help with any info please