New book on war time Pentewan

Phil Hadley who has written articles for the website before has a new book out (further details below).

Phil says, “I have expanded the geographical area covered to take in events of interest and some of the installations built on this stretch of coast so the odd event from Pentewan to Nare Head can be found within its entries. I am sure it will be of interest to any connected with Gorran Haven or interested in life in rural Cornwall in wartime.”

Sample extracts:

June to September 1940

Three companies of the Initial Training Centre from the DCLI Barracks at Bodmin were distributed along the coast from Mevagissey to St Austell with the centre company holding Pentewan. These raw recruits had to dig trenches in the hillside to cover the potential invasion beaches while a frantic effort was made to build pillboxes and stronger defences.

Sunday 4th August 1940

Authority was given by SW Area HQ to the Commander Royal Engineers, 48 Division, Bt Col HE Moore, DSC, MC, RE, for mines to be laid on the beaches at Penzance, Marazion, Par and Pentewan. The task was assigned to 224 Field Company Royal Engineers.

Friday 30th August 1940

A beach mine exploded at Pentewan killing Sapper Douglas John King, aged 23, from Dover. He was a member of 224 Field Company, Royal Engineers, laying the mines on the beach.

Saturday 31st August 1940

The Commander Royal Engineers, 48 Division attended a Court of Inquiry into the death of Sapper King. Sapper King was buried on 4th September in Lanchard Cemetery, Liskeard with full military honours. Eight fellow soldiers bore the coffin through the streets at a slow pace from the Cottage Hospital Mortuary to the graveside preceded by a firing party from the King’s Company. His parents and sister attended the funeral. He also had a brother. An officer and 6 NCO’s from his company were among the mourners. King had only volunteered seven months previously and was well known as a football left-back in Dover.

Friday 4th April 1941

At 8.55pm the fishing boat Ibis was machine gunned by an enemy plane ½ mile off Pentewan. One member of the crew, Mr Lakeman, received a bullet wound in the leg & was taken to hospital. The rest of the fishing fleet of about 20 boats were unscathed.

Tuesday 12th December 1944

At 1630 hours a British Hurricane aircraft crashed at Nansladron Farm, Pentewan. The machine was badly smashed and the pilot killed. The plane, PZ834, had come from RAF Portreath. The Police guarded the wreckage and waited for the RAF and National Fire Service to deal with it. The pilot was Flt Lt Dennis Grundy DFC, aged 24, from Ulverston in Lancashire (now South Lakeland, Cumbria). He was on 1697 Air Dispatch Letter Service Flight when the plane belly-landed after losing its radio and becoming lost. Grundy was awarded his Distinguished Flying Cross in September 1942 for attacking industrial plants in northern France. His older brother James, also an RAF pilot, had been killed in October 1943.

To read more of Phil’s book please click: Gorran Haven & District War Diary: 1939 – 1945