St. Blazey Patrol


St Blazey is situated 3 miles east of St Austell and 1 mile north of the port of Par with its harbour.

Patrol members
Name Occupation Posted from Until
Sergeant William Ernest Crocker

Railway lathe operator

03 Jan 1941 03 Dec 1944
Lieutenant Ardyn Harris


06 Jul 1940 27 Jun 1941
Corporal Leslie Dyer

Steam engine driver

20 Sep 1940 03 Dec 1944
Private Percy William Ewart Barter

Stone mason

23 Jun 1941 14 Jan 1943
Private Ronald Denis Broad

Motor engineer

20 Sep 1940 03 Dec 1944
Private Thomas James Colliver

Laundry stoker

20 Sep 1940 03 Dec 1944
Private Reginald Joseph Grose

China clay truck driver

17 Jul 1940 03 Dec 1944
Private Reginald Walter Hobba

Farm labourer. 1941 Gas worker

14 Jun 1941 Unknown
Private Thomas Austin Kittow

Butcher and farmer

14 Jul 1940 03 Dec 1944
Private William E. Northcott 06 Oct 1941 03 Dec 1944
Private Ernest George Redfers Williams

Asphalt road ganger

20 Sep 1940 03 Dec 1944
Operational Base (OB)

The entrance shaft leads into an rectangular entrance tunnel made of corrugated iron supported on a wooden frame work. One wall was painted Magnolia ! The tunnel is approximately 3 foot wide and 6 foot long and without debris underfoot would have had a height of 6 foot.

To the left, at the end of the tunnel is a small area measuring 6 foot by 4 foot. Raised higher than the floor of the tunnel it is about 2 foot high making a block built chamber with a corrugated iron roof again supported by a timber frame. In the far right corner a metal pipe exits the ceiling. There was no obvious evidence of this pipe above the ground but the whole area was “spongy” underfoot. This could have been a storage area for explosives with a possible ventilation pipe.

The main body of the base has collapsed leaving loose voids in metal and block debris. Defence of Britain Database has the Operational Base main chamber recorded as a Nissen hut construction made from corrugated iron. One room measured 20 foot by 8 foot and was used as living accommodation. This housed four bunks made from timber and wire netting along with some crude chairs and a table. The rest of the information on the Operational Base and its location is thought to be inaccurate though it does mention a second small chamber.

It is not obvious where any escape tunnel could have emerged from.

The entrance shaft is vertical and without debris at the bottom would have been around 7 foot from ground to tunnel floor. There are no remains or evidence of a ladder. The landowner remembers the hatch being changed very frequently.

Slightly uphill and to the south of the OB, a large deep pit had been prepared. This was unlined and today is uncovered. The pit is approximately 6 foot by 6 foot and around 5 foot deep. It may have been the start of a weapons store. Lack of visibility makes an Observation Post at this location unlikely.

The present landowner remembers the OB was built by the Army along with help from his father. The first attempt by them was to dig down and join up with an old mining adit, close to where the base is now, and use that as a base. It is remembered that this proved too difficult and they gave up. Without proof it is difficult to say whether they did link up to form some form of escape tunnel.

The present owners father built a large shed fairly close to the OB. He intended it to be used as a chicken shed but the Patrol met more here than at the OB. The owners father had worked in mining in South Africa and as he (and his 7 year old son ) were well aware of the Patrol and OB on their land, his knowledge of explosives could have been utilised. The present owner recalls being given various “thunder flashes” as a lad to be used as fireworks and to celebrate V.J Day.

Within the area are two ponds that are the remains of china clay workings. The banks and troughs along the second larger pond were used as a rifle range by the Patrol. The ponds are private and now used for angling.

Patrol & OB pictures
OB Image
Caption & credit
View from entrance shaft looking down tunnel to where the main body of the OB would have been. Small chamber is on the left at the end of the metal sheeting.
OB Image
Caption & credit
Showing state of wooden frame support looking towards entrance on left.
OB Image
Caption & credit
Looking into the chamber from the end of the tunnel.
OB Image
Caption & credit
he main extent of the chamber showing the pipe exiting the ceiling on the right.
OB Image
Caption & credit
Rifle range was in the vicinity of this pond.
OB Image
Caption & credit
Bomb store site
OB Image
Caption & credit
Entrance shaft
OB Image
Caption & credit
Main body of OB
OB Image
Caption & credit
Old Forge training area
OB Image
Caption & credit
Prideaux Wood Quarry training area
OB Status
Collapsed with some visible remains
OB accessibility
This OB is on private land. Please do not be tempted to trespass to see it

St. Blazey Patrol

Patrol Targets

Targets would have included the main rail line leading to and from the port of Par along with Par Harbour. Also possibly the main road leading out of the town of St Austell towards Liskeard and heading east out of Cornwall.


According to the Defence of Britain Database training for the Patrol was carried out in the area of “Old Forge” near to Rock Cottage, north of Prideaux Wood. This is right next to the railway line, very close to a stream and has many small mine shafts in the area ideal for storage.

Regional training took place at Porthpean in St Austell Bay carried out by the Scout Section. There were weekend training courses for setting explosives and grenade throwing.

Weapons and Equipment

It is assumed the Patrol were issued with the standard kit, weapons and explosives.

The land owner remembers explosives and weapons being delivered by the Army under the cover of darkness. As a 7 year old lad he was given the task of transporting weapons and explosives up the slope to the Operational Base using his “Dilly” (Go) Cart.


TNA ref WO199/3391

Hancock data held at B.R.A

1939 Register 

Mr and Mrs John Rundle

Mrs V Bluett,

Alwyn Harvey and his work on the Defence of Britain database