The Pembroke Dock Bicentenary Group 1814-2014    This site was never completed


Pembroke Dock is one of Wales’ most unique towns, and probably the only community in the United Kingdom to have played host to all three of the country’s Armed Services. The construction of Wales’ only Royal Dockyard began in 1813 and the town followed  son after with construction beginning in 1814. “On the 14th day of May,Mr Lowless and myself left poor old Pembroke to commence it’s rival town”. So on that day was the first shaving cut,and the first window frame made by John Narbeth….” A Quotation from the “History of Pembroke Dock” written by Mrs Stuart Peters in 1905. The construction of the first two ships “Valorous” and “Ariadne” began in 1813 and  they were both launched in 1816. There followed a 112 year history of shipbuilding for the Royal Navy and the Empire, ranging from “Wooden Waller” to “Dreadnoughts”, with 265 vessels laid down , including five Royal Yachts. The realization that the yard was open to attack from the sea resulted in the construction of a chain of fortifications stretching from the harbour mouth at Angle and Dale up to the town itself, which was heavily garrisoned. From the very beginning of the Dockyard’s founding, Regiments of the British Army were stationed in the town, to man the Guntowers and later the Defensible Barracks, which still stand sentinel over the town. Notable among those troops was a young Lieutenant Gordon, later to become Lord Gordon of Khartoum, and a certain Corporal Arthur Lowe, later to become a household name as Captain Mainwaring of “Dads Arm” fame. Depression overcame the population in 1926 with closure of the Dockyard, but fortunes were revived with the arrival of the RAF  in 1930 who maintained a presence until 1957. RAF Pembroke Dock or “PD” as it was called by the RAF personnel, became the largest Flying Boat base in the world. Both British and Allied men and women served in “PD” to service and fly the mighty “Sunderland”, which played a vital role in defending the Western Approaches during the “Battle of the Atlantic”. During the Second World War Pembroke Dock paid its price as a garrison town. It was heavily bombed, and the Llanreath Oil Tanks fire in August 1940, was the largest single fire the country had seen. It took many weeks to put out and cost the lives of six Cardiff Firemen. Today Pembroke Dock’s role has changed, all three services have gone, but the town still plays its part in the shipbuilding industry, as a Ferry Port and home to Hi-Tec industries.
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