Churchill's British Resistance - The Auxiliary Units

 

Manaccan Auxiliary Unit Patrol and Operational Base

This page as last updated at 6:56am on 17/9/14

Thank you for selecting information on the Manaccan 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 cartdevon@gmail.com

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 Manaccan lies to the South of the Helford River on the Lizard Peninsular on the South West tip of Cornwall.

The first of a group of four patrols in the area formed by Intelligence Officer for Cornwall Captain John
“Jack” Dingley around Autumn 1940. After D-Day Captain Dingley was sent to France to “assist “with prisoners of war and Captain H W Abbiss ( DCM, MM) from Truro took over command. He had his own Patrol on The Roseland Peninsula. In January 1945 Captain Abbiss was awarded the MBE ( Military Division)

Lieutenant Walter Eva being the group commander of Manaccan, Mullion, Porthleven and St Keverne Patrols, all on the South side of the River Helford on The Lizard Peninsular, South Cornwall. His first Sargent was Leslie Bawden who was an undertaker and carpenter. On Bawdens promotion to 2nd Lieutenant the roll of Sargent was taken over by Harry Moore a garage proprietor at Zoar (near Coverack) Walter Eva's house had a “priority” telephone line installed.The four patrol leaders met once a week at Porthleven.

Manaccan Officers

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

Approx 1940.

Lieutenant Walter Eva a farmer
Sargent ( later 2nd Lt) Leslie Bawden an undertaker and carpenter
Sargent Harry Moore a garage owner
Wallace Rogers a farmer
Reg Lyne a farmer
Eric Bennetts a farm worker
Vernon Ward a farmer
Melville Peters an oyster fisherman
Harry Tressider a blacksmith.

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.

Unknown though thought to have collapsed. The operational base was reached by a tunnel through a hedge from an adjoining field.

Other physical remains nearby: A safe, dry place was needed to store the explosives so for a time the patrol used the Iron Age Fogou at Halliggye near Trelowarren. It was moved when it started to sweat.
The original purpose for these Fogous ( Cornish word for cave) is still unknown. They could have been refuges, storage or ritual shrines.

The Fogou is managed by the Trelowarren Estate and English Heritage and is free to enter during the Summer.

Fogou at Halliggye

Photo English Heritage. Fogou at Halliggye



RAF ( now RNAS) Predannach airfield is on the Lizard (though closer to Mullion Patrol) and would have been a likely target. The Patrol were told to look at the oil storage tanks at Swanvale near Falmouth though there was some unease at this as it could cause more damage to the local population.

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.

One exercise was to break into an Army camp on the St Keverne side of Zoar Garage and plant a dummy charge and detonator. A risk, as it is assumed guards would have been armed.

Each Patrol would carry out night time exercises twice a week.

One of the later exercises of the Manaccan Patrol was to penetrate the defences of the Radar Station at Goonhilly Down. Walter Eva's daughter remembers them gathering in the family kitchen with blacked out faces and mounting excitement.

They left their cars on a isolated part of the Downs and cut their way through the barbed wire boundary fence. Crawling towards the guard house they had to lay low in a ditch listening to the sentries report to an officer that there was “nothing to report”.

The Patrol left a note in the Guard House to show they had “invaded” and returned silently to Lt Eva's house.

A telephone call to the Commanding Officer informed him of their nights work. After this, security was strengthened and dogs were brought in. The Patrol were caught at their next attempt to enter the station.

The accuracy of the material on this clip has not been checked but it does show the Station during war time and today. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ITa7LyVigL4

Walter Eva's daughter remembers a pistol with ammunition and a long knife. She also remembers seeing horseshoe magnets with attachments.

It is assumed they would also have had the standard issue firearms and explosives.

Melville Peters had a devastating fire at his house one night. All the family managed to escape through the window in their bed clothes but the following day the house was reduced to ashes.

At the height of the fire the flames reached Melville's ammunition supply and rescuers found themselves under fire from exploding bullets. The following day he had to search through the ashes to recover his revolver.

The patrol was featured on BBC Spotlight on 16th September 2014.

Mrs Susan Carter (Walter Eva's daughter) and her husband Mr Derek Carter. Patrol photographs are her property.

If you can help with any info please contact us.