The Bride and Groom with the guard of honour.


Members of Tavistock  Section formed a Guard of Honour for fellow team member Catherine Clarke and new husband Chris Jones as they left Whitchurch church after their wedding ceremony on Saturday.


We would all like to wish them all the very best for their future together.


On the evening of Saturday 24th May the Team attended a formal function at the Holiday Inn, Plymouth to celebrate the 40th Birthday of the Dartmoor Rescue Group. Honoured Guests and speakers included Peter Bell, the President of Mountain Rescue England and Wales, Lt Col. Anthony Clark, Commandant Dartmoor Training Area, Sgt Mike Rose, Devon and Cornwall Constabulary Force POLSA, Justin Leigh from BBC Spotlight and Flt Lt Mark Fisk from A Flt 22 SQN RAF Chivenor. 


The evening began with a sit down meal followed by speeches from the Chairman of Dartmoor Rescue Group Henry Guly, Lt. Col. Anthony Clark and Peter Bell. The evening was compared by Justin Leigh. 


Following the speeches a raffle was held, which raised over £500 for the Group. They were many prizes won including a Rab Vapour Rise jacket, Nightsearcher torches, a Lowe Alpine rucksack, a voucher for dinner for to at The Two Bridges Hotel, plus many many more. We would like to thank all the individuals and companies that donated prizes for the evening’s raffle. The evening finished with dancing to the band Three Bags full. 


All four sections attended the event which was organised by Alex Lyons, Alec Collyer, Richard Thorne and Phil Hayter and our thanks go out to them for organising a brilliant evening.


During the evening certificates were presented to the following members of the Rescue Group for 25 years Long Service: Neil Handley (Plymouth), George Boymer (Plymouth), Alex Lyons (Tavistock), Terry Bumford (Tavistock), Les Agar (Okehampton), Alec Collyer (Ashburton), Rob Illman (Ashburton) and Rob Dixon (Ashburton).


A good evening was had by all and to top the evening off in true style we were called out to search for a missing person only hours after the event had finished!!!!!!


Alex Lyons Receives 25 Year Long Service
Award from Mountain Rescue England and Wales President Peter


TEN TORS 2008- 10/11 May 2008

DSRT Tavistock on Amicombe Hill 

DSRT Members Escorting Exhausted Ten Tors Casualties off the

Team Member On Look Out.

Army Helicopter Climbing out of Tavy Cleave.

Once again the Team provided its annual rescue cover for the Ten Tors challenge held on Dartmoor this weekend. Alongside our 3 sister teams and other military resources we provided a search and rescue asset for the event. 


The weather was warm and clear but with 2400 youngsters taking part in routes of 35, 45 or 55miles we were still due for a busy weekend. 


With search teams manning various locations around the moor we dealt with a wide variety of injuries varying from sunburn, blisters and old fashioned fatigue. DSRT (TAVISTOCK) deployed its members to Amicombe
Hill where we manned an assistance point. Following a quiet Saturday (incident
no17) we had a lot more to contend with on Sunday (incident no
18). (Callouts)


The huge amounts of resources that go into the smooth running of this annual challenge are immense and involve the Army, Navy, Royal Air Force, Territorial Army, 7 Regiment Army Air Corps and 848 Naval Air Squadron along with all 4 Dartmoor Search and Rescue Teams. 


The first Ten Tors challenge was run in 1960 and the team has continued to support this event since its conception in 1968. Interestingly this was also the first year that the start of the challenge was moved from Denbury camp to Okehampton Battle camp. 


Throughout the weekend the team is on standby for redeployment by helicopter to any other part of the moor where we maybe needed to assist other DSRT’s whilst our controller is based in the control room at Okehampton camp liaising with the military and other organisations that are involved.


 This year alone the team was personally responsible for evacuating 24 participants off the moor and treating approx 40 others before they continued on their route. The Team is proud of its long running association with the Ten Tors challenge and we wish to congratulate all that took part.


There was a pleasant surprise for one of our training members over the weekend when he was awarded full callout membership. With everything else going on he wasn’t expecting it and by being awarded this status on Ten Tors we hope that it has made it all the more memorable for him. Well done Ian.


