Ebbor Gorge Patrol


Set within the ancient limestone Mendip Hills, Ebbor Gorge is designated a National Nature Reserve, managed by Natural England for the National Trust.

The land was donated to the National Trust by Mrs G.W. Hodgkinson, of Wookey Hole, in 1967, in memory of Winston Churchill.

Patrol members
Name Occupation Posted from Until
Second Lieutenant Percival John R. Lunnon

Artesian water supply engineer

08 Jun 1940 03 Dec 1944
Private Charles Albert Barnes

Kinotype Operator AFS Wells

11 Jun 1940 03 Dec 1944
Private Irvine Harry Farley

Dental mechanic

23 May 1940 03 Dec 1944
Private Jonathan Harrison


08 Jan 1942 End of 1942
Private Harold Ernest Lane

Printer foreman

03 Jun 1940 03 Dec 1944
Private Charles William Loxton

Farmer assisting father

07 Jun 1940 03 Dec 1944
Private Wilfred Leslie Paul


27 Jun 1940 03 Dec 1944
Private M. G. Scott Unknown Unknown
Private George Edward Tyley Unknown Unknown
Operational Base (OB)

The OB was situated in Ebbor Gorge close to a stream. It was reported to be an underground bunker lined with corrugated iron, buried under leaf mould. Some iron remains at the site along with bricks that were added by a previous warden of the Gorge to create a store. 

Tony Loxton recalled to author Don Brown; " We had the little hide up there with 6 bunks. We had a tunnel up round to where we had some explosives which was a few yards away from where we slept. It was a marvellous hide-out really. I never slept there but it was ready. The first day Jack took me up there, there was a clear piece of wood, about half an acre. Jack went over this fence and about 10 yards into the wood. Jack said 'see if you can find it'. I walked around, it was all covered in grass and flowers but I couldn't see anywhere at all. There was an old dead bush hanging down and that was on top of the thing. You just felt along, got your fingers down and you could lift it up and the bush went with it. You could just slide it and go down in, it was weighted". 

Harold Lane recalled; "The first thing we did was to blow up a fair size ash tree because that gave us a big hole already - but not big enough. Then we had to clear that tree. We took the soil away in bags. It took a long time". He describes the OB as being a 20 foot deep shaft with a 15-20 rung ladder leading down to a 20 foot long horizontal tunnel leading into a main chamber of elephant iron. The tunnel extended through the room and out the other end around 20 foot to an escape tunnel. This lead uphill and was never used. He only recalls 4 bunks for the (at the start) 6 men. A 3 inch deep tray covered the entrance shaft and was covered with wire netting, soil and flowers.

It was already built when Loxton joined but he was told it had been built by the men, at night, and it was hard work. He recalled they had a covered "gypsy style" caravan by the path that they used to sleep in to prevent creating a path to the actual OB. 

A narrow crevice in the rock which opens out into a low chamber was used as an Observational Post and a bomb store. Harold Lane recalled; "we laid a telephone line underground across the valley up to near where the car park is now where we found a 10 foot rock face with a split which was wide enough to get in. This was our Observational Post." His son Mark can recall a small connection between two cave with shelves in one and possibly a concealing wall.

Auxilier Lane's son, Mark, recalled in a letter to Auxilier John Sealy (Feb 1997) being taken to Ebbor Gorge as a child during the war on a Sunday morning for a walk. They came across Harold's colleagues laying a telephone cable through the wood towards Deer Leap.

Harold Lane; "I remember one Saturday afternoon when we were in the shelter and we heard voices. I lifted the cover up and found a mother and her children picnicking almost on the cover and we had to wait for them to finish and go away. Of course the trouble with that place was it was always soaking wet with condensation". 

OB Status
Location not known
OB accessibility
The OB site is publicly accessible

Ebbor Gorge Patrol


TNA ref WO199/3390 & WO199/3391

Hancock data held at B.R.A

1939 Register

Somerset HER ref 25688

Auxilier's son Mark Lane via Auxilier John Sealy

Tony Loxton and Harold Lane via Don Brown