Madron Auxiliary Unit Patrol and Operational Base

During the Second World War Gordon Bolitho was approached by one Captain Sandow of Lelant and asked to recruit local people for a unit which was to be kept secret, they were not even allowed to tell their family. All those recruited by Gordon were local farmers from the Heamoor home guard unit. It was a rule of thumb that those recruited would be farmers, gamekeepers, even poachers, all men with sound local knowledge of the land. The man that approached him was Reggie Sandow, a farmer living close to Trencrom, he was in charge of Madron, St Levan and Trencrom patrols.

Gordon recruited Bill Eddy of Heamoor, Bernard Trewern of Morvah, Morley White of Heamoor, Lanyon Thomas of Lanyon Farm, Fred Noy of Heamoor, and Dick Matthews of Heamoor. There are photographs of these men, that will be added soon.

These men built a secret bunker, using a Nissan hut and blocks, on the moor close to Lanyon Quoit. After a long time searching we can now say we have found what remains of their bunker.

Pictured here is the entry shaft and wall into the bunker, the curve of the concrete block is to match the Nissan hut that was placed in the pit and then covered over.

An opening into the entry shaft used by the patrol as a second entry/exit.

The site is being dug, metal detected and surveyed for the British Resistance Archive at Coleshill, and a film and an update on the Madron Patrol base can be seen on their website at

We know that standing at floor level gave a head height of 8 feet, the shaft was topped with a trap door and that from the position that this photo was taken there is a gulley which leads into a shallow mine shaft. This shaft has been looked at and it was definitely covered over with large granite slabs, most likely with a trap hatch, to act as a second exit.

Their training took place “up the line” at Coleshill or occasionally at some old quarries near Helston, and they were taught the use of Explosives, Sabotage and Tactics, their job being to go underground in the event of an invasion by the Germans and to harass their forces and to assassinate those that could and would help the German forces. If this had ever taken place their stories would have been similar to those of  the French resistance.

It was an awkward situation in their local areas as they were believed by some to be shirking their duty by not being a part of the Home Guard and all but frowned upon, but this had to be lived with as no one could be told, and since no information was released concerning this unit until recent times it may well be that some people held that opinion long after the war. Some locals had an inclination as to what was on and for others in office that became too curious they had a card on hand that was basically a phone number to the Home Office.

Recently the records of the actor Anthony Quayle have come to light which show him to have been an intelligence officer attached to the Northumberland Auxilliary force, though as a regular army officer.

It would seem he enjoyed the uniqueness of these men, especially the ONE ARMED MOLECATCHER THAT COULD SHOOT THE LEG OFF A FLEA AT ANY DISTANCE!

It is a great pity that we are unable to hear or read their stories, but when these men swore to its secrecy they did until they all but died, in fact one classic story was of the husband and wife that had each played their part in this organization but neither knew of the others involvement until it came out in their very senior years. It transpired that she was a secret communications operator that would send messages to her local auxiliary team by morse code and at the other end of the line was her's that for secrecy!!

Thankfully they were never needed but if they had it would have been the most dangerous of missions and therefore it was good to see that the government finally acknowledged them this year at the REMEMBERANCE CEREMONY...THEY DESERVE THE FINEST OF SALUTES!

Information is by kind permission of the BRITISH RESISTANCE ARCHIVE.

Stuart Emmett