Cymmer Patrol

Locality

Cymmer is a small village in Neath Port Talbot in Wales, set on a hillside in the Afan Valley near the confluence of the River Afan and the River Corrwg. Cymmer falls in the Port Talbot county borough, originally West Glamorganshire. A traditional community built on the many collieries in the vacinity.

Patrol members
Name Occupation Posted from Until
Sergeant William Thomas

Colliery painter

Unknown 03 Dec 1944
Corporal Emlyn Richard Starkey

Coal miner

Unknown 03 Dec 1944
Private Roy Coleman

Coal miner

Unknown 03 Dec 1944
Private Edwin Coleman

Coal miner

07 Aug 1943 03 Dec 1944
Private David John Maybury

Colliery official

07 Aug 1943 03 Dec 1944
Private Ivor Thomas Purser

Coal hewer

Unknown Unknown
Private M. Thomas 01 Sep 1943 Unknown
Private William Joseph Watkins

Colliery vet

Unknown Unknown
Operational Base (OB)

It is thought the Patrol did not have a specially built bunker although there is reference to an 'HQ'. In the event of an invasion they were expected to return to their homes after their sabotage operations.

OB Status
Location not known
Location

Cymmer Patrol

Patrol Targets

The many railways, tunnels, bridges and viaducts in the surrounding coal-mining area. The railway marshalling yards, and the main-line railway to Cardiff, and line to Port Talbot.

Training

The Patrol often trained in the dunes on the beach, although their night training came to an end when the number of courting couples in the dunes made it impossible to operate. From then on they trained in the dunes during the day, wearing dark glasses.

The Patrol had two uniforms (ref: Roy Coleman's book), one a Home Uniform and another with 202 GHQ on the shoulders.

Roy Coleman states that most of the Patrol went to Coleshill for training several times, but that he was unlucky and did not. he goes on to say that the training HQ in Porthcawl had around 8 Sergeants and 2 officers, and that the Cymmer Patrol trained alongside a Patrol from near Neath (possibly Pont Neath Patrol?). Coleman states that there was a Lieutenant Young in charge. this is probably Captain Charles H. Young who was the Group Commander of South Wales Group 1 - West Glamorgan Auxiliary Units.

One time the Patrol was tasked to cripple 'planes' at an airfield. This turned out to be a decoy airfield with the dummy Spitfires and hurricanes being made of wood. They used sticky bombs to blow the tails off.

Weapons and Equipment

Explosives and sticky bombs. Delay fuses, detonators and Cortex.

Revolvers. Although they were not initially issued with holsters (they had to keep their revolvers inside their battle dress blouses), and it was only when Roy Coleman 'lost' his revolver on an exercise that they were subsequently issued with holsters.

Thompson sub-machine gun and 3000 rounds of ammunition.

Other information

Roy Coleman was a collier and a messenger boy for the ARP before he was recruited into the Auxiliary Units from the Home Guard.

Roy thought their local knowledge would have bought them the necessary time to carry out their sabotage. "We knew those mountains like no one else. All the short cuts, all the mines. A stranger up there at night or day - they wouldn't have known where the hell they were."

"We could have caused problems to start, but they'd have soon snuffed us out and it wouldn't have made any difference. The only thing that might have worked was if we'd blown a bridge or tunnel in our area. They'd have had a bloody hard time fixing it. It's so mountainous, see ?"

They received their stand-down badges.

References

TNA ref WO199/3389

Hancock data held at B.R.A

Owen Sheers article in The Guardian

1939 Register

Emlyn's Richard Starkey's daughter Lorna Gwendolyn Rance (nee Starkey) - See Emlyn's page

Auxilier Roy Coleman's 2005 book - ‘From Cregan to Corrwg - A Valley Boy’s Story’.