Truro Patrol


Truro is Cornwall's county town and only city.

Patrol members
Name Occupation Posted from Until
Captain Harry Walter Abbiss

County Horticultural Superintendent

20 Jul 1940 12 Feb 1941
Second Lieutenant Edward Karl Follitt Harte

Commercial traveller

05 Jan 1941 25 Aug 1942
Sergeant Norman Gilbert Carlyon Summers

Seed merchant

05 Jan 1941 03 Dec 1944
Lieutenant Frederick John Yeo

Clerk for County Council

06 Jan 1941 Unknown
Corporal William John Hearle


05 Jan 1941 03 Dec 1944
Private Eric Leslie Carmichael

General clerk

04 Apr 1943 03 Dec 1944
Private Gerald Leonard Garland

Charted accountant

21 Nov 1941 07 Feb 1943
Private William Howard Hancock

Dairy farmer

24 Apr 1941 03 Dec 1944
Private William John Hill

Motor mechanic

16 Aug 1942 03 Dec 1944
Private Frederick John Keast

Timber labourer

Unknown Unknown
Private Robert Lewarne


06 Jan 1941 03 Dec 1944
Private William Alfred R. Pentecost


21 Jun 1940 03 Dec 1944
Private Douglas Henry Tremayne


Unknown Unknown
Private Edward Robert Arthur Trengove

Clerk at County Hall

02 Feb 1942 03 Dec 1944
Operational Base (OB)

The first OB was built by the Patrol in 1940 in Calenick Wood. A large hole was dug over many nights and the men constructed their first underground OB from timber and corrugated iron sheeting, covering it again with soil. The timber was procured from Harvey and Company Limited of Garras Wharf in Truro, a local timber yard and saw mill. Measuring about 11 foot by 8 foot, the Patrol fitted it out with a few bunks. There was only a single entrance and no escape tunnel. The Patrol were never happy with the structure or its location so twelve months after they had built it they went in search of a different site. It is thought the OB was intact years ago but has since collapsed.

The second OB site was chosen at a disused mine adit (Wheal East Falmouth) near Chygoose. The Patrol built a structure within the adit from timber and corrugated iron. It was fitted out with bunks made from timber and wire netting.

It was decided to try to find an emergency exit for this OB and so the men investigated further back in the adit. They revealed an air vent running up to ground level about 20 feet above the adit floor level. After much hard work and digging out with shovels and a bucket, the men eventually managed to enlarge the adit and vent to allow room for them to escape up the vent by means of a ladder they made from 2 inch galvanised pipes and rungs. The vent was fitted with a wooden hatch and camouflaged at ground level with an old tree stump

The Patrol often spent nights in this OB.

In the 1970s it was in quite good condition with the iron bunks, ammunition shelving and escape ladder to a hatch in the wood above all well preserved. Although well disguised, it was then relatively easy to access. A more recent site visit has shown the site and location to have decayed and become overgrown. Today the adit has collapsed and the shaft is flooded.

Patrol & OB pictures
OB Image
Caption & credit
Area of first OB at Calenick Wood on right
OB Image
Caption & credit
Area of second OB near Chygoose showing Truro in the distance
OB Image
Caption & credit
Viaduct target at Truro
OB Status
Location not known
OB accessibility
This OB is on private land. Please do not be tempted to trespass to see it

Truro Patrol

Patrol Targets

A night target was the RAF Radar Station at nearby Jacka Point, Portloe. Two of the Patrol managed to bypass the defences and chalk swastikas in many places.

Road and rail links would have been the most likely targets to cause disruption. Truro is Cornwall's county town and only city and would most likely have been an a important road supply route through the city and on eastwards. The main A39 and A390 meet in the city.

The longest rail viaduct in Cornwall passes over northern parts of Truro. Blocking the Truro, Carvedras and Penwithers Viaducts would have caused major supply route disruption.


Robert Lewarne was sent to Coleshill House to train along with Bill Pentecost. There were various exercises which were carried out to practice their map reading skills. At different times they were taken out into the countryside, dropped off and told to find their way back, both in daylight and at night. On the way back one night they saw a torch flashing and decided to tackle the sentry. They made a grab for the sentry waving the torch but found to their surprise that it was being waved on the end of a ten foot long stick. They were instantly captured.

The Patrol also trained with the Scout Section Officers at Porthpean House.

The Patrol trained locally in and around the mine shafts near their second OB at Chygoose.

A training exercise involved two of the Patrol successfully breaching the heavily defended RAF radar station at Portloe.

Weapons and Equipment

It was remembered the Patrol were all equipped with a .38 Colt revolver except Robert Lewarne who was issued with a Smith & Wesson automatic pistol. The Patrol had Sten guns and a very popular Browning automatic rifle which was fitted with a telescopic sight. This was remembered to be very accurate and reliable.

On 6th August 1942 Seargeant Norman Summers had some gelignite delived to his home. Before he had a chance to take it to the OB he hid the supplies in his coal bunker. Later that day there was a severe air raid on Truro. Thankfully this missed the area of Chapel Hill as Norman and his family were sheltered in the air raid shelter, directly under the coal bunker.

Explosives were stored in the second OB.

Other information

Some of the men were recruited in 1941 when Abbiss, Yeo and Harte were promoted to Area and Group Commanders. They would have originally been founding members of Truro Patrol and could well have planed to return to this Patrol in the event of invasion.

A group photograph containing Sgt. Norman Summers, Cpl Jack Hearle, Bill Hancock, Robert Lewarne, Eddie Trengove and Bill Pentecost was taken at the same location as a photo taken of Grampound Patrol, assuming at the same time.



Alwyn Harvey and his research for Defence of Britain Project.

TNA reference WO199/3391

Hancock data held at B.R.A

Various newspapers and 1939 Register

Cornwall Record Office ref AD89/2

Janet Cohen daughter of Robert Lewarne