Pembroke Dock Bi-centenary 2014 Pembroke Dock News Portal (Special Report)
(c) Moonlightblue 2013
Part of the Pembroke Dock Community Web Project with Pembroke Dock News Portal Team in association with Moonlightblue Community Services
PEMBROKE DOCK – A SHORT BUT GLORIOUS HISTORY. A grand old lady in West Wales celebrates a milestone birthday with a whole year of celebrations in 2014. Pembroke Dock celebrates her bicentenary and plans are well under way to make it a special year to remember. Compared to near neighbours Pembroke and Tenby, Pembroke Dock is a youngster, but she has managed to cram a lot into 200 years - changing from a sleepy agricultural hamlet to Wales’ only Royal Dockyard; becoming a Victorian boom town, garrison town, and home to the world’s largest flying boat station. During the Second World War it was targeted and suffered great damage at the hands of the Luftwaffe. Like all ladies Pembroke Dock has changed her appearance over time and her many faces will be celebrated during 2014. Several famous names have been associated with the town - including Lord Nelson and Lady Hamilton, whose romance indirectly led to the Royal Naval Dockyard being sited south the Haven; General Charles Gordon who was stationed at the Defensible Barracks  and was often seen on the Barrack Hill reading his Bible; Buffalo Bill’s famous Circus visited the town and the suffragettes held rallies in the Market Hall, as did Lord Kitchener. Other famous visitors include Prime Ministers, Lloyd George, and James Callaghan and future US Presidents, Roosevelt and Eisenhower….even a Chancellor …Willi Brandt who came to visit German Troops in the town’s famous “Double Two” Club. Vessels were  even built for he Imperial Japanese Navy, and another visitor was a young Lieutenant Togo, later to become Admiral of the fleet. Ships built in the Pembroke Dockyard served the Empire in the four corners of the Earth, and transported the Royal Family around the world. When the town faced one of its darkest times - the bombing of the Llanreath Oil Tanks in August 1940 - their defence lay in the hands of none other that Captain Mainwaring from Dad’s Army. Actor Arthur Lowe was stationed at Llanion Barracks and in his 1993 book ‘An Experience Shared’, fondly remembered journalist and historian Vernon Scott quotes Lowe’s colleague Harry Hartill - describing an incident which could have come straight from the plot of Dad’s Army. “Our armament consisted of half a dozen rifles without firing pins, and a 6” howitzer believed to have tasted action in the Boer War 40 years before. It had a plaque on the barrel inscribed ‘Property of Birmingham Parks’. “This was what we had to defend Pembroke Dock with, plus one Lewis Gun which only two of us were proficient to use. It was mounted on a tripod surrounded by sandbags. When parachutists were reported to have landed along the coast, we piled into the furniture van, armed with a collection of sticks, to apprehend them.” Captain Mainwaring will be playing a prominent part in the celebrations as the ‘face’ of Pembroke Dock 2014. Already a rash of posters and leaflets with his image on have appeared in the town. Pembroke Dock 2014 will embrace and celebrate so many things that make the town unique with a proud history - such as a naval dockyard whose skilled workforce produced state of the art warships and royal yachts; the boom years of the Victorian Age; its long military connections; its well chronicled part in the Second World War and the various organisations which have contributed to the town over the years. And it will remember the generations of people who helped shape the town and remarkable its history. Today the town is still home to cutting edge technology in boat building and green energy and is also home to Pembrokeshire’s Innovation Centre. The many organisations in Pembroke Dock are invited to play a full part in Pembroke Dock 2014 and to organise special events. Individuals, too, are invited to become involved as the exciting bicentenary plans develop. For further information please contact the Pembroke Dock 2014 coordinator Martin Cavaney  Email:  or visit our page  on Facebook.    
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