Trencrom Patrol


Trencrom is a hamlet, south of St Ives Cornwall, in the shadow of the prominent hill fort on Trencrom Hill.

Patrol members
Name Occupation Posted from Until
Sergeant Henry Gordon Rowe


12 Jun 1940 03 Dec 1944
Lieutenant William Reginald Sandow

Dairy farmer

01 Jun 1940 09 Nov 1942
Private Timothy Edwards

Farm labourer

08 Jun 1940 Unknown
Private George Barnard Harrington

Master mason

11 Dec 1941 03 Dec 1944
Private Richard Lawrey


21 Jun 1942 03 Dec 1944
Private Lionel Elbert Nicholas


02 Jul 1942 03 Dec 1944
Private William James Pooley

Rockman in slate quarry

29 May 1940 Unknown
Private Edwin Hosking Sandow


30 May 1940 03 Dec 1944
Private Richard Henry Uren

Market gardener

11 Jun 1940 03 Dec 1944
Operational Base (OB)

The OB was built within Wheal Merth Mine situated between Lelant Downs and Heather Lane at Gorran.

In an article in The Cornishman newspaper (undated but thought to be mid 1980s) the OB is described;

“The Operational Base was in an adit of an abandoned tin mine high up on Lelant Downs. They would crawl into a small tunnel in the hillside near Carntisco and use a simple bridge made up from a couple of planks of wood. They then had to cross one of the shafts of Wheal Merth mine. A slip would have sent them plunging 500/600ft to the bottom of the flooded shaft. Once inside they pulled the bridge back with them inside”.

After the war it was destroyed within the confines of Wheal Merth Mine. Built within the old stope (the excavated area of a mine produced during the extraction of ore) some remains were blown into the adit (a level tunnel giving access to a mine and usually used for drainage or extraction of broken ore etc). The Nissen hut structure within the mine was covered with concrete and soil.

The entrance into the actual OB but both the shaft and the adit (today) are a tight squeeze for an adult man especially if carrying kit.

Patrol & OB pictures
OB Image
Caption & credit
The opening into the mine adit.
OB Image
Caption & credit
Remains of the Nissen structure of the OB which was blasted into the adit when the OB was demolished.
OB Image
Caption & credit
A pile of old boots found in the adit.
OB Image
Caption & credit
A old wooden lintel supporting tons of rock above. The way in towards the OB was under this.
OB Image
Caption & credit
The concrete ceiling of the OB.
OB Image
Caption & credit
Looking up into OB. Note the granite lintel that would have supported the floor.
OB Image
Caption & credit
One of the bed frames wedged up against the ceiling after the blast of demolition.
OB Image
Caption & credit
Looking up into the blocked access to the OB.
OB Image
Caption & credit
Looking down the vertical mine shaft entrance.
OB Status
Collapsed with some visible remains
OB accessibility
The OB site is publicly accessible

Trencrom Patrol

Patrol Targets

A Starfish Quick Light site had been constructed at the Towans (sand dunes) at nearby Hayle. These elaborate hoax lights would simulate night effects of the town and harbour. The sites were built to mislead enemy aircraft into bombing the decoy site rather than the nearby town. The presence of this proves Hayle was strategically important and so suspected targets for the Patrol would include the viaduct at Foundry and the harbour.

Weapons and Equipment

It is assumed they were issued with the standard kit, arms and explosives.

Ammunition and supplies were dropped near the mine by an army lorry and stored in chambers ¼ of a mile into the hillside and under 300ft of rock.

Other information

In his memoirs, Captain Stuart Edmundson, the original South West Area Intelligence Officer, recalls;

“Down in West Cornwall there was no great problem [with OBs] as many of the men I had recruited there were, or had been, tin miners. That part of the world is completely honeycombed by old workings and some of these chaps were able to go from coast to coast in Cornwall through these old workings without coming to the surface.

It was a terrifying experience going down with them as water was dripping through everywhere. The passages of cause were totally dark and we only had the light of a candle or a torch and had to jump over shafts going down lower, at the bottom of which you could hear water running.

These men were particularly tough and mad keen to get their hands on a German".


Hancock data held at B. R. A

Images from KH from

Memoirs of Edmundson, copies held at B.R.A

Information from Denys Matthews, son of Auxilier Dick Matthews of Madron Patrol and an undated article in The Cornishman newspaper.

Alwyn Harvey's research carried out for Defence Of Britain Project

TNA ref WO199/3391