Pant-Y-Phillip, Parc Y Meirw,  Pembroke Dock, Pembroke Dock WW2, Pembroke,  Pennar,  Penrieth,  Picton,   Pontfaen,  Porthgain,  Prendergast,  Puncheston, Pwllcrochan.

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Pant-Y-Phillip                (Jottings)                  

Site of a tiny isolated Church an Iron Age defended settlement and a Bronze age burial mound.

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Parc Y Meirw                (Jottings)         998358

"Field of the dead" a stone row placed here in the new Stone Age appears to predict eclipses uses mount Leinster as a sight. When the moon appears to set down the right side there will be an eclipse.

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Pembroke Dock             (Jottings on the History of)   (c) B H J Hughes 1998


Pater Church according to Norris


Before 1814

Until 1875 what is now Pembroke Dock consisted of two distinct areas - the land to the north of the Barrack Hill which had been originally held by the Paterchurch family and the land to the south - East Pennar - which had once been held by the Jestington family of Eastington.

Prior to 1396, when the old Earldom of Pembroke lapsed, much of the Paterchurch land was actually the Manor of Grange of Kyngeswode held by the Earl.

What role the Paterchurches played is uncertain as they dont appear in any of the roles as holding land from the Earl but they must have been a respected family as they appear as jurors in several important cases relating to land.

The earliest record is of David de St Patrick who witnessed a grant of a farm called Russelsland to Phillip the son of Roger and his wife Alice. Another earlier form of the name, that of Patrecheryche occurs in deeds of 1289, David de Villa Pattricii appears as a juror on the inquisiion as to the lands belonging to Joan de Valance  Countess of Pembroke dated Sept 20 1307. David Paterchurch held part of half a knights fee at Sageston and West Williamston in 1362. The father of Elen, David Paterhouse of Paterhouse was on a jury.  In other documents during that century the name is recorded as Patrecherche. Lewys Dwnn spelt it Patrick chyrch in 1597, but it is recorded on John Speedes map of 1610 as Paterchurch.

In the early eighteen hundreds there were no traces to be found of the present Town. There was a farmhouse, the old mansion in ruins, a partly completed fort but mostly fields and meadows with the occasional cottage and lime kiln on the shore.

Morris – Map of the Milford Haven 1743


The very early history.


Until recently it was believed that the Romans never ventured further west than  Carmarthen as no tiles or brick, no Roman villas, have been found but several large hoards of coins have been discovered  in Pembrokeshire.

Recently however evidence that the Romans did venture further west than Carmarthen has come to light through a series of area photographs originally. A Roman road linked Carmarthen with Llawhadden and might have carried on even further west. Parts were actually uncovered during the building of the Whitland bypass.

The earliest remains that have been found in the area, that is now Pembroke Dock, are of Roman coins.

Coins of the reign of Claudius Gothicus (268 to 270 AD) and of Constantius II (337 to   361AD ), now in the National Museum of Wales, were dug up in a garden in Military Road Pennar and other coins reported to have been found in the same immediate area. This could be an indication that the area was the site of a native fortified settlement.

It can only be a guess as to how the coins came to Pennar. Was there a native fortified settlement on the headland which could have given early warning of danger to the Roman fleet, a native settlement who traded with the Romans, or did someone dropped their purse?

Mason has recorded the uncovering of the remains of a stone build road with a stone lined ditch by workmen clearing the site for South Pembrokeshire Hospital .

One thing we do know there was plenty of in South Pembrokeshire was Saints, but most of them wandered of to other places to spread their teachings, (were they seeking a more receptive audience?)

One local saint who it is believed held land in the area was St Teilo.

According to The Landaff records[1] he held land at Amroth and also Llanion. His mother is reputed to have had a settlement on Goldern Hill. One pronunciation of her name was Gawden.

Just over a thousand years ago the land in this area was ruled by Hywell Dda (the Good) King of Wales. He had a court at Whitland and is remembered for codifying the Welsh Law laws under which women had more rights than they do today.

In 1570s under the authority of Queen Elizabeth I, Christopher Saxon surveyed the whole of England and Wales . His map of Pembrokeshire is dated 1578 and East Pennar is marked on that Map as is also Paterchurch and Ferryhouse (Pembroke Ferry).


There are very few early records of land use in the area during the Middle ages, but because of land coming into the direct control of the Crown because of the minority of heirs, records have survived of the manor of Kingswood during the early 14 century. From the extent of the land held by the manor it would seem that much of the land which is now Pembroke Dock was part of the manor. These records do not record any land being held by the Paterchurch family.

Kyngswode  Records

1331 Feb 4 Langley

Fine Roll 5 Edward III m 30 (Cal p 230)

Inquisition into the Estate Aymer de Valance held on August 20 1324.


The aforesaid Earl held the grange of Kyngeswode in the said county. In which there are;

1 messuage(?) worth                                                                           12d yearly;

2 carucates of land, worth                                                                  40s each yearly;

5 acres of meadow, worth                                                                  12d per acre;

2 acres several pasture, worth                                                             6d per acre;

and a certain ferry called "Penebroke Fferre", paying                        26s 8d rent yearly at Michaelmas and Easter

                                    Sum £ 30 13s 8d

Ministers Account  1208 No 5  m.1.

Account of Philip  Denyel,  reeve  of  Kyngiswode,  from Michaelmas 1327 to Michaelmas 1328.


Recieved of Henry Aunger for certain land in Godybrok let to him for term of life by William de Valencia,    41s.

Of Philip Denyel for 6a of land near le verywill,                                               7s    6d.

Of Thomas de Rupe and Stephen Beneger for 100a held by them at will,        100s

Of Thomas Martin for 48a of land in Gonedoune held by him at will,              64s

Of Thomas de Rupe and Stephen Beneger for 48a in Gonedoune held by them at will,    64s

Of  John Cantrel for a certain  marsh  (mora)  and medegrip is held by him at will,    2s    6d.

Farm of the ferry there, yearly                                                                            53s       4d.

                                    Sum of Total Receipts £16 12s 4d. 

Delivered to Richard de Colyngton by the hands of the said tenants


The oldest building in Pembroke Dock is the stone tower of Paterchurch . For at least one hundred and fifty years it has been the subject of much speculation about its original purpose, and the reasons the Adams family who had owned it for hundreds of years came to leave it in the first half of the eighteenth century. Some answers will inevitably remain ambiguous, but there are documents which help in an understanding of its history in the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries.

Acc/to Mrs Peters (History of Pembroke Dock 1905):  The 1st Earl of Pembroke, Gilbert de Clare granted it to the Commandery of the Knights of St John, who were established at Slebech. They are credited with having built a church and outbuildings on the land for the purpose of holding missions for seamen.

In his booklet “The Parish of Pembroke Dock” Silas T Phillips  (1898)  quoted Archaeologia Cambrensis Vol VI 1851 which stated that David de Patrick Church had a residence here and that:-

“his daughter and sole heiress Ellen, about the 1st of Henry VI married John Adams of Buckspool, of whose posterity in the reigns of Henry VIII, Edward VI, Mary and Elizabeth served in Parliament for the town of Pembroke.”  

The Royal Commission on Ancient Monuments  (1923) in the introduction  states “ It is gratifying to be able to recognise in a sadly debased ruin the tower of a church of which only the name has survived.” The evidence they quote includes a sketch by Charles Norris  and an extract from Admiralty Records.

“In consequence of the passing of this Act 30 Geo. III, c. 5a, section 2a 26, of an application from the Hon. C. F. Grenville, on behalf of Sir William Hamilton for a lease of the land to dig stone, the property was ordered to be surveyed, this was done in November 1790. Skulls and other human bones have been dug up in the neighbourhood of the Tower which the uninitiated have taken as a decided proof that the tower was originally part of a church. One writer, referring to the discovery of skeletons says, "it evidently indicates that a Monastic establishment had at some early era existed there, the word Llanreath given to an adjoining hill, proving the fact; Llan meaning Church in the Welsh language."

A glance at the plan and at the parish register of St. Mary’s Pembroke in which parish the property is situated places the question beyond doubt; the skeletons were unquestionably those of extinct Adams or Patrickchurches. A number of whom must have been buried in the family churchyard situated either within or close to the building marked as ruins of a Chapel. The entry in the St. Marys register in the year 1731 speaks for itself and is as follows:- “(Indecipherable, supposed to be January) 11th Buried ye son Rogar of Mr.  William Adams in their own Burying Ground.”

In his booklet “The Parish of Pembroke Dock” (1898) the Rev. Silas T Phillips recorded that, when the Dockyard walls were built, human remains in considerable quantities were unearthed. They had all been buried in regular order and were removed to a neighbouring field.

About 1889 further burials were uncovered by the Works Department inside the yard but it was recorded that exposure to the atmosphere reduced the remains, with the exception of the teeth, to dust although there was a suggestion that some remains were stored in the tower pending disposal.

In extending the walls of the dockyard in 1844, an old burial ground was uncovered to the south east of the tower. From the description of the manner in which the bodies were buried, the graves were very old indeed and unlikely to have belonged to members of the Adams family although they had owned the property for centuries prior to the sale between 1716 and 1718. Certainly it was used by the Adams family as there is a record in St Marys church Pembroke of a burial of a member of the Adams family “in their own graveyard”.

According to Sir Thomas Pasley Captain Suprentendent of Pembroke Dockyard recorded in Archaeologia Cambrensis 1851.

“During the progress of the excavations in 1844, by workmen employed by Mr, Henderson, the contractor for the extension of the new boundary wall of the dockyard, a number of skeletons were found deposited about three feet below the surface of a meadow; near Pater Church. These relics appear to have been buried without coffins, as no vestige of any, either wood or stone, could be discovered.  On being exposed to view, they were found lying with their heads towards the east, surrounded with stones rudely placed on their edges, and arranged in a coffin-like form, but without a slab either underneath or above them. Twenty-eight skulls had already been found. One of the most perfect skeletons measured six feet four inches from the ankle-bone to the crown of the head. Many speculations were indulged in as to the origin of this cemetery, which was evidently of great antiquity; it is however not improbable that, from the tower still standing amongst the ruins in good preservation, it was the burial-ground attached to some monastic institution”.

The discovery of the burials gave rise to the conjecture that the tower was part of a chapel but this was discounted in 1852 when it was reported that the tower had a vaulted structure with heavy ribs and was domestic in character.  Could this have been to prevent an outcry about the buildings, which, apart from the tower, where pulled down by the Admiralty soon after, even though the  Admiralty records of the survey of 1790 actually state that there was a burial ground there and that the building was at that time marked on their map as ruins of a Chapel.

More bodies were unearthed in the extensions to the Dockyard in 1854. These were reburied on what is now the site of South Pembrokeshire Hospital and marked with a stone. It is not known what happened to the bones unearthed in the rebuilding of the 1890s except that it is believed that for a time they were stored in one of the rooms of the tower.

The tower, which stands within the old dockyard boundaries on the southern shore of Milford Haven , is approximately 35 feet high. The walls tapering from 4 feet to 2 feet 6 inches thick, and from the top there is a magnificent view to the west of much of the Haven. At the north-east corner of the tower within the walls there is a spiral staircase. Each floor of the tower is made up of one room accessed, from the spiral staircase. The first and second floors have a fireplace in one corner. The flues rise clockwise to two chimneys at roof level and which originally rose above the parapets.  Above the stone vaulting of the second floor there is room for another wooden floor. This is very much like the interior of St Daniels Church where the tower has rooms and the remains of two fireplaces plus evidence that there were previously wooden floors. The rooms are quite well lit quite small, about eight feet by nine and a half but could obviously be lived in

The buildings were probably enlarged and changed for different purposes during the centuries after they were originally built.

In 1689, “A plan of Milford Haven” a detailed map of the area was drawn by Mathew Norwood. This was the earliest known map showing the whole area of the Haven and indicates prominent features along its banks. Some of the drawings seem to represent fairly accurately the houses and churches that were there.  The buildings at Paterchurch, which other records indicate had been badly damaged in the Civil war, are shown. They are the only building on the map with a tower at the eastern end and have chimneys on the roof.

Since the 16 century, there had been interest in fortifying the Haven and various plans had been proposed with the building of the two blockhouses at the mouth of the Haven in 1580 as the first practical scheme to be started.  George Owen drew up plans in 1595 but these were not implemented.

In 1756 Lt. Col. Bastide, Director of Engineers, surveyed the area and advised that a series of forts be constructed around the Haven. One of the sites suggested was Paterchurch. These were modified due to the expense and after a further survey by Lt. Col. Justley Watson, three forts were agreed, of which one was to be built at the site of Paterchurch.

In 1759 there was another survey of the area by Captains Herriot and Walker. It was proposed to be purchased for His Majesty’s Service at Paterchurch point, land   “for fortifying the Interior Part of Milford Haven, according to Colonel Skinner’s design”

The original area of land required by the Board of Ordinance was 63 acres which included the garden, the orchard, a wooded area, the house and farm yard. This land had been acquired by Sir Arthur Owen who had purchased the whole Paterchurch estate of 230 acres from a group of people over the years 1716 to 1718 for £2518. There had been problems with the original purchase as there appear to have been conflicting claims of ownership.

The tower and house were originally outside the fenced in area of the Yard but were eventually incorporated into the dockyard and later the crumbling walls of the old ruined mansion were pulled down and the tower left standing.

In 1832 a plan made for the Department of Ordnance showed the ruins.

In the late nineteenth century there was a back wall, about three feet from the northern wall of the tower itself and which may have been joined on to the stone staircase. It is also similar in structure and appearance to the Old Rectory at Angle. The dimensions of the building and measurements suggest that the tower could have been on the north eastern corner of the house.

General Alexander Adams may have been responsible for the addition of the oriole window on the south side of the first floor, illustrated in the 1923 Royal Commission Report. It is not shown in the in the water colour sketch of a similar view made by Charles Norris in 1812. It could however have been added later by Edward Laws, who was the occupier at the time of the tithe apportionments in 1841.

Little is known about the origins of the Paterchurch estate before 1422 but it is known that in 1422 the estate of Paterchurch, said by Fenton to have stretched originally from Pennar Point to Cosheston came into the possession of John Adam(e)s of Buckspool through his marriage to Alson or Elen the daughter of David of Patrickchurch or Paterchurch. Little is known of the antecedents of David of Patrickchurch, though records of this family have been traced back as far as 1247. After marrying into the Paterchurch family the Adams’ established their main residence at Paterchurch, and remained there until the end of the seventeenth century.

Several members of the family were politically active in the area. In 1588 Henry Adams of Paterchurch, was mayor of Pembroke He was the son of John Adams who had been MP in 1541 who had married  Catherine daughter of Thomas ap David Goch ap Meredith ap Madoc of Stapleton Radnorshire.  Henry was a JP and MP for Pembroke Borough in 1547 and 1553. He had married Anne daughter of Richard Wogan of Boulson in 1552. Henry and Catherine’s son Nicholas was also an MP for the Borough. He had studied at Jesus College and was a barrister-in-law of the Middle Temple.

The name of John Adams appears in the list of Justices of the Peace for 1543, 1558-9 and 1561,

Henry Adams in the list of Justices of the Peace for 1575, 1577-1607, and appears in the list of Justices of the Peace for 1602 –1625. At the Inquisition Post Mortem, after the death of his son Nicholas in 1628,  it was said that Henry  had  seized in his demesne as of feoff and in one capital messuage called Paterchurch in the parish of St Mary’s Pembroke and also owned other land in the county including Buckspool. The estates that had been joined at the marriage of the Adams family and the Paterchurch family in 1422 where still in the family possession two hundred years later. In 1628 the   properties were calculated as providing an annual value of £34 9s 4d. Approximately half of this sum came from the value of the “capital messuage of Paterchurch” and other property in the parish of St Mary’s which had an annual value of £17 13s 8d.

Nicholas Adams was mayor of Pembroke in 1603, 1608, 1614 and 1627 and married Elizabeth Powell daughter of Morgan Powell.

Elizabeth Adams, wife of Nicholas Adams esq. of Paterchurch was accused in 1601 along with Thomas Adams gent., of assaulting Richard Bathoe a cleric (PRO St Ch. 5/A41/40).

Nicholas himself was no stranger to controversy as he was a strong supporter, in 1605, of Sir James Perrot of Haroldston against Sir Thomas Canon.

Elizabeth and Nicholas had a son William Adams who was 20 years old when his father died in 1628 and he inherited the estates.

During the Civil War the estate was badly affected and suffered substantial losses. It would appear that William supported the Parliamentary side and tried to claim compensation for the damage to his property which included Paterchurch. On August l9th 1646 he brought a petition to the House of Lords stating that “When the enemy (Royalists) were in the County, he voluntarily gave way for firing divers of his houses in the suburbs of Pembroke. He was afterwards obliged to take refuge with his wife and child in Pembroke and the enemy fired his houses and corn and drove away all his cattle”

There was a certificate attached from Major General Laugharne and John Poyer attesting to his fidelity and great losses. The petition was recommended to the House of Commons for compensation but it is not known how much compensation, if any was paid

William died about 1650 and the estates were inherited by his son Nicholas.

The property must have been rebuilt because it is known that his son Nicholas lived in it and paid Hearth tax on seven hearths in 1670.

The first wife of Nicholas Adams was Frances, daughter of Rhys Bowen of Upton Castle and they had a son, Rice or Rees Adams, born about 1655, another, David, who died before 1691 and a daughter, Frances, who was alive in 1698 when her father Rice died. After the death of his first wife, Frances, Nicholas married Hester, daughter of Sir Roger Lort and they had a son Roger. As a marriage settlement to provide for any children of the second marriage, Nicholas split the Buckspool and Holyland estates from Paterchurch. Thus after the death of Nicholas, land that had been part of the Family estate since 1422 was divided. 

Roger Adams, son of the second marriage, was Commissioner of Subsidies in 1692 and in 1695-6 and Commissioner of Land Tax in 1705. He married Jane Skyrme daughter of William Skyrme of Llawhaden and was Mayor of Pembroke in 1695. He died in 1708.

When Nicholas died his eldest son Rice Adams brought a Bill of Complaint against the Gwynnes, who were the guardians of his step brother Roger. In this complaint he estimated that the whole estate, including Buckspool and Holyland as well as Paterchurch brought in a clear income of £200 per annum. Rice was experiencing financial problems, due in part to bad harvests but also because of the marriage settlement of his father a considerable portion of the income of the old estate went to his stepbrother. He still occupied the Paterchurch estate but had been raising a series of short term loans using parts of the estate as security. The Paterchurch estate consisted of the tower, the house and other buildings including a farmhouse together with land around and some neighbouring properties. In 1687 Rice had borrowed £650 from Margaret Meare, who was his tenant at East Llanion using the property at East Llanion, Imble, Furzy Close and Cuckoos Wood as security for a period of twenty years. Two years later he borrowed another £200 from her for 72 acres around Paterchurch. Margaret Meares died in 1690, her heir was John Owen and Rice borrowed more from him. In 1696 he owed £350 on a £700 penalty bond which been given to cover some of the arrears and interest that were outstanding on the loans. By 1697 Rice’s debts totalled £1831 4s and he was indicted in the Court of Great Sessions. He and his wife entered into an indenture of lease and release of 230 acres of the estate with Richard Gwynne for £2,100 on October 2nd 1697 and after the debts were paid off  Rice received  £268 16s.

The estate in the indenture consisted of:-

“All that capital messuage tenement and lands with appurtenances commonly called and known by the name of Paterchurch and all of those closes fields and parcels of land commonly called and known by the several names of the Hill Yards The Great Park alias Great Cow Park the water park the middle and long meadow and west meadows the great croft or lays the coney gare or warren the stoney wall park, neap hay, the wood orchard, fruit orchard, gardens, fish pond and waste ground containing in the whole 230 acres of lands be it more or less. All situate lying and being in the parish of St Mary in the liberty of the town of Pembroke in the county of Pembroke between the lands of Sir Hugh Owen Bt. in the possession of Jenkin Ferrior, the lands of the said Rice Adams in the several possession of John Daniell, William Hobb and Nicholas Whelling on the south and east sides and the sea and river of Milford on the north and west sides thereof”.

Rice Adams died at Paterchurch in June 1698 and in his will he anticipates at least £500 from the sale of the real estate. He appeared to still own Imble(?), Cuckoos Wood (John Daniell), West Lanion and/or Eastermost House (William Hobbs) and Ferry Hill (Nicholas Whelling) but he had used these lands as security. The amount he had borrowed was due to be repaid before November 1707 to Margaret Meare and John Owen. Richard Gwynne trustee of that part of the estate inherited by his stepbrother Roger was supposed to pay off the debts using the funds from the sale of the 230 acres of land to redeem for Rice Adams. By the time of Rice Adams death in 1698, Richard Gwynne had not paid off the debts as agreed.

Elizabeth Adams brought a writ against Hugh Lloyd and his wife Joan in November 1701 for sitting and kneeling in a seat that went with the “demesne, messuage and lands called Llanion”, in St Mary’s Church Pembroke. At the time the Lloyds were the tenants of the property which was still part of the Paterchurch estate.

Richard Gwynne died in 1702 without paying off the debts and in 1718, £898 12s was paid to George Owen, John Owens son, by Thomas Gwynne.  There was an indenture passing the estate of 230 acres (excluding East Llanion , Imble, Furzy Close and Cuckoos Wood etc.) to Sir Arthur Owen.

According to Hon. C. F. Greville, who tried to lease the site to extract limestone  in 1795 “The house has neither roof, door or windows; the wind and the thieves have been so diligent”.

After the construction of the Dockyard the building which was originally outside the Dockyard fence was used by workers in the dockyard for the storage of corn. With the expansion of the Dockyard in 1854 much of the remains of the old mansion were pulled down with the sole exception of the tower. Part of the tower was utilised as a pattern makers shop and other outbuildings were used for storage and as a plumbers workshop.

Llanion House

In 1905 the author Mrs. Stuart Peters[2] wrote, “to the east of Bierspool may be seen the ruined walls of Llanion House, the original country seat of the Meyrick family. Lord Nelson was sometimes a guest at this old house, and it is said that once or twice he was accompanied there by Lady Hamilton.”

 It must have been very draughty as the house would  appeared to have been in disrepair by this time and there is no actual record of either Nelson or Lady Hamilton visiting this side of the Haven.

Little remains of the site of the house today except parts of old walls which have been incorporated into the garden walls of more modern houses and what would appear to have been a walled garden. It stood to the east of Pembroke Dock and to reach it now one has to turn south at the Waterloo roundabout and cross the railway line. Before the development of Pembroke Dock and the reclamation of land at Waterloo the waters of the Haven came quite close at Llanion Pill and near Biers Pool farm.

According to the Rev. Silas T. Phillips writing in 1898.[3]

“Within high walls and surrounded by a belt of trees stood formerly the mansion of the family now represented by Sir Thomas C Meyrick Bart of Bush , Pembroke and Apley Castle Shropshire.

There is some reason for believing that the spot at one time was a possession of the See of Llandaff and it may be that Llanion is but a corruption of Llan Ioan (Johns Church). Perhaps successive Bishops of Llandaff felt it incumbent upon them to maintain a priest and chapel on this remote corner of the episcopal estate – no trace remains of a chapel if it ever existed.”

Ecclesiastical manuscripts of the see of Llandaf lay claim to the land in the area of Llonyon as part of the estate of St Teilo. There is no record of the name in the manorial records of the estate of Aymler de Valence in 1324.[4]   An early medieval Welsh manuscript records that at `Llonyon yn Penvro beehives and swarms of bees were kept, giving rise to the proverb `o heid Llonyon.

In the early 1600s the estate was held by the Bennet family who held several estates in Pembrokeshire and the name was spelt Laniell. The last of the family was Hugh who had three daughters one of whom married Bowen of Roblinston and inherited the manor of Llanien.

By 1665 the estate was owned by the Meares family. George Meares (gent) paid Hearth Tax on four hearths. Later Edward Byam, an Antiquan merchant, lived at Llanion. The house was occupied by the Holcombe family, who owned considerable land in the area, between 1751-63. By 1786 the estate had become the property of the Meyrick family and J. F. Meyrick, Esq., was described as owner-occupier of Lanion, and the land let to Thomas Kinaston. According to the Land Tax records for 1791 J F Meyrick was the owner of Llanion but he was recorded as the owner occupier of Bush and the tenant of Llanion was Captain Ackland.  J F Meyrick certainly was not in residence when tradition says Nelson and Lady Hamilton were reputed to have visited.  By the early part 1800s it had fallen into decay. Fenton informs us in 1811,[5] “Lanion, a seat of John Meyrick Esq., till of late years almost constantly inhabited by a succession of different tenants, temporary residents in the county, but now unroofed and suffered to fall into decay, as Bush, his principal family residence lies so near in a situation much more commanding than the other, though in some respects inferior in point of beauty”.

Other buildings and features in the area pre-1812:

On the north side of what is now known as Victoria Rd there was once the manor farm of Paterchurch Farm. The site was occupied from 1776 until 1812 by the White family. Mr Francis White was the occupant in 1812. The flat top of what is now the golf course on Barrack Hill was known as Redland and, if the ground is examined when the early morning sun is on it, the evidence of ploughing and of field boundaries can be seen.

At Bierspool, which on old maps was called Bayards Pool, there was a very old farmhouse which had a dovecote built of limestone. This one was similar to those that have survived at Monkton and Manorbier. These dovecotes provided a supply of meat, for the owners, all the year round.

Before 1814, on what was then the foreshore at the bottom of Meyrick St, stood a thatched dwelling known as Foreshore House.

The narrow footpath from Water St to Front St is a right of way which was once part of the old road running along what is now King William St. parallel to the present London Rd. Previous to the railway coming to the town, on the site of the railway yard there stood a lime kiln.

At the west end of the shore, on land which later became part of the Dockyard, was Pater Church Battery. Started by the Ordinance Dept in 1758 as part of the defences of the Haven it was never completed as the threat of invasion had passed.

Burial places in the Town:

1731.  St Mary’s register states   “Jan ye 11 buried ye sonne, Roger, of Mr.  Williams Adams in their own Burying Ground” [at various times remains were unearthed during the construction of the Dockyard and re interned on St Patrick’s Hill].

The early burials of Towns people were either at St Mary’s Pembroke, Monkton or from about 1818 to 1834 at Bethany [halted by Admiralty because of contamination of the water supply to the Dockyard].

1834.  26th Sept Mr. Thomas Meyrick of Bush gave the town nearly 2 acres of land free of charge. Consecrated by the Bishop of St David’s on that date. First person buried there was William Instance who had worked on the surrounding wall and died on October 11th 1834.  Closed September 1869 when nearly 4000 burials had taken place.

Land Tax 1786 North Hook

J.G. Meyrick    W. Roberts      Buyers pool                £1 10 0d

Sir N. Owen     Mrs Hart       Herrings Mead             £0  2 0d

The King       Capt. Tewing   Pater Church                £1  1 0d

            Mr.  Webb        Brewhouse                             £0  3 0d

            Mrs Bowling                                                   £0  1 0d

            Sir W. Owen     Mrs Parry                              £1 15 8d

            Mr.  Ferrior     Pennar                                      £2 10 0d

Alongside of Pater Church was a two roomed cottage occupied by Ann Davies who it is said sold beer and biscuits.

A row in 1812 over the exorbitant price being demanded for the site resulted in the Navy Board seeking land for a dockyard elsewhere on the Milford Haven Waterway.

Master shipwright Mr. William Stone, of Plymouth, gave a favourable report on land at Pater Church Point, part of which was already owned by the Governments Board of Ordnance. They agreed to sell the 20 acres, four fields, for £3,000. The sale was completed on January 7th. 1813, and later a further 28 acres including a stream, were bought for £5,500.  

Industries mainly concentrated at Pennar:

The main industries have been concentrated on agriculture and fisheries. An old description gives a picture of what is now Barrack Hill golden with grain and when the sun is bright in the early morning it is still possible to see where the old field boundaries used to be as well as some of the old paths.

Oysters were an important export from the Haven by the 1600s when large quantities were sent either overland or in "barkes to Bristowe". Some of the finest oysters came from Pennar Gut. A typical cargo of 20,000 is recorded in the Port Books as going to Barnstaple in 1592. The trade continued right up until the 1850s when the beds seemed to die out possibly killed by river pollution from the industries and increased population of Pembroke and Pennar. Shipments went to Ireland , Bristol , Liverpool, Holland , Lisbon . In 1674 John Powell sent oysters to London as "thank you" to Sir Robert Clayton for his assistance in procuring the post of "Comptroller of the Customs in the Port of Milford Haven". Even as late as the nineteenth century, trade in oysters from Pennar was large, the Cambrian Register of 1818 records that the oysters from Pennarmouth were famous. Very large quantities were pickled and sent to Bristol and places further afield.

Pembrokeshire sea trading before 1900.

Oysters were already an important export in 1600, travelling either overland or in “barkes to Bristowe” [Owen 1603].  A typical cargo of 20,000 went to Barnstaple in 1592.

