Ugborough Auxiliary Unit
A report by Nina Hannaford - CART CIO for
Devon. If you can help with any info please
contact Nina by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
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Captain William Falcon (of Cornwood Patrol), based at “Slade” in
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.
(Image taken at Captain Falcon's house "Slade". Shows Ugbrough, Cornwood, Flete, Diptford and Harford
John E Ough, Original Sargent,Posted to 16th Devon Battalion HG 20/10/1943
Sgt Alec Rogers
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.
(Main chamber of OB)
(Above - Collapsed Passageway)
(Looking down passageway towards main chamber)
(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
Orientation of OB is South / East to North/ West. Elevation
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 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
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
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 email@example.com