This weekend saw the Team collecting in Tavistock Town centre. This gave members of the local community chance to talk to Team members and find out more about the work that we do. 


We met lots of people that are interested in joining us and told them more about the wide and varied role that we carry out. We are extremely grateful to everybody that came and said hello and donated to our cause. We managed to raise a staggering £710 towards our running costs.


Pupils Stretcher Handling 

As part of our ongoing commitment to educating the local community about mountain safety the Team spent Monday afternoon with pupils from Mount House school in Tavistock. 


We took a group of 12 children with 2 teachers up to Cox Tor and showed them some of our abilities. 


They watched a demonstration by Search Dog Cavos and were taught about how search dogs work. We then did a short SAREX which involved a stretcher carry and showed them around both of our vehicles and what equipment they carry. 


This event was a great success and will be done again in the near future for 2 further groups from the school.

– 29 April 2008
Team members today gave a talk to Callington new outlook club. The talk, which included a power point presentation, was well received by all that attended. Our members were asked lots of questions and the audience were quite surprised to discover how wide and varied our role in the community is. They were all especially impressed by Search Dog Cavos who slept through most of the event!! We would like to thank the group for their fantastic donation towards our running costs. 

Our Search dog Handlers have spent a busy weekend attending a national SARDA training course which was held on our doorstep. Each month a course is held around the country and this course, which ran from Sat to Mon was based at Okehampton YHA and proved to be a busy weekend for them all. They even managed to fit in a callout on Sat night! We are especially pleased for one of our handlers, Matt Robertson who passed his stage 2 test with trainee search dog scooter. Well done Matt and Scoot.


Participants in the challange
This weekend saw the 3rd annual Shelterbox challenge held on Dartmoor. This event which is run by
challenges teams of 4 to carry a Shelterbox 30miles around the moor over 2 days. 

The teams have to go through many checkpoints and complete various tasks along the route. As we have done in previous years we supplied a search control facility along with our team land rover being at various checkpoints. 

For the first time we also deployed a sweep team along the route. We are pleased to report that their were very little incidents to deal with and everybody safely completed the course. We also had the added benefit of 3 team members taking part who kept us updated as they went round. Congratulations to them for a very respectable finishing place. All funds raised from the weekend will be spent on supplying
Shelterboxs to countries where they are needed. 

FROM HILLS TO CLOUDS! – 9 April 2008
The team received the good news last week that Team member Dave Johnson had successfully passed out from his basic training at RAF Halton. 

Dave, who is training to be a survival equipment fitter with the Royal Air Force, will now move to RAF Cosford to carry out his trade training. We were unexpectedly surprised that Dave managed to get home for some leave recently and promptly turned out to assist on a callout. We wish Dave all the best with his trade training.

Dave Johnson Passing Out Parade

NEW MEMBERS – 9 April 2008
Following successful completion of their final assessment over the weekend 2 more of our trainees were awarded full callout status at our weekly training exercise last night. They both performed very well during the overnight exercise where they were tasked to navigate around set checkpoints on Dartmoor in changing terrain and weather conditions. Congratulations to
them both.
26 MARCH 2008

Some of the founding members

This weekend saw the start of our 40th Birthday celebrations. 


Over the summer a display of the Teams history will be on show at Tavistock museum. 


The display which includes paper cuttings from the very first callout of the Team and equipment from the last 40 years was officially opened by the Tavistock mayor, Anne Johnson on Saturday. 

We also managed to track down some of the founding members of the team who turned up to mark the occasion, also in attendance was our Team patron Lord Burnett of
We were extremely fortunate to be able to locate some of the original team clothing from 1968 and this is on show next to a mannequin of our current team uniform. We are very grateful to Jennie Hale, one of our team members who took on organising the display and bringing all the history together. We are also grateful to Cotswold outdoors of Exeter for coming to our aid and supplying two mannequins and various other items that have assisted us with our display. The display will be on show until August 08.