The trade continued throughout the 17th and 18th centuries.  In 1662 five shipments went to Ireland and in 1698 six to Bristol , five to London , one to Liverpool and one to Bridgewater . Oysters were included in a mixed cargo to Lisbon in 1713.  Milford Haven abounded in oysters in the 1740s and many were shipped to Holland and other places [Morris 1748] In the early 19th century the oyster fisheries in Milford Haven were famous, especially those at Pennar Mouth [Cambrian Register 1818] and Llangwm [Fenton 1811]:  very large quantities were pickled and sent to Bristol.  Tenby also had  an important fishery [Malkin 1807;  Oldisworth 1810] and large  numbers were exported “in the shell” or pickled in small jars.  From 1850 onwards the fisheries rapidly declined but a few oysters were still going to Bristol in 1866. [Sea Fisheries 1866].  

The quantity and the quality attracted the attention of foreign fishermen, in 1719 the Deputy Vice Admiral for the County of Pembroke (William Lloyd) wrote forbidding them from fishing in the branches and in the Haven itself. The foreign ships were of "great burden" and "employed many other fishing boats to dredge for the same oysters whereby to lade there several ships therewith and the same to export out of His Majesty’s dominion". An early example of factory ship fishing?  

The Beginning:

1810 Mr. William Stone (Master Shipwright) surveyed the area and in October 1810 reported on the suitability of Paterchurch Point.

1812 On October 12th 1812 the Admiralty took over, from the Board of Ordinance, a portion of land at Paterchurch Point Approx. 20 acres in extent (part being below the High Water Mark) through their Master Shipwright Mr.  Stone   Col Pilkington acted for the Ordnance Department.  

1813 March 10th Mr. Meyrick accepted £3000 for four fields to the east of and adjoining the Government Land  20 acres approx.

1814 Jan 20th Ordnance Dept. surrendered 39 acres of land to the Admiralty.

1814 On April 28th the Admiralty purchased 20 acres and a stream of water from Mr.  Meyrick for £5500 and took possession on June 7th.  

1822 The Admiralty purchased 37 acres 3 roods 29 perches of land from Mr. Meyrick. This land consisted of part of Paterchurch Farm and the Farmhouse tenanted by Mr.  Francis White.

1822 The Admiralty purchased from Sir John Owen (Governor of Milford Haven and Vice Admiral of Pembrokeshire) 51 acres of land consisting of the Southern Part of what is now Barrack Hill, Cross Park, Treowen Rd, and part of Pennar Farm.  

1828 The Admiralty purchased 9 acres of Paterchurch Farm part of Barrack Hill from Mr.  John Francis Meyrick.

1830 The Yard was extended - The Admiralty received 13 acres of land from the Ordnance Dept and gave them the whole of the land purchased in 1822.

There were no roads into the area the main access being by sea although there was a track from the hamlet of Pennar running from the old Farm house up what is now Gays lane straight across Military Rd and down the little lane directly opposite up Kings Lane and from there it used to go before the Defensible Barracks was built, across the Barrack Hill. This track joined, at the old Farmhouse, the track which connected Pennar with Pembroke. There was also another track which linked the Pembroke with Pembroke Ferry and there was a track from that which ran past Beirspool, King Williams Way, what is now the bottom of Waters St., then on to the bottom of Meyrick St were there was a stream running down from the High St Ridge along what is now Front St and then on the Paterchurch complex.  


According to Mrs Peters and numerous other writers:

The harbour at Milford Haven had been extolled by no less an authority than Admiral Lord Nelson himself. So when negotiations to establish a Dockyard at nearby Milford Haven failed, the Navy looked elsewhere and purchased land at Paterchurch, with the ambition of building the only Royal Dockyard in Wales .

Nearly 50 acres of land was bought from the Meyrick estate for £8000 and work began apace, with a low paling fence run around the site and a frigate, Lapwing, being run ashore as offices.

So began an illustrious history of shipbuilding for the Royal Navy, with over 260 ships (including 4 Royal Yachts) constructed in 112 years. The development of permanent facilities in the yard, such as slipways, offices and workshops, continued alongside the building of housing for the workforce and by 1831 the town had a population of more than 3000. By the 1870s wooden ships had given way to Iron warships and slipways and workshops had to be extended to accommodate ships of up to 14,000 tons such as Repulse in 1892.

For well over a century the name of Pembroke Dock was synonymous with the Royal Navy. Ships built at the towns Royal Dockyard served in every comer of the world.

Yet, when Vice Admiral of the Blue, Lord Horatio Nelson, sailed up the Milford Haven Waterway in the summer of 1802, the area now occupied by the town was all green fields. Nelson would have seen the Government battery at Pater Point, the old mansion of Paterchurch, a few farms and cottages and the home of the Meyrick family at Llanion.

Within 12 years, however, all was to be transformed. After the negotiations by the Admiralty to buy the land at nearby Milford - where warships were already being built for His Majesty’s Navy - broke down. A new site was selected and the move saw the birth of Pembroke Dock,

Over the next 108 years, over 250 ships were to be built for the Navy - from sixth rates of 1816 to an oilier of 1922.

According to Findlay: "In 1812, a misunderstanding took place between the Government and the late Honourable R. F. Grenville proprietor of the land at Milford , where there was a dockyard. The consequence was that Mr. Stone the master shipwright, whose observant eye had discovered the advantageous situation of Pembroke Dock for a naval arsenal of the largest extent recommended it to the Government, who on surveys being made took advantage of the proposition, and, in 1814 planted the nucleus of the present splendid establishment”.

He goes on to say: “Since that period, as its resources became more and more available, it has continually been extending its efficiency until arriving at its present momentous magnitude; and it not rivals, but in most instances exceeds all other maritime magazines that stud our sea-girt isle, in natural advantages, as well as in cheapness of shipbuilding. It is said that King William IV., when visiting it in the position of Lord High Admiral, remarked many peculiar points of superiority, it must become of the utmost advantage to the British nation”.

What do the actual documents say?

“WE beg leave most humbly to recommend to Your Royal Highness  that Your Royal Highness will be graciously pleased to establish, by Your Order in Council, the yard forming at Pater as a Royal dock yard”.

George, Prince of Wales, acting as Regent in place of his demented father, George III, gave the Royal Assent to this submission from the Navy Board and the Order in Council, signed on 31 October 1815, established not only a new royal dockyard but also a new naval town.

It was not a good time. Waterloo, fought on 18 June 1815, had ended the long French wars and ships by the hundred were returning home to pay off. The existing Royal Dockyards had now more than enough capacity to support the much-reduced peacetime Royal Navy. Pater Yard, however, had existed de facto for some years and its first two ships were well advanced. The Navy Board had committed public funds to the county twice in a decade and was no doubt reluctant to abandon its investment. The Order in Council served to regularise what had begun as a wartime expedient down the harbour at Milford.

A Royal Dockyard on Milford Haven arose from the Navy Board salvaging work from a bankrupt contractor. During the long French wars the Royal Yards did not have the resources to build large numbers of new warships, maintain the expanded fleets and cope with repair of battle-damaged vessels. Battles could not be forecast, and repair work disrupted and delayed ship building and increased the costs.

The Navy Board therefore depended on private yards where new vessels could be built without interruption. During the Seven Years War two warships were built under contract at Neyland. Richard Chitty launched the frigate HMS Milford in 1759, and in 1765 Henry Bird and Roger Fisher launched the two-decked HMS Prince of Wales on the same site.

The Navy Board looked to Pembrokeshire again in the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars, contracting with Messrs Harry and Joseph Jacob of London for new warships to be built on the foreshore at Milford . When they failed the Navy Board completed the ships, renting the site from year to year. As timber and iron could be bought there cheaper and workmen obtained in abundance on lower terms than at any other place where ships are now generally built, the Board proposed to buy the site and establish a royal dockyard there. A sale figure of £4,455 was agreed with Charles Francis Grenville and an Order in Council dated 11 October 1809 gave authority to buy the land.

"May it please your Majesty,

"Whereas certain papers were referred by us to the Commissioners for revising the civil concerns of your Majesty’s Navy, respecting the building of ships of war at Milford Haven, where a line of battleship, a frigate, and a sloop have already been built, and the said Commissioners having stated in the l5th report that timber and iron could be bought there cheaper, and workmen obtained in abundance on lower terms than any other place where ships are generally built, which has since been corroborated by comparing the expense of the "Milford," a 94-gun-ship recently launched there, with the expense of ships of the same class built in your Majesty’ other Dockyards, we deemed it expedient instead of the uncertain tenure by which the building ground at Milford Haven have hitherto been held of Mr. Greville from year to year, at a certain annual rent, that the same should be purchased and conveyed in trust by your Majesty to the Commissioners of the Navy, and with this view directed the Assistant to the Civil Architect and Engineer of the Navy to proceed to Milford and fix a valuation on the quantity of ground sufficient for the purposes of a Naval Dockyard, and this officer having reported that the sum of £4,455 is the full and proper value of the piece of ground in question, which sum the proprietor agrees to accept on condition of an Act of Parliament being procured, at the public expense, to enable him to convey the same by a good and sufficient title; we do humbly propose that your Majesty will be pleased to authorize us to complete the purchase of the said piece of ground, to be employed as a Dockyard for building your Majesty’s ships, the same to be placed on the extraordinary estimate of the Navy, and we do further propose to your Majesty, that the regular establishment of the Dockyard at Milford Haven shall be as follows:­

Mr. Barallier, builder, with a salary of ...                    £600 a year,

A Clerk to the builder ...                                             £120

Mr. Louis Chas. Barallier assistant to builder £300

One Foreman                                                             £200

Two Quartermen, each                                                £140

One Storekeeper without a clerk                                £300

One Porter                                                                   £60

Grenville however had died on 23 April 1809. His brother, Robert Fulke Grenville, who succeeded him as a life tenant of the estate, refused to accept the price and, in consequence, an order was issued, directing the Navy Board, on 3rd August 1810, to suspend the improvements then going forward on the premises and on the l6th October 1812, finally to give up possession at Midsummer 1814.

Shortly after the agreement of 1809, the Baralliers returned to France, Louise Barallier became Principal Naval Architect at Toulon. Although Britain was at war with France, although they were Frenchmen they had been the principal Architects at one of His Majesties Dockyards.

Mr. William Stone who had come from the Plymouth Yard was appointed Master Shipwright in their place.

The Pater site was a good choice for a dockyard. It was one of the few places on the waterway where flat, land gave on to deep water and a good anchorage.

The dockyard facilities were transferred over the following few years to Government land at Pater and the last personnel finally moved out in mid summer 1814 with the completion of HMS Rochfort.

1814 Jan 20th Ordnance Dept. surrendered 39 acres of land to the Admiralty and the first building slip and the excavation of a dry dock was put in hand.

1814 On April 28th the Admiralty purchased 20 acres and a stream of water from Mr. Meyrick for £5500 and took possession on June 7th.

The proposal to the King in Council put forward by the Navy Board suggested the following officials:

Grade                                                              Annual Salary

One Master Shipwright                                               £600

One Clerk                                                                    £240

Two Clerks                                                                  £160 each

One extra Clerk if necessary                           £ 80

One Clerk of the Check and Storekeeper                   £600

One Clerk                                                                    £320   

Two Clerks                                                                  £240 each

Three Clerks                                                                £200 each

One extra if necessary                                     £ 80

Surgeon                                                                       £400

Assistant Surgeon                                                       £160

Chaplain                                                                      £400

Timber Master                                                             £400

One Clerk to do.                                                         £200

Assistant Master Shipwright                           £320

Foreman of Shipwrights                                             £220

Master Measurer                                                         £220

One Clerk to do                                                          £160

One extra Clerk, if necessary                          £ 80

Master Blacksmith                                                      £220

Foreman of Caulkers                                       £220

Foreman of  Blacksmiths.                                           £160

Foreman of House Carpenters                                    £120

Foreman of Painters                                                    £110                           

Foreman of Labourers                                     £ 70                                        

Foreman of Storehouse   Labourers                £110

Boatswain                                                                   £220

Warder                                                                        £160

Quarterman of Shipwrights (first class)                      £180

Two do.                       do      (second class)                £160

One Gate Porter                                                          £ 60

At first the Chief Constructors were the Master Shipwrights and they included William Stone who selected the site of Pater Yard.

T Robert who was the first at Pater and actually started the new Yard.

J Hawkes

T Blake

W Edie who was one of the original committee that formed the Dockyard School.

R Abethell a leading figure in the founding of the Mechanics Institute.

W M Rice

O W Lang, designed the Royal Yacht “Victoria and Albert” built in 1855.

H Craddock

J L Fincham who lived in Bush St when he retired, his son in law was the Rev G McHugh curate of St Johns Church .  J L Fincham died after being thrown from his horse opposite the Pier Hotel and is buried at Cosheston.

R P Saunders who had been a Pembroke Dockyard Apprentice.

F Martin

E C Warren

J C Froyne another Pembroke Dockyard Apprentice.  Born in 1834 of humble background he first went to school at Lamphey. After he retired in 1895 he lived in Pembroke and served as a councillor and Mayor. He was also a JP.

H Cook

A E Richards.

The first Boatswain was Joseph King. He has served on the “Boreas” the Agamemnon and the “Captain” as Boatswain under Nelson and he was recommended by Nelson and the Earl of St Vincent to the post of Boatswain at the Gibralter Yard from 9th December 1796 to 1808. He then came to the Haven first to Milford as Boatswain and then to Pater yard until his death on 10th June 1829. He is buried in Monkton cemetery and he had a son who lived in the district - Joseph Nesbit King who married Ann Gale in Pembroke on 24th March 1824.

A sketch of the Dockyard in 1817 shows a covered slipway similar to those at Chatham and Plymouth . The cutter Racer was the first vessel built under cover and was launched in April 1818.

By May 30th 1814 the whole of the establishment at Milford had been transferred to the Pater yard as it was called. As many of the men lived in Milford a beacon was placed on Carr rocks to guide the workmen travelling by water.

The Dockyard was governed by its own officers, Quartermen who really acted as watchmen helped to guard the establishment had wooden sheds erected for their accommodation.

They were assisted by a party of Royal Marines who were accommodated in an old ship the Dragon which had been hauled above high water for this purpose. It was also used as a Dockyard School for apprentices. The first schoolmaster appointed was a Mr. Good but a Mr. Bonniwell had acted as Master before that. 

The first ships, Valorous & Ariadne were completed by early 1816, and housing for the Dockyard workers began at Front Street . The Ariadne was the last command of Captain Frederick Marryat the author, who wrote Mr. Midshipman Easy and Peter Simple.

Over the next 108 years, over 250 ships were to be built for the Navy - from sixth rates of 1816 to an oiler of 1922.

In 1823 a police force was instituted to replace the caretakers who had been responsible for security in the yard. The initial force consisted of Lieutenant Weatherley RN., one inspector, two sergeants and twelve constables.  The off-duty constables were expected to march with their Officer to Church every Sunday.  The force was found to be insufficient and was reinforced by the addition of 500 Royal Marines from the Chatham Division complete with a Drum and Fife band that played every evening before last Post was sounded on the Market corner by Moores the Chemist. The Marines were also employed in levelling and repairing the roads in the Dockyard.

In 1832, when the Navy Board was succeeded by the Admiralty, the practise of appointing a Naval Captain to be Captain Superintendent of the Pembroke Dockyard was introduced.

The numbers of men were considerably augmented after 1815 by the transfer of now surplus craftsmen from other Royal Yards. The town planned by the Admiralty and laid out on a chessboard pattem, was originally known as Pater. A proposal to call it Melvillestown, after the First Lord of the Admiralty, received a cool reception, but ironically, it was the Admiralty which did change the town’s name. All the goods were sent to the new Dock near Pembroke; the name stuck.

The founding fathers of Pater were thus largely, but not exclusively, new men. Most established men came from the West Country, shipwrights from Plymouth Dock as Devonport was known until 1823. These Devonians and Cornishmen - the Seccombes, Saunders, Tregennas, Willings, Trevennas (and later the Trewents and Treweeks) - although of Celtic stock, nevertheless constituted the most radically distinct influx into south Pembrokeshire since the arrival of the Flemings in the twelfth century. They and their descendants, with the people of Milford, created Pembroke Dock.

The Royal Navy in 1815 was by far the most expensive single commitment of central Government and the largest industrial organisation in the world. With its supporting dockyards the Navy embraced a wider range of specialist professional skills than any other industry. Some of the innovations had great influence throughout the industrial revolution. The block making plant developed at Portsmouth Dockyard at this time was the first example of a conveyor belt system for production.

Pembroke Dock developed as a specialist building yard but its limited facilities denied it the established status of the Home Port dockyards which were also major naval bases with victualling depots, rope works, block mills and other specialist facilities. Pembroke had only one dry dock, no fitting-out basins and, apart from Hobbs Point (completed in 1832 for the Irish packet service not the Navy) and the Carr Jetty (completed in the first decade of the twentieth century), no satisfactory alongside berths for fitting-out newly-built warships. Before the introduction of iron and steel, newly-launched wooden vessels were usually sent round to Plymouth , sometimes Portsmouth , under jury rig for their masts to be stepped, if they were to be commissioned, or to go into ordinary. Early steam paddle warships went round to Woolwich to be fitted with their machinery. Later in the century the large iron-hulled ships had to have their engines and boilers - and later also their main armament installed at Pembroke, and be completed for sea, undertaking their initial sea trials from Milford Haven. The completion of newly-launched ships was often delayed until the berth at Hobbs Point was vacated. However, it is remarkable that the greatest battleships in the British Navy down to 1896 could be fitted out and completed alongside the tiny, tidal jetty at Hobbs Point. It was an extraordinary feat of improvisation.

Pembroke and its champions campaigned ceaselessly for improved facilities. In mid-century the Haverfordwest and Milford Haven Telegraph believed that the only thing required to make the Dockyard complete is the long talked of sea wall from the Hard across to Hobbs Point, thus locking in the Pill, and making it available for a steam factory, steam basin etc. for which its leeward situation . . . so admirably fits it, which works would be a culminating point from which additional sources of prosperity would spring. The steam basin never materialised.

Even after the opening of the railway through to the Dockyard town in August 1864, Pembroke remained a frontier post. Pembroke labours under the misfortune of being 300 miles from Whitehall . It is an outpost, and only visited occasionally, commiserated the United Service Gazette in 1859, whose writer moreover considered that the increasing value and importance of Pembroke as a building yard, seems lost, in great measure on the authorities.

Mrs Stuart Peters recalled in 1905 the visit twenty years earlier of the Chief Constructor of the United States Navy who, she said, reported that Pembroke is the first shipbuilding yard in the world. The visitor was Naval Constructor Philip Hichborn USN; he had written that the best adapted of the British dockyards for building operations is Pembroke . . . but having but one dock, no basins, and few shops and stores, is not a fitting out yard, and can only be rendered so at very great expense. Vessels built there usually go to Plymouth, Portsmouth or Chatham to complete. Later historians of the town have likewise accepted uncritically this opinion.

Admiral Charles Penrose Fitzgerald, who was Captain Superintendent of the Dockyard from 1893-95, sometimes thought that the Admiralty forgot altogether that there was any such place as Pembroke Dockyard . . . our insignificant little Cinderella of a dockyard did not always get everything she asked for, especially if one of her big sisters was asking for the same thing at the same time.

Even when the long-awaited jetty was being built out over the Carr Rocks after the turn of the century to provide a more efficient - but still tidal  alongside fitting-out facility, The Navy and Army Illustrated was unimpressed:

The Jetty which was constructed in 1881 was built for coaling ships and hoisting of machinery and boilers in to position. The sheerlegs were believed to be the largest ever constructed at the time and were capable of lifting over 100 tons cost £110,000.

The Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty paid their annual visits of inspection to Pembroke Dockyard but they seldom lingered. Artists of the Illustrated London News were attracted to west Wales to sketch the launchings of only the greatest vessels. Even into the twentieth century, as the Dockyard was approaching its centenary, visiting members of the Corps of Naval Constructors never failed to suggest [to Assistant Constructor Arthur Nicholls] that Pembroke was the end of the world and the edge of civilisation.

Pembroke remained a Cinderella yard, a poor relation of the Home Port dockyards, and the desire for recognition, for confirmation of their worth, was a constant preoccupation of its people.

Some writers have given us vivid descriptions of the yard:

Late 1800s description of the Royal Dockyard.

“It occupies an area of eighty acres, surrounded by a high wall, flanked by two Martello towers. There are twelve building slips for vessels of all sizes. There is also a dry dock for repairing them, and enormous stacks of timber of various kinds oak, deal, and larch. The Nasmyth steam hammer and saw mill are particularly worth notice. As it is not a fitting dock, vessels when ready are towed round to Devonport, or Portsmouth to be finished. The dock is defended by a fort to the west, which mounts twenty four guns, and by two Martello towers which each mount three. There are also large barracks on the hill above, and a hut encampment at Hobbs Point.

Up to 1864, £175,563 had been expended in fortifying Pembroke Dock.

An interesting description of the yard was published in 1875.

“The entrance to the yard is through a wide gateway near the centre of the south wall, on the right and left of which are the houses of the principal officers who reside within its precincts - spacious and handsome buildings. The various offices connected with the several departments are imposing in appearance and neatly arranged. The Fire Engine House in the centre of the Yard is an extensive stone building, in which about twenty engines are kept in the most perfect order and ready for any emergency. It may be mentioned that the yard is plentifully supplied with water from the Government reservoirs by means of iron pipes; to these pipes fire-plugs are attached in all parts of it.”

 ..."workshops necessarily abound here: there are joiners, millwrights, blacksmiths, plumbers, coppersmiths, coopers, wheelwrights, painters, pattern-makers, and armour plating shops. But among the many we have enumerated, perhaps that of the blacksmiths will attract the greatest attention. Here, are about 200 busy hands all dimly seen working amid heated air smoke, and the glare of the numerous glowing fires of its forges - and on all sides is heard the din, clang and clash of hammers and machinery forging and manufacturing the various kinds of heavy iron work now so requisite in the present advanced state of shipbuilding. Here, also, are three immense steam hammers beneath whose ponderous heads ponderous masses of red hot iron are continually becoming subject to their will. Adjoining is the galvanising shop, where the process of galvanising all the small iron work to prevent it from rusting, is going on.

"At the west side of the yard are the steam saw mills, worked by the aid of powerful machinery. The sawing room is well worthy of a visit. To the south of these, where the open space is chiefly used for the stacking of wood, is a large square basin known as the pickling pond, in which the elm and pine timber is kept, to prevent it decaying before being used. Near the docks lie numberless armour plates, varying in thickness from two to fourteen inches, destined to cover the sides of those powerful ships of war, which are being constructed in the neighbouring sheds, the machinery for boring these plates for the rivets, and for shaping them to the turns of the ships sides also exists here."

The description above does not mention the four big sheds in the eastern part of the yard each about 150 feet long for the shipwrights tool chests. Inside these, rising in terraces, were hundreds of boxes containing the tool kits of the shipwrights. Three gangs of shipwrights could be accommodated on each tier of the shed. The inspectors offices were built at the north end of each tier. The original joiners shop was a lean building attached to the eastern wall of the yard.

The dockyard estimates for the year 1875 are:  Salaries £11,355 (white collar); wages £103, 016 (blue collar).

A body of the Metropolitan Police exercise the functions pertaining to their office within the Dockyard: this force consists of 2 Inspectors, 3 Sergeants.”

Pembroke Dock became essentially an Admiralty rather than a naval town. The Commissioners of the Navy Board and, after 1832, the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty, influenced most aspects of public and private life outside the Dockyard walls. Within a few years of its foundation an Act of Parliament was passed authorising the Commissioners of His Majesty’s Navy to establish a Market at the Town of Pembroke Dock . . . and to make Regulations for paving, lighting, cleansing, and good Order of the said Town. This was followed on 10 June 1825 with an Act enabling the Corporation of Pembroke to relinquish and convey to the Commissioners of His Majesty’s Navy the Right of Letting the Stalls, Sittings, and other Conveniences in the Market in the Town of Pembroke Dock, and the Right to the Rent, Tolls, and Fees there of.

Findlay in 1875 gives a description of the market in his day:

“The Market Place is a Government Building, erected in the year 1826. It stands at the south-east comer of the dockyard but outside its walls. It is a large and commodious structure, of quadrangular form, having four spacious entrances, with iron gates, facing north, south, east, and west, respectively: the east gate way, facing Pembroke Street, is the more popular approach. The interior contains numerous stalls for butchers, and vendors of goods of all descriptions. In the centre, above the weighing house, is a building used in connection with the Government Savings Bank business, a branch of which is conducted here on Market Days.          

The market is held upon Friday, but Tuesday is also nominally a market day. About noon on Friday the crowds that gather thither to conclude purchases make the scene at that time an animated one.

Acc/to Kellys Directory   1884:

The Market place, situated in Pembroke street, was a government building, erected in 1826, but is now in hands of the Corporation. The market, which is held  on; Friday, is well supplied with meat, fish, poultry game butter, cheese, fruit, vegetables and provisions generally”.

For some time after its construction the market building was used by the dockyard workmen to eat their dinner in the covered stalls. Short services were also held there by a Shipwright Henry Evans who was a Baptist local preacher. He later became minister of Gilgal Baptist Chapel Pennar. Unfortunately one day a man got locked in and in trying to get back to work climbed over the wall fell and broke both ankles. This led to closing down of this facility. After that, until Mrs Chatfield, persuaded the Admiralty and her husband, to convert one of the old saw pit sheds into a workmans dining-room with cooking facilities, a cook, tables and benches with also a reading room, a smoking room and a recreation room, the men had to eat out on Barrack Hill or on the pavement outside the gate.

1n 1853 the Admiralty under the provisions of the act of George III 54 C 159 July 29th 1814 undertook the responsibility for the Conservation of the Haven.

Exactly 100 years later, on the eve of the closure of the Yard, their Lordships still had a finger in every pie - almost literally.

In June 1925 the Captain Superintendent was ordered by the Admiralty to inspect the bakeries of Mr.  F. Rogers, Water Street, Pembroke Dock, and Mr. A. Farrow, Charles Street , Milford Haven, and to report on whether they were a fit source for the supply of bread.

The Admiralty and its principal officers at Pembroke Dock filled the paternalist role carried out in other communities by the local landed gentry.

The lead in founding the National School , for example, was taken by a committee which included Captain Samuel Jackson, the Captain Superintendent, William Edye, the Master Shipwright, and other Dockyard officers. The foundation stone was laid by Mrs Edye on 26 April 1843, the launching day of the first royal yacht, Victoria and Albert, and the school was opened on 24 June the following year.

The Navy also played a leading role in founding the first parish church. The land in Bush Street owned by Mr. Meyrick of Bush Estate was conveyed in August 1846 through Edward Laws, a principal officer in the Dockyard. The First Lord of the Admiralty, the Earl of Auckland, attended by a Marines guard of honour and accompanied by the Band of the 37th Regiment, laid the foundation stone of St. Johns Church on Monday 21 September that year.

Likewise, in subscription lists for good causes throughout the nineteenth century the names of Captain Superintendents and Master Shipwrights, rather than the local nobility and gentry, usually headed the lists of contributors.

Pembroke’s greatest asset and the focus of her prosperity was her thirteen building slips, many more than in any other yard, and these made Pembroke Dockyard the nations principal building yard for over a century. Nearly 250 warships and other vessels went down the ways at Pembroke in the 106 years which separated the launching of the little sister frigates HMS Ariadne and Valorous in 1816 and that of the fleet oiler Oleander in 1922.

The century of Pembroke shipbuilding witnessed the most profound developments in naval design and construction as sail gave way to steam, driving paddlewheels and later screw propellers, and wood was overtaken by iron and steel. Successive generations of dockyarders had to learn new skills. Their range and complexity increased as the technical development of war ships advanced apace after the introduction of steam in the 1850s and of iron a decade later. Traditional shipwright expertise slowly gave way to the demands of metal. The rattle of the riveting machines and the fumes from the foundries finally overtook the thud of the adze and the sweet smell of freshly planed oak and pine.

Pembroke-built vessels ranged in consequence from the little cutters HMS Racer and HMS Starling launched together on 21 October 1829, the twenty fourth anniversary of the Battle of Trafalgar, to the colossal line-of-battleship HMS Howe, christened by Miss Harriet Ramsay on Wednesday evening, 7 March 1860, the last sailing three-decked built for the Royal Navy. She was twice the size of Nelsons Victory and, with a displacement of 6,577 tons, one of the two largest wooden steam battleships.

Almost every major ship that went down the ways at Pembroke Dock represented a significant advance in naval architecture or played some remarkable part in British imperial history. The first forty-five years saw the construction of nineteen first- and second-rates, ships which represented the culmination of the art of wooden shipbuilding. Among these was Seppings’ Rodney, christened by Mrs Adams of Holyland on 18 June 1833, the first British two-decked to carry ninety guns or more. She was towed into action at Sebastopol in 1854 by the Pembroke-built paddler HMS Spiteful where her broadside of 1470 lb. was employed to effect. “What a dose of pills for the enemies of Great Britain”, exulted The Nautical Magazine.  HMS Rodney was relieved as flagship on the China Station in 1869 and paid off at Portsmouth on 27 April 1870, the last wooden capital ship in active seagoing commission.

The Rodney was followed by Symmonds outstandingly successful Vanguard of 1835, with her beam of fifty-seven feet the broadest ship in the Navy and the broadest ever built in Britain. She and the Rodney were fierce competitors in the Mediterranean where the ships were regarded as champions of two rival systems of naval architecture.

