Cornwood Patrol

Locality

The villages of Cornwood and Lutton are near to the southern boarders of Dartmoor and 3 miles north of Ivybridge. All the Patrol members came from the surrounding areas.

Patrol members
Name Occupation Posted from Until
Sergeant Charles W. Godfrey

Teacher

27 Mar 1941 03 Dec 1944
Corporal Richard Martin Wotton

Farmer

27 May 1940 03 Dec 1944
Private Alfred John Colton Andrew

Farm hand

08 Aug 1940 03 Dec 1944
Private Clifford James Andrew

Farm hand

08 Aug 1940 03 Dec 1944
Private Edward James Batten

Head gardener

Unknown 16 Apr 1943
Captain William Falcon

Mining engineer

04 Oct 1940 03 Dec 1944
Private Stephen Hoskin

Farmer

29 May 1940 03 Dec 1944
Private David John Lewis

Chauffeur and gardener

28 May 1940 03 Dec 1944
Private Alfred Charles Sedgman

Horseman

14 Nov 1940 03 Dec 1944
Private Hermon George Woodley

Farm hand

29 May 1942 03 Dec 1944
Private Andrew John Wotton

Horseman and shepherd

14 Aug 1940 03 Dec 1944
Operational Base (OB)

The Operational Base was built by the Patrol in an old sand or gravel quarry. Made from timber it quickly became unsuitable and was rarely used by the Patrol. It had decayed and become unusable long before stand down. Another reason why the OB could have been inadequate is due to the lack of entrance or escape routes to and from the site. Other than the main lane leading up to and along side the quarry the only other route of entry or exit is across open moorland allowing no cover for escape

As the Patrol seemed to make little use of their Operational Base and placed little importance on it they would have used Captain Falcon's house and outhouses for storage or stored their weapons at home.

The Observation Post was reported to be at Hanger Down Clump, an almost circular clump of trees on the most southerly area of open moorland where the Observation Post of Harford Patrol at Western Beacon would have been clearly visible. Though it is a very fine vantage point with 360 degree views it would have been a well known prominent landmark and maybe too public for an actual structure. It is known that many locals made use of this area as it would have given a safe vantage point to view the destruction of Plymouth in the Blitz of 1941. Ash poles had been embedded in the ground over Hanger Down to deter the landing of gliders.

Patrol & OB pictures
OB Image
Caption & credit
Cornwood Auxiliary Unit Operational Base site
OB Image
Caption & credit
Cornwood Auxiliary Unit Operational Base site
OB Image
Caption & credit
Cornwood Auxiliary Unit Operational Base site
OB Image
Caption & credit
Cornwood OP site - Hanger Down Clump
OB Image
Caption & credit
Glider pole on Dartmoor
OB Image
Caption & credit
Captain Falcon's House - Slade
OB Image
Caption & credit
Slade viaduct
OB Image
Caption & credit
Hole at the base of Slade viaduct
OB Image
Caption & credit
Pond at Slade
OB Status
Destroyed
OB accessibility
This OB is on private land. Please do not be tempted to trespass to see it
Location

Cornwood Patrol

Patrol Targets

Main targets are assumed to be the many railway viaducts in the area including Slade and Blatchford viaducts along with the main road leading east from Plymouth.

Brunel's original trestle-less pillars in the foreground were replaced in 1893. These pillars all have “drill holes” near the base approximately 6 inches deep. These could be there for a totally innocent reason OR put there by the Patrol as training or in preparation.

Training

Training took place with the other Patrols of Group 3

Jim Batten's family remembers him as having a railway warrant entitling him to travel to Coleshill House for weekend training.

Weapons and Equipment

It is assumed they were issued with the standard kit, arms and explosives. Patrol weapons and explosives were kept at Slade with Captain Falcon.

After the Patrols were disbanded, local people remember that a digger was about to remodel the pond at the front of Captain Falcon's old house “Slade”. Andrew Wotton (Cornwood Patrol) suddenly appeared shouting “STOP”. Captain Falcon had arranged for some of the surplus explosives to be dumped in the pond after stand down.

References

The Book of Cornwood and Lutton by Meriel Dodinson 1997,

Ivybridge during the Second World War by Arthur Clamp.

Mrs H Wotton and Miss E Andrew, 

Dave James and the family of Jim Batten.

The family of Alec Rogers.

The local and tactical help from Noel Thornton and Mike Barber,

The family of Captain William Falcon,

Major Hancock's data held by British Resistance Archive.

The National Archives ref WO199/3391,

1939 Register