Although the most southerly team in the UK, Cornwall Search and Rescue Team has always had strong links with mountain rescue.
In 1965, Climbers’ Club custodian Jim Smith established the first mountain rescue post in the South West, at the Carn Galver Count House at Bosigran in West Cornwall. Rescues at Bosigiran, famed for its 200 metre “Commando Ridge” climb, named after the World War II commandos who trained there in preparation for wartime cliff assaults, would be performed by other climbers who would go to the Count House to collect the rescue equipment.
Later, a subsidiary post was established in the Land’s End climbing area and also in the Liskeard area, however the coastal posts closed around 20 years later as HM Coastguard developed their cliff rescue capabilities. Similarly, the two voluntary mine rescue teams operating in the county disbanded in 1999 and 2008, after the fire brigade developed their mine rescue capabilities.
Until 2002, incidents in inland Cornwall and on the moors were dealt with by the rescue teams from Dartmoor and Exmoor. However, due to an increase in call outs, it was decided that Cornwall needed it’s own team and Cornwall SRT was formed, originally with the name of Cornwall Rescue Group. The teams name was changed in 2006 to reflect its role better and allow the public to have a greater understanding of the work undertaken.
In 2014, we further developed our capabilities by forming two sections within the team and in 2019, these two sections became two operationally independent teams and registered charities in their own right.
East Cornwall Search and Rescue Team operates from Bodmin.
West Cornwall Search and Rescue operates from United Downs, near Redruth.
Both teams are an integral part of the emergency services in Cornwall, having close working arrangements with Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service, South Western Ambulance Service and Devon and Cornwall Police, and neighbouring cave and mountain rescue teams in Devon.
Cornwall Search and Rescue Team continues to operate as an umbrella organisation by bringing both teams together for mine rescue across the county, and it continues to support the two teams with administrative, fundraising and operational activities.