Perranporth Auxiliary Unit Patrol and Operational Base
This page as last updated on 5/4/16
Thank you for selecting information on the Perranporth Auxiliary Unit Patrol
and their Operational Base in Cornwall. The info below have been supplied by CART's Devon CIO, Nina Hannaford
with help from Trevor Miners and his family. If you can provide any more info please firstname.lastname@example.org
Perranporth is a small seaside town on the north coast of Cornwall and 7 miles north west of Truro. Cornwall is
registered as area 17. Perranporth is part of Group 3 along with Redruth, Mabe, Perranwell, Constantine, Philliegh,
Truro, Newlyn East, Grampound, St Colomb Major, Newquay area, Probus and St Dennis (approx locations at
The Group Commander is Captain H W Abbiss from Truro assisted by Lieutenant F J Yeo from Truro and 2nd
Lieutenant E K F Harte. Abbiss was also Area Commander for Western Cornwall covering two thirds of the county.
From the very first meeting in Whitehall on 13th 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The IO's were being withdrawn from around August 1944 leaving the Area and Group Commanders.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. Auxilier Trevor Miners of Perranporth does not remember training with any other Patrols
and was not aware of even the most local Patrols until stand down. Their only link was through Captain Abbiss.
Sargent George Tamblyn a County Council Surveyor. A much respected man. A stairway up the
cliff at Droskyn Beach was named after him. Laurie Griffiths a Clerk of the County Court Frank Broadbent a building worker Len Connett a golfing professional Sam Goodman retired Edgar Mitchell worked as a farmer. John Greet who left early to join the RAF Eric Miners was called up to REME in 1942 and replaced by his brother Trevor
Miners a motor mechanic apprentice and a Sargent in the Cadet Force when enlisted.
Idless Woods 1944 Auxilier Trevor Miners is in the back row 13th from the left. Sargent George Tamblyn is seated,front row far
Others identified are second row 6th from left is Captain Abbiss, followed by Major W W Harston, Walter Eva, ?,
Leslie Bowden, Frank Strike and in the row below him is John Gilbert. James T Caddy from Constantine Patrol is in the second row from the
bottom, second in from the right.
Trevor Miners as a young Sargent in the Cadet Force with his parents.
First Operational Base at Cligga Head
Located at Cligga Head which is North of Perranporth (locally known as Trevellas) Aerodrome.
The OB is located on part of The South West Coast Path which is a National Trail so there is open access. It is
now a Site of Special Scientific Interest.
Overall view of the site.
The Noble Company mined wolfram on the headland during the First World war to produce nitro-glycerine. In 1936,
JR Hockin's guidebook describes the head as having “empty, turfed up dynnamite tanks, an abandoned lorry and one or
two quarries”. The old Nobel's explosive tunnels used as an OB were on the cliff top edge looking out over the
Atlantic to the West of Perranporth. The many earthworks left over from the mining process in the area could have
provided good cover for entering the OB and escape.
The patrol made use of one of these explosive storage tanks or tunnels to create their first OB. The tunnel
would have been much more covered than it is today though when the nearby Aerodrome opened it was decided that it
was too exposed and the OB moved to a new location.
(Left) The now exposed explosives tunnel used as an OB. (Right) Inside a more intact
Trevor Miners stood by his OB holding a grenade.
In an attempt to keep this OB viable the Patrol actually put up signs warning that the area was
A young courting couple from the Aerodrome had a shock one day when, ignoring the sign, managed
to set off a thunderflash.
The Patrol moved to Reen Manor Farm after this.
The tunnel is approximately 10ft high and 20ft long with an entrance / exit at either end. The
patrol made beds out of wood and wire netting. The OB is oriented North to South.
Observation Post: None found.
(Left)The late Eric Miners and his brother Trevor
Miners outside the remains of their first OB.
Second Operational Base at Reen Manor
The second OB was concealed within the decaying remains of an old tin and lead mine on high ground
looking over the village of Perranporth and the Atlantic beyond.
Located at Budnick Mine, Reen Manor Farm was a Nissan Hut approximately 30ft by 20ft placed in a
dug out prepared at night by the Royal Engineers. It was close to the old mine stack which was used
as one escape chamber, the other coming out in the old mine shaft.
To reach the entrance the patrol had to go through bushes and draw back a long bar, which was
attached to a trap door covered in grass turf. Metal rungs lead 10ft down to the single chamber
where wooden bunks were made and all the explosives and ammunition stored along with general
The mine shaft and OB have both been destroyed and filled in after the farmers tractor wheel
fell into it during the 60's. Only the lower part of the engine stack of the original mine works
remain that would have been an escape route.
The location of the mine stack indicates to could have been East to West. Observation
Post: None found.
Radar Station out buildings.
Trerew Radar Station
on the A3075, the main road to Newquay. Arriving at night, the patrol cut through the barbed wire and made it
through to the main compound which was built into a big earth mound. Almost free to roam, they were well away
before the thunderflashes went off in a mock “blowing up” of the station.