Pembroke Dockyard played a pioneering role in the development of early steam propulsion. The Tartarus of 1834 was the first of a series of paddle wheel steam vessels which included the famous Gorgon of 1837 and which culminated with the launching by the lady of Colonel Ellis, Commandant of the Garrison, on Wednesday, 30 April 1851, of HMS Valorous, the last paddle frigate ever built for the Royal Navy.

Throughout the 1850s the Yard produced the last of the Royal Navy’s great wooden line of battleships. The three-decked HMS Duke of Wellington was launched as HMS Windsor Castle on 14 September 1852, the same day as the Iron Duke died at Walmer. Her name was changed in his honour a few days later. She and other big wooden liners of the decade were converted while building to carry steam, being “cut asunder” on the slips and lengthened to make room for boilers and engines. The Duke of Wellington served as flagship in the Baltic during the Russian War.

Besides building; ships were also scrapped here.

When the “Triumph”, the first ship Nelson was appointed to, under his maternal uncle Captain Maurice Suckling was broken up in 1850, au immense quantity of mercury (quicksilver) was discovered between her frame timbers, evidently the remains of loot taken from Spanish merchant ships. Of course the Naval storekeeper claimed possession, but the Yardies had their share. The means for carrying the stuff away consisted chiefly of bottles, but, when these bottles were confiscated by Search at the gate, the bare pocket was used.  The Dockyard workers used the mercury to silver the backs of mirrors.

Pembroke’s first ironclad was HMS Prince Consort, christened by Miss Jones [of Pantglas], a Carmarthenshire lady, on Thursday, 26 June 1862. She had been laid down as HMS Triumph, a wooden screw two-decked, but was completed as a wooden ironclad carrying 4.5-inch and 3-inch iron plates. She was followed by other interim ironclads, the Research, Zealous and Lord Clyde. The latter, with her Chatham-built sister ship the Lord Warden, were the largest and fastest steaming wooden ships, naval or mercantile, ever built. But because unseasoned timber had been used in building her at Pembroke, the hull of the Lord Clyde soon became rotten and, known as the Queens Bad Bargain, she was sold out of the Service within ten years.2

Pembroke, after Chatham , was the second of the Royal Yards to receive the plant required for iron hull construction. The first of the iron ships was HMS Penelope, a twin screw corvette launched in 1867. A year later, she was followed by HMS Inconstant which remained afloat for eighty-eight years, the last Pembroke-built warship in existence. With a speed under canvas of 13.5 knots and steaming at 16 knots she was the fastest ship in the world.

The despatch vessels HMS Iris, laid down on No 2 Slip in 1875, and HMS Mercury, laid down on the adjoining No 1 Slip the next year, were the first British warships built of steel and their marine engines made them the fastest fighting ships in the world.

During the last two decades of the century Pembroke Yard launched a series of major capital ships, beginning with the turret ship HMS Edinburgh, launched by the Duchess of Edinburgh in March 1882, and followed by the Collingwood (1882), Howe (1885), Anson (1886), Nile (1888), Empress of India (1891) and Repulse (1892). The final, and by far the heaviest, battleship built in the Yard was the Majestic-class HMS Hannibal, 14,900 tons, launched on 28 April 1896.

Over the next ten years the yard produced a line of protected and armoured cruisers of ever increasing size. The Drake of 1901, which was commanded by Captain John Jellicoe from 1903-4 was the longest ship ever built at Pembroke. The last three armoured cruisers were the monsters HMS Duke of Edinburgh (1904), her half sister HMS Warrior (1905), and the Defence (1907). All three fought in the First Cruiser Squadron at Jutland and only the Duke survived.

Some Pembroke ships made their names in distant waters. The little Starling surveyed Hong Kong waters under Lieutenant Henry Kellett where they are commemorated in Kellett Island, the Headquarters of the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club (long since joined to the waterfront) and in Starling Inlet in the New Territories. On the Pacific coast of Canada, Fisgard Island and Duntze Head honour the frigate HMS Fisgard of 1819 (which itself recalls the French invasion of Fishguard in 1797), which served on the Pacific Station from 1842 to 1846, and her Captain, John Duntze. On the same chart Constance Cove recalls the visit there on 25 July 1848 of the fourth-rate HMS Constance of 1846 which was the first British warship ever to anchor at Esquimalt , now the Canadian Forces main base on the Pacific coast.

Pembroke ships made their mark in both the Polar regions . The Alert of 1856 sailed with the Nares Expedition to the Arctic in 1875 and wintered at Floeberg Beach , 82.24. North, then the highest latitude ever attained by man. In Antarctica, the great 12,400-feet-high volcano, Mount Erebus , discovered by Sir James Clark Ross on 28 January 1841, was named after his ship, the bomb HMS Erebus of 1826. She sailed in 1845 with Sir John Franklin on his ill-fated expedition to survey the Northwest Passage and into history.

Many vessels from Pembroke Dockyard met violent ends. The fifth-rate HMS Thetis of 1817, carrying home a valuable consignment of gold, silver and plate from Rio de Janeiro, was wrecked on Cape Frion in Brazil in December 1830. The big two-decked HMS Clarence, launched in July 1827 in the presence of Prince William Henry, Duke of Clarence, became a training ship on the Mersey where she was destroyed by fire in June 1884. The following year she was replaced by the Pembroke-built three-decked HMS Royal William of 1833 which was re-named Clarence. She too was destroyed by fire on the Mersey in July 1899. Fire also consumed that veteran of the Chinese opium wars, HMS Imogene of 1831, destroyed in the great blaze in Devonport Dockyard in September 1840.

Some ships met their ends in collisions at sea. The Amazon, one of the last timber-hulled sloops built for the Royal Navy, was lost within a year of her launching in May 1865. She was commissioned at Devonport in April 1866 and two months later, on 10 July, she collided off Start Point with the steamer Osprey and both vessels sank. All hands were saved. The Pembroke-built light cruiser HMS Curacoa of 1917 lost all but twenty-six of her ships company when she was cut in two in collision with the Cunarder Queen Mary off the Irish coast in October 1942.

The sea also took its toll of many early Pembroke-built sailing warships which went down the ways at Pembroke Dockyard. The Cherokee-class sloops fared worst. HMS Wizard of 1830 was lost on the Seal Bank off Berehaven in February 1859, the Skylark of 1826 was wrecked on the Isle of Wight in April 1845 and the Spey of 1827 was lost on Racoon Key in the Bahamas in November 1840.

Other Cherokees disappeared without trace. HMS Thais of 1829 was lost on passage from Falmouth to Halifax in December 1833 and the Camilla of 1847 in September 1860 off Japan . The composite gunvessel HMS Gnat, christened by Miss Mirehouse of Angle in the dark on 26 November 1867, was wrecked within a year when she ran aground on Balabac Island in the China Seas on 15 November 1868. Perhaps the most tragic loss was that of the training frigate HMS Atalanta which had been launched as the Juno at Pembroke Dock in 1844. She sailed from Bermuda for home on 1 February 1880 and foundered in the North Atlantic , taking with her 113 ships company and 170 young seamen under training.

Pembroke Dockyard ships fought in most of Queen Victoria’s little wars against recalcitrant emirs, rebellious native chiefs and omnipresent East Indian pirates. They also fought in the great wars of the twentieth century. The first British warship sunk in the First World War was the light cruiser HMS Amphion of 1911, mined in the North Sea on 6 August 1914. The great armoured cruiser HMS Drake, christened by Mrs Lort Phillips in spring 1901, and the light cruiser HMS Nottingham of 1913, were both torpedoed. German gunfire at the Battle of Jutland in May 1916 claimed the last two armoured cruisers, the last two major warships built at the Yard, HMS Warrior of 1905 and the Defence of 1907. The Defence, flagship of Rear Admiral Sir Robert Arbuthnot in the First Cruiser Squadron, blew up with the loss of old Sir Robert, one of the Navys fitness fanatics, and all 893 men on board. The Warrior was so badly damaged that she was abandoned and sank. The final loss in the Great War occurred a few weeks before the Armistice. The little submarine L10, launched in January 1918, was sunk off Texel in the following October. The last vessel launched at Pembroke, the fleet oiler Oleander of 1922, was sunk in Harstead Bay on 8 June 1940 after having been damaged by German dive bombers during the Norwegian Campaign.

Naval histories record the battles and the glory but the high price of Admiralty was also paid in full by the men who built these great ships and by their families. The physical hazards of working in the dockyard were many and often fatal. The Important Case Book maintained by the Senior Medical Officer in accordance with Article 190 of Home Dockyard Regulations records a long list of deaths and terrible injuries suffered by Dockyard workers. The terse clinical accounts compiled by Fleet Surgeons a century ago and the occasional moss-covered gravestone are often the only remaining evidence of tragedy. For them there were no drums and no trumpets sounded.

Industrial injuries increased in severity and frequency upon the introduction of iron and steel after 1860 with its associated foundries, forges and machine shops. Falls from staging on the building slips continued to claim lives and hernias were common. To these were now added burns, injuries with machinery and eye damage caused by flying metal during riveting. Almost every addition to the Navy List from Pembroke Dockyard was marked by a new gravestone in a south Pembrokeshire churchyard or a family cast into penury.

The Dockyard Surgery treated all injuries and serious cases were sent on board the old fourth-rate HMS Nankin, a veteran of the Second China War, which served as the dockyard hospital ship from 1866 to 1895 when facilities were provided on shore. The old Nankin was the end of the road for many.

The case of Samuel Ellis Ball, a fifty-four-year-old shipwright, who lies in Plot G.126 just inside the gates of Llanion Cemetery , was not untypical. On Thursday, 10 February 1881, the said Samuel was preparing the 465-ton composite gunboat HMS Cockchafer for launching. He fell from a stage at the stem of the ship into the bottom of the slip twenty-two feet below and was taken out to the Nankin in a semi-conscious state where Staff Surgeon Henry Dawson found head, back and chest injuries and a fractured right thigh. He complained of great pain, the Surgeon told the inquest, I attended him for ten days, when he died . . . the primary cause of death was concussion of the brain.

The Cockchafer was launched at 9 am on Saturday, 19 February, by Miss Philipps of Lawrenny Castle . The ship took the water beautifully, the strains of the band mingling with the cheers of those assembled. Just offshore, Samuel Ball in HMS Nankin was still barely alive. He died four hours later at 1pm.

Even after the turn of the century life in the Yard could be a brutal business. John Lewis, aged fifty-six, Established Labourer No 595, was painting a bulkhead in the port engine room of the new cruiser HMS Drake on 30 January 1901 when he slipped and fell thirteen feet onto the engine bearers and then into the crankpit. He fractured his skull and is now totally deaf. In addition he has lost his left eye which he states occurred when building HMS Shannon on 1st May 1875, wrote Fleet Surgeon Edward Luther. The latter concluded: His capacity to contribute to his own support is totally destroyed and is likely to be permanent. Lewis was invalided on 16 April 1901.

The dreaded letters DD in red ink denoted the Royal Navy abbreviation for Discharged Dead, the final epitaph of many. William Williams aged forty-five, Labourer No 1899, from Bush Street , had been greasing cogs in a machine in No 2 Fitters Shop on the morning of 21 May 1900 when he was caught in the machinery. He was taken to the Surgery with a fractured skull and his right hand amputated all except his thumb. William Williams received his DD in red ink the following day.

His widow received £193 14s 11d in compensation from the Admiralty. The following January the Admiralty informed the Captain Superintendent that in future coffins for workmen accidentally killed in the Dockyard were not to be provided at public expense and, reported the Pembroke Dock and Pembroke Gazette, have directed the Yard authorities to recover from the representatives of the late William Williams . . . the cost of the coffin supplied.

The cost of coffins was a major outlay against which Dockyard workers had to make prudent provision. The Royal Dockyard Interment Society formed in about 1870 to do away with collections in the Dockyard collected weekly two pence subscriptions as an insurance against funeral costs. The scheme has proved an inestimable boon to very many families, reported the Society’s annual meeting in April 1893.

Distance from the Dockyard as well as danger when they got there was a constant problem for the Dockyarders, most of whom lived in a widely dispersed area of south Pembrokeshire. This entailed long journeys by horse or boat for the fortunate but by foot for the many. As the paternal concern of the Admiralty included basic medical care it added to the professional duties of the Dockyard surgeon.

This was recognised as early as 1841. An Order in Council dated 11 February, after emphasising that the number of artificers and workmen has greatly increased [since 1815] and the duty of the Surgeon has become more onerous in consequence of many of the men being obliged to reside at a considerable distance from the yard, proceeded to ask that the exigency may be provided for by such small addition to the salary of the Surgeon as will enable him to keep a horse for the purpose of visiting his distant patients. His salary was duly increased from £400 to £450 a year.

The Dockyard Surgeon was still doing his rounds on horseback at the beginning of this century. In his memoirs, Rear Admiral T.T. Jeans, then a young doctor at Pembroke Dockyard, recalls that houses in Pembroke Dock were so scarce that many had to live in the villages in the neighbourhood - some as far as seven miles. He considered that the long tramp to work and home, day after day, winter and summer, a tragedy in itself, was absolutely incompatible with a satisfactory days work in between. The doctors concern was, however, tempered by the tale he tells of a parson’s wife living in one of these remoter villages who, sympathising one day with the wife of a workman who had so far to go to his work, received the unexpected and illuminating reply: Well, Mum, he do rest all day. Just how hard the men worked at the Yard will be discussed later.

It was part of Surgeon Jeans duties to ride around the country to visit Dockyarders who had reported sick. During the spring and at potato time this had its lighter moments:

As I rode up a lane towards a cottage, [I would see] over the hedge, the poor sick man hoeing his ground. He would hear the horses hoof, look up, catch sight of me and dash for his cottage and his bed, where after listening to a long-winded account of his ailments from his wife and hearing the thump of his boots on the floor overhead, I would find him probably fully-dressed but minus those boots.

The late Admiral of the Fleet, Lord Chatfield, who spent his early years at Pembroke Dockyard in the 1880s where his father was Captain Superintendent, recalled how his mother initiated the soup kitchen in the Dockyard for the men to have hot soup in the dinner hour. The Pembroke Dock and Tenby Gazette reported that hundreds of the employees . . . live too far away to allow them to go home in the short dinner time granted and as a consequence they have to be content with cold lunch in the middle of the day. The soup kitchen was funded by nominal contributions from the men and from the proceeds of concerts organised by Mrs Chatfield. Over the three years of her husbands appointment fifty-seven gallons of soup were issued daily to 300 grateful men, a total of 17,000 gallons to 90,000 diners. Each man received one and a half pints of soup a day at a cost of three pence a week.

There is nothing to suggest that Pembroke men were any slower than their colleagues in other royal Yards in seeing off Their Lordships. Indeed, Surgeon Jeans was of the opinion that the well-known dockyard crawl was more apparent in Pembroke Dockyard than in any of the other three great dockyards, and that even the Dockyard shire horses adapted themselves to it:

A couple of these splendidly conditioned animals might be seen drawing, painfully and slowly, a small empty lorry, but at the first sound of the dinner bell, the drivers would slip off their harness and away they would go, helter skelter across the pieces of waste land, jumping the low chain railings in between, frisking like colts, each trying to get to the harness shed and feed before the others. I often went out into the Yard simply to watch this horse play - and some sign of active vitality.

Captain Burges Watson, Captain Superintendent just before the turn of the century, was convinced that his workforce was idle and his suspicions reached dramatic climax on 15 July 1898, when he assembled every Dockyard officer from Chief Constructor down to the humblest chargeman in the Dockyard Schoolroom. He reported that he had found a hutch in a timber stack, roofed with corrugated iron, and equipped with towels, water and pillows and in which, it seemed, men had been going to skulk, sleep and - worse still  perhaps smoke, for weeks or months previously. The Dockyard Police had later found three men in there and he had discharged them. A few days earlier he had been on board the cruiser HMS Andromeda when, at five minutes to Noon, he had distinctly heard the sound of a bell, not the official bell, but a hammer striking on a shackle, and immediately afterwards nearly all hands ceased working. There were other examples of shirking. He had come ashore at the landing stage one night in plain clothes and noted that there was no sound of activity on board the Royal Yacht Victoria and Albert where the night shift was on overtime but that when he got near a perfect din was set up.

Of course, this all caused a great uproar in the local newspaper with complaints that 2,200 men should not be tarred with the same brush as three errant skulkers.

The workforce was a close-knit community which any senior naval officer found almost impossible to penetrate. Surgeon Jeans observed that the workmen through inter-marriage over long years had become so closely inter-related that it was no uncommon thing to find a gang of riggers or shipwrights whose foremen and timekeepers were the fathers or uncles or brothers of most of the gang. They must have led the Captain Superintendents a merry dance (we still did as apprentices in Devonport in the 1950s).

Launching days were the highlights of the Pembroke calendar throughout the history of the Dockyard. Their importance varied with the size of the ship which in turn determined the rank of the lady chosen to perform the christening. These events are to hundreds the "sunny spots" in their chequered existence, commented the Pembrokeshire Herald in its report of the launching in 1844 of the two-decked HMS Centurion by Mrs Cockburn of Rhoscrowther.

The Yard was customarily opened to the public on launching days and the latter occasions attracted crowds of visitors and welcome extra trade in the town. The first launchings were on 10 February 1816 before an impressive concourse of spectators assembled to witness the novel event. The sixth-rates, HMS Ariadne and Valorous, built together on that first improvised slip, stem to stem, went afloat, one bows first and the other, more conventionally, stem first, a circumstance which created considerable interest at the time.

The launch of the great three-decked HMS Windsor Castle in 1852 was typical. According to one report: From an early hour on Tuesday morning conveyances of every description commenced swarming into Pater . . . and every description of passage boat from Carmarthen, Tenby, Haverfordwest and Milford and other places, lent their aid in conveying to the scene some of the thousands who, throughout the day, thronged the neighbourhood of the Dockyard.

At the other end of the scale the little flat iron gunboats HMS Tickler and Griper, launched on Monday, 15 September 1879, were christened by two little girls, Miss E.J. Warren, daughter of the new Chief Constructor, and Miss H.M.F. Powell, the six-year-old daughter of Pembroke Docks second Vicar and former naval officer, the Rev. F.G.M. Powell, of St Johns Church . Each young lady, ran one press report, was presented with an elegantly polished mahogany box lined with blue velvet, containing a burnished miniature steel axe, with which each young lady used to sever the cords suspending the weights over the dogshores.

The launching process was a complicated engineering undertaking and was not always a success. The launch of the ninety-gun screw two-decked HMS Caesar in the summer of 1853 took seventeen days round-the-clock effort. Lady Georgiana Balfour, daughter of the Earl of Cawdor, christened the 2,767 tons ship on Thursday, 21 July, but the vessel stopped after sliding only half her length down the slip. Nothing could equal our consternation, wrote Captain Sir Thomas Pasley, the Captain Superintendent, in his diary, No one could guess the cause. When the tide ebbed the ships bilgeways and stem were found embedded in the mud with fifty-six feet of the hull suspended without support over the groundways.

The operation mounted over the next seventeen days to free the ship became an epic and was fully reported in the Pembrokeshire Herald. On the following day all the casks of the town were borrowed and it was gratifying to see the alacrity with which these were furnished by publicans and others - the former in some instances actually emptying both beer and porter into tubs and vats. The tide rose more quickly than expected next day, Sunday, and the Dockyard bell was rung and the [Dockyard) Battalion drums sent through the town - beating to quarters, and messengers on horseback and foot sent off in all directions. Improvisations failed and it took specially - built camels lashed beneath her counter at low water on Friday, 5 August, to move her. Across the weekend the ship moved forty-eight feet. Then, at 6.10 on Sunday evening, two hours before high water, she started to move. The Battalion drums again paraded the town. The church and chapels etc. were soon deserted. Sir Thomas Pasley recorded: And at length she came and marvellous was the excitement and loud and long were the cheers of our men who, poor fellows, have worked as hard as men could work.`

The cause was long debated. Local tradition held that a local witch, excluded from attending the launching, put a curse on the Caesar. More likely there was insufficient tallow between the sole of the ways and the launching slip and the sliding surfaces had been planed too smoothly.

The launching of minor vessels, too, could prove disastrous on the day. The little 238-ton screw gunboats HMS Janus and Drake were built on the same slip sharing one set of bilgeways. They were christened at 5.30 p.m. on Saturday, 8 March 1856, by Mrs Mathias of Lamphey Court , wife of the High Sheriff, from staging erected on the side of the slip between the two vessels. Both hulls moved off together, Drake leading. As the Janus passed she demolished the platform and Mrs Mathias and her children were whirled out of their place and hurled with frightful violence into the slip. In the confusion the gallant little vessels went off without a single cheer or other symptom of approbation. Miss Mathias, with a broken collar bone, was for some time insensible, but they all survived. A week later Mrs Mathias, being deeply sensible of the workmen’s help in rescuing her family from the confusion and entanglement into which they were cast, rewarded them each with ten shillings.

Much more calamitous was the accident to the new royal yacht Victoria and Albert in the winter of 1900, an event which seriously damaged the professional reputation of Pembroke Dockyard and ruined the career of the ships designer, the Director of Naval Construction, Sir William White.

The 380-foot steel yacht was laid down in December 1897 as a replacement for the veteran paddle yacht of the same name which had been built at Pembroke Dockyard nearly fifty years earlier. The new vessel, the last ship to be launched from Pembroke Yard in Queen Victoria’s reign, was launched by the Duchess of York (later Queen Mary) on 9 May 1899.

After her engines and boilers had been installed and her masts stepped under the sheerlegs at Hobbs Point, the berth had to be vacated for fitting out the new cruiser HMS Spartiate. As there was no other jetty (Pembroke’s limitations again!), the yacht was put into dry dock for completion. This was not an unusual proceeding but it led to disaster.

The completed yacht was to be floated out of the dock at dawn on 3 January 1900. As the dock flooded the ship slipped to starboard off her blocks aft with a list of eight degrees to port. The Marine guard immediately sounded the bugle call and all ports and scuttles were closed.

The caisson could not be secured at high tide allowing much of the water to escape, leaving the ship unsupported, despite the efforts of the Dockyard fire brigade pumps. Sir William White, summoned from London, arrived at 2 am on `the bleak dock-side and saw the beautiful thing heeled over with naphtha flares burning all round, a host of men climbing over her and shouting angrily. He felt the hostility in the air but was generous in his praise of the emergency measures which had been taken. It is not possible for me to over state the value of the prompt and skilful action of the Dockyard officers, he wrote, to which we owe the rescue of the vessel from a dangerous position.

The yacht was safe and watertight with damage limited to an 8-inch dent running over twenty-five feet amidships. She was ballasted with 200 tons of water and 105 tons of pig iron before the next tide, when she was floated out with a ten degree list and taken to a buoy where, on 4 January, Sir William conducted stability tests using a team of 475 men rushing from side to side.

There was a subsequent furore in Press and Parliament. An enquiry presided over by Mr.G. J. Goschen, First Lord of the Admiralty, reported on 29 April. The accident was due not to a single error or miscalculation in the general design but to an excess in weight and equipment [771 tons] distributed over a number of items. In short, the ship was top heavy.

Sir William was formally censured by the Admiralty and retired a broken man.

The hierarchy of the Royal Dockyards was as strictly determined as the Royal Navy which they served. At the head was the Commissioner or, after the absorption of the Navy Board by the Admiralty in 1832, the Superintendent - a rear admiral in the major yards but a captain at Pembroke Dockyard. He commanded in all respects: Commissioner - head of the yard - great man - remarkably great man, was the accurate description by Arthur Jingle in Pickwick Papers of the Commissioner at Chatham where Dickens father was employed. These sea officers had no shipbuilding knowledge and there was often tension between them and their civilian Master Shipwrights, later Chief Constructors, who had spent a lifetime in the trade. These senior captains, however, knew about handling men.

Pembroke had thirty-five Captain Superintendents between 1832 and 1926 who were borne on the ships books of the successive guardships at Pembroke which they formally commanded. Among those early Captain Superintendents were

Captain Chas Bullen who was the first, he fought at Trafalgar

Cumby who is buried in Park St Cemetery and also fought at Trafalgar

Samual Jackson

Sir Watkyn O Pell who had a wooden leg and would ride a horse around the yard and up on the hill so that he could see what was going on. It is said that the horse was so well trained that he could ride it up the gangways on to the ships.

J F Falcon

Peter Richards

Sir Thomas Sabine Pasley - he was very involved with the early days of the National School. I shall always look back on Pembroke Yard as the most comfortable and satisfactory epoch of my life, he wrote) in his diary. His daughter, Louisa, recalled: Pembroke Dockyard was . . . a paradise to the Captain Superintendent. No telephone disturbed his equanimity or harassed his clerks. The railway did not approach within 40 miles at the date of his taking up the appointment though it had advanced to only ten miles when his time expired. Old Sir Thomas, wracked by money worries, was cheered by the Dockyard workers and sailors from the guardship HMS Saturn when he left in the Prospero steamer on 5 June 1854: At last the Yard was cleared, he       wrote, and the last sound of Pembroke Dockyard that I shall ever hear died away. But the recollection will never die from my memory. I was quite over-come and felt it all very deeply . . . God bless them all!  

Robert Smart.

George Ramsey was very interested in public work in the town and was one of those instrumental in the forming and building of the Mechanics Institute. His son died young and is buried in Park St Cemetery.

William Loring married while at Pembroke Dock Miss Adams of Holyland who was descended from the Adams of Paterchurch.

Robert Hall his wife was very interested in helping the poor of the town.

William Armytage

R W Courtney

R V Hamilton

George H Parkin was very keen on fundraising activities for the National School.

Alfred J Chatfield, his wife was very concerned about the conditions that the workmen had to eat at lunchtime and through her work a dining room was built with a recreation and reading room attached.

Edward Kelly

George Digby Morant remembered for having the ability to recognise any man who worked in the yard.

Samual Long: He and his wife organised fundraising activities to place the National School on a sound financial footing.

Walter Stewart

Charles  Fitzgerald came to the Yard in 1893: Their Lordships . . . appointed me to the very best captains appointment in the Naval        Service . . . Superintendent of Pembroke Dockyard . . . and a delightful two years it proved to be. A good home, an excellent garden, a nice compact little dockyard a good long way from London and the Admiralty, and the kindest and most hospitable neighbours I have ever come across. His wife was took a great interest in the Sunday Schools and there work with young people.

Chas J Balfor

Burges Watson: He and his wife were instrumental in raising the funding to install a new organ in the Dockyard Chapel. His wife was also very much involved with social work especially the Nurses Association and Home.

Charles J Barlow.

Gerald W Russell.

John Denison.

The reign was terminated by AFO. (Admiralty Fleet Order) 1477 dated 4 June 1926:

As Pembroke Dockyard will be reduced to a care and maintenance basis by 3lst May, it has been decided that the appointment of Captain Superintendent is to terminate on that date.

The last one Leonard Donaldson, wrote to his staff: I wish you all every good luck and trust that the Yard may before long be used for some useful purpose and bring some help to the Town and District.

Acc/to Kellys Directory   1884

The senior staff of Her Majestys Dockyard were:

Captain Superintendent, Alfred J. Chatfield

Harbour Master, Staff-Commander John A. R. Petch

Chief Constructor, J. C. Froyne

Superintending Civil Engineer, George Tinkler

Storekeeping & Cashier, A. M. Wiele

Accountant, Charles Napier Pearn

Chaplain, Rev.Frederick William Nickoll MA

Fleet Surgean, Walter F. C. Bartlett .

Secretary to Superinterdent, Alfred Penfold

Constrnctor, G. A. Malpas

Chief Boatswain, John Oliver

Chief Inspector of Police, Daniel Collins

Schoolmaster, Thomas Dawe

The decline of Pembroke Dockyard began soon after the turn of the century. This was not evident to the men then employed. The armoured cruiser HMS Defence, launched in 1907, was the last major warship built at the Yard. Thereafter only light cruisers - averaging one a year - and a handful of submarines occupied a few of the slips which throughout the Great War were concerned with war repair work.

The future United States President, Franklin D. Roosevelt, visited Pembroke Dockyard in July 1918 when he was Assistant Secretary of the ( US ) Navy. He thought Pembroke was an old, small affair somewhat like our Portsmouth Navy Yard. In a letter to the Secretary of the Navy, Josephus Daniel, Roosevelt reported: It has been expanded since the War from 1,000 to nearly 4,000 employees, and does mostly repair work to patrol vessels etc., and is also building four submarines. I was particularly interested to see over 500 women employed in various capacities, some of them even acting as moulders helpers in the foundry, and all of them doing excellent work.

It was somewhat prophetic of future developments in the harbour that the very last vessel launched at Pembroke should have been an oil tanker. The Royal Fleet Auxiliary Oleander, named by Mrs Dutton, wife of the Captain Superintendent, went down the ways on Wednesday evening, 3 May 1922. As she entered the water a loud cheer was raised by all present.  It must have been a pale shadow of the great launching days the Dockyard had seen. She was brought alongside the Carr Jetty, that first class fitting-out jetty - the lack of which had hindered fitting-out operations for half a century - but which  had come too late.

The home dockyards were all now seriously under-employed. The machinery and boilers for the Oleander were made at Devonport, Portsmouth and Chatham, “the work having been distributed for the purpose of keeping workmen in the several engineering departments at those dockyards in employment.