Part of the display

TEAM AGM – 26 MARCH 2008
Last night saw the Teams Annual general meeting which was followed by the 6 monthly management meeting. Whilst most of the management committee have accepted to carry on their posts for another 12 months we welcomed 2 new members on to it. Alan Packwood took over as secretary and Cyril Stringer has become the new fundraising officer. We welcome them both onboard. Reports were presented by each of the trustees detailing the events of the last 12 months. We were also honoured to have in attendance Devon and Cornwall constabularies Sgt Mike Rose. Sgt Rose is the force POLSA for our area of operations and we are pleased that he could join us for the evening. The Roy Harris memorial trophy for outstanding service to the team went to Eddie Southgate for all his hard work in maintaining our rescue centre and helping to keep all our equipment at operational readiness. Long service certificates were also presented to Chris Dixon for 20 years service and to Matt Robertson, Adrian Arnold, Mark Mitchell, James Grant and Kevin Brown for 10 years service. Congratulations to them all. 

March will see the 5th birthday of our neighbours and very close friends Cornwall Search and Rescue Team. They have come along way in their first 5 years and we now regularly work with them on joint callouts. They have also assisted us in the past by providing navigators for our search dog teams, during Ten Tors and inviting us to their training days.


They have been instrumental in moving forward with the joint co operation and training policy that now exists between us. All of us at DSRT (TAVISTOCK) would like to wish them a very happy birthday and we look forward to another 5 years of working with you. To visit their website click on our
links page.

RESCUE – 20 FEB 2008
This year the Dartmoor Rescue group will be celebrating its 40th Anniversary. The group was founded in 1968 in Tavistock by members of the public to aid the Police with search work on the moor. 


The Team has grown over the years from the first founding members to four sections with a total of over 160 volunteers, three buildings and eight vehicles. 

2008 also sees the 75th anniversary of Mountain Rescue in England and Wales. Throughout the year the group has many events planned to celebrate our joint birthdays. These include a dinner dance, group photo and meet the team days for the public as well as other celebratory events. For more information on these keep an eye on the website for details. 

As part of the Teams ongoing commitment to inter agency cooperation we came to the aid of South Western Ambulance Service Trust over the weekend by providing the use of our Rescue Centre. 


The venue was needed as a location to provide community responder training for new responders. The first responders, who are all unpaid volunteers, are normally based in locations around Devon and Cornwall providing a response service to the public until a SWAST crew is in attendance. 

They are equipped with Defibrillators and other medical equipment to provide life support until further help arrives. We were pleased to be able to assist our colleagues from SWAST in their request for a training venue.

– 18 FEB 2008
The Team Training Officer spent the weekend at one of our sister teams annual training weekend recently. The object of this was to look at how other teams in our area work and to swap some training ideas and tips. 


The weekend was packed with a wide variety of scenarios and workshops including practical and theoretical sessions on search techniques, casualty handling skills, application of hasty search’s, incident site management and a very informative lecture on Lymes disease. 

All the new skills and knowledge were put to use on a small SAREX on the Saturday evening followed by a large scale SAREX on the Sunday. It is hoped to establish more of this type of cross training between Ashburton and Tavistock in order to look at working practices that the Teams use and see what we can learn from each other.



The Team today took delivery of our new waterproof jackets. The Aspira smocks made by Paramo directional clothing are designed to cope with the extreme weather conditions that we normally have to deal with on callouts. They are badged with the Mountain Rescue logo and “DSRT TAVISTOCK” and make us readily identifiable on large scale incidents that involve multiple agencies. We would especially like to thank Rob and Alex from Paramo directional clothing systems who have been of great assistance in supplying these jackets and provided a first class service from beginning to end. We are now seeking corporate sponsorship to provide team members with waterproof trousers. If you or your company can help then please drop us a line. If you would like to view or purchase Paramo products please click on the link below.

Directional Clothing

One of our Trainee members had a pleasant surprise at the end of our weekly training night this week when she was moved up to full callout membership. Lynda, who has been a trainee with us since last year has successfully completed her logbook and has reached all the required standards that are necessary to become an operational member. Its bit of a family concern for her as her son is currently a serving member of Buxton
MRT. Well done Lynda.

NEW RADIO’S – 10 FEB 2008
The Team has just taken delivery of new handheld radios which will raise our communications equipment to a higher standard. Following discussions and feedback from SAR teams around the country the new sets were supplied by Team Simoco. Our thanks go to Sgt Mike Rose of Devon and Cornwall constabulary for assisting us with securing funding for them and to Phil Turner of Team Simoco for all his help during the purchasing process. Over the coming weeks all members will be trained on their usage and we look forward to deploying them on live incidents soon.

