Churchill's British Resistance - The Auxiliary Units


Ugborough Auxiliary Unit

A report by Nina Hannaford - CART CIO for Devon. If you can help with any info please contact Nina by emailing

This page was last updated at 3:39pm on 12/12/11

Captain William Falcon (of Cornwood Patrol), based at “Slade” in Cornwood.

It is unknown when the patrol was formed.

During LDV rifle practice at Bittaford, Lt Pearson asked for seven volunteers. They met at Alec Rogers farm barn at Filham a few days later along with Lt Alwyn Robertson ( Harford Patrol) who spelt out their intended role. On receipt of this news some volunteers left.

Ivybridge area Aux Units

(Image taken at Captain Falcon's house "Slade". Shows Ugbrough, Cornwood, Flete, Diptford and Harford Patrols.)

John E Ough, Original Sargent,Posted to 16th Devon Battalion HG  20/10/1943
Sgt Alec Rogers
Maurice Pepperell
Jim Lapthorne
Arthur N Hine
Arthur E Perring
William  A Daniels
Alfred W Luscombe transferred to HG 18/7/1943
(Percy)  Arthur Stephens transferred to HG 15/11/1943

The patrol rarely visited the OB as it was considered damp.  Stores and explosives were mainly kept at Alec Rogers farm at Filham.

Ugborough OB design

Ugborough Auxiliary Unit Patrol 1

(Main chamber of OB)

Ugborough Auxiliary Unit Patrol 2



Ugborough Auxiliary Unit Patrol 3

(Above - Collapsed Passageway)




(Looking down passageway towards main chamber)

Ugborough Auxiliary Unit Patrol 4Ugborough Auxiliary Unit Patrol 5

(Above, left - Smaller chamber with passageway leading away to left and escape tunnel to left. Above, right - Looking down the escape tunnel. Note watertank.)

The OB was built by the Royal Engineers. It was entered via a moss covered man hole cover and a short ladder down into the first “room” which was a store / kitchen and though a corrugated iron passage  to another “room” containing bunks. An escape tunnel ran off this room.

The land slopes quite gently on the OB site South east to North west then drops away quite steeply down to a small stream from escape tunnel exit. The ground is mostly shale.

The OB was blown up by the patrol post stand down. Passage way between two rooms seems to have collapsed rather than been demolished.

Where the main “room” would have been is a large circular depression 2m deep and diameter of approx 8m with a 20m passageway, 2m wide, leading from it in a south east direction. This shows signs of having been lined with corrugated iron. This leads into a smaller circular depression 1.75m deep and diameter of approx 4m. This is slightly offset from the passageway.

Exiting this smaller “room “ is the escape tunnel which again seems to have been lined with corrugated iron and is 20m long. This exits just as the ground begins to fall away steeply to a stream below.

Orientation of OB is South / East  to  North/ West. Elevation 267ft

Observation Post/s: Not known but just above the OB is the top of a hill which has a fine view of both the railway line and the main A38 and down as far as Plymouth.

Main A38 road from Plymouth to the East. Various viaducts carrying  main rail line from Plymouth especially London Bridge and any of the few bridges that cross the River Erme.

Ugborough Auxiliary Unit Patrol 6

(Filham Farm)

Ugborough Auxiliary Unit Patrol 7

Ugborough Patrol often trained at Alec Rogers barn and lower orchard and stores and explosives were stored in the barn. (Image of the very same barn above)

Night exercises were often undertaken against the other patrols in the area ( Cornwood, Harford, Diptford , Flete and Yealmpton) On one occasion the patrols all met in The Kings Arms in Ivybridge to receive medical training in the event of serious injuries and not being able to get access to first aid facilities.

On  a night exercise at Flete Woods, trip wires were laid  by the Ugborough patrol for the Flete Patrol to try to find. The evening was finished off with bread, cheese and cider at the Flete Estate head keeper's lodge.

Weekend exercises and briefings were taken at Capt Falcon's house, “Slade”

They kept up their training schedules until the patrols were disbanded and the bases blown up.

The patro trained with Harford,  Cornwood,  Diptford,  Flete, and Yealmpton Patrols. All under the Group command of Captain William Falcon (of Cornwood Patrol)  who was  based at “Slade” in Cornwood.  Group photograph was taken in the grounds outside “Slade”reportedly in 1943.

Stores arrived by army lorry and placed in the barn at Filham. Recorded are :Dynamite, explosive fuses, detonators, hand grenades, time switches, cortex, and Bickford safety fuse.

Even with strict petrol rationing, Alec Rogers remembers he was able to drive where he liked. Every Patrol leader carried a special pass. On Alec Rogers was written “ Sargent Rogers is on Special Duty. No question should be asked of him but should be referred to ….” there followed an address in the London area.

At stand down Captain Falcon supervised the destruction of the bases. They went underground and fixed explosives to points in the base. Six men were dispersed to keep all clear. Fuses were lit followed by a great explosion throwing timber and galvanised iron in the air,killing one fir tree and toppling another. These are still in situ.

On VE day the patrol members took some flares from the Aux Unit stores at Filham and went to a hill above the nearby hamlet of Penquit. They climbed Ash poles there and lit the flares.
VJ night was celebrated on Western Beacon (edge of Dartmoor) exploding ¼ lb sticks of Nobel's 808 Dynamite.

After the Patrol were disbanded, local people remember that a digger was about to dig out the pond at “Slade” when Andrew Wotton ( Cornwood Patrol) suddenly appeared and shouted “Stop”. Captain Falcon had arranged for all the surplus ammunition and explosives to be dumped  there.

Memories of Alec Rogers kindly shared by the Rogers family, “Ivybridge during the second world war“ by Arthur Clamp, “Book of Cornwood and Lutton” by Meriel Dodinson. The kind help of Noel Thornton and Mike Barber for taking me to this and another OB.

If you can help with any info please contact Nina by emailing