The following month the Dockyard suffered a terminal injury with the burning down of the mould loft. Various newspapers reported the tragic event. Practically the whole population of the town came to witness what was, in many respects, a wonderful spectacle. A north-westerly breeze fanned the fire which consumed, not only the constructive centre of the Yard, but its archives and collections of ship models and figureheads. The best efforts of the Metropolitan Police, ship’s company of the light cruiser HMS Cleopatra in refit, and two companies of the York and Lancaster Regiment, were in vain.

The serious fire . . . would have been regretted at any time, but happening just now, when the future of the Yard is in doubt, it can only be regarded as a first class calamity. The towns of Pembroke Dock, Pembroke and Neyland, with many adjacent villages, are entirely dependent on the Government Dockyard, and the heavy reduction of workmen employed, ranging from 4,000 to a matter of 1,700, has materially contributed to the attenuated resources of the whole district.”

The long and vigorous campaign to save Pembroke Dockyard has been ably documented elsewhere. A petition to Prime minister Stanley Baldwin stressed the lack of alternative employment and the economic consequences. The town would be denuded of wage earners with the transfer of 400 established men and the discharge of 800 hired workers for whom there was no other work; trade would be paralysed and there would be bankruptcy and ruin for traders; homes would be broken up and family ties severed.

The decision, however, was irreversible. The Navy simply had too many dockyards and the Admiralty had to keep a fleet together with much-reduced funds. Pembroke and Rosyth had to go. The choice was laid out starkly by the First Sea Lord, Admiral of the Fleet Earl Beatty, in his speech at The Lord Mayors Banquet on 9 November 1925: Whether these Yards are necessary for naval purposes, the Admiralty is the only competent judge. As to whether they are necessary for political or social reasons is for the Government to decide. The fact is that so far as the upkeep of the Fleet is concerned, they are entirely redundant.

Pembroke Dock is now almost entirely a town of unemployed and pensioners, commented the Telegraph Almanac in 1927. The direct consequence of State policy was thus to destroy a town: between 1921 and 1931 some 3,500 people, a quarter of the towns inhabitants, migrated, while in 1937 over half of the insured population of the borough were unemployed.  It is now apparent that in its heyday things had been very different. Growth had continued fast down to the close of the nineteenth century, the Pembrokeshire Herald of 20 January 1899 observing: prospects for the future of the Yard are bright; it pointed out that very recently there had been only about fifty joiners in the Yard, whereas at the present time the number was 200. If we turn to the total numbers employed, then we discover that on 1 May 1860 some 1,356 worked there, a number which grew to between 2,200 and 2,500 by 1898-1899.

Wages were high compared with those of other workers: thus the average weekly wage of skilled labourers in the Yard in September 1899 was 24s, whereas the annual average weekly wage in 1898 for those Pembrokeshire farm labourers who were married and provided their own food was 15s. l0d.

There is no mistaking the calamity of 1926 for Pembroke Dock inhabitants. But a good many employed in the Dockyard, lived in Pembroke, Neyland, and in outlying villages like Llangwm, many from the country districts having been formerly employed as farm labourers. Some of the Dock yard mechanics and artisans living in these outlying rural villages rented smallholdings - a reminder once again that Pembrokeshire workers employed in industrial undertakings often had links with the land. These neighbouring towns and villages also suffered in 1926. Local farming, too, was adversely affected through the loss of demand for its produce from dockyard workers and their families. And local sport suffered through young men migrating from the district.

On 4 April 1956 the hulk of the old iron screw frigate, HMS Inconstant, which Lady Muriel Campbell had gracefully and dextrously  launched at Pembroke Dockyard on a Thursday afternoon in 1868, arrived at a Belgian port for breaking-up. She was the last Pembroke-built ship afloat. On 29 June that year, Admiral Leonard Andrew Boyd Donaldson, the last Captain-Superintendent of Pembroke Dockyard, died aged eighty-one in a Portsmouth hospital. The last ship and the last sailor had gone to their haven under the hill just thirty years after the closure of His Majesty’s Royal Yard at Pembroke Dock.

Today almost nothing remains of those former glories. The building slips have almost all disappeared beneath new developments. A few surviving Dockyard offices, priceless examples of the stonemasons art, are slowly crumbling. The old Dockyard Chapel has been stripped of its memorial window to the lost Atalanta, its oak pews were taken away by the Royal Air Force and its famous bell, captured from the Spaniards, gone without trace.

[The bell was taken from the Spanish second-rate FENIX captured during Rodneys Moonlight Battle on 16th January 1780. The ship was commissioned into the Royal Navy as HMS Gibraltar and was broken up in Pembroke Dockyard in November 1836 when, presumably, her bell was mounted in the recently completed Dockyard Chapel.]


At Pembroke Dock, the Royal Navy still occupies a part of the old Royal Dockyard, HM Mooring and Marine Salvage Depot and was, until recently under the command of a Resident Naval Officer, who also had the title of Queens Harbour Master.

The depot was a major employer in the area. In 1975 170 people work there - and it was the base for a fleet of Royal Maritime Auxiliary Service vessels, the largest of which was the salvage ship Garganey.

Their patch extends from the Isle of Man to Lands End including the Bristol Channel , and in that area, as part of the Naval salvage organisation, they would be the first to be involved in a Government salvage operation. This includes the recovery from the sea of crashed aircraft.

They are also responsible for the laying and maintenance of all Government mooring and navigation buoys in their area, a mighty task as under each buoy is a complex system of large anchors and chains weighing up to 200 tons. All this has to be lifted, inspected and components changed, at regular intervals.

The RMAS vessels also play a key role in operations on the Royal Aircraft Establishments guided missile range off Aberporth, where HM ships are frequent visitors for trials.


The Dockyard Ghost Story

The Haunting of H.M.S. Asp

In the year 1850 a Captain Alldridge was given command of H.M.S. Asp, but he never realised how much concern that particular command was to cause him in the future. During a few convivial parties with his seafaring friends, they told him she was said to be a haunted vessel. The Captain, who was not a superstitious man laughed heartily, but from the day he took command he felt there was something strange about the ship.

He had been many years at sea and had heard all the unaccounted noises that always seem to be in a ship at night, the creaks and groaning of its timbers.

He had never heard noises like this ship made, but before long he became quite used to the sounds and paid no further attention to them.

He lay asleep in his ship one night while it was at anchor at Milford Haven, South Wales . He must have been asleep for some time when he was awakened by his Quarter-Master.

“Please to come on deck, sir. The look-out man has been to fetch me and he seems in a terribly shocked condition”, he said. The Captain was not at all pleased about being awakened, but he got up and made his way to the main deck. There he found his look-out man almost incoherent with terror. He insisted he had seen a woman standing on the paddle box pointing towards heaven with her forefinger. She was dressed in white.

“I am going to die for sure tonight”, he said hysterically. The Captain angrily commanded the man to assume his watch on deck and not to be so silly or he would be flogged in the morning.

He ordered the Quarter-Master to see that his command was obeyed. He added that he was not to be disturbed any more during the night about any sightings of the supernatural, or there would be trouble.

For a while, the look-out man tried his best to carry on, but he was overcome by a kind of fit and had to be carried below by his mates.

An entry in the Ships log reads “3rd December 1852 Seaman Ferris has been charged with deserting lookout duty. During a summary hearing it was alleged that the figure of a woman appeared on the aft deck beckoning and pointing below deck. On medical evidence the accused was found to be sober but emotionally disturbed”

This was not the end of the haunting. The woman appeared to other members of the crew, and, just as on the first occasion, she silently pointed heavenwards.

Some of the sailors were terribly frightened when they saw this woman, but did not dare to say anything about it in case the Captain had them flogged. The others shrugged it off as imagination or too much rum.

During the time the ship was anchored in Haverfordwest River , one Sunday morning the Captain attended church. The sailors had all gone ashore to visit Lawrenny, a village nearby, in the hope of finding congenial female company. The only crew member left on board to keep an eye on things was the ships steward, a very prosaic kind of man. He was just coming down the companion ladder, thinking of nothing in particular, when a husky voice spoke to him.

He was so frightened when he heard this disembodied voice that he fell down the companion way ladder, injuring himself slightly

When the captain came on board the steward told him the disembodied voice which had spoken to him. The captain was angry at first but the man who had a ghastly look on his face begged for his immediate discharge from the Navy. The captain thinking that in this state the steward was useless granted his request, at which the man rushed off to collect his belongings while the captain signed his discharge papers.

The steward did not want to spend another night on H.M.S. Asp, and left as soon as he received his discharge.

News that the ship was alleged to be haunted reached the village of Lawrenny . Among those who got to hear about the haunting was the local vicar, who had a great interest in the supernatural. He called on the Captain and asked to speak to some of the crew members. The Captain was not very keen to grant permission as he was getting rather tired of the ghost and it was upsetting the men, but he did not want to seem discourteous, so he granted the Vicar permission to visit the ship and talk to the crew.

After interviewing the sailors, the Vicar said he was sure there was a ghost on board, but the Captain refused to let him carry out any form of exorcism, telling him that if the Captain was not afraid of the ghost, then surely the sailors were not either.

The ghost certainly caused the Captain much inconvenience during the years he commanded the Asp.

Several of his men who had told him the same story about seeing the ghost asked for their discharge. He had to let them have their discharge because if he did not so great was their terror that they ran away.

The strange thing was that each man told the same story of seeing a woman dressed in white pointing upwards to heaven. She appeared in many parts of the ship, and at all hours of the day.

The Captain remained sceptical about any ghost being on the ship, until one night when he began to change his mind. He was awakened by a sensation of a hand being placed on his leg above the bedclothes. The touch was icy cold even through the thick woollen blankets, and the cabin had become very cold.

He rang loudly for the Quarter-Master in case someone had been playing a joke, but there was no sign of anything anywhere. This incident happened a few times, but the Captain was a brave man and he did not bother very much. At last something happened to really disturb him. He awoke to find a hand smoothing his forehead. He said afterwards that every hair on his head stood up in fright and he leapt out of bed, but there was no one around. Now the Captain, too, was not very happy about the ghost, but he was afraid to tell any of his contemporaries in case they laughed at him.                      

In 1857 the ghost left H.M.S. Asp, never to return. The ship had been taken during the autumn of that year to Pembroke Dock for repairs. On the second night after the ship had docked, a sentry swore he saw a figure climb onto the paddle-box of the ship. He noticed it was the figure of a woman, pointing upwards, which then stepped on shore and made straight for him. He was not aware that he had seen the ships phantom. To him it was just a female figure who had no business on the ship. Pointing his musket, he shouted, “Who goes there?” The figure took not the slightest notice and continued to advance. It walked straight through the barrel of the musket, which the man dropped in terror as he ran to the guardhouse. The sentry standing next to him stayed at his post, although he had seen the whole eerie happening. He was made of sterner stuff than his comrade. He fired his musket to attract the attention of his Guard Commander. A third sentry, who was on guard some distance away from the other two, had an even worse experience than either of them. He saw the figure of a woman dressed in white walk past him and make its way towards the ruins of Pater Old Church across from the dockyard.

The apparition walked into the disused churchyard, and the sentry, who had climbed the wall, saw exactly what happened. The figure climbed on to an old grave, and, standing in the centre, pointed a finger towards heaven. Slowly, slowly, with arms upraised, it sank into the grave, passing through the black gravestone, vanishing from the sentry’s sight.

The Guard Commander was told by the sentries what they had seen, and although it seemed unbelievable, he wrote a report of the incident. The ghost never haunted H.M.S. Asp again and the strange noises of the night ceased.

The once sceptical Captain Alldridge became very anxious to find out whom the woman had been when she was alive, and eventually found that H.M.S. Asp had once been engaged on mail packet duties between Port Patrick and Donaghadee.

After one journey a stewardess whose duty it was to check all the cabins immediately the passengers had left the ship, was on her rounds. She went into a cabin and saw a beautiful, dark-haired girl lying on a berth. She thought the young lady had been asleep and not realised the ship had berthed, as she appeared to be wearing a long white night-dress.

The stewardess went to wake her, when to her horror found that the girl’s throat had been cut and she was a horrifying sight covered in blood.

No one ever found out who the girl was, nor was the murderer ever found.

The macabre discovery by the stewardess was talked about all over Britain and Ireland at the time, and then everyone eventually forgot about it.

Captain Alldridge told the Admiralty about the haunting of H.M.S. Asp, and of the tragedy he had unearthed after a great deal of enquiry. H.M.S. Asp was thoroughly searched, but nothing was found to be amiss. She was then refitted throughout.

She was handed back to Captain Alldridge, and during the whole of his command of her that followed there was no disturbing happening of any kind, and the strange noises ceased.

He sometimes wondered whether the cruelly murdered womans ghost had left her grave near Pembroke Dock and journeyed on the Asp in the hope of bringing her murderer to justice, but had eventually given up in despair.


THE EARLY DAYS OF THE TOWN (Mrs Mary Peters 1905).

When the early dwelling-houses were built in the town, tanks were attached for the collection of rain-water. In addition to these tanks, there were wells of spring water for the use of the public. One was the Fountain Well, at the top of South Park Street . For many years this well was uncovered, and therefore dangerous. Mr. Seccombe father of the late Mr. William Seccombe, made a collection amongst the townspeople, and had it built over. The Fortland Well was situated at the lower end of the boundary wall of the Hut Encampment. The water had its source in a spring distance above the wall. Near this spot was the old road which led to Pembroke Ferry, but it is now enclosed and the present one substituted. The water was obtained through a tap fixed in the wall. The military authorities have within recent years appropriated the supply, and it has been cut off from the public, although, for a long period the people had claimed it as their own right. The Rock Well, a natural spring flowing out of the rocks near the New Pier, was much used, as also were the Cambrian well, on the hill between Lower and Middle Prospect Place, and the well which was on the east side of Tregennas Hill or Bellvue. With the exception of a few wells or winches in private gardens, these were the only sources the majority of the people had for the supply of this most essential necessary of life. Two or three of the streets near the Dockyard were supplied with water from the Government reservoirs.

These reservoirs were built with earth taken from the Barrack Hill after it came into the possession of the Government, when they excavated and levelled a portion of it in connection with the Defensible Barracks.

For many years the water question was a grievous one; at one time the town practically suffered from a water famine, and whenever there was a spell of dry weather it was very scarce.

The late Mr. James Williams, J.P., of London Road, agitated for a long while to have this state of things remedied, and was successful in getting a supply of water by means of a tunnel bored in the eastern side of the hill, near Prospect Place , through which the springs were tapped. The water was then conveyed into large covered-in reservoirs.

Some time after this Councillor W. Davies, JP, of Princes Street , who was then Chairman of the Water Committee, greatly interested himself in getting hydrants placed in convenient parts of the streets, supplied with water conveyed by pipes from the above-mentioned reservoirs. This water is pumped to a high level, and brought by pipes to the town and to the Dockyard, and also to the garrison. To Alderman A. McColl, JP. C.C., of Laws Street, the people are chiefly indebted for carrying through the scheme, to which he has given much time and energy, thus promoting a successful remedy for a long and much felt need.

The town has never been systematically drained, but this is now being done.

The work, which was begun in 1900, has proved to be difficult and very costly. It is, however, hoped it will be completed, and all the connections made, in less than two years. The estimated cost of the drainage scheme and the waterworks combined is £54,516.

Amongst the improvements of the town must not be forgotten the Jetty, constructed to the west of the Dockyard, on the principal portion of a dangerous mass of rocks known as the Carrs. The Jetty was built for the purpose of coaling ships and the hoisting of boilers and machinery into position on the ships. The sheer legs erected for this purpose are reckoned to be among the largest ever constructed, and are capable of lifting over 100 tons. The cost of the Jetty was £110,000.

In King William Street there is a large yard, formerly used in connection with a business carried on by the late firm of Messrs. Jones and Johns Government contractors. This firm built barracks at Dublin, Devizes and Cardiff, also the early brick huts at the Hut Encampment and did work at different times on all the forts at Milford Haven. They, too, erected the cottages at Llanion and many of the houses in London Road . With regard to other industries the building trade during recent years is a prominent feature, and the various builders in the town have been, and now are, employing a great number of men and boys. The principal builders are Mr.  Charles Young, Mr.  David John and Mr.  John Scourfield. Apart from what is incidental to town-life in the way of business, it ought to be mentioned that we have two aerated water factories that of Mrs. B. Sketch, J.P., C.C. in Bufferland, who has a larger factory at Johnston, and that of Mr. George Thomas, whose works are near the Lower Road, and partly stand on the site of the kitchen-garden once attached to the old turnpike-house. The factory belonging to Mr. Thomas only forms a branch; the principle is in Tenby.  Within these last two years a steam-laundry has been established in Bush Street East, which employs about sixteen or seventeen hands. It is to be hoped other industries may in the future be introduced, and thus increase the prosperity of the place.            

Amongst the number of volunteers who in the year 1824 came to Pembroke Dock, in response to the invitation from the Admiralty were three Freemasons from Devonport, namely Mr. William Hutchings, who was grandfather of Mr.  James Hutchings, J.P., of Bush Street , and also of the late Mr.  Horatio Johns sometime Assistant Constructor in H. M. Dockyard;  Mr. William Cook; and Mr. John Chapple. These three met at Mr.  Hutchings house in Market Street , with the object of establishing a lodge of the Ancient Order of Freemasons in the town. It is a matter of uncertainty whether the lodge was started at Mr. William Hutchings house or not. It is thought more likely that it was formed at the Porter Stores, at the top of Tregennas Hill, kept by Mr. Jones, father-in-law of the late Alderman Samuel Jenkins, for it is re­corded that the fraternity regularly met at these stores. Mr. Jones removed afterwards to the Victoria Hotel , and there the brotherhood met for many years.

The lodge, which bears the name of the Loyal Welsh Lodge of Wales, was numbered in its earliest days 79. In 1832 the number was changed to 525, and still later (in 1863) to that which it is at present, namely 378. The charter for the lodge was granted by H.R.H. the late Duke of Sussex on October l, 1824. The first meet­ing of the lodge was held on September 24, 1824, with eleven members. The first Worshipful Master was Dr. Thomas, JP., of Officers Row. He continued in office from 1824 to 1826, and upon his vacating this honourable position was presented with a beautiful gold medal from the brethren. It cost £10, and was enclosed in a velvet lined case with a crystal glass cover.

Mr. John Chapple occupied the chair of office in 1826 and 1827. In 1830 Mr. William Hutchings worthily filled this important post, and during his time of office was most assiduous in the cause, and was thoroughly conversant with the rites of the order. It often­ times fell to his lot to instruct the brethren in the inauguration of new lodges, which in those days of inconvenient travelling made the carrying out of such duties no sinecure.

Mr. William Cook succeeded Mr. William Hutchings as Worshipful Master.

The lodge was removed in later years from the Victoria Hotel to the house of the late Mr. Webb, shoemaker, Meyrick Street North; from thence it was transferred to the Royal Edinburgh Hotel. It was removed from there to Meyrick Street North, to what are known as the Masonic Buildings, which are chambers over the shop premises owned by Mr. Mathias of Dimond House.

After so many removals, the Freemasons decided to build a permanent place wherein to hold their lodge meetings. A suitable site was chosen in Bush Street West , and on Wednesday, May 20, 1902, the foundation and corner stones of a new Masonic Hall were laid. The weather on the day was propitious, and the Freemasons marched in procession from the schoolroom of St. Johns Church, where a special lodge was opened, to the site of the new building, headed by the Volunteer Band. The line of route was decorated by flags suspended from many windows; and, clothed in full regalia; the members of the Order presented an imposing appearance.

After prayer and the singing of an anthem, the laying of the chief stone was proceeded with. Previous to its having placed in position, some papers and documents were laid in a prepared cavity. These were a copy of the Pembroke Dock Gazette, a list of the officers and building committee of the Loyal Welsh Lodge, the bylaws of the Provincial Grand Lodge and of the Loyal Welsh Lodge; and a programme of the days proceedings. A plate was placed then to cover over the cavity, and the stone was laid by the Rev. David Bowen, of Monkton, Deputy Provincial Grand Master, Past G.C., of England , according to the rites of Freemasonry.

A corner-stone was laid to the right of the foundation-stone by Colonel Meyrick, C.B., and one further on, to the west of the building, by Lord Kensington, D.S.O. An address was then given by the Rev. David Bowen, and after two hymns and the National Anthem had been sung, the Freemasons again formed in processional order, and returned to St. John's Schoolroom to conclude the business of the day.

On Tuesday, January 24, 1905, the new Masonic Hall was formally opened by Mr. H. G. Truscott, G.M. 1904. In honour of the occasion the Freemasons presented Mr. Truscott with a handsome gold jewel in a velvet-lined case, inscribed as follows:  Presented to Brother H. G. Truscott by the Brethren of the Loyal Welsh Lodge, No.378, Jan.24,1905.

At a lodge held on the same day, Mr. Levi Phillips was installed as Worshipful Master for the coming year of office (1905) by the retiring Master, Mr. H. G. Truscott.

The Architects who designed the new Masonic Hall were Messrs. G. Morgan and Sons, of Carmarthen , and the contractor who carried out the work was Mr. Charles Young, of Gwyther Street. The estimated cost is £1,500.

Special mention should be made of the roll of the Masters in the lodge-room, which is a complete record from 1824 to the present time. The back of the frame bears this statement in illuminated lettering:


This frame was presented to the above Lodge by Bro. B. Mules, J.W.

It is made from the following historically connected woods:

The bases are from an old lintel brought from one of the old temples in Palestine: the pillars and arch are part of an old beam from the Cathedral of St. David’s; the small frame on the top of the arch is from a portion of H.M.S. Bellerophon, which conveyed Napoleon I to England, and contains the likeness of the first Master of the Lodge, the late P.M. Doctor Thomas.

The two metallic steps are part of the Atlantic cable which conveyed that truly masonic message from her Majesty the Queen to President Lincoln of America Glory to God on high, peace on earth and goodwill towards men.

Designed by Bro. P.M. Neil Boyle, P.P.G.P.

The Independent Order of Rechabites Friendly Society was introduced into Pembroke Dock as an outcome of a series of temperance meetings held here in the early forties. The first meeting of the institution was held on October 12, 1842, in the house of a Mr. Gribbell, at the corner of Commercial Row, now occupied by Mr. Tucker, hairdresser and tobacconist. The members were there duly initiated as members of the Rechabite Order, Tent No.890. The Tent is a branch of the Salford Unity of Rechabites. It was decided that the newly formed Tent should be named the Superb. The name was suggested by the launch of a vessel so called from the Dockyard about the same time; subsequent events have proved that the title was a happy and appropriate one.

The Superb Tent, No.890, I.O.R.S.U. continued meeting at Mr.Gribbells house for nearly two years; but as its members incr­eased, the place became too small to accommodate them, and so they removed to Mr. Tregennas schoolroom in Pembroke Road . Here they held their meetings for four years, but again became straitened for room, and the Tent was removed to the Temperance Hall, which had not long been built, where for over half a century it has grown in members and funds. The removal of the Superb Tent to its new quarters at the Temperance Hall was marked by an attempt to do something for the youth of the town by the formation of a juvenile benefit society, similarly constituted in all respects, save in the matter of age and subscription, to the senior Tent. The venture proved successful, and the Juvenile Superb Tent was opened at the Temperance Hall, in October, 1848, on the anniversary of the Adult Tent.

Members flowed into the Juvenile Tent so rapidly that in 1851 it was found necessary to divide the Tent into two sections, junior and senior, but both forming one society. At the age of sixteen years the members desirous of joining the Adult Tent are transferred to it from the Juvenile Tent. It is gratifying to know that this takes place in nearly every case. In 1887 the Superb Tent was registered under the Friendly Societies Act of Parlia­ment. The number of its members at the present day is about 400; the Juvenile Tent has about half this number.

On October 25, 1902, the Superb Tent of the Independent Order of Rechabites celebrated its diamond jubilee, when a special service was held at the parish church of St. Johns, and the late Very Rev. Dean of St. David’s, Dean Howell, preached an eloquent and appropriate sermon. In connection with this celebration a most imposing procession marched through the town. A social evening was held afterwards at the Temperance Hall.

About the year 1845 a great temperance orator named Scott came to Pembroke Dock, and through his earnest and eloquent speeches many joined the ranks of total abstainers.

The late Mr. Tregenna, Mr. Davies and Mr. Lewis, who were at that time great workers in the temperance cause, united with others in promoting a movement whereby a special building should be erected for the furtherance of the cause. Accordingly, a site was secured for the purpose, and the Temperance Hall was built in 1845-1846. The late Mr. John Hall advanced the money needed for the carrying out of the work. It is recorded that in or about 1868 the late Mr. William Griffiths of Park Street, paid off the mortgage, and bequeathed the Hall to the Temperance Society.

After the death of Mr. Griffiths, a tablet was placed in the Hall, where it still remains to his memory. It reads as follows:


This Tablet is erected by the Temperance Society as a token of their esteem for William Griffiths, late lessee of this Hall, and in remembrance of his zeal in the Temperance Cause.

The Temperance Hal1 was primarily intended for temperance meetings only, but it was however, afterwards used for various purposes. Since it was first built it has been lengthened, and has had anterooms added to it, and has been otherwise improved; but it is still inadequate to the needs of the population.

The various temperance societies have done splendid work in the town. Among others who devoted almost their lives to the cause, a special reference must be made to the late Mr. Henry Road, who was untiring in assisting every effort put forth for temperance. It is satisfactory to know that, although the place has grown steadily within the last thirty years, the number of public houses is far less than it was previously.

The Pembroke Dock Independent Order of Good Templars, Lodge No.57, started on September 12, 1872, at the Temperance Hall.

The Bond of Friendship Lodge was formed a year afterwards in the schoolroom of Meyrick Street Congregational Chapel. It was broken up about fourteen years ago for a short time; an attempt to re-establish it was made in the Primitive Methodist Chapel, Queen Street East , but it lasted for only a brief period.

The lodge of the Good Templars known as Victoria the Good was opened in February, 1902, by the late Barrack-Sergeant Wilde, who was a Crimean veteran, and who also went through the Indian Mutiny.

On January 29 in the first year of the reign of Queen Victoria (1837) there was an Oddfellows Lodge, named in honour of her late Majesty the Loyal Victoria Lodge, opened at the Victoria Hotel . It is said that the large rooms at the back of this hotel were built for the purpose of holding such meetings.

The first Noble Grand, and subsequently Grand Master, was Dr. J. Sumpter, who lost his life by accidently falling over the trench of the Defensible Barracks. The Loyal Victoria is the older lodge of Oddfellows, No.1822.

On Christmas Eve, 1844, the Loyal Prince Albert Lodge of Oddfellows No.3836, held the first meeting at the Rose and Crown Inn. Mr. Johnson, of Queen Street , was present on the occasion, with seven other members.

Dr. Thomas, J.P., was the first Noble Grand. It is note-worthy that Dr. Thomas took a prominent part in nearly every institution in his day; as it h as been quaintly said by an old inhabitant who knew him, Dr. Thomas was the front marcher in most everything. The Grand Master of the district when the Prince Albert Lodge was first opened was the late Mr. Samuel Jenkins.

The first moneys of the funds, which amounted to £10, were placed in the Savings Bank by Dr. Thomas in April, 1845. Fifty years after the society was founded, it numbered 140 members; at present there are about 450 members belonging to this lodge.

About 1844 the Ancient Order of Druids was represented in this locality, but the society has long since been broken up. The late Mr. W.D. Ivemey, C.C. was a member of this Order, and there is in existence in the town an old certificate that belonged to Mr.  William Pagett, of Pembroke, which states that he was initiated into the mystical rites of this old British Order on April 29, 1844.

The late Mr. Robert Lanning, once Town Clerk of the borough, and Dr. James Bryant, of Pembroke, held leading positions in this institution. The Ancient Order of Foresters started about 1845 under the name of the Court Star of Pater. The courts were first held at the old Foresters Inn in King Street, but were afterwards removed to the Royal William Inn in Pembroke Street, now known as the White Hart. The Court Star of Pater was dissolved about two years ago or rather more.        

In the late forties there were a few members of a purely Welsh society called Ivorites, who held meetings at an inn which once flourished in Queen Street East , called the Royal George. In 1854 the Ivorites became amalgamated with another court of Foresters named Court Victoria. About the same time also flourished, the Ancient Order of Shepherds, which was a sort of inner court of the Foresters; that is to say, one could not be a Shepherd unless he was a Forester first. The only court held now in connection with these last named societies is that of Court Victoria.

The Mechanics Institute had its beginning in a small way. Two Dockyard officers, named respectively Mr. Abethel and Mr. Chevalier, assisted by a committee, started it in 1850 in the, interests of the young men of the town. It was held first in a room of a house in Lewis Street belonging to the late Mr. Thomas Dunbar Harris. Mr. Harris was appointed Librarian, which position he held for up-wards of thirty-two years. Upon his retirement in September, 1882, he was presented with an illuminated address and a purse of gold on behalf of the members of the Mechanics Institute. The new venture which was started flourished well, and with the increase of members the room in Lewis Street became too small to hold them; consequently it was decided at a meeting in January, l862 to erect a more commodious building. A committee was formed to further the matter, and Mr. (Now Sir Thomas) Meyrick granted the site of the present building in Dimond Street for a term of ninety-nine years at the nominal rent of half a crown per annum. Many prominent ladies and gentlemen took up the matter heartily. A subscription list was opened to raise £700, the sum necessary for carrying out the work. On June 7, 1862, the foundation stone of the present Mechanics Institute was laid by Mrs. Ramsay, who afterwards became Lady Dalhousie. To assist the funds of the new building, a grand bazaar was held in the town in June, l863, of which the late Countess Cawdor, the Lady Frederick Kerr, and Mrs. (now Lady) Meyrick were patronesses.