Following our recent induction training day the team has taken 4 potential trainees on to its books. The day, which includes a tour of the centre, introduction to team equipment and working practices and a navigation assessment was run by the team’s training officer and other callout members. The potential new members also got chance to talk to current trainees about their experiences so far. The potential trainees will now start an intensive training schedule which will include all basic skills required by members of a SAR team.


Congratulations to 2 of the search dog teams who both moved one stage further to qualifying their second search dogs last week. Search Dog Matt passed his indication test with his trainee search dog Scooter and Search Dog Catherine passed her control/obedience test with Bizzy.


Dave Johnson

It may only be the start of the year but the Team is losing one of its most active members. Dave Johnson, who joined us as a D of E trainee 5 years ago is off to join the Royal Air Force. 


Dave has been a stalwart member of the Team in those 5 years helping out in many ways. Every task set to him has been taken on with effort and enthusiasm. He has helped particularly with water safety training and been of great assistance with our
‘potential trainee’ induction programme. 


Dave will be sorely missed by us all at DSRT (TAVISTOCK) but we
wish him the best in his new chosen career. His sense of humour and love of the latest climbing/walking/water kit will be missed. He has promised to come training any time that he is home on leave so at least we won’t be losing him altogether.


Good luck Dave.


Team members attended the Dartmoor Rescue Group on17/18 November at Okehampton Camp. This year we were joined by members not only from the other 3 DSRT’s but also WILSAR, HANTSAR, SARA, BOLTON MRT, KIMMERIDGE COASTGUARD and EXMOOR SRT. 

Team members arriving at simulated RTA


The weekend included a full scale SAREX on the Saturday with each search party being made up of a combination of members from the visiting teams. Their were various casualty sites to deal with including missing walkers and a RTA involving 12 casualties at a remote location there was plenty to do. 


Rescue 169 from RMB Chivenor put in an appearance and some search parties were deployed by air to the search areas. The Saturday night saw a fundraising raffle for children in need and the annual skittles tournament. Sunday morning was an orienteering exercise that was planned by a member of DSRT (PLYMOUTH). 


The weekend was a huge success and gave our team members the chance to look at how other teams work and swap training ideas. Our thanks go to all that attended and especially to the Group training team for organising the weekend.



As well as receiving new jackets today there was a pleasant surprise for two of our trainee members when they were accepted on to the callout list. Congratulations to Cyril and Nikki.


Hamish Anderson awards a plaque to DSRT
Nicki Lyons

During the summer DSRT (TAVISTOCK) played host to Tavistock ambulance station crews whilst their building underwent a major refit. For Approx 8 weeks the local ambulance crews and their vehicles were based from our rescue centre so that the Ambulance cover could be kept in place. As a Thank you to the Team Paramedic Supervisor Hamish Anderson presented a plaque to us recently which will be displayed in our rescue centre. 


Team members attended Edgehill College, Bideford on Tues 30th October to represent DRG at a charity auction. The money was raised in memory of Charlotte Shaw, The young girl who tragically died during Ten Tors training this year.


There was a varied amount of lots ranging from bottles of whiskey through to a vasectomy! Bidding was furious and a total of £6500 was raised on the evening. We would like to thank Staff, students and all supporters of the event for their generous contribution to the team. The money will be used for a variety of different projects.



Following a 3 day assessment in South Wales DSRT (TAVISTOCK) is pleased to welcome a new Search Dog onto its callout list. Alex Lyons with his new dog Max successfully passed all their areas during the test in which they were assessed by members of various SARDA teams. 


Alex and Max worked extremely hard over the 3 days to complete the 5 mountainous areas required by SARDA standards. Alex who has been with the team for over 20 years is the longest serving operational SARDA handler in the UK. Max will take the place of Alex’s current operational dog Aiken who will now be retired. 


Alex, who has previously worked Mac, Scruff and Aiken and served in various posts within SWERA and DRG is one of 4 operational handlers in the Team. 


The Team would like to thank SARDA (SOUTH WALES) and SARDA (ENGLAND) as well as all the “bodies” who made this assessment possible. Watch our callout page for details of their first callout.


