Canvey Island Patrol


Canvey Island is a reclaimed island in the Thames estuary, south-west of Southend-on-Sea.

Patrol members
Name Occupation Posted from Until
Sergeant Rupert Stanley Ives

Shoe Shopkeeper

Unknown 03 Dec 1944
Corporal George Billardis

Civil servant

Unknown 03 Dec 1944
Private Arthur James Brown

Milk roundsman

Unknown 03 Dec 1944
Private Edward Charles Benjamin Cutler


Unknown Unknown
Private Benjamin William Hall

Gas fitter

Unknown Unknown
Private James Hawkes

Co-op manager

Unknown 03 Dec 1944
Operational Base (OB)

According to Thundersley Auxilier Don Handscombe, the Canvey Island OB was built into the sea wall. This is not surprising as much of the island is below sea level at high tide. Apparently the OB regularly flooded with high tides as a result was little used.

The exact location is not known, but it is likely it would have been washed away during the 1953 floods when a large part of the walls were breached and destroyed by a combination of high tides and on shore winds, resulting in many deaths.


Patrol & OB pictures
OB Image
Caption & credit
Essex Group 8 Patrols
OB Status
Location not known

Canvey Island Patrol

Patrol Targets

The gun battery on Canvey was the target of one exercise. They managed to creep in and lay dummy explosives all over the site, causing security to be tightened.


A local resident recalls that Auxilier Ted Cutler reported his training to have included swimming in full kit across Hadleigh Bay which separates Canvey form South Benfleet.

Weapons and Equipment

Auxilier Ted Cutler was said to have stored guns and maps in his spare room.

Corporal Rupert Ives recalled, in 1984, that their weapons dump was bulldozed by the army having been cleared out. He also recalled the large dump in a manor near Bradwell on the Dengie Marsh.

Other information

Don Handscombe from the nearby Thundersley Patrol recalls that the Canvey Island unit was frequently under strength and there was talk of merging with his unit. He can only ever recall Rupert Ives and possibly one other member. This was because of the semi-urban nature of Canvey and the lack of suitable men to be recruited.

The group photo shows;

Back Row
Don Williams (Rochford), David Antill (Thundersley), Charlie Fance (Rochford), John Tomlinson (Rayleigh), Michael Ford (Hockley), Eddie Southern (Rayleigh)

Middle Row
Jack Murphy (Rayleigh), Bert Cocks (Hockley), Don Handscombe (Thundersley), Doug Cater (Rochford), George Clarke ( Hockley), George Sargeant ( Rochford)

Front Row
George Billardis (Canvey), Rupert Ives (Canvey), Jack Rodwell (Hockley), Bill Heath (AGC), Jack Ford (GC), Bob Baptie (AGC), Jack Burles (Rochford), Len Downes (Rayleigh), Fred Harris (Thundersley)


TNA ref WO199/3389

Hancock data held at B.R.A

1939 Register

Evening Echo 5/6/1984 “Hunt for Army’s legacy of death”