Since the Institute was first erected many improvements have been made, and much more money expended on the building. It has a good circulating library, with an opportunity given of changing books four times in the week, namely, on Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday evenings and Friday afternoons. There is a billiard-room on the premises, also a large reading-room, open from 9.a.m. to 10.p.m. daily, where papers and magazines are freely provided. The subscription necessary to become a member is but small - six shillings per year - and may be paid weekly or monthly. It is impossible to say what an immense benefit this institution is to the town, particularly to the younger portion of its inhabitants. Mr. John Llewellyn is the present Librarian.

In 1863 the Pembrokeshire Permanent Benefit Building Society was started by Mr. Henry Trevena, of Laws Street South, who is now the only one of the first directors still living. He has held several positions in connection with it. Previous to this society there had been three others in the town, but the methods by which they were each carried on proved unsatisfactory.

In these societies the monthly takings were put up by auction, and the highest bidder obtained the money, so it is very easy to see that such methods were sure to have proved means of discontent. The first meeting of the present society was held on January 13, 1863, in the late Mr. W. J. Davies’s auction-room, Queen Street East, when sixteen members were present; and on February 20, 1863, the Pembrokeshire Permanent Building Society was fairly launched. The meetings afterwards were held at the Temperance Hall for many years, until the present fine Building Society Office, which was opened July l, 1892, was erected in Bush Street West. The members of this society up to December, 1904, numbered 1797, and the income for the past year amounted to about £32,000.

The first secretary was the late Mr. John Mumford; next came Mr. W. Mathias, and after him Mr. John Butler. Upon his death the secretarial duties were taken over by Mr. Joseph Snoddy, and are still carried out by him with care and efficiency.

The present president is Mr. Richard Cornish, of Gwyther Street North. Upon the death of the late Mr. D. Hughes Brown, solicitor, which occurred in January, 1905, Mr. F. W. Merriman, was appointed his successor to this society as legal advisor, March 18, 1905.

Some time in the early sixties there was a bank in Commercial Row, managed by the late Mr. James McLean. It was called the Milford Haven Bank, and was the first to be established in the town. Afterwards it was the South Wales Bank, and finally became a branch of the London and Provincial Bank, which is conducted in fine premises at the north-west corner of Dimond Street. The late Mr. Richard Harwood was manager of this bank for many years. The present manager is Mr. H. M. Rice.

The National and Provincial Bank also have a branch in the town. It was opened in Bush Street, next door to Cambria House. Thence it was transferred to Meyrick Street North - first of all into the premises occupied by Walters Bank, which existed there for a short time, and then into its present handsome building. The manager is Mr. Richard Thomas.

In 1843 the Ladies Association of the British and Foreign Bible Society was formed; the prime mover in the work was a lady named Mrs. Taylor, wife of Captain Joshua Taylor, R.N. She lived at Llanreath, and the committee meetings for many years were held at her house. After the removal of this lady from the town, she was succeeded as secretary by Miss. Morris, of Laws Street North, who still holds the position. The president of the Ladies Association is Lady Meyrick, and the treasurer is Mrs. William Robinson, of Church Street. About twenty years after this association was instituted, some gentlemen of the town established the Pembroke Dock auxiliary of the Bible Society, with the late Mr. John Walter, a gentleman endowed with much Christian activity, as first secretary. The Rev. William Evans was secretary for a time; Mr. Joseph Merriman was afterwards appointed as such, and kept the secretarial books for no less than twenty-five years. Mr. A. Mackintosh at present holds the position.

During the 1860s the Pembroke Dock Society for the Relief of Distress was established. Previous to this a small number of charitably disposed people had started what was known as the Culm Society, which, as its name shows, was formed to provide fuel for the poor in the winter. The relief society is said to have originated in the following way: One cold and stormy winters night the late Mr. William Dawkins, of Albion House, met Mr. John Walter, of the Dockyard, in the street; during their conversation they decided that the Culm Society was inadequate for the needs of the poor people, and that something should be done in the way of assisting them also with food. The outcome of this was the forming of the Society for the Relief of Distress, which is the oldest charitable institution in the town. The first meeting of the Society for the Relief of Distress was held in the late Mr. W. J. Davies’s sale­ room in Queen Street East. Of all in the town who were pre­ sent at that meeting, the Rev. William Evans, M.A. is the only one living. The first president of the society was Mr. Meyrick of Bush. The first chairman of committee was Mr. W. Mason, J.P., of London Road. Its first secretary was the late Mr. John Walter, whose headstone in the New Cemetery testifies to the excellent work he did in connection with this society; the other secretaries were as follows: Messrs. George Theobald Davies, F. A. E. Potts, C. W. Lawrence and J. Lawrence. The present secretary is Mr. F. W. Merriman, solicitor, who took over the duties in 1904.

The names of the late Mr. Richard Harwood, formerly manager of the London and Provincial Bank, the late Mr. Isaac Smedley, J.P. the late Mr. William Lawrence, and Alderman McColl, J.P., C.C. must be specially mentioned in connection with this institution. During the Coronation celebrations, the society distributed special relief, together with portraits of their Majesties King Edward and Queen Alexandra, as a remembrance of the auspicious occasion.

On March 26, 1868, a Vestry Meeting was convened at St. Johns Church for the purpose of determining whether a Burial Board should be provided for St. Johns parish. It was decided that this should be done. The late Dr. Fitzroy Kelly in the chair on the occasion. The first business meeting of the Board was held in the Vestry room of the church on April 1, 1860. The first clerk of the Burial Board was the late Mr. W.G. Phillips, (Gazette Office). He was appointed to the position on April 10, 1869. The first members elected were the late Captain Cocks and Messrs. J. Morgan, Cornelius Williams William Dawkins, William H. Lewis, James Howell and R. Bonniwell. The solicitor was Mr. G. Whitley Dunn. The architect was the late Mr. K. W. Ladd, at one time Borough Surveyor. The late Mr. Cornelius Williams for many years was clerk of the Burial Board; upon his death he was succeeded in this office by his son, Mr. A. Williams of Commercial Row.

The Pembroke Dock and Milford Haven Chamber of Commerce, originally called the Chamber of Trade was established on June 21, 1882, with the object of promoting the trade of the town. The first president was the late Mr. J. H. Teasdale, who held the office from 1882 to 1884. The first secretary was Mr. T. G. Hancock. After he vacated this office, it was filled by the late Mr. David Jenkins who for many years was a most indefatigable and faithful official, sparing neither time nor trouble in the carrying out of his secretarial duties. The present secretary is Mr. F. W. Merriman, solicitor, who has but recently been appointed, and the president is Mr. D. V. Morcombe. Since the Chamber of Commerce has been established, it has been instrumental in bringing forward many benefits to this district. Amongst other things may be mentioned the Jetty, which undoubtedly was the outcome of an agitation on the part of its members for the building of a dry-dock. The naval authorities thought that a jetty was more necessary than the dock, hence its erection. Some credit also must be given to the Chamber of Commerce for the new stone barracks that are being built to take the place of the old wooden huts. The weekly half-holiday, which is such a boon to the young people of the town, and the Wednes­day half-day excursions to Tenby, also owe their origin to this institution. To it, too, must be attributed the better postal service, the reduction of railway rates, and many other matters affecting the trade and prosperity of the town.

There are two political clubs in the town.

The Conservative Club was formed in the Masonic rooms, Royal Edinburgh Hotel, in 1886. In the year 1894 Lord Cross, K.G., formally opened the present Conservative Club, Bush Street which is built on the site of the old joint-stock shop, the premises here an early Cooperative Society, that many years ago existed in the town, transacted their business.

The Liberal Club was opened in 1887 at the corner of Pembroke Street , facing Albion Square - Conchars Corner. There was no public ceremony on the occasion, but the premises were declared open by the late Isaac Smedley, Esq., J.P.

The Pembroke Dock Co-operative Society was started at the corner of Bush Street in April, 1888, in the house now occupied by Mr. John Grieve. During the time the society occupied these premises, a fire broke out there and destroyed a considerable quantity of stock; but owing to the valuable help rendered by the Connaught Rangers, who brought their hose, and obtained water from the tanks adjoining the neighbouring houses, the fire was soon subdued. On July 16, 1892, the foundation-stone of the present extensive buildings in Albion Square was laid by Mrs. W. J. Brown, wife of the president of the society at that time. The architect of these buildings was Mr. H. Cartwright Reid, C.E.      

Pembroke Dock Police-Station was built in 1889 in Charlton Place. Before this place was erected, the house in Albion Square now occupied by Mr. Henderson, painter, for many years did duty as the station for the force.

In the year 1893 the Royal Antediluvian Order of Buffaloes was formed, under the Grand Surrey Banner, at the Pier Hotel. In 1894 it was transferred to the Grand Lodge of England, and called the Royal Pater Lodge. In 1900 the lodge removed from the Pier Hotel to the Market Tavern in Pembroke Street . There are belonging to this lodge about sixty members.

A new lodge was made in 1902 in addition to the Royal Pater, and called the Sir Thomas Meyricks Lodge, under the Grand Lodge of England. The meetings of this lodge are held in the Bush Tavern. There are in connection with it forty members.

To commemorate the late Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee at Pembroke Dock, the Nurses Home and Meyrick Wards were erected in North Park Street. Alderman S. J. Allen, of Cresswell Buildings, was mayor at the time, and to him the credit of the institution must chiefly be given. The foundation-stone of the building was laid on April 12, 1898, by Sir Thomas Meyrick, who gave the wing of the building which bears his name. Three memorial stones were also laid at the same time, which are engraved with the names respectively, of the following ladies: the Lady Victoria Lambton, sister of the present Earl Cawdor; Mrs. Burges-Watson, whose husband was at that time Captain Superintendent of the Dockyard; and Mrs. S. J. Allen.

The splendid new hospital, on the Fort Road, which stands on an area of 6 acres 13 perches, is of quite recent erection.

It was completed in 1902 at an estimated cost of £17,500 and is the property of the Admiralty.

Before it was erected, the sick and injured Dockyard men, who were hurt or taken ill during service hours, were attended to in a small hospital in the Yard, which was used after the old Nankin was discarded. The Nankin was a wooden two-decker fifty­gun frigate. It displaced the old Saturn, which had formerly been used as a hospital ship. In 1867 the Nankin was docked and fitted up for hospital purposes, and was used to this end for many years; lying off in the stream, she was long a familiar and picturesque object. The Nankin was eventually sold out of the service to Mr. George Harris, broker, of Bristol, for the sum of £2,200, and left her old moorings on April 18, 1895, for Milford, where she was dismantled. It was with much regret the inhabitants of our town saw her departure, which removed another link connecting the present with the days that are gone.

The reason for Pembroke Dock is indicated in its name: it was developed as a dockyard town early in the nineteenth century, no more than two miles away from the established market of Pembroke. Whereas the latter was located on a narrow tidal pill leading off the Milford Haven waterway, Pembroke Dock was built on a low platform on the southern shore of the main estuary from which ships could be directly launched into the deeper waters of the channel. It was not built by a private entrepreneur as a commercial undertaking but by the Admiralty Board for the Royal Navy and, interestingly, it was to retain a military role long after the dockyard itself had outlived its usefulness.

Shipbuilding for the Royal Navy had commenced in Pembrokeshire in the mid eighteenth century at Neyland and in the late eighteenth century at Milford, downstream of the subsequent developments at Pembroke Dock. When the yard at Milford became too expensive an alternative site was sought in the haven. That alternative site became known as Pembroke Dock.

Prior to the building of the town, the land - known as Paterchurch  was largely in agricultural use for centuries under the Adams Family until their debts became to great when it was acquired from the new owners by the Meyrick family. However, the Ordnance Department already had a foothold there, having purchased part of it at Paterchurch Point as the site for a fort - which was started but not finished - in the 1750s. Initially, in 1810, an area of just over twenty acres was earmarked and purchased for the new venture, but this proved to be far too small and over subsequent years the Admiralty Board progressively extended its holding by taking in more land from the Ordnance Department and the Meyricks. The dockyard itself was marked out and fenced off in 1812 and then given a stone boundary in 1814 (which was replaced by a much more substantial structure between 1830 and 1832).

While it was the intention to move operations upstream in 1813, this was delayed until 1814 because of work in hand in Milford on the battleship Rochefort. Nonetheless, by the second decade of the century a rudimentary dockyard was in place.

In these early days there was little residential accommodation in the immediate vicinity, with the workers in the yard having to travel daily from Milford and from other settlements on both sides of the waterway, but plans were afoot to create an associated new town.

The first houses in the town built after the opening of the Yard were built by Mr. Lowless, John Narbeth (Carpenter) and John Jones, started on the 14th May 1814 they were completed by the 25th September and were occupied by Mrs Thomas, (wife of the foreman of Shipwrights,) Mr. Thomas (foreman of Blacksmiths) Mr. Clun (Issuer of Stores) and Mr. Honeydear (Publican). These houses were built in Front St., then called Thomas St.

John Narbeth of Pembroke recording in his diary:

“In the year of the Lord 1 January 1813 began the enclosing of the new Dockyard, Pater, and the fitting up of workshops for the men and sheds for all sorts of materials; there was a temporary dock dug out to take in a 74 old gun ship for a storehouse, and the upper deck for offices for the Builder and Storekeeper; the yard enclosed with wooden palings.”

“By 1st January 1814 the whole of the workmen were able to come there to commence their shipbuilding with Mr.  Roberts as their builder, and not so much as one house on the spot, only Paterchurch farm, so poor old Pembroke was well filled with both officers and men for a few years”.

“On the 14th day of May 1814, Mr. Lowless and myself left poor old Pembroke to commence its rival, so on that day was the first shaving cut and first window frame made by John Narbeth, and by September 25th 1814, was the first four houses ready. Mrs. Thomas the foreman of Shipwrights wife came to take possession, and we drank to the success of the first house in Pater.

Mr. Thomas, foreman of Shipwrights; Mr. Stephens, foreman of Blacksmiths; Mr. Clun, issuer of stores; and Mr. Honeydear, public house; were the first four inhabitants of the new town, Michaelmas Day 1814. After that we built a public house for Mr. Phillips on the corner of Middle St”.

1815 February 22 Cresswell Quay.

Extract from a letter from Hugh Wilson to J Harcourt Powell, Esq. .....The dockyard being so nigh will certainly improve the property at Pembroke, but great exertions are making to build houses adjoining the yard. There are now near one hundred building and engaged to build on Mr. Meyrick's property and the continuance of building there will, it is thought by everyone; keep the rents from advancing very rapidly at Pembroke...

(Harcourt Powell MS unnumbered).

In June 1815 the Mayor of Pembroke requested help from the Navy Board to repair the old track which connected Pembroke with the new yard and which was being increasingly used by the work force who were lodging in Pembroke town. Previously it had only used as a means of communication with the farm buildings at Paterchurch. This request was refused but the following year the matter was again raised. It was agreed that if the parish would keep in good repair the whole of a road from the “Lodge” to farmer Whites house at Paterchurch (which stood at the top of what is now Sunderland Ave.) then the Navy Board would contribute £200 towards making the road.

By 1817 the framework for the town was set down outside the east wall of the dockyard in a grid-iron arrangement of streets, some quite spacious, running north-south and east-west. The Admiralty Board and the Meyricks (the latter still retaining much of the vacant land adjacent to the dock) granted leases to an army of small builders who gradually lined the new thoroughfares with houses, sometimes in piecemeal fashion.  The original leases from the Admiralty were for 60 years at 6d per foot but those from the Bush and Orielton Estate were for length of three lives with the addition on one in certain conditions.

Building commenced along the waterfront in what is now Front Street then Thomas Street after Thomas Meyrick After the building of Front St., houses were built in Kings St, Queens St., Commercial Road (now Commercial Row and Bellevue Terrace/ Tregennis Hill (Tregennis Hill was so called because a Mr. Tregenna occupied a house at top of it and his son was a prominent contractor and built forts down the Haven), Pembroke St., Cross Park, High St, Brewery Row (now Charlton Place).

By 1816 the new Yard was expanding rapidly and more men were required. Work in the other major Royal Yards was slack and there was an immigration of large numbers of skilled tradesmen and their families, from the other Royal Dockyards, about 1816 necessitating a massive house building programme. Houses were erected as fast as possible many with the aid of the dockyard workers who worked on them after a days work in the yard, but even so some were occupied before they were completed and many were of very poor standard.  Back Cottages (Park St) were built in 1823.  According to Mrs. S Peters the majority of the older houses in Pennar were built about 1846 but the Ordinance Survey Map of 1839 based on a survey of 1830 shows that houses were already in existence in Upper St (now Castle St), Middle St (Grove St), Front St (Fleet St), Military Rd, and North St (Owen St) Mays Buildings (Nelson St).

This was the basic orientation of the grid layout which was to be extended eastwards and southwards. After the end of the Napoleonic War, the Yard time was, in the first instance, reduced to five and a half days a week, and later to five days a week. Tradesmen now and again, having to do labourers work in the Yard and the gardens were becoming very important as a source of food. The wages of the Tradesmen dropped to 19s per week and that of the Labourers to 10s.

Problems with obtaining a site for a Chapel had an influence on the early town construction. Bush estate was loath to provide a site but Orielton Estate was more receptive, also the Corporation had made a decent road leading from Pembroke through - Furzey (High Street), caused the construction of the town, for the time being, to move to Bethany Square as its centre. In 1818, cottages were built along Pembroke road, north, near Bethany Chapel, and in 1818 Bethany Chapel was erected - the first place of worship to be erected in the new town.

The first Bethany Chapel, with its cemetery was lighted inside by tallow candles that smoked need­ing deacons to go round, during the sing­ing of the hymn before the sermon, with a pair of “snuffers” to lop off the burnt wick. The houses of Belle Vue terrace, described as one of the prettiest places in Pembroke Dock were built in 1825. Cottages nestling into the hill side to the east of Barracks Hill, surrounded by gardens full of fruit trees, terminating at the bottom with a row of tall trees.

Shortly after the first Wesleyan Chapel was built at the top of the row (Tregennis Hill), on the north side, just outside Mr. James Biddlecombe’s garden, on the edge of the Barracks field.

It was a small place, but it had a gallery, and a choir sat in it.

In 1820, Cross Park houses were erected, and the big houses in the square followed.

“The Caledonia”, Inn; with its sign of a kilted Scotchman, the “Cambrian” Inn, Phillips Grocery Store, Barclays School (the present “Caledonia”) Glanvilles Grocery, Tregennas workshop and school were the first Temperance meetings were held. In the early days of the town Bethany Square was one of the important places of the town were the people met and talked in the summer evenings.

Most of this was demolished with the building of the Defensible barracks.

[Acc/to Mrs Peters.]

As the town of Pater increased in size, a proper place for sepulture became necessary. In Monkton Churchyard, and in that of St. Mary’s, Pembroke, many of the earliest inhabitants of the town found their last resting-places. Bethany Chapel (built in 1818) was provided with a grave-yard wherein many were buried, but it was deemed expedient that a special place should be set apart for burials.

During the growth of the town in three decades, the reaper Death had gathered in so many lives that the old burial ground became too crowded, and it was therefore necessary to provide a new cemetery. On October 2, 1869, this new cemetery was opened. But before the cemetery was formally opened a few internments took place. The Rev. Eliakim Shadrach, a much revered minister of Albion Square Church, of whom more in another chapter was the first was laid to rest in this Gods acre. He died April 8, 1869. A monument was erected to his memory by the members of the church, and in May, 1872, Miss. Maggie Moore, daughter of the late Mr. Joseph Moore, chemist unveiled it. This cemetery has recently been enlarged by the addition of more land.]

In the early 1830s smuggling was rife as was wrecking in some parts of the county, The Preventative Officers were keen to catch a man called Truscott who they suspected of smuggling and tried to trap him.  A quantity of tobacco had been smuggled in to South Cliffs and one of the Preventative Officers, posing as a customer had persuaded Truscott to deliver it to Bentlass. That night Truscott, his friends, the tobacco and Truscott's young son who had just been taken along for the trip were waiting in Pennar Gut near Bentlass, they were approached by a boat load of Preventative Officers, rowing with muffled oars, Mr. Larkin in charge. Truscott spotted the Preventive Officers boat and he and his friends started rowing as fast as possible up river towards Pembroke. The preventive boat was rapidly overhauling them so the young boy jumped out of the boat and tried to swim towards Jacobs Pill. According to his account at the trial, the mate of the preventative boat shouted three times for him to stop before shooting him in the back of the head and killing him. There was a tremendous outcry throughout Pennar and the whole area, with meetings at Bethany Square , Pembroke and Pembroke Dock. The Preventative Officers had to be escorted to and from Pembroke Town Hall where the trial was held, by Marines, The mate was found not guilty but for his own safety had to be moved from the area.

From 1830 onwards development also occurred in the Melville Street/Albion Square area close to the south-east corner of the dockyard. It was in this part of the town that the Market House was built in 1826 after the objections from nearby Pembroke had been resolved. When the market was first proposed in 1817 the Corporation of Pembroke objected and finally the mayor of Pembroke wrote to the Officers of Pater Dockyard:-

Pembroke 12 September 1818


Having been informed that the Government have held out an inducement to those persons who are inclined to take lots for building houses at HM Dockyard Pembroke that a market place is to be built and a market established there. I request to know if that be the case, and if you have felt it your duty to acquaint the proper departments of the state that H M Dockyard being situated within the liberties of this Borough, where there is a market established by law, that the establishment of another market at H M Dockyard would be an unlawful infringement and injury to the Franchise and Revenues of this Corporation

                        I have the honour to be etc.

                                     Anthony J Stokes

                                                Mayor of Pembroke

The Principal

Officers of H M Dockyard Pembroke

The following year an act of Parliament was passed (George III 59, C C XXV) giving powers to the Admiralty to build a market place and to make bye-laws for the good rule and government of the town.

The original landing place for the area was enclosed within Dockyard, but this was not really available at full tide owing to the accumulation of mud.  To replace this and to facilitate the bringing of produce to the market from across the water, the Government built the Hard in 1827.

According to Mrs Peters (The History of Pembroke Dock). An eyewitness stated that the work of making the Hard was done by the men of the Dockyard, assisted by the marines, and the materials used for it were the refuse stones and rubbish left from the exca­vations made in forming or extending the Yard.

Objections to this Hard were made by James Huzzey, the lessee of Pembroke Ferry, who claimed the exclusive right of ferriage who summoned the Admiralty for infringing on his rights. The case was heard at Haverfordwest and Mr Huzzey lost the case.

1826 the Admiralty built the market hall paying Pembroke Borough £3000 compensation  for the right to sell goods (this right had previously belonged solely to the Freemen of Pembroke). The building cost £4630 5s 7d in 1827.  The foundation stone was laid in the north west corner. Prominent at the ceremony were the freemasons who marched from the Navy Tavern were they held their lodge meetings to the site.  Also at this time the Admiralty built what is now Commercial Row, and slip in Front St. , to compensate the town for the loss of the previous landing place, swallowed up by the expansion of the Yard, at a cost of £71. Its aim was to facilitate the bringing of produce from the surrounding area to the Market.  This became right up until the 1850s the principle landing place for boats to and from Neyland. This caused problems with the existing ferry from Pembroke Ferry to Burton . The lessee Mr Huzzey contended that he had the sole right to ferry people across the Haven from any point. The matter came before the courts at the Summer Assizes in 1834 and the judgement went against Mr Huzzey. Mr Huzzey took the matter of the Neyland Hobbs Point ferry to the Court of Exchequer of Pleas.  Again the judgement went against him. The Landing place at Neyland was at the point near a Public House called the Shipwrights arms and at that time kept by Mrs Margaret John. This public house disappeared when the new rail terminus was constructed at Neyland by Brunel.

Further enhanced means of transport were implemented in the 1830s.

The Mail Service had previously run from Milford Haven but it was decided to improve the roads to Pembroke Dock so as to avoid the long hilly road from Narberth via Haverfordwest to Milford . This necessitated a new pier being built and 1830 the foundation stone of the pier at Hobbs Point (Named after a Nicholas Hobbs, buried May 4th 1728 who once owned land in the area.) was laid by Captain E J Savage R E. The excavations began in 1829 and for much of the work on the seaward side a diving bell was used.  It was completed in 1832 it cost £20,250 19s 3 1/4d. Shortly after the Irish service packets, “Prospers,” “Pigmy,” “Jasper,” “Advice” and “Adder” transferred from Milford.

A large hotel, with stables, was built by the pier also a house for the Superintendent of Packets.

For many years after the Government placed a rope across the road once a year to preserve their rights.

1836 the new mail service started. The Mails were brought from Ireland to meet the Royal Mail Coaches that ran daily and started from the new pier at 5am.

In 1837 the service was taken over by the Admiralty but by 1848 other routes to Ireland had become more popular and the service closed. The hotel and stables was transferred to the War department, and until it was enclosed into the Military Hut Encampment, the Admiralty used the Superintendents house as a temporary hospital.

A Steam ship service was introduced between Bristol and the Haven. Once a fortnight the “Frolic” a steam packet travelled from Haverfordwest, calling at Pembroke Dock, Milford and Tenby to Bristol. Unfortunately on 16th March 1831 she was wrecked on the Nash Sands. All 71 people on board died including several from Haverfordwest and the son and daughter of Mr. Henderson of Bangeston who was a local government contractor.

[Acc/to Mrs Peters.]

In the year 1830 the foundation stone or the pier at Hobbs Point was laid by Captain E. J. Savage, R. E. The contractor was Mr. Hugh Mackintosh, of Bloomsbury Square , London . The excavation for this pier began about 1829, and the landing-place was finished in 1832. The cost was £20,250 19s 02d. It was built of Cornish stone, and a diving-bell was used in connection with the work.

Hobbs Point it is believed is so named because a certain Mr. Nicholas Hobbs once possessed land in this neighbourhood - West Llanion, as it was then called. It is recorded that he was buried on May 4, 1728, and was evidently a gentleman of some standing in those days. Before the pier at Hobbs Point was constructed, steamers and boats conveyed passengers and freights to Pembroke Ferry.

The chief object of the Government in building the pier was to further the packet service to the South of Ireland, through South Wales, and to make it more expedient for the mail-coaches; but the public were not slow to see the great convenience of such a landing place, and many applications were made for the use of the same. Upon conditions these were granted, and to the present time the townspeople and general public enjoy the privileges thus obtained. The Government once a year place a rope across the road in order to preserve their rights.

At one time the pier nearly became lost to the public. 0n August 13, 1896, a deputation of the Town Council Water Committee, with Mr. A. McColl as chairman, waited on Mr. Austen Chamberlain, then Civil Lord of the Admiralty, relative to the water supply of the town and the proposed closing of Hobbs Point Pier to the public.

After the plan of the laying on of the water had been shown and satisfactorily dealt with, the matter of the closing of the pier was brought forward. Upon conditions the deputation received an assurance that the closing order should be suspended for six months. A second deputation, consisting of Messrs. McColl, Sketch, S. J. Allen, and Hulm, again waited on Mr. Austen Chamberlain in March, 1897, with the result that the closing order was extended to January l, 1898. In December, 1897, Mr. J. Allen, then Deputy­ Mayor was in London on private business, when he found that, although the Corporation had made all the necessary arrangements with regard to the water-supply, the Local Government Board, in whose hands it then lay, had not so informed the Admiralty. They, thinking that the Corporation were the defaulters, determined to issue the final closing order of Hobbs Point. Mr. Allen saw Mr.  Austen Chamberlain, and placed the matter before him in the right light; consequently the closing order was unconditionally withdrawn.

After the pier was completed, the London Mail-Coach Road, now generally known as the Lower Road, was made. The contractor was Mr. Henderson, of Bangeston House. A large hotel was built near Hobbs Point at the same time, with several stables attached for the mail-coach horses. It may be interesting to know that a dinner to celebrate the late Earl Cawdors coming of age was held at this hotel.

Sailing packets - viz., the Auckland, Camden, Treeling, Gower, Iris and Mansfield - carried the Irish mails in the early twenties between Ireland and Milford , but in the year 1836 the mails were brought to Hobbs Point to meet the royal mail-coaches, which ran daily, starting about 8 a.m. from the newly made pier.

The sailing packets were later discarded for small steamers named respectively the Adder, Advice, Jasper, Prospero, Pigmy, Donkey and Viper. A reserve steamer, the Firefly, was moored off Barn­ Lake in case of emergency.

The coaches were drawn by four horses, which were changed at different posting-houses on the road, and ran as far as Gloucester; there they met the train, as the railway at that time was made between Gloucester and the Metropolis. The same driver only went to St. Clears. The posting-house where he stopped was the Picton Castle, and, being central for the coaches, a large and flourishing business was done there. The most popular of the men who drove the coach was named Bramble, and he is described by one who knew him well as a real gentleman. It is sad to relate that this man took the innovation of the railway, and consequent cessation of the mail-coach service to Pembroke Dock so greatly to heart that he developed melancholia, and hanged himself, during a fit of depression, in a stable at Tenby.            