On Tues 9th Oct, Members from all 4 DSRT’s came together to participate in a Joint search exercise at Pork Hill. The purpose of this event was to locate Councillor Alan Hoskins who had kindly been out raising funds for Dartmoor Rescue Group. Cllr Hoskins has been getting sponsorship for this exercise and all monies raised will go towards DRG funds. With over 90 members attending it was a good turnout and the chance to train alongside other teams was enjoyed by all that took part. The Counciller was successfully found by a DSRT (TAVISTOCK) search dog team at approx 2030hrs. We would like to thank Cllr Hoskins for giving up his time and for his support in assisting our worthy cause.


Two of Tavistock’s members
Bill McOwan (controller) and Tim Forster (Equipment Officer) recently
attended a national week long course on search management at the University
of Bangor North Wales. The course which is run by Mountain Rescue England
and Wales covers all aspects of search management and missing person’s
behavior. Following their successful completion of the course this
now takes Tavistock up to five qualified search managers. Well done
Tim and Bill!


members of the team with a colleague from Cornwall Search and
Rescue Team attended a weekend event held by Tavistock in September.
The course was taught by Bill Batson (Ex Chief Instructor RAF
Mountain Rescue Service) and was aimed at developing team leader
skills. The training modules covered incident site management,
working with SAR helicopters, search techniques, fatal incident
procedures, technical rescue, mountain and water hazards, major
incident procedures and inter agency cooperation.
Search team leaders
The course
culminated in a search and rescue exercise on the Sunday afternoon,
where the course delegates put their new found skills into practice.
The course was the first of its type to be run in the region and
marks the start of a new joint training initiative between DSRT
(Tavistock) and Cornwall Search and Rescue Team. To see pictures
from the weekend please go to our gallery.

WAY 2007

During Sunday 6th October, Members of the Team based at Peat Cott, along with colleagues from DSRT’s PLYMOUTH and ASHBURTON provided Rescue cover for the annual Abbots Way walk with runs from Buckfastleigh to Tavistock. With about a 1000 people taking part our services are normally called upon but we’re pleased to say that this years event passed off without major incident with the Team treating 2 people for minor injuries and Team members spent the rest of the time doing some training before sending out sweep teams to clear parts of the route. We congratulate all that took part.


Team members recently spent
the weekend at Morrisons Supermarket Tavistock, showing some of their
equipment and talking to the public. The Team raised nearly £2500
and we would like to thank all the members of the public that donated
to our cause. These much needed funds will be used to purchase new equipment.


A presentation evening
was held over the summer at the Tavistock Rescue Centre to mark
the achievement of long service to some of its members. Among
those receiving awards were: for 10 years service Denise Richards,
Bill McOwan, Dominic Guly and Peter Swaine. 15 year service awards
went to Paul Hudson, Colin Heard and Chris Dixon. 20 year service
awards went to Alex Lyons, Nicki Lyons, Terry Bumford and Bud
Francis. Four other team members were due to receive awards for
service but were unfortunately not able to make the evening.

team members

These were Rhod Davey (10years),
Andy Hodges (10 years), Adrian Byrne (10 years) and Henry Guly (15 years).
In total the length of service with these members alone add up to over
235 years! The Roy Harris Memorial trophy was also awarded at the presentation. 

Alex Lyons


Tavistock team member
Alex Lyons was recently awarded a first for Mountain Rescue England
and Wales when he received an award from SARDA England recognising
his 20 years of continuous operational service as a search and
rescue dog handler. Alex is now currently training his fourth
dog Max and working Aiken. The Team would like to take this opportunity
to say well done to Alex on this remarkable achievement.


At the presentation evening
held over the summer another award was presented. The current Chair
Nicki Lyons received a certificate from Mountain Rescue of England and
Wales recognising her 25years long service to Mountain Rescue, this
was another first for Tavistock, as she is the first member to achieve
this award. Nicki is currently an operational dog handler and has served
as Tavistock’s Equipment Officer and Assistant Training Officer over
the years. We all congratulate Nicki on this achievement.

Contacting Us

To contact the team please email by clicking upon the appropriate link below:

Mountain Rescue Video