PRIVATE LAND a public footpath runs close by the remains of some
of the radar station.
underground complex at Trerew Radar Station.
(Trevellas) Airfield was a Spitfire station during WW2 and English Heritage considers it to be one of the most
important remaining airfields from WW2. In its early days at Cligga Head the Patrol used this area for rifle
practice. RAF Perranporth became operational in 1941 and decommissioned in 1946.
Told that they had to test the defences of the Airfield the patrol mounted a night time raid on the Spitfires
parked in the landing bay. Their mission was to leave stickers on the tail of each plane to show they could have
set explosives there if inclined. They easily managed this without being challenged by any security as they had
entered the Airfield via the cliff edge rather than the heavily defended land side.
One night saw the
Patrol crossing the sand dunes of Reen, Gear and Penhale Sands. The whole area was used for tank training making
the area of Gear Sands a prohibited area crawling with soldiers. The Patrol crossed this area and cut their way
through the coils of barbed wire surrounding Penhale Army Camp. Making their way through the camp, past the
barracks they came out at Holywell Bay.
Sargent George Tamblyn knew a Mrs Dust who ran the local cafe. She would be called upon to cook the Patrol bacon
and eggs, a real treat in the days of rationing, before making the 5 mile return journey back through the Army camp
and across the dunes home.
“I suppose our antics got some people in trouble for being so lax, but I bet they sharpened up
One evening the
Patrol were destined for Church Hill between Perranwell and Perran Church. Taking with them a new explosive fuse
the object of the exercise was to learn how to block roads by blowing up nearby trees. Trevor Miners often
wonders what the people living nearby thought of all the noise.
Perranporth Patrol did not train with any of the other local Patrols in the area. They trained themselves around
the woods, dunes, beaches and cliff tops of Perranportth.
Edgar Mitchel, George Tamblyn and Len Connett with Laurie Griffiths standing. Thought to be
1942.Taken around Perranporth (Trevellas) airfield. The “lady” was a wooden cut out taken from a shop
and used as target practice !
Trevor Miners remembers himself and Edgar Mitchell being sent on courses to Coleshill, Wiltshire arriving by train at Swindon.
“We were told to report to thePost
Officeand ask for Mabel” he recalls.“She checked our credentials and when satisfied arranged
transport to take us to H.Q. We were trained in the use of all types of explosives: phosphorus bombs that you could
not put out, Molotov cocktails and booby trap devices. We were shown how to use magnetic clamps fitted with
gelignite and attach them to tanks or a railway line just to cause as much disruption as possible”.
He remembers the rough and tumble of learning unarmed combat and having to “hit the ground” many times when
practising with sticky bombs. One time when they had to take evasive action was while they were throwing phosphorus
grenades in training. Trevor recalls Edgar Mitchell's arm gave out as he threw one resulting in the grenade falling
well short and too close for comfort. Night exercises were made more interesting by some of the guards dressing in
Armed with detonators, the Auxiliers were given an object to destroy within a certain time, a sharp whistle
blast would signal their time was up. Trevor admits that he may have only succeeded in his mission after the
whistle had blown.
This image of Trevor (right) and Edgar Mitchell was taken at or near Swindon Railway Station as they
returned from training at Coleshill.
Trevor Miners recalls being given a 38 Smith and Wesson along with a Commando knife, both of
which he carried around with him at all times, carefully concealed.
He also remembers many different explosives, 2 Sten Guns, .22 snipers rifle with silencer and
telescopic sights. Different colour time pencils, each colour depending on how long the acid took
to burn through the wire, along with garrotting wire were all kept at the OB.
Water purifying tablets, three weeks supply of food and rum rations were all handed back at
At some stage a large number of phosphorous bombs had become dangerously unstable so the patrol
took them to a remote part of the cliff top where they stood the bombs on end. “ We fired at them”
said Trevor, “ with our .22 rifles, made a fantastic firework display. Some fell into the sea but
we had no other way of getting rid of them as they were so unstable”
(Above) Some of the “toys” of the Perranporth
All Auxiliers still active in the Patrols in Devon an Cornwall at stand down were presented with their lapel
badges and letters of thanks in a ceremony held in Exeter. Trevor remembers travelling up to Exeter and being
surprised at how many men were there. He didn't know who was hosting the event.
In July 2005 it was a close call as to who had travelled the furthest to The BRO Museum in Parham for their
Open Day between Roy Coleman of Port Talbot and Trevor Miners from
Trevor Miners has been hugely influential in informing people of the Auxiliary Units existence and keeping the
memory alive both within the South West and Nationwide.
He has told his story on TV on BBC Spotlight, Tales from the Snug, and WW2 Experience. See the videos below.
After Stand Down Trevor went for his medical to enlist in the regular army. At the time there was a severe
shortage of mine workers so a ballot was held of those enlisting. All those with a certain digit in their Service
numbers were conscripted as “Bevan Boys”.
Trevor spent the next 41/2 years at the coal face in Hirwaun near Aberdare, South Wales before being allowed to
In 2013 Trevor Miners marched at the Cenotaph on Whitehall for the first time. See below.