In 1848 passengers for the royal mail-coaches became very scarce, and they ceased to run to Hobbs Point. After that time the mails were carried by a four-horse coach to Narberth Road (now called Clynderwen) where it met the royal mail. The coach was owned by a man named Benjamin Davies and driven by his son-in-law John Thomas. After the railway to New Milford was completed in April, 1856, the mails were brought across the water and conveyed by the mail train to their destination. When the royal mail coaches were taken off the Lower Road, the stage coaches used to start from, and arrive at, the old Victoria Hotel, at the top of Pembroke Street. One of these coaches brought a newspaper every week. Weekly papers at that time cost sixpence, but, owing to the repeal of the newspaper stamp duty, were some time later reduced to threepence, and still later to the present price of one penny. The late Alderman Hughes of Bush Street, used to stand on the steps of the Clarence Inn and read the paper to the people who congregated there for the purpose of hearing it every Sunday. During the Crimean War a crowd collected long before the arrival of the coach on the newspaper day, anxious to hear the latest news. The hotel and stables which had been built for the convenience of travellers were subsequently passed over to the use of the military, and the Government requisitioned Hobbs Point. [The old turnpike gate through which the coaches passed disappeared only as recently as 1889.]

 By 1831 the towns population was 3,076.

That was the year of the very hard fought parliamentary election between Sir John Owen of Orielton and Colonel Grenville of Milford. Haverfordwest was the polling station and large quantities of beer and food were supplied to influence the voters. Sir John’s supporters included the colliers, many of whom worked in his mines and for intimidation only, one would hope, they marched round with their picks on their shoulders. Of course the other side was supported too. Grenville’s supporters included the Shipwrights who entered the fray carrying their adze. Many fights were won by the Dockyardies.  It is said that both gentlemen nearly ruined themselves with the expenses of this election which was won by Sir John Owen.

The old lock up stood at the top of Brewery Row. Reputed to have been a miserable den with an iron studded door, the inside was sufficiently terrorising to expiate the fault of any poor unfortunate prisoner who was incarcerated therein. Attached to the lock up was the local pound with a strong iron spiked gate.


A description of the town in 1834 reads:

Pembroke Dock, sometimes likewise called PATER, or PATERCHURCH, is situated on the southern shore of Milford Haven , about two miles from the old town. It consists of several streets of neat and well-built houses, and is partially paved, but not lighted: there are numerous good shops for the supply of the population, several of which are branches from the larger establishments in the borough. A handsome enclosed market-place was erected here about five years ago; but it has hitherto been but scantily supplied and most of the inhabitants frequent the market at Pembroke. The dockyard forms a spacious area enclosed within a lofty wall of stone, and comprises a neat range of buildings for the public offices, houses for the principal officers of the establishment, a well-built chapel fitted up with elegant simplicity for the use of the officers and men employed in the Yard, and a fort, which is just completed, for the defence of the place, mounting twenty- three long twenty-four pounders.

There are twelve slips for ship-building, which is at present the only business carried on in the yard, though, from the low price of labour in this part of the country, and the  facility of obtaining materials of all kinds, it is in contemplation to introduce other branches of labour for the naval service. There are at present on the stocks, and in different states of progress, the Royal William of one hundred and twenty guns ; the Rodney, of ninety two gun; the Forth, of forty-six guns; the Andromache, of twenty-eight; the Harrier, of eighteen; and the Cockatrice schooner: the number of men employed at present is about five hundred.

Besides the Government establishment there is a small private dock, and it is probable that the Irish packet establishment will be removed from Milford to this place, with a view to which alteration a very fine jetty is now being constructed at Hobbs Point, a few hundred yards to the east of the dock-yard, from which new roads have been formed, connecting it with the main road from Carmarthen, in a new line avoiding both Narberth and Haverfordwest, by which route the mail  will save a distance of several miles.

About a mile to the east of the dock-yard is Pembroke ferry, belonging to the crown, and held by Sir John Owen, Bart., who underlets it at an annual rent of £200: it forms the shortest and most usual line of communication between Haverfordwest and Pembroke, the distance between which places by the ferry is only ten miles, but by Narberth twenty-five : the fares are one-halfpenny for a foot passenger, one penny for a man and horse, and one shilling per wheel for carriages.

The regularity of the streets suggests at first sight that development took place in a much more structured way than was the case. The reality was that numerous builders were engaged in the process, and terraces were often formed by the coalescence of individual or small clusters of houses, rather than built in their entirety by one person at one time. This is revealed in the Registers of Building Plans which show that many lessees and/or builders applied for building approval in a particular street and that their applications were spread over months and sometimes years. As an example, one of the present-day main thoroughfares - Dimond Street - was built piece-meal, the south side of the street completed almost fifteen years before the northern part. In Market St one plot was not built on till 1847 and  Princes St still had plots vacant in the 1840s.  For a long time the northern side retained a high, thorny hedge - an incongruous sight in the centre of the thriving and developing town. By this process, a town of over 11,000 inhabitants (that is, Pater Ward of Pembroke M.B. in the 1901 Census) came into being during the nineteenth century. What was built was not particularly impressive, rows of terraced houses of one or two storeys with slate roofs. The town was built basically to accommodate large numbers of workers in industrial employment. Most streets were lined by two storey, single-fronted houses but showing some variation, especially over the course of the century. In general, those built in the early days closest to the waterfront and dockyard (such as Front Street, Brewery Street and Clarence Street) were small and had plain facades. Those built later in the century, while retaining the same overall structure, were larger in their internal dimensions and had bay-windows. An interesting and distinctive form of working-class housing was the use of the single storey cottage, particularly characteristic of the outer parts of the town (for example, in High Street and Waterloo), where four rooms were built at street level.  Certain areas had far grander houses witness Officers Row, (Queen St West) which was completely occupied by Dockyard Officers. 

At this time every woman walking about the town had to wear clogs or pattens to keep their feet and dresses clear of the mud because the streets were not very well made up.  At night a lantern was a necessity as piles of culm and slime for mixing into fuel, would very often be left in the street overnight. Water had to be fetched from wells and rain water collected in tanks. The Admiralty had their own supply having driven tunnels into Barrack Hill to collect it. They also purchased the right to the springs at Bethany Corner from Mr. Tregennis for £200 had piped it down to their reservoir at the top of Charlton Place. These springs had previously fed a stream running down, in a deep ravine, were Tregennis Hill is now.  As the town grew, facilities followed. At the start there was skeleton shopping provision in Commercial Row, these included Trewent drapery shop, Clougher’s book shop, the Royal Oak Hotel and general shop kept by Nathaniel Owen, where at first the leading hands of the gangs used to distribute the wages; and Moores the Chemist.  Friday St., so called, was where goods were sold before the Market was built. The name was later changed, in 1827 to Clarence St in honour of the visit of Prince William Henry, Duke of Clarence (later William IV) who came to witness the launch of the “ Clarence”. With the towns spread westwards, the centre of commerce gradually shifted in that direction, until Queen Street and Dimond Street, and the spurs leading off them, became the main shopping artery.

After a period of stagnation the town had started spreading eastward in 1836 mainly due to the increase in size and therefore employment brought about by the Dockyard expansion.

Queen St East, part of Meyrick St and Lewis St were built about this time. It had been intended to build a row of better houses up the Dockyard Avenue and two were built but the arrival of Mr Edie as Master Shipwright changed the plans. He decided on the planting of a row of trees and the two houses built were purchased by the Government and allocated to the Lieutenant in charge of Police and the Boatswain of the yard.

1837 London Mail Coach arr. 12.34, dep. 01.32. distance 273 miles, Postal Charge 1/2d

1838 Two free deliveries of letters daily.

Hobbs Point was made a Post Town when the Irish Packet was transferred there from Milford Haven about 1837. Before the establishment of the harbour at Hobbs point the main centre population were at Pembroke  Dock (the Admiralty Dockyard) and the village of Pater or Paterchurch which both lay about half a mile away to the southwest. These places were, in turn, a fifth Clause Post under Pembroke two miles to the south­ east. When Hobbs Point was established Pembroke Dock became a Penny Post under Hobbs Point.

The additional 1/2d. charge.

In 1826 Telford surveyed the Hobbs Point - St. Clears road as an alternative to the much criticised Milford - St. Clears turnpike. In 1833 his road from Hobbs Point was under con­struction but the funds held by the Turnpike Trust for completion were inadequate and according to the 1846 Report of the Commissioners on Highways in South Wales further moneys (the amounts quoted by different people giving evidence to the Commission conflict) were secured against a charge to be levied on letters carried from Ireland to South Wales. The 1/2d. surcharge Act was passed on 22 June 1836 and applied to letters coming into Milford;. Probable period of use Jul. 1836­ to Dec. 1839.

The Waterford Packet had to come to Milford until about 1837 when it moved to Hobbs Point, (north of Pembroke Dock). One reason for moving it was the poor state of the turnpike between Haverfordwest and Milford. This road, built by Greville in 1791, was so bad in 1817 that the Secretary of the Post Office, Sir Francis Keeling, sent for Henry Leach, Collector of Customs and Controller of the Post Office Packet at Milford , and told him that it would be impossible to maintain the mail for Ireland unless the road was improved. Leach in his report the following year attributed the lack of repairs to misappropriation of funds by the trustees of the turnpike. In 1825 Telford surveyed this road and subsequently was asked to survey the route to Hobbs Point (q.v.) from St. Clear and Begelly. In order to help pay for the new road to Hobbs Point an Additional 1/2d. surcharge was authorised on letters.

[Acc/to Mrs Peters.]

The two first magistrates in the town were Dr,Thomas and Mr. Propert. Dr.Thomas resided in Officers Row and subsequently in Charlton Place. He was also a Town Councillor.     

At Mr. Properts house magisterial business was conducted. The house that he occupied was the small one now adjoining Albion Square Chapel. It was at that time, with the exception of the Albion House, the only building in the square. It had as at present, a small court of grass and flowers in front, and in addition to this a similar one at the side, which has since disappeared.

The guardians of the peace were two or three constables.

One was a retired sergeant named Gilfillan, another was Lipton and one was named George Young, familiarly known as Old Young. The duties of these men were manifold, if light. George Young also acted as sanitary inspector, for which duty he received £5 a year. At the top of Brewery Row formerly stood the old lock-up. It was a miserable den with a nail studded door. Attached to the lock-up was a small plot of grass, secured by a strong iron spiked gate; this was the local pound. To the delighted curiosity of small children very occasionally a stray quadruped might have been seen inside.]

In 1843/4 Mr Edward Laws, Naval Storekeeper of Pembroke Dockyard and a trustee of the Bush Estate was selected as Mayor of the Borough, he was also the chief magistrate for Pembroke Dock.

The next one, in 1860, was Mr James Cocks a master mariner and timber merchant. He died age 89 in 1891.

In 1870 Samuel Jenkins an ex Dockyard official and landlord of the Victoria Hotel was Mayor (he later was landlord of the Bush Hotel) and he was followed  in 1872  by William S Lewis a draper of Pembroke St.

The growth of the town depended on improvements inside the dockyard and the build-up of military support. The presence of the dockyard created the need for armed protection, and from the early years there was a military presence in the town. Early in the century they were housed in an old vessel but permanent barracks and fortifications were soon needed. The three most important developments for the overall shape of the town were the Defensible Barracks, the Pennar Barracks and the Llanion Barracks. Work started on the first in 1844 on the top of the hill - which became known as Barrack Hill - immediately behind the dockyard; the second was completed before the end of the century for the Royal Engineers; and the third replaced a hut encampment for the Crimean War at Llanion overlooking Hobbs Point.

With the demolishment of the houses by the War Department to provide a clear field of fire from the Barracks, many who had lived in Wesley Row, Cross Park, Tregennis Hill West and Bethany Square moved to the new houses that were being built in what is now Bufferland. The influx of military personnel lead to an increase in housebuilding and as well as Dimond St South and Meyrick St, Water St East and Lewis St and Laws St were started. The Temperance hall was erected in 1845.  

But there were times of unemployment, and migration in and out.

One Example

1851 Census Pembroke Dock

Hawgood William (37)   474 - Shipwright - 23 Dimond St P/d born Dale

            Martha (38)474 - wife - born Dale

            Anne Jane (6)   474 -scholar - born P/D

            Susannah (8)    474 -scholar - born P/D

            Eleanor (11)      474 - scholar - born Milford

            Henry (13)   474 - scholar - born Dale

Thomas (34) 406  Tailor Master -  14  Lewis St - Pembroke Dock - (was he one who became a Mormon)

Mary Ann (26) 406 - wife - born Milford

Henry (5)      406 - scholar - born Dale

John (10m)     406 - born Marloes

Margaret (3)   406 - born Walywins Castle

Elizabeth Edwards - visitor - age 14 - unmarried - born Marloes

This part of the family emigrated to the USA in 1856

William Hawgood was blinded in one eye in the Dockyard and later became mine host at the London Coffee House, Picton Terr, Neyland.

Land was purchased at Llanion for the use of the army and a site near Hill Farm was also purchased with the intention of building a Military Hospital. Land was purchased at Pennar Point, a bridge built to connect Cross Park with  Pennar, and a road built to connect this bridge with Pennar point. The original intension was to bridge the mouth of Pennar Gut and then continue the road linking all the Military Forts down to Angle.

The use of culm for fires going out of fashion by the 1850s and a coal yard was established at the top of Pembroke St by a Mr Michael Morris. House coal from Newport arrived by sea and was offloaded at Front St . In the early part of this century the yard was run by a Miss Leais.

By the end of the nineteenth century the main features of Pembroke Dock were in place,

(i) an enclosed naval dockyard, and associated fitting-out facilities on the waterway;

(ii) to the east of this yard a grid-iron town, with its streets (some spacious) lined by rows of terraced properties, these showing some variation in size and style. Residential development had also spread up the hill to the south, with streets leading off the road to Pembroke and towards Pennar;

(iii) Shopping facilities were located in Commercial Row and the Market House nearby, and along the main thoroughfares to the east, especially the Queen Street/Dimond Street axis;

(iv) large tracts of land at the edges were given over to military uses, most notably at Barrack Hill, Pennar and Llanion;

(v) the Pembroke and Tenby Railway, which had opened a station in Pembroke Dock in 1864, was extended through the town, cutting across some of its streets en route, into the dockyard, with a secondary spur to Hobbs Point, in the early 1870s.

Among notable buildings and services were the Mechanics Institute, Dimond St whose foundation stone was laid by Mrs Ramsey wife of Captain M Ramsey (Later Earl of Dalhousie) in June 1862. The land was leased by T C Meyrick for 99 years at 2s 6d per year. It contained a Reading room, a library of 3500 books and a small museum. Members paid 6d per week.

Acc/to Kellys Directory 1884.

The Mechanics Institute situated in Dimond street, the foundation stone of which was laid June 2nd, 1862 contains a fine reading-room, which is well supplied with the daily and weekly newspapers and periodicals: the library contains about 4,000 volumes, and there is a small museum in connection with it.

The Government Savings bank in the Market.

London and Provisional Bank situated at the corner of Dimond St opposite the Royal Hotel.

The Post office in Lower Meyrick St.

[Acc/to Mrs Peters.]

The first post-office, as may be expected, was a very unpretentious place of business. It was held in a small house on the site of the present building occupied by Mr. Henry Lewis, opposite the market house. The postmaster who kept it was a Mr. Tribble. The office was afterwards removed to the Mail-coach Hotel, Hobbs Point; from thence it was transferred to a house on the site of the present Pier Hotel. At both these last named places a Mrs. Williams did duty as postmistress. For a time she also kept it in Commercial Row, and while it was held as a general office at the Mail-coach Hotel, a post office branch, or receiving house, was, for the convenience of the public held at the stores of Mr Nathaniel Owen in Commercial Row. After this the post-office was for many years kept by the late Mr. George Thomas Husband of the Clarence Inn, at the top of Pembroke Street. Letters were delivered once daily at 7 pm. The office was finally removed to its present position in Meyrick Street North. Originally on this site stood a public-house called the Lamb and Flag kept by one Tom Harris, who was also a haulier; afterwards it passed into the possession of a Mr. Joseph Briggs, of the Bush Hotel; it was next to an office for the Great Western Railway Company before it was taken over by the Post Office authorities].

The Temperance hall in Dimond St which was enlarged in the 1870s and besides being used by the Temperance Movement was also used for a variety of other purposes including public lectures and concerts. It held about 500 people.

The Albion Hall in Albion Square capable of holding over 800 people and renovated in the early 1870s used for concerts and lectures and miscellaneous entertainments.

Acc/to Kellys Directory 1884.

The Police station was in Albion square.

The area of Pembroke Dock ecclesiastical parish 1096 acres and the population in 1881 was 11,662. The Parish Clerk was Thomas Williamson.

1872 April 22nd  by Order made by Queen Victoria in the Royal Court at Windsor that on and after June 30th 1872 the County Court should be held at Pembroke Dock instead of Pembroke. The County Court Room was next to the Victoria Hotel in Pembroke St. The Courts were held monthly and the Pembroke town Council held their meetings there alternating with Pembroke.

Pennar became part of Pembroke Dock about 1870 and, at that time, was a thriving community with shops, pubs, places of worship, several smallholdings and allotments.

In 1875 the town was described as well lit with gas and pretty regularly built. The principal streets are Dimond St, Queen St East, Commercial Row, Pembroke St, Bush St, and Meyrick St. Bush St was not completed at that time.

The water supply other than that to the Government dwellings was from wells and by tanks attached to the houses. It was believed to be adequate by the town council.

The town had at that time two weekly newspapers The Pembroke Dock and Tenby Gazette and the Pembrokeshire Advertiser.

Acc/to J. A. Findlay writing 1875.

1871 census population nearly 12,000.

Inhabitants consisted principally of tradespeople and dockyard artisans and comprise persons from nearly all parts of the UK mainly brought hither by the Dockyard and the Garrison.

Districts of Pennar, Bufferland and Waterloo are the more recent additions to the Town  

It was essentially an English speaking Community.  

Principle Landowners: T C Meyrick Esq., Mark Antony Saurin of Orielton and the Government.

“Seen from the harbour the town makes a considerable appearance. The Dockyard presents a chief feature with its lofty and uniform range of tolerably handsome sheds covering the numerous slips whose entrances are skirted by the waters of the Haven. Beyond it crowing the summit of the hill to which they give their name stands the Defensible barracks. Away to the left the continuous elevations of High St and Prospect Place are occupied by terraces and streets of exceedingly neat looking private houses. Below and nearer us - on the level- is the larger and more business part of the town; where the mass of houses seem closely packed together, but in which the slender pinnacles of the Congregational Chapel are the only prominent object.

Seem from the Barrack Hill looking to the North we see the Dockyard beneath us. The building sheds rise majestically and barrier like along the waters edge; while from their dark roofs most profusely skylights twinkle in the sunshine. To their right a long slender structure with its roof and portions of its sides composed wholly of glass (The Glass House) is not without some pretension to beauty. Extensive and imposing blocks of stone buildings  occupying the middle of the yard-devoted to various purposes - next to arrest our notice and holding an elevated central position on one of these, the Clock is seen-from which the time of day is readily made out.

Nearer, fine plantations of high trees separate the well built officers residences from the parts just described. In the south-east corner stands the Chapel of the yard, with its small square-set tower surmounted by a cupola, and cross; and at our feet is the pretty entrance to the Establishment. All these catch the eye, and exquisitely combine to render this portion of the picture a most attractive and pleasing one.

Turning from the Dockyard we will now enumerate some of the objects which strike us as most prominent in the second part of the picture.

At the foot of the Hill are the National Schools, containing a crowd of bright, happy-looking, and intelligent children; and near to them the Victoria Hotel at the top of Pembroke Street. A little to our right is Belle Vue Terrace, with its snug little cottages, each enveloped in the shrubbery and fruit-trees of its surrounding garden; and adjacent, the Government reservoirs, holding two large rectangular sheets of fresh water-bright  and sparkling. Beyond these latter, the Congregational Chapel, one of the most handsome edifices in the town, appears to advantage; and further along, the Town Clock, situated in the rather low and unimposing tower of St. John's Church, attracts attention.

Still further beyond, the wooden huts of the Military encampment dot the grassy slope which terminates in the Admiralty Pier at Hobbs Point, - where a pair of immense “sheer-legs”, form a fitting completion to the picture, which has now been described”.

Up till the 1880s the road connecting Pennar with Pembroke Dock was little more than a mud track a "bitter experience on dark damp nights" and down to Lower Pennar and the Ferry was described as "a double source of danger and disgrace". Soon after a decent road was constructed with the main aim of conveying goods and manpower the new Torpedo store at Pennar Point.

1881 The Corporation bought the Market hall from the Admiralty for £4000. The Corporation later covered it in.

In the latter part of the century there was much rebuilding. Many of the early houses which had become more or less slums were replaced. The old cottages of Nailers Lane, (Wellington St.) Back Cottages (Park St) and Front St. as well as Pigs Parade (Bush St) were some. The Admiralty sold its land in Pembroke St, Market St, Princes St, Cumby St and Victoria Rd  making these sites freehold which encouraged owners to spend money replacing and refurbishing properties in these streets.

In 1884 according to Kellys directory 49 public houses are listed in as being in the town

1887 and 1889: Mr. William Seccombe the then Mayor had placed a number of seats on Barrack Hill.

Kellys Directory 1884.

Pembroke Dock, or Pater, is a ward of the municipal  borough of Pembroke, from which it is distant by rail 2 and by road 3miles; in 1844 it was formed into an ecclesiastical parish from St. Mary, Pembroke: the inhabitants , consist chiefly of trades-people and dockyard artisans. The  government dockyard here possesses great natural advantages and occupies 8o acres of ground surrounded by a high wall with a formidable fort facing the water, for its protection; on Barrack Hill, immediately behind (from which the  entire yard can be overlooked), are strongly fortified artillery barracks mounting guns facing every point.

This place, generally called “Little England beyond Wales," was originally a farm with a house and church, then designated “Pater­ church," and was the residence of William de Paterchurch, a follower of William the Conqueror: in 1812 surveys were made, and in 1814 the nucleus of the present government dockyard establishment was formed.

The Pembroke and Tenby Railway Company have a line direct into the yard, thus avoiding the transhipment of heavy stores at the passenger station. Though the vicinity abounds with magnificent views in­ land and seaboard scenery, Pembroke Dock itself has few attractions for the visitor, except the government yard and beautiful Haven, which is capable of floating the largest ships at neap tide and across which steamers are continually plying to and from Neyland (or New Milford) in connection with the Great Western railway station, which is situated at  the end of Dimond street, and affords communication with every part of the North of England and the Midlands by the Central  Wales line.

Acc/to Kellys Directory 1884.

Inns and Hotels 1884

Railway Inn               Llanion Terr               Mr John Arlow

Swan Inn                     Pennar                         Mr Henry Banner

Bush Hotel                  Bush St                        Mr Samual Jenkins

South Wales Hotel      London Rd                  Mr James Chappell

Dock Gate Inn                        Melville St                   Mr George Cousins (he was also a baker)

Foresters Inn               Kings St                       Mr Daniel Davies

Landshipping Inn        Queens St                     Mr Thomas Davies

Rose and Crown         Queen St East             Mr William Durnford

Railway Hotel             Gwyther St                 Mr Henry Elliot

Prospect Tavern          16 Prospect Place        Mr William Emmerson

Talbot Tavern              South Meyrick St        Mr James Findlay

Star Inn                       17 Water St                 Mr Samual Frise

Globe                          King St                         Mr John Fulcher

Salutation Inn             Lewis St                      Mrs Catherine Gibby

Kings Arms                 Front St                        Mr George L Griffiths

Commercial Inn          Pennar                         Mr Robert Court  Griffiths

Swan Inn                     Queens St                     Mr Walter Griffiths

Clarence Inn                1 Victoria Terr             Mr James Gwyther

Rising Sun                   Queen St                      Mr  William Gwyther

Hearts of Oak             Front St                       Mr Richard Hall

Charlton Inn                South Park St              Mrs Mary Hancock

Prince Albert               Market St                     Mr William Herbert

Pier Hotel                    Llanion Terr                Miss Emily Hussey

Navy Inn                     Queen St West                        Mr William Hyde

Bush Family &                       

Commercial Hotel       Bush St                        Mr Samual Jenkins

Hawthorne Inn            Clarence St                   Mr Jenkin Henry Larkin

Red Lion Inn              Lower Commercial Rd   Mrs Mary Ann Leathlean

Bell and Lion              Commercial Row        Fredrick Lewis

Albert Inn                   Dimond St                   Mrs Anne Llewhellin

Rose and Crown         Queen St                      Mrs Elizabeth Llewhellin

Sun Inn                       Queen St East             Mr John McBean (also boot maker)

Burton Brewery Wine &

Spirit  vaults                Dimond St                  Mr John Meyrick

Foresters Arms            Kings St                       Mrs Ann Morris

Bird In Hand              Lewis St                       Mr William Morris

Caledonian                  High St                         Mrs Elizabeth Martha Morgans

Royal Oak                   Pennar                         Mr David Nicholas

Duke of York              Pembroke St                 Mr Fredrick Noakes

White Hart                  Pembroke St                 Mr Thomas Page

Alexander Inn             Water St                      Mr William  Page

Three Tuns                  Dimond St East           Miss Mary Maria Phillips                   

Commercial Hotel       Queen St                      Miss Emily Potter

Three Crowns              Laws St                       Mrs Jane Louisa Price

Bridgewater Arms      Kings St                       Mr Henry Rowley

Pembrokeshire Arms  Lower Meyrick St        Mr Albert Saxby

Queens Hotel              Queen St East             Mrs Anna Sharpe

Navy Tavern               Pembroke St                 Mr John Thomas

New Cambria              Prospect Place             Mr Samual Watkins

Prince of Wales           Laws St                       Mr Sydney Webb (also photographer)

Vine                            Melville St                    Mr David White

Kalwentage Inn          Pennar                         Mr John Williams                                                                                           

Various travelling companies of players acted in wooden theatres at the lower end of the cottages of Lewis Street, where, among other dramas, the tragedy of Maria Martin was enacted in all its horrors, and was a favourite play, being at that time quite up-to-date. One of the most patronised of these theatres was known as Cardonis. Following these, other temporary playhouses have stayed here at different periods.                            

Quite recently the Queens Theatre has been erected in Queen Street East; the proprietor is Mr. Walter Canton.                           

Cooks circus was the first that came to the town, and made a great display. Waxwork shows and travelling menageries were sources of much wonder and delight, and for many years stood in the Station Field. This field has almost entirely disappeared; Apley Terrace and Hawkestone Road cover the greater part of it.

One travelling show that visited the town some years ago was very amusing. A loud-voiced showman invited the public inside to see a living head without a body, which was picked up rolling down the sandy plains of Africa. The deluded person who paid the modest entrance fee of twopence was rewarded by seeing the head fixed in a box-like arrangement which hid the lower part of the body of a local celebrity, best known by the name of Pyot, the dialect word for the magpie.

The first roundabout that visited Pembroke Dock was pushed round by boys, who for this work were rewarded by getting a free ride after a certain number of turns. An improvement on this was the whirligig, which was manipulated by some person. After this came the roundabout worked by a pony, then the steam-horses, finally leading up to the gorgeous gondolas and moving animals belonging to Mr. H. Studt. These latest improvements in the way of whirligigs and the revolving gondolas - Venice on land - are each accompanied by a powerful organ; the motive power which produces the music is the same as that which drives the other mechanism, and the illuminant is electricity. Mr Studt represents a family who for many years have paid occasional visits to the neighbourhood. He is well known for his generosity in assisting many local charities.

On May 14, 1904, Colonel Cody (Buffalo Bill) brought his gigantic show of the Wild West here, and his North American Indian, Cossack, and other daring riders. They gave their magnificent display of horsemanship and marvellous shooting in a large field nearly opposite Bierspool Farm.

In the early eighties bicycle races were held in the streets of the town, the cycle being then the old high-wheeler; some time after these races took place, a cycle-track was made on the ground leading from the Fort Road to old Pater Battery. June 28, which was then kept as a holiday, being the Coronation day of Queen Victoria , was a favourite day for these races, and large crowds used to gather at such a time to witness them.

The Barrack Hill, the cricket-field, and the field opposite Bierspool, all come in for a fair share of patronage in an ath­letic way. But in addition to these places, the athletes of the town have now a splendid ground for football, cricket, and other games, situated on a piece of Government land opposite the County Intermediate School. The ground was leased at a low rental on condition that sports and other amusements were to be held there, but that it was not to be let to any circus or travelling show. The Athletic Ground is greatly appreciated by the young men of the town.

There are three tennis clubs, and courts laid out for the game at Llanion, Bierspool, and at Kingswood .

Many processions have been formed in connection with the different societies, such as those of the past in which the Foresters took part in their gay regalia and feathered hats; and of the Rechabites, who, when they paraded the streets in the seventies of the last century, never marched without carrying aloft on a stick a small cask, open from end to end, showing, to use an Irishism, this best way of filling it. But besides, and without taking into account political demonstrations, Pembroke Dock people have witnessed many sights of interest in their town. There is a tradition that, when King George IV, died, the day of his funeral was observed by a procession of people, who marched round the Market Place and through the few streets that were then built in the town. Queen Victoria was proclaimed at the Dockyard gates by, it is said, the late Dr. Paynter of Pembroke, who was then Mayor of the borough. Mrs. Edward Thomas, an old inhabitant of the town, was present on the occasion.

The centenary of Wesleyan Methodism in 1839 was commemorated by a demonstration of Sunday-school children connected with this denomination - each child received on the occasion a medal to mark the event.

On August 14, 1849, the royal yacht, the first Victoria and Albert, with Queen Victoria, accompanied by the late Prince Consort, the Prince of Wales (King Edward VII), and the Princess Royal (the late Empress of Germany), came into Milford Haven. Queen Victoria appeared on the deck of the vessel, attired in a dress of a dark material, with a white shawl loosely thrown around her shoulders, and wearing a white straw bonnet trimmed with blue, and with blue strings. Numbers of small boats put out to see the yacht, and Earl Grey, in response to the cheering of the people in them, brought His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales to the side of the yacht for them to see. He was dressed in a sailor suit, with a broad white hat. A Welsh girl, habited in native costume, went on board the royal yacht, with a present of butter for Queen Victoria from the late Earl Cawdor. Prince Albert came up to Pembroke Dock in the Fairy, a small yacht. He viewed Pembroke Castle, but went no further. He then returned to the yacht. The yeomanry turned out on the occasion, and a royal salute was fired from the Defensible Barracks. Queen Victoria did not land, and was never in the town. In 1858 the Prince Consort and our present Sovereign (who wore a Highland costume) were again in the harbour, having boarded the old royal yacht from Neyland, en voyage for Ireland .

On April 7, 1858, the coming of age celebrations of Thomas Charlton Meyrick, Esq., (now Sir Thomas Meyrick, Bart. C.B) took place. A dinner was held at the Victoria Hotel , and shortly after a grand ball was also given at Bush House in honour of the occasion.

The Prince Consort died on December 14, 1861. The sad news did not arrive in the town until the following day (Sunday). The body of the late Prince was interred at Windsor on December 23 (afterwards removed to Frogmore), and Pembroke Dock, together with other places in the kingdom, observed the day as one of national mourning.

The marriage of H.R.H. the Prince of Wales to Princess Alexandra of Denmark took place on March 10, 1864, and was, of course, the occasion of much rejoicing. The children from the various Sunday-schools assembled together and marched through the Dockyard and principal streets of the town, headed by the Rechabite band. The band of the volunteers also accompanied the procession. This regiment held a grand parade and review on the Barrack Hill that day. All the children were decorated with a white silk ribbon rosette, bearing in the centre portraits of the Prince and Princess. The houses were illuminated in the evening - one house in Prospect Place noticeably so, having fixed to it a large Prince of Wales’ plume lighted by gas. There was a bonfire on the Barrack Hill. A ball was held at the Victoria Hotel the same night. The Robert Raikes centenary of Sunday-schools was celebrated on June 28, 1880. It was a date to be remembered by the children in the town. Hundreds of them, accompanied by bands, marched from Albion Square, through the Dockyard and the principal thoroughfares, forming a gay pageant as they walked, wearing their bright centennial medals. They disbanded and went to their Sunday-schools for tea, afterwards meeting on the Barrack Hill,

June 21st 1887, the Jubilee demonstration commemorated on Tuesday, the fifty years reign of Her late Majesty Queen Victoria. A huge procession, headed by the 8lst Loyal North Lancashire military band, formed between Albion Square . and the end of Bush Street  East and marched round the streets of the town, entering the gate of the Dockyard through the main gate, and up south-east Lovers Walk to the Barrack Hill. The procession of the Chamber of Trade and all the scholars of the different Sunday-schools of the town. In addition to the Loyal Lancashire brass band, there were the fife and drum band of the same regiment and the town Excelsior band in attendance. The children marched four abreast and were marshalled by Messrs. William James, John Bray, and W.H. Way on horseback. On the slopes of the Barrack Hill three cheers for Queen Victoria were given. Then the National Anthem, God bless the Prince of Wales, Al1 hail the power of Jesus Name and the Doxology were heartily sung by many hundreds of people, efficiently led by Mr. D.A. Andrews. The schools divided after the singing, and marched to their several schoolrooms, where the teachers had provided tea. At half-past five they reassembled on the Hill for games; the Excelsior band and the band of the regiment played at intervals. At ten o’clock a monster bonfire was lighted, after which a display of fireworks was given by Messrs. Llewellin and Sons, of Bristol. Each child was presented with a Jubilee medal as a memento of the day.

The sad death of Prince Albert Victor, the late Duke of Clarence, on January 14, 1892, and his funeral, which took place at Windsor on January 20th were befittingly commemorated at Pembroke Dock. On the day his remains were interred an impressive service was held at St. John’s Church, when the Mayor and Corporation and representatives of the army and navy were present. The sermon was preached by the Rev. W.R. Lloyd, then curate in charge. On July 6, 1893, the occasion of the marriage of the Duke of York and Princess Mary of Teck, Pembroke Dock was decorated and illuminated. On the Barrack Hill, a bonfire was lighted, and fireworks were set off by Mr. K. McAlpin and Mr. Joseph Tucker, of Commercial Row. Many of the townspeople wore a white rose, the York emblem, on the day.

The celebrations of Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee on Tuesday, June 22, 1897, were carried out on much the same lines as on Jubilee Day, 1887. The Sunday schools assembled in a field east of Bush Street , kindly lent by Mrs. Owen Davies, of Waterloo House. The band of the 2nd Battalion Devon Regiment (Colonel Bullock commanding officer) headed the procession. The Salvation Army band also marched and played.

Before the procession started the Sunday-school officers distributed medals to the children; then God save the Queen and God bless the Prince of Wales were sung. The same marshals were in attendance as in 1887, with the addition of Mr. James Eastlake Thomas. Inside the grounds of the Dockyard the English and Welsh National Anthems were sung, after which the children proceeded in marching order to the Barrack Hill, where All hail the power of Jesus Name, the National Anthem and the Doxology were again unitedly sung under the direction of Mr. Fred Sanders, and conducted by Mr. D. A. Andrews. The children afterwards dispersed to their own schools.

It is not to be expected the town has escaped all calamity. January 1866, Bush House, at that time the residence of Mr. Meyrick, the owner of the estate, was burnt down. The fire broke out at five o’clock in the even­ing through some inadvertence. A beam in the chimney caught fire. There was a strong westerly breeze going at the time, which fanned the flames and caused them to spread quickly. The Dockyard men living in the district of Pembroke, who were returning home from work, rendered great assistance, as did also the soldiers of the 6th Royal Warwickshire Regiment, but all to no purpose, as far as saving the mansion went, although they were able to remove many valuables to places of safety. The fire, happily, was not accompanied by any loss of life.

The biggest fire that has occurred in the early town was that which destroyed the Emporium drapery establishment in Bush Street, then owned by the late Mr. David Jenkins. About ten o’clock on the night of July 12, 1880, the first alarm was given. The flames increased so rapidly that they grew beyond control, and the whole of the house was soon on fire, and was completely burned. Unfortunately, a young man named Richards, an assistant in the business, lost his life in the burning building.

The premises now known as Morriss Temperance Hotel was once an outfitters shop, and as such was greatly damaged by fire.

The drapery business of Mr. Thomas Phelps, which was at one time carried on in Commercial Row, suffered greatly from a destructive fire. The conflagration spread until it reached the ironmongery establishment of Mr. J. Phillips next door, and did immense mischief. In consequence of this fire both these businesses were discontinued.

Fire also threatened the destruction of Mr. J. Hancock’s drapery establishment, in Dimond Street, but, fortunately, it was subdued before it had taken too great a hold.

The unfortunate daughters of the late Mr. William Henderson, of Bangeston House, lost their lives by the foundering of a steam­ packet called the Frolic, which was wrecked off the Nash Sands (Glamorganshire), September, 1831. This ship was comparatively new, having only been in use about a year for trading every fortnight between Bristol and Haverfordwest.

A sad accident, resulting in the loss of nine lives, happened on Friday afternoon, February 8, 1889. It was market day and the weather was very stormy. The market-women were returning home across Bentlass Ferry, and the boat was heavily laden, with, amongst other things, a sack of flour. While proceeding across the water, just before reaching the other side, the boat cap­sized with all her living freight, and the seven women and two men of whom it consisted were drowned. The sadness of the disaster was added to by the thought that they were within one would have surmised, such easy reach of help, and the tide, at the time was but at low ebb.

A volunteer fire-brigade was formed in the town in 1897, and paraded for the first time in the Mayors (Mr. William Davies) Procession to Albion Square Congregational Church in 1898. It also marched in Alderman McColls mayoral procession in 1900 to St. Andrews Chapel, and likewise took part in the historical pageant in Coronation year, 1902. The late Mr. D. Hughes Brown, Mrs. J. Allen, and Mr. McColl were the first promoters of this fire-brigade. By 1906 because of lack of support, the fire-brigade was disbanded.

It was not until the year 1861 that a purely local newspaper was started in the town. Until this time the only one bearing on any local matters was the Pembrokeshire Herald, which was in existence in 1844, and is still flourishing (published at Haverfordwest by Mr. J. T. Morris).

Potters Electric News, started in 1855 in the year 1870 became incorporated with the Pembrokeshire Herald.

In the year 1861 the late Mr. W.G. Phillips founded the Pembroke Dock and Tenby Gazette - now called the Pembroke Dock and Pembroke Gazette - as a Liberal paper. This weekly newspaper, issued every Thursday at one penny, was started in Queen Street East. After some years Mr. Phillips removed to North Meyrick Street, where the paper was later published. After the death of Mr. W. G. Phillips in 1889 the management of the Gazette was entrusted to the late Mr. J. A. Beed, who successfully edited it until it was taken over by Mr. Llewellyn Powell, the son-in-law of the late Mr. W. G. Phillips. Then by Mr. H. Montague Powell, the eldest son of Mr. Llewellyn Powell.

The Pembroke Dock and Pembroke Gazette was followed by the Pembrokeshire Advertiser, and by the Free Press, which strictly speak­ing was a Pembroke paper, but which contains much Pembroke Dock news, and had a large sale in the town. The proprietor was Mr. Ivor Ward Davies.

The Pembrokeshire Times began its existence as the Tenby Telephone, and was for some time edited in Bush Street, Pembroke Dock, by Mr. William C. Harris. It was printed by Mr. Alfred Cozens, station-master at Lamphey.

Between 1880 and 1882 a halfpenny paper existed for a short time only. It was called the Pembroke Dock Express.

The Pembroke Dock Journal was first published on January 24, 1901. It was started as a penny weekly paper, afterwards for a short while it was sold for a halfpenny, but after a few months reverted to its original price. The paper is published Wednesday at the Journal office, North Meyrick Street, by its owner, Mr. W. G. Dobson.

The Weekly Post was the Conservative local paper. First published from the Weekly Post offices in Bush Street, January, 1904, edited by Messrs. John Thomas and Son.

The legal profession was represented in the town by Mr. H.A. Jones-Lloyd, solicitor (offices Bush Street, Mr. F.W. Merriman of the firm of Messrs. George Thomas and Merriman, solicitors (offices, 11 Meyrick Street North). Mr. W.G. Wynne, son of Major Wynne of Mellaston, has recently been admitted a solicitor and has purchased the practice of the late Mr. D. Hughes Brown of Meyrick Street North. Mr. F. S. Reed, solicitor of Pembroke, has an office in Dimond Street of this town.

The members of the medical profession are: Dr. H. D. Reynolds, MRCS., LRCP.; Dr. E. A. Saunders, MRCS., LSA.; Dr.Geoffrey Stamper, MRCS. LSA.; Dr. R. H. Williams, MRCS. LRCP.

Dr. W. B. Wall, MRCS., LRCP., of Pembroke has a consulting-room at Pembroke Dock.

Census returns

                                                Inhabitated houses                  Population

1851                                                    1069                            6236

1861                                                    1353                            10190

1871                                                    1670                            9622

1881                                                    1752                            9871

1891                                                    1912                            10481

Over the course of the century its population grew far outstripping the neighbouring town of Pembroke. It had a very mixed population in terms of origin in that while a large part of it was drawn from the locality - born and bred Pembrokeshire people - there were significant numbers of families from much further afield, particularly those with craft skills who had come from other dockyards in Britain, and those who were billeted at the barracks and remained.

However, all was not well in 1914, when the centenary of the town was marked by a programme of celebrations, which included the unveiling of a monument in Albion Square on 15 July. It seemed likely to many, that Pembroke Dock would join what was to become a very large band of towns in Britain which had experienced sustained investment and development in the nineteenth century but, faced with changed circumstances in the twentieth century, were, sooner or later, to decline. Fundamental changes were occurring in the British fleet which were to have severe repercussions locally. Large dreadnought battleships came into favour and supplanted the lighter gunboats and smaller vessels associated with Pembroke Dock. The facilities of the old dockyard were inadequate to handle these new battleships, and the Royal Navy looked to its own and other commercial yards elsewhere. Encouraged by the Great War, there was a continuing - albeit smaller - demand for cruisers and a call for submarines, to which Pembroke Dock responded, but that was a short-lived fillip to its fortunes.

The announcement was made on 2 September 1925 that the dockyard would close, and, despite protests and deputations, the closure order was implemented the following year. The impact was considerable - the raison d’être of the settlement had been eliminated.

The closing of the Yard in 1926 hit Pembroke Dock hard. Many of the skilled craftsmen left the area, unemployment was rife and there was less opportunity for the trade training of the young men of the area as well as the loss of the educational excellence of the Royal Dockyard School . Even before that time the reduction in employment had been so drastic that the Mayor had organised events such as half a mile of pennies and Fetes and Galas to raise money for the unemployment fund.

Some skilled tradesmen were taken on by other dockyards while many others drifted away in search of work.

Amongst those who remained, unemployment was rife, for there was no real substitute for the dockyard. Partial salvation came in the early 1930s with the establishment of an RAF flying-boat base there. But, even in 1937, the number of insured persons registered at the Labour Exchange was 2,590 and of these 53.7 per cent were unemployed. The whole town had looked to the Dockyard and only three areas in South Wales had higher percentages of unemployment.

Fortunately, the military presence was retained, and strengthened in one respect with the conversion of the eastern part of the yard into a flying boat base by the Royal Air Force in 1930.

Another visitor who stayed awhile was the German Spy William Joyce (Lord Haw Haw) who lodged at 26 London Rd.

The Second World War consolidated the town’s military role with all of the armed services using it as a base or as a fuel depot. This military function was a double-edged sword for it attracted the attention of the German air force, and the town and its fuel tanks suffered badly from bombing.

Pembroke Dock, with Swansea and Cardiff , was repeatedly and savagely attacked by the Luftwaffe.

The war left the town with many scars; 122 houses were not rebuilt out of 203 severely damaged by bombing.

Considerable repair work was carried out with the help of the War Damage Commission

The slow task of rebuilding a bomb scarred town began in the late 1940s. There were many reminders of what the Dock had gone through in the war years, like the discovery of an incendiary bomb in the top storey of a house in King Street. The Guardian reported: This house was badly damaged on 11th June 1941 and some repairs are now being made ....

The Temperance Hall was later rebuilt as the Pater Hall and is now the offices of Pembroke Dock Town Council.

A prefab estate was built at Britannia and from 1946 to 1949 three large housing estates were constructed in Pennar, at Hawkstone Road and the Green, Pembroke, then part of Pembroke Docks Llanion ward. The Hawkstone Road estate was later extended to Bush Camp and Ferry Lane .

The new vigour injected by the 1939-45 War was not to last and the post war period witnessed the steady closure of the various military installations - the RAF base in the dockyard, the army barracks and the naval fuelling facilities. Three factories were established at Kingswood to manufacture light metal goods and textiles and the R.S. Hayes company in the Dockyard and Hancocks at Dock St and Front St undertook the repair of small ships. But they too did not last and soon the local ship-building and repairing yards along the waterfront, most notably those of Hayes and Hancocks, were casualties of the post-war period.

However, by the late 1950s the full impact of these closures on the economy of the town was in part cushioned by the other developments which were occurring around the Milford Haven waterway. Large numbers of jobs were created in the construction and operation of oil-based industries and residents of Pembroke Dock, like many other local settlements, were drawn to the new plants for work. To an extent it became a dormitory town, offering little employment within its own confines, beyond its shopping, transport and general service functions.

Some relief came to the area in the 1960s when Ferry Lane was chosen as the site of a large factory to manufacture nuts and bolts.

The Barracks and the land attached to it were sold in 1967 by the Ministry of Defence to the District Council and leased by them for a period of 60 years to the South Pembrokeshire Golf Club.

Communications between the north and south of Pembrokeshire always had been complicated by the Milford Haven Waterway. The car ferry link between Hobbs Point and Neyland was the shortest route to the county town of Haverfordwest. 10 miles  as against 22 miles for  the road journey via Carew and Canaston Bridge. It was decided to span the Haven with a high level box girder bridge between Pembroke Ferry and Burton.

But the project was overshadowed by an accident on the Pembroke Ferry side, where a section of the bridge collapsed during construction work and four men were killed. It was some 18 months before work re-commenced and the new Cleddau Bridge was officially opened by the then Secretary of State for Wales, Mr.  John Morris, on Friday, May 23rd, 1975.


By this time, the new county of Dyfed was already in being and incorporated the old counties of Pembrokeshire, Cardiganshire and Carmarthenshire. Six new district councils had also been created in Dyfed, including South Pembrokeshire covering the former Pembroke Borough, Pembroke Rural, Tenby Borough, Narberth Rural and Narberth Urban areas. The district now had a population of 38,000 and its headquarters is at Llanion Park, Pembroke Dock.

On 18th June 1975 an area of the older houses in Pennar which had been considered for clearance was declared a housing action area with the aim of improving the housing in the area for the benefit of the inhabitants.

New community and town councils were also created. But it was not until 1986 that Pembroke Dock gained its own town council, under later Boundary Commission proposals.

During the period 1983-86, South Pembrokeshire District Council concentrated resources on repair and improvement grants. Housing action areas were set up and over 1,600 repair and over 1,100 improvement grants were processed to the great benefit of the older houses of South Pembrokeshire.  A substantial number of these grants were made to homes in Pembroke Dock.

The town had been boosted in 1979, with the inauguration of the B&I ferry service between Pembroke Dock and Southern Ireland. But, sadly, in 1983 the company ended its service to Cork on economic grounds and in 1986, the Rosslare service, too, was axed. B&I deciding to operate in conjunction with Sealink at Fishguard Harbour. However, a new roll-on, roll-off freight service was launched between Pembroke Dock and Rosslare by Ro-Ro Ferries Ltd. This later transferred to Swansea but was replaced later by the B&I who have continued operations from Pembroke Dock since.

The fortunes of Pembroke Dock have, in recent years, fluctuated with the fortunes of the oil industry. One result has been the development of new specialist construction and fabrication skills among the local workforce, leading to the establishment of local engineering companies.

The run-down of major contracts encouraged South Pembrokeshire District Council to seek to diversify local employment opportunities.

In April 1984, an Enterprise Zone was established with six sites in Pembroke Dock. Priority was given to land acquisition, the removal of eyesores and the provision of proper industrial services and factory units. The derelict fuel storage tanks at Llanion and Waterloo were removed; land at Bierspool was acquired and the old quarry filled in, and new roads and services were created.

The old wooden barracks at West Llanion were also acquired and the site re-developed with factory units. Derelict buildings at Pier Road were also converted.

The Waterloo refuse tip area was reclaimed and the land to the east of the cemetery was brought into use, with new roads and infrastructure.

Near Hobbs Point, a wide range of activities was carried out at the Offshore Centre of the Mainport Group. This base was established in 1974 and had served as the supply base for Celtic Sea oil and gas exploration. It has since gone bankrupt.

In 1986, work commenced on a new deep-water port in the Dockyard and there was a proposal to build a rail-link container terminal on part of the Bierspool Enterprise Zone to operate in conjunction with this new port. The construction of the port has involved the removal of nearly 200,000 cubic metres of rock and sand from the dock frontage, giving a water depth of 7.6 metres. A 198 metre pier head will be capable of receiving ships of up to 228.6 metres long. Unfortunately in 1992 the company running it ran into financial difficulties.

The Dockyard is the base of the Milford Port Authority’s subsidiary company, Marine and Port Services, which provides for ships stores, rope running, jetty teams and can carry out boat repairs.

The old Paterchurch Tower in the Dockyard has been given a facelift, as has the South Pembrokeshire Hospital and the Fort Road shore. There is also a plan to improve Hobbs Point.


In May 1948, the Pembroke Dock branch of RAFA officially formed and took over their new HQ, a hut in Cumby Terrace given by the  Station, CO.  Group Captain R.V. Brougham. The building was named Brougham Hall after the C.O.

Remnants of the past

In the grounds of the Health Centre is a small stone plinth with the legend P & T R C commemorating the PEMBROKE & TENBY RAILWAY COMPANY in 1864,

In the middle of the roundabout, is a small brick building which contained pumping machinery, next to the Police Station is the CRITERION CORNER. Two hotels, the Pier and the Criterion, stood here. One night during the last war, an aerial mine demolished both buildings, with great loss of life.

General Gordon (who was slaughtered at Khartoum ) stayed in Lewis Street as a young Officer.

Old Grammer School (1904) - the Coronation.

Old Town Cemetery,  Park St headstone (in the north west corner) of Captain Cumby, who fought with great valour at the battle of Trafalgar, in which Nelson was killed.

Co-op Building (1892).


from record D/LLO in County Records Office Haverfordwest

The Orielton estates in Pembroke Dock (Pennar and Llanreath) and Monkton formerly the possessions of the Owen Family were purchased in 1856 & 1857 by Miss Jane Martha Jones of Cilwendeg, with part of the compensation money paid by the Government for the Skerries Lighthouse of Anglesey (D/LLO/284)

These estates and the Cilwendeg estate passed to her niece Margaretta Sutton Saurin wife of Mark Antony Saurin.


In March 1947 during a dreadful winter, Pembrokeshire was lashed by hurricane strength gales, 90 mph gusts being recorded at RAF Pembroke Dock. A Sunderland was one casualty after, it is believed, a collision with a small craft.


The New Year of 1948 was ushered in at the Garrison Theatre at a dance organised by the RAF. Music was by the Blue Stars Band and Miss 1948, daughter of Flight Sergeant Henry, made her appearance.

And in September 1948 the RAFAs Battle of Britain Ball was held in the RAF sports hangar. The Battle of Britain Queen that year was Miss Rona Hill, 1/lst Avenue, Britannia Estate.

Other Shipbuilding and Industries in the Area:

1700s shipbuilding in Pembroke River near Bentlass.

1700s Shipbuilding and boat building at Pembroke Ferry by the Allen Family.

1780 “Prince of Wales” built for the Admiralty at what is now Neyland.

1784 “Triumph” built for the Admiralty in same yard.


Mr. William Robinson.

In Pembroke Dock the first yard was that of Mr. William Robinson in Front St . He also had a timber yard and two large saw pits.  He had been a Dockyard Clerk but had been left a large amount of property and left the Dockyard to start up in business.  Among the vessels built was a barque for the timber trade called Resolution. The Resolution was wrecked coming over from America with timber. He also purchased a paddle steamer the Cambria which was the first steam vessel to carry a member of the Royal family and had a gilded crown on the bulkhead of the engine room. The monarch was George IV in 1821 and he travelled on the paddle steamer between Newport and Bristol . Mr Robinson lived in a large house in Water St which was later divided up into smaller dwellings. Among his other business interests was a flour mill at Hazelbeach which could be worked by either steam or water. He converted the old lightships which had been moored at Carr Rocks and Weir Point one into a barge and the other into a pontoon which he moored at Neyland point with a sloping stage which could be varied according to the tide. The Cambria was used as a ferry steamer between Neyland and Hobbs Point and thus was the first mechanically propelled ferry between the two points. Mr. Robinson also purchased another steamer “Pearl” which was used on the Irish trade at first but later used for running excursion trips. 

1850s Mr. Richard Allen had a yard on the west side of Water St. He built the Arethusa for Captain Pring of Brixham. 

1856 Mr. Allen formed a partnership with Mr. James Warlow. The firm called Allen and Warlow built vessels until 1868.Among them was the Carmarthenshire the first merchant vessel to enter Yokohama Harbour. She was owned by Messrs David Jenkins of London , Merchants, and carried 1250 tons of Cardiff coal. 

In 1868 the firm became Allen and Long for about three years. Then Richard Allen and Son, Shipbuilders. The firm was appointed contractors to the Trinity Brethren for the repair of Lightships and were also Admiralty Contractors. They built and operated a steamer called Wave which ferried people to and from Landshipping and other places on route on a Friday for Pembroke Dock market. 

1873 Richard Allen died and his son Mr. S R Allen JP inherited, he moved the business to Lower Meyrick St.

1858 1860 Messrs McMaster and Co built ships at Front St., among those built were a brigatine, the Katherine Jane and a Barque the Monte Belle. The Yard was afterwards converted into a Timber Store and the firm went into the Timber business with saw mills in Front St.

1873 1879 The Pembroke Dock Co Operative Shipbuilding Co employed about 100 men on the site at the bottom of Meyrick St. They failed and the vessel on the Stocks was completed by McMasters and Co.

1888 Messrs J & W Francis Shipbuilders of Milford started a business at Front St.

Saw Mills     Front St.

Established by Mr. A.B. Harris who took over the saw pits of Mr. William Robertson Timber Merchant and Shipbuilder.

It was sold to Messers McMasters & Co and then to Messers Robinson Davis & Co of Cardiff present owners Jewsons,

Jacobs Pill Pennar: In 1874, the Milford Haven Shipbuilding and Engineering Co. Ltd (Jacobs Pill), leasing land and properties from the Orielton Estate. This Company had a very impressive Board of Directors including Admiral Lord Clarence Paget as Chairman, Sir William Brett as Secretary, Mr. E. Reed MP, E Barry RA, JT Emmerson JP and J Hall. A large shipbuilding Yard commenced at Jacobs Pill and built the Hei Yei a corvette for the Japanese Navy launched in 1877. Another ship built there was the Acorn. The last work carried out was the building of a Caisson for the Government, the yard closed in 1884. [acc/to the estate map the yard was on the Pennar side of Jacobs Pill].

County Records Office Haverfordwest.

Deeds D/LLO/59 66 County Records Office Haverfordwest Milford Haven Shipbuilding and Engineering Co Ltd (Jacobs Pill) leased many properties in Fleet St in March 1874 from the Orielton Estate.

Company went into liquidation in 1885 as part of the liquidation settlement the company assigned to Saurin its foreshore right in front of Fleet St. which it had acquired from the Board of Trade.

Fortifications and those Manning them:

Thomas Cromwell in 1539 proposed the fortification of the Haven and two blockhouses were started at Angle and Dale but not completed.

In 1595 George Owen prepared a plan for the fortification of the Haven but it was not carried out.

1643 Richard Steele, a royalist engineer constructed Pill Fort near Milford Haven - it did not hold out for long.

In 1689 The Privy Council discussed the problem of the defence of the haven and an engineer was sent to survey the area but no further action was taken.

In 1748 Lewis Morris carried out a survey of shipwrecks and navigation in the haven and suggested that a small fort be built on Stack Rock - nothing was done.

1757 Lt. Col. Bastide (Director of Engineers was sent to survey the area and advise on suitable sites for forts and batteries.

He suggested - Dale point, Great Castle Head, West Angle, Popton Point, Paterchurch and Neyland and a floating battery anchored 500yds north of Chapel Bay. The effective range of the cannon was about 500yds so there were areas not covered.

An alternative plan provided for a fort at Paterchurch point, one at Llanion Point and one at Neyland. The Ordinance department was put in charge of construction and land purchased. Only one the Paterchurch fort was started but it was not completed. The Paterchurch fort that was started stretched from the Carr Rocks to the foot of St. Patricks Hill and the walls were built in the form of a zigzag with a total area of 10 acres. When the remains of this fort were demolished in 1836 during an expansion of the yard, the masonry of parts was so good that it to be blown up to remove it.

From 1801 to 1803 batteries of guns were sited at Milford Haven to defend the dockyard one at Hakin Point and one on the site of St. Katherine’s Church. It is not recorded what guns were actually sited there.

Pater Fort.

With the Dockyard moving to Pater in consideration was given to fortifying the area and in 1830 work was carried out at Pater Fort. It was garrisoned in 1831 but in 1836 it was dismantled.  No record is available as to what armament was installed.

Paterchurch Battery.

In 1840 work was started by the Admiralty of the Paterchurch Battery and completed in 1842 and mounted 23 guns.  It was taken over by the Ordinance Department in 1855 and renovated in accordance with plans drawn up by Lt Gordon of the Royal Engineers. Until 1855 it was only entered through a gateway via the Dockyard and in charge of a Naval Gunner.  The last one was a Mr Turner. It was used by the Royal Dockyard Battalion from 1847 to 1857 and in that year, on its being taken over by the Ordinance Department a gateway was made so as to allow entry to the Battery from outside the Dockyard Wall. In 1864 the Pembroke Dock Artillery Volunteers used it for gun drill and firing practise. It was finally dismantled in 1902 when some of the stone was used for the erection of a new fitters workshop and some for St Teilos Church Llanion.

Defensible Barracks.

For the army garrison the defensible barracks was erected above the town work commenced in 1844 and the army took possession on 25th November 1845. This barracks was not designed to mount artillery but a Gun was fired daily at noon and at 9.30 pm from it.

This needed according to the original plans a clear field of fire with no buildings encroaching on it surrounding the Barracks and the War department drew up proposals to clear all building to Llanreath at the west, to the stream of water running at the south and east of Cross Park, to the road at Tregennis Hill (all the houses built on the west side) and down to Victoria Rd on the north.

Farmer Whites house and all the farm buildings were the first to be cleared as the lease had expired. All the other buildings were held on leases with unexpired portions and the tenants were asked to sell.  It would appear that pressure was brought to bear on many of the tenants especially those who were working for the Admiralty and the houses were demolished. All the houses on the west side of Tregennis Hill, much of Cross Park including all those on the North side, and all Wesley Row including the Ebenezer Chapel.

Martello towers.

Two were constructed between 1849 -57 either side of the dockyard. One to the South West, was designed to accommodate 1 x 32pounder + 4 x 12 pounder brass howitzers and the other by Front street, 3 x 32 pounders.

Pennar Torpedo Stores and Magazine near Pennar Point.


Submarine mining experiments were carried out and all the equipment necessary to mine the haven was stored here.

In 1875 Findlay records:

The Garrison comprises Artillery infantry of the line and forms part of the 24th Brigade depot. The total number of men of all ranks, including those in charge of the forts down the Haven, is about 1,500, the larger portion of which occupies the Hut Encampment and the Defensible Barracks.

The Hut Encampment is situated upon a acclivity on the north-east side of the town. It was formed about the time of the late Crimean War. It consists of a large number of huts, built chiefly of wood, arranged in parallel lines - those of the officers standing separately from those of the non-commissioned officers and men and those devoted to hospital purposes from both.

A large stone-built residence for the doctor - formerly used as a hospital, a fine brick   canteen and a splendid gymnasium; besides schools, ball-court, etc. There is also a capital parade ground, with plenty of space for field, exercises, and a most capacious magazine for the storage of the War material necessary for the troops in this district.

The Defensible Barracks, standing on the summit of a hill overlooking the town, are always most conspicuous and striking objects. They are visible at a distance of, several miles. From their elevated position, they command the town - a large portion of which lies at the foot of the hill, the harbour, and the country in all directions: they would in case of actual necessity be well adapted for purposes of defence.

They are strong and well-constructed buildings, erected in the year 1844, occupying an area of 6,000 square yards. The outworks are strengthened by ramparts, loopholes, for small arms, and an entrenchment thirty feet wide and twenty feet deep. The outer boundary of the entrenchment was formerly unenclosed, which made it very unsafe for persons approaching it after night had set in; and during the first occupation of the defences by detachments of the Royal Marines (Plymouth Division) some twenty-eight or thirty years ago, several unfortunate members of that corps lost their lives through falling into it, as the grave-stones erected to their memory in the Old Burial Ground only too truly testify.

The barracks, occupying the centre of the works enclose a large quadrangular area and are reached by a drawbridge. The Royal Artillery has for many years occupied them. The armament at present consists of twenty four pounders (used only for firing salutes), likely shortly to be replaced by much heavier ordinance. From here a gun is fired morning and evening - sunrise and sunset - daily throughout the year, as is usual in most garrison towns.

Pater Battery is situated at the north west extremity of the dockyard, which it adjoins and protects. It mounts twenty-three guns-among them being one breech loading Armstrong 112-pounder. It is a very neat and compact fortification, and is much used by Artillery Volunteers for gun-practice. It is occupied by the Royal Artillery.

The Martell Towers are two in number erected in the years 1849-50. They are situated, one on the southwest, and the other on the north east of the dockyard - the latter being the larger. They mount five and seven heavy guns respectively. The Royal Artillery occupies them.

1899 quarters for married artillerymen were built on the east side of the Barracks on the site of some very old cottages.

The need to garrison regular troops on a permanent basis did not arise until the establishment of the Admiralty dockyard at Pembroke in 1814. Originally the Yard was under the care of caretakers, then a small force under a naval lieutenant was formed.

Royal Marines.

Eventually it was decided to protect the yard with a force of 500 Royal Marines. These men were to be accommodated in HMS Dragon, a hulk deliberately run ashore near the developing dockyard. This accommodation was used until the Defensible Barracks were opened. Work on Defensible, which overlooked the dockyard, had commenced in 1844 and possession was taken at 3 p.m. on 25 November 1845. This was signalled to the spectators by the hoisting of the Union flag; meanwhile, the workmen who had been employed in the construction enjoyed a substantial dinner. When the barracks were ready for occupation the Marines, drawn from the Plymouth, Portsmouth and Woolwich Divisions, gratefully moved in.

The Royal Dockyard Battalion.

This was a force of volunteers formed from the Dockyard employees. It is believed that every man who was fit in the Yard, except for one, volunteered. It was raised in 1847 and consisted of eight companies of artillery and infantry combined and one company entitled the boat brigade. The salaried Yard Officers formed the Officers of the battalion and the instructors were professional soldiers. The Yard Officers appointed the non-commissioned Officers from among the volunteers. The uniform consisted of a blue frock coat and trousers, red facings, brass buttons and a spiked helmet. They drilled for two hours, twice a week and were paid sixpence an hour. Some afternoons were given over to target practice and once a year a field exercise was held to which the general public were admitted. Blank ammunition was used for these field exercises but there was the one occasion when a ramrod was fired off by mistake narrowly missing the Commanding Officer.

Target practice by the infantry was much encouraged by setting apart certain afternoons during the summer months for the purpose. The place selected for the firing was Llanreath Point, just a little to the west of Mr. David Price’s house. The target was fixed along the beach to the south.

A good deal of rivalry existed between the companies which was fostered by the officers in giving prizes, and it was a remarkable fact that the company possessing the greatest number of shipwrights was the premier shooting company. The leaden bullet used at that time was five-eights of an inch in diameter.

Transporting the regiment by boats, which also conveyed the field guns, was the normal practice. One occasion stands out.

According to Mason:

“The Field Day in the summer o 1853 was announced to be a special one. The troops were to be conveyed across the water with every equipment for service. The day arrived with a beautifully fine morning, which induced thousands of spectators to cross over to Neyland, Milford and Haverfordwest also furnishing their quota. Shortly after noon, a great number of boats; loaded with soldiers, shot out from the Dockyard, crossed over to the north side of the Haven, and landed on the beach between Neyland point and Church-lake. The regiment formed up with field guns, and marched with the splendid band playing a lively air, to a field at the Gale near Great Honeyborough. It was a sight to be remembered. The battalion was drawn up in line in an oblong space reserved for the review ground, and an immense concourse of people surrounded them. The ladies dressed in their lightest summer attire and straw hats being conspicuous amongst the gentlemen. The battalion went through various evolutions splendidly, and at about; 3.30 p.m.; the field guns were being exercised and several rounds fired. The first concussion of this firing produced a slight rain, and as the firing went on, the sky assumed a black, threatening appearance, which suddenly broke out into a terrible thunderstorm. Vivid flashes of lightning flew in every direction, and the rain descended in a devastating rush, which scattered the people to seek for shelter. This could not be found, there being only a few houses near at hand. Everybody seemed to be almost immediately saturated, and the ladies looked most pitiable in their wet flimsy garments. The review was cut short, and the battalion limbered up guns and marched of the field en-route for their boats, to re-cross to the Dockyard. When they reached the road, which had become a quagmire crowded with people going in the direction of the beach, the scene could only be likened to the final attack of the French at the battle of Waterloo . “They got mixed” it was impossible to keep anything like formation and the word was passed “Get to the boats the best way you can”. The result was that about one third did not reach the boats, some went directly home and some found themselves in Haverfordwest.

In 1858, after the Crimean War, it was decided that the Battalion had outlived its usefulness and it was disbanded.


Following an appeal for help in tracing the history of the Royal Dockyard battalion button, readers of the Western Telegraph were quick to respond, and thanks to their interest and co-operation the following account has emerged.


On June lst 1848 permission was granted to raise a new Defence Force under General Order No 586, the title of this force was the Dockyard Corps raised specifically for the defence of Ports where Royal Dockyards were located. These were Portsmouth, Devonport, Sheerness, Chatham, Woolwich, Malta and Pembroke Dock.

At the latter the 8th Battalion was raised from volunteers employed in the Dockyard and comprised sections specialising in gunnery, military engineering and boatwork. The guns used were those left by the Pater Artillery Volunteer Corps who had operated out of the Pater Fort, before being disbanded to make way for the new Dockyard Corps.

The salaried Yard officers formed the Officers of the 8th Battalion, and the first Commanding Officers were also Superintendents of the Yard, the first was Colonel Gordon Thomas Falcon, followed by Colonel Robert Smart.

Other officers who served throughout the life of the 8th Battalion were, Major George Chiles, Major Richard Bonniwell, Captain John Davidson, Captain James Edwards, Captain Richard Kneebone, Captain Robert P Saunders, Acting Captain Robert Harwood, Acting Captain William Cambell.

Lieutenant Walter Gillie, Lt. John Venning, Lt. James Potter, Lt. Alister Andrew McAlpin, Lt. Henry Tremain, Lt. William Edward Seccombe.


A special uniform was designed for the Battalion, and when on parade they presented a grand sight as it consisted of a double breasted tunic of a super fine blue cloth with red collars and cuffs, 15 gilt buttons bearing the inscription "Royal Dockyard Battn" with fouled anchor and a cypher VR in two rows down the front, their original head dress was a blue shako which was later changed for a spiked helmet.

The Officers wore a 31 inch blade sword which bore the inscription "Royal Dockyard Battn" and the men were issued with a sword bayonet and the Brunswick rifle which was the first breech loading rifle adopted by the army in 1837.


In keeping with all the other Dockyards, training was carried out after normal working hours, and usually involved attendance for two hours twice a week.

To encourage the Volunteers they were paid 6d an hour.

Target practice for the men was encouraged setting aside afternoons in the Summer months for that purpose. The place selected far these firings was Llanreath point, and targets fixed along the beach.

Once a year field exercises were held to which the public were admitted In 1853 a special day was announced, this exercise was to be held across the Haven on a field at the Gale near Great Honeyborough.

In 1857 it was decided that the Royal Dockyard Battalions were no longer required, and with the exception of Malta, they were removed from the Army List.

After the Pembroke Dock Battalion were disbanded the Pater Volunteer Artillery Corps were reformed, and they continued to serve until 1861.

The Royal Dockyard battalions were never intended to be used as front line troops, their primary task was to defend the Dockyards, but in the event of invasion they were expected to assist the Coastal Defence Units.

My grateful thanks to Mr Ron Watts, Mr John Worley and Mr Basil Hughes of Pembroke Dock who provided so much of the information - their knowledge of Royal Dockyard Battalion has proved invaluable.

Regiments of the Line pre Crimea war.

1n 1850 the Royal Marines, who had formed the Pembroke Dock garrison since the first houses were built around the dockyard thirty-five years previously, were replaced by regiments of the line. General Gordon, destined to die at Khartoum many years later, was a young Royal Engineer Lieutenant stationed at Pembroke Dock at the time of the outbreak of the Crimean War. It is said that when he received his posting to the Crimea , Gordon exclaimed: `I have received my death warrant! The 21st East Surrey Regiment was at Pembroke Dock when it, too, received orders to embark for the Crimea. Their departure was impressive; on a bitterly cold morning the East Surreys , led by their Commanding Officer, Colonel Slater, marched from the Barracks Hill to the dockyard steps. From there they were ferried out to the troopship Imperadore. After the soldiers had gone, collections were made in the town and dockyard in aid of the wives and children left behind. The Royal Monmouth Militia replaced them.

Militia Men.

Militiamen formed the Pembroke Dock Garrison for most of the time of the Crimea War, and from all accounts they were ill disciplined. Many were billeted on the townspeople, who were pleased, when the war ended and the militiamen departed. The Royal Monmouth Militia had to march from Haverfordwest in a blizzard to Pembroke Dock and moved into the Defensible Barracks the same day that the East Surreys left. There are several records, which show the sorts of problems associated with the militia. One was tried by Court-Martial disobeying an order in that he was proceeding to Pembroke without a Pass. In October 1855 a party of Militia who had been in the Duke of Wellington Hotel broke windows of some of the residence in the area by throwing stones at them. The Duke of Wellington was put “Out of Bounds” and a military piquet of four NCOs and 12 rank and file policed the town between 7.30pm and 9.30pm to prevent further disorder.

Regiments of the Line post Crimea war.

From 1856 to 1861, regiments stationed at Pembroke Dock included the Monmouthshire Light Infantry and the green-uniformed Montgomery Rifles. In 1861 batteries of the 15th Brigade, considered to be an elite corps, arrived, to be followed by the 62nd Wiltshire Regiment early in 1865. This regiment had its own band; it played at the unveiling of the memorial to the Prince Consort on Castle Hill, Tenby, by HRH Prince Arthur, later Duke of Connaught.

The Royal Warwickshire Regiment whose soldiers rendered valuable assistance when the original Bush House at Pembroke, seat of the Meyrick family, caught fire in 1866 succeeded the Wiltshires. Despite their heroism and that of others, the stately building was destroyed. The 103rd Foot, also known as the Bombay Fusiliers, occupied part of Defensible in 1871 and two years later a warm welcome waited the 1st Battalion of the Royal Welsh Fusiliers whose Commanding Officer was a Colonel Prevost. Even in a town used to the pomp and splendour of the Victorian military, this regiment attracted considerable attention, not least because of the handsome goat that invariably led ceremonial parades.

The Holy Boys of the 9th East Norfolk Regiment followed the Fusiliers. Their fine band under its dashing Italian Bandmaster, Signor Bonicoli, a member of the Regiment, created a big impression. There followed the 95th Derbyshire, the 54th Dorsetshire and 4lst Welch Regiment, the last-named commanded by Sir Hugh Rowland, VC. It, too, had a goat as its mascot.

The 36th Worcester Regiment was in residence at Defensible from 1877 to 1879. Its soldiers were the last in Pembroke Dock to have a green facing on their uniforms and to wear the old shako-style headdress. The Regiment was also the last to attend services in the Royal Dockyard Chapel. For some unknown reason Dr Ring, the Dockyard Chaplain had objected to the presence of troops in the Chapel. The military took offence and ever thereafter attended Divine Service in the Parish Church of St. John.

In 1880 a hutted encampment was created to lodge an overspill of men from Defensible. This was on land overlooking the present Pier Road at Pembroke Dock, just below the future site of Llanion Barracks where building was due to begin in 1889.

One of the encampments first occupants was the 2nd Battalion, 23rd Royal Welsh Fusiliers, whose Commanding Officer, Colonel Luke O’Connor, was a remarkable man. Commissioned from the ranks, a difficult achievement in those days, he had won the VC in the Crimea . Though severely wounded he had saved his regimental colours during the thick of the fighting on the heights of Alma. While the Fusiliers were at Pembroke Dock, a detachment of the Royal Marine Artillery was also stationed there, quartered in the hospital ship Nankin. This was the time of the Fenian scare and the Marines were brought in from Portsmouth to add weight to the police protection of the dockyard, taking sentinel duty on the yards boundary walls.

In 1883, after a tour of duty in Nova Scotia , the Royal Munster Fusiliers arrived in the trooper Himalaya . Though weary after the Atlantic crossing, the Munsters marched in immaculate style to Defensible and were said to be the finest body of men ever seen on the streets of Pembroke Dock up to that time. They, too, had an excellent band; Mr.  Dunkerton, their bandmaster, subsequently became bandmaster in the Scots Guards.

Next into Defensible came the 8lst Loyal North Lancashires. During this regiments stay the Rev. Stuart Patterson, the Garrison Chaplain, discovered among its possession a Bible on which George Washington, first President of the United States was said to have taken his Freemasonry Oath. This was obviously a trophy of the American War of Independence, in which the North Lancashires had fought over a century earlier.

In December 1891 the 88th Connaught Rangers under Sir George Larpent stepped ashore at Pembroke Dock in a snowstorm, in marked contrast to the heat of Aden , their previous station. However, the prospect of spending Christmas at home after service abroad put the soldiers in much better humour once they had bedded down. The officers were men of considerable wealth, keen to encourage and promote sport in the locality, and one of their presentations was a cup for competition in the Pembroke Steeplechases. During the regiments stay a steel engraving representing General Picton, of Waterloo fame; was presented to the officers mess by Sir Owen Scourfield, Bart.

After the departure of the Connaughts, the artillery took over garrison duties until 24 November 1893, when the trooper Himalaya again put into Milford Haven, this time with the 4lst Welch Regiment from Malta . There was a particularly warm welcome for the bandmaster, Mr.  Rowlandson, a popular and well-remembered figure from the regiments earlier stay in Pembroke Dock. Its band played the Vespers Hymn every night at 9.30 on the Hut Encampment parade ground, a sum of money having been bequeathed for this to be done. In addition the Welsh and English National Anthems were played.

On St. Davids Day 1894 the regiment indulged in traditional celebrations and that night there was a grand banquet in the officer’s mess. In the early hours of the following morning, by which time the mess was unoccupied; it was ravaged by fire. Many valuable items, including the mess silver, were destroyed, and for some time afterwards the officers dined at the Pier Hotel and, subsequently, in a spacious room in the old Pembroke Dock library, specially converted for the purpose. It was still in use as an officers mess room in the early years of this century.

On 17 August 1895 the paddle steamer Cambria brought the 2nd Battalion of the Devon Regiment (11th Foot) from Ilfracombe. They were commanded initially by Colonel Kinder and then by Colonel Bullock, who was to achieve fame in the Boer War by refusing to surrender. He was only taken prisoner after being knocked unconscious.

When the Devons left the 2nd Battalion of the 24th South Wales Borderers (the 24th Regiment of Foot) replaced them. Every Pembrokeshire schoolboy knew about this regiment and its heroic defence of the Rorkes Drift mission station in Natal during the Zulu War eighteen years earlier. The 24th marched through south Wales to Pembroke Dock and was given a tumultuous welcome all along the route by thousands of people. When approaching Pembroke Dock the marching soldiers detoured to Pembroke, where a large crowd in the castle gave them a rousing reception and regaled them with refreshments. There was an official welcome from the Mayor, Councillor Samuel J. Allen, who, accompanied by officials in a four-horse brake, members of the Corporation on foot and the band of the 1st Volunteer Battalion Welsh Regiment (E Company), then preceded the regiment to Pembroke Dock. There streets were lined three and four deep with cheering crowds as the 24th, bayonets fixed and Colours flying, marched past.

Another replaced one regiment from the Principality, when the 1st Battalion Royal Welsh Fusiliers arrived from Ludgershall, Salisbury Plain, on 5 September 1899. Its stay in Pembroke Dock was brief for, on Sunday, 22 October, the regiment entrained for Southampton on its way to South Africa . On the morning of departure from Pembroke Dock, a reservist from Cardiff was killed when a drummer named Grainger accidentally discharged his rifle. He was placed under immediate arrest but his subsequent acquittal by a court martial came too late for him to follow his comrades to South Africa . The regiments commanding officer, Colonel Thorold, a man of exceptionally fine physique, was killed in the Boer War.

The Royal Welsh Fusiliers were swiftly replaced by the 3rd Battalion of the Welch Regiment (Royal Glamorgan Militia), said to be the largest militia battalion in the British Army at that time. These soldiers occupied the hut encampment; their stay was brief for they were soon on their way to South Africa . Throughout the Boer Campaign Pembroke Dock was overflowing with troops for, in addition to the Royal Northern Reserve Regiment, which was stationed there, the town also accommodated Number 1 Company of the Royal Garrison Artillery, the 35th Royal Engineers, and a section of the Royal Pembrokeshire Militia. They all did garrison duty until the New Year of 1903. Many of the men in the Royal Northern Reserve Regiment were time-expired veterans who had fought throughout the Empire in Queen Victoria’s “Little Wars”; they wore a string of campaign medals with great pride. One of the most famous regiments in the British Army, the Kings Shropshire Light Infantry, commanded by Colonel Bulman, DSO, arrived in March 1903 from Poonah , India , and there were mixed fortunes for the men in respect of accommodation. Some were lucky enough to move into a block of the half-completed Llanion Barracks, but the majority was quartered in the old hut encampment.

Although condemned some nine years earlier by the Duke of Cambridge, then Commander-in-Chief of the British Army, the huts had remained in use and the decision was made to extend their life until the new barracks, able to accommodate two battalions, was ready. Building commenced in 1899 and was completed in 1906. There were a number of innovations, not least a commodious mess hall for the soldiers. At Defensible and the hut encampment, they had slept and eaten in the same barrack-room, a practice that had been common throughout the British Army until the modernisation of barracks and the construction of new ones like Llanion. The new messing arrangements, therefore, were warmly welcomed. Each barrack-block had a veranda so that the men could sit and chat in the open air, and the large gymnasium could also be used for concerts, balls and other entertainments. Houses were built for married personnel who wished to bring their families to Pembroke Dock.

The opening of Llanion Barracks signalled the gradual demise of the sixty-year-old fort at Defensible. It had served its purpose well, quartering throughout Victoria’s reign many thousands of troops in defence of the Royal Dockyard. It would never again be the principal source of accommodation for regiments garrisoned at Pembroke Dock, although right up to the early 1950s it continued to be occupied from time to time by various small units of the regular army, and local territorials.

Scores of Pembrokeshire men enlisted at the Llanion Barracks during the Great War, and after the War distinguished regiments continued to serve two to three-year stints at Pembroke Dock. In the mid-1920s the Royal Welsh Fusiliers and their goat, came back! Between then and the outbreak of the Second World War, a number of regiments were stationed at Llanion Barracks including the East Lancashire, the Essex, the Royal Fusiliers, the Kings Shropshire Light Infantry and The Buffs. The latter formed the garrison when Britain declared hostilities with Germany on the morning of 3 September 1939.

In October 1943 the first foreign troops to be stationed at Llanion Barracks moved in. They were American GIs of the 110th US Infantry Regiment, which formed part of the 28th US Infantry Division from Pennsylvania . The bulk of the 5,000-strong regiment was at Pembroke Dock, with various companies based at Lamphey, Cresselly, Haverfordwest and Fishguard. For the next eight months this regiment trained extensively in Pembrokeshire for the invasion of Europe, finding the many beaches of the county ideal for the purpose. Strenuous route marches were also undertaken in the Preseli hills.

Off-duty the GIs made many friends, and laid on parties for hundreds of local children over the Christmas period, 1943. They also challenged the Pembrokeshire Home Guard to a shooting match, believing that their riflemen - in the best tradition of the American frontier - were second to none. In fact the old timers of the Home Guard won!

On 1 April 1944 the Supreme Allied Commander, General Dwight D. Eisenhower, paid a surprise visit to the 110th Regiment.  Mr.  Joe Gough of Pembroke, then a detective with the Pembrokeshire Constabulary, recalled:

It was not until the day before, that we were informed Eisenhower was coming. I was detailed, along with a colleague, Jack Evans, to act as the Generals civilian police escort. He arrived by train at Tenby and was met by a delegation of top US Army brass. From Tenby our police car led a fast convoy of American military vehicles, with motor cycle out-riders, to the headquarters of the 110th Infantry Regiment at Llanion Barracks, Pembroke Dock. There the soldiers were lined up for inspection and afterwards Ike asked them to gather round so he could address them. I was struck by the friendly rapport he had with the men.

The 110th Regiments Intelligence Officer was Major (later Brigadier General) Robert M. Gaynor. He remembered that day at Pembroke Dock thus:

“It was chilly and damp and the troops had been standing on the barrack square in the rain and windy gloom for some time. They were a bit displeased but Ikes appearance, with his overwhelming personality, quickly changed the mood and most of us remember the occasion with great satisfaction.”

For his part, Ralph Johnson of Philadelphia , then a chief warrant officer and the regiments assistant adjutant, recalled:

After the inspection Ike stood in a jeep and used a bull-horn to speak to us. Later he walked through the re-formed ranks, chatting briefly here and there. He spoke to the soldier next to me and asked “Are you ready”? The answer had to be “Yes”. Before leaving he shouted farewell and added Good luck! See you when we cross the Rhine, and we’ll all have a drink together. Sure enough, on the day we did make the Rhine crossing, trucks arrived loaded with cases of champagne. There was a bottle for every three GIs.

Eisenhower also visited other units of the 110th Infantry scattered around Pembrokeshire, including the regiments Cannon Company, whose members were billeted in Cresselly House, Cresselly. A member of the domestic staff was Miss Martha Davies, who later became housekeeper and did not retire until the mid-1980s. She recalled:

We were aware someone very important was going to arrive, and there was great excitement when General Eisenhower was seen stepping out of his car. The American soldiers paraded on the lawn and I watched from the staircase window as he inspected them. The General had a most engaging smile and impressed us as being affable but determined. I remember that miniature Stars and Stripes were attached to the mudguards of his staff car. After seeing Ike I think we all sensed it would not be long before the invasion of Europe got under way.

There was another very important visitor to Pembrokeshire round about the same time. Prime Minister Winston Churchill watched invasion exercises on the beaches at Amroth and Wisemans Bridge, accompanied by senior British and American officers. Mrs Olive Cook, whose parents, Jack and Artie Mathias, then kept the Wisemans Bridge Inn, recalled:

There was tremendous excitement when it was realised the great man himself was in our midst. He and his companions stopped by the Inn for refreshments and we carried trays of tea, sandwiches and Welsh cakes out to his car, which was flying a small Union Jack from the bonnet. Mr. Churchill’s daughter Sarah, who was his chauffeur and in army uniform, helped us carry the trays. She was a charming girl. I remember amphibious vehicles called DUKWS coming out of the sea and up on to the beach. They were filled with British and American troops. Anti-aircraft guns were placed in strategic positions at Wisemans Bridge , but whether they were part of the exercise or there to protect Mr.  Churchill, I could not say.

On 14 April 1944, only a matter of days after its troops had taken part in the D-Day rehearsals witnessed by Churchill, the 110th Infantry Regiment left Pembrokeshire under the cover of darkness for a military camp close to Marlborough in Wiltshire. There it remained until 17 July when, as part of the 28th Infantry Division, it moved to Southampton and Weymouth for the crossing to Normandy. In the months that followed the division was engaged in constant combat and late in the year was embroiled in two of the bloodiest battles of the war involving US troops. The first, in the Huertgen Forest , near the Siegfried Line, in November, was fought in a continuous mixture of rain, mist and snow. The second took place in the Ardennes in November and became known as the Battle of the Bulge. Ironically, the 28th had been sent to this thickly wooded area to lick its wounds after the Huertgen Forest mauling. In both battles the 110th Infantry bore the brunt of some of the most savage fighting.

It has been estimated that of the 5,000 men who left Pembrokeshire with the 110th Infantry Regiment on 14 April 1944, only some 500 were still fit for combat duty by the end of that year. In the Huertgen Forest alone, the 28th Division suffered a minimum of 6,184 casualties after beginning the battle with its maximum infantry compliment of 15,000 men. A regiment of the 2nd US (Indianhead) Infantry Division, previously stationed in Northern Ireland, replaced the 110th Regiment in Pembrokeshire for some months, before itself leaving for Europe.

After 1945 British soldiers returned to Pembroke Dock for peacetime garrison duty. The town turned out in force in the mid-1950s to welcome the 1st Battalion of the Welch Regiment, whose CO was Colonel Cowie. Among the regiments younger officers was Lieutenant John Davey, a local man from Lamphey, who had won the MC in Korea a few years before. He eventually commanded the regiment which, following amalgamation with the South Wales Borderers, became the Royal Regiment of Wales. The Welch Regiment was succeeded at Llanion Barracks by the 22nd Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment, now known as the Welsh Gunners because it recruits mainly in the Principality. This regiment had a Pembroke Dock cafe named after it. Called The Double Two, it was destroyed by fire in the 1970s.

Llanion Barracks became surplus to military requirements in 1966. Eight years later, and following local Government reorganisation, the former head quarters buildings and officers mess were taken over by the newly-formed South Pembrokeshire District Council as its headquarters.

The old barrack blocks with their verandas, such a luxury for the troops who occupied them for the first time in the early part of the century, were converted to flats, and the guardroom eventually became a pub of that name! Other buildings were leased or bought, one being taken over by the Department of Social Security. Cars now park on the former barrack square where Eisenhower inspected his invasion troops.

During the early 1970s Defensible was been the headquarters of South Pembrokeshire Golf Club. It was sold to an English-based company in 1985 by South Pembrokeshire District Council, that Authority having previously used the barracks as a works depot and stores.

The departure of the army in the 1960s, together with the earlier closure of the RAF’s flying boat base in the town in 1959, dealt a severe blow to the local economy. It also signalled the conclusion of the military connection with Pembroke Dock; a connection which had spanned 152 eventful years. A colourful era had come to an end.

[Info from Jack Vincent.

Pater fort: Garrisoned in 1831 but was dismantled in 1847.

Then was used by the Dockyard Battalion.

Captain Wright R.M. and  Commander Jennings R.N. appointed to form battalion 19/4/1847.

Terrier Captain was George Chiles (Dockyard Store Keeper).  Drills were every evening and Saturday afternoons