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.
Today, we are now 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 we are one of the busiest teams of our kind in Southern England.
In 2014, we further developed our capabilities by forming two sections within the team. Whilst we still remain one team, the two sections train and recruit separately, joining together for regular large-scale search and rescue exercises. The west section now operates out of a new base at United Downs, near Redruth, where a Land Rover ambulance and control vehicle are also housed. The east section remains based at St Dennis, with a Land Rover ambulance based at Bodmin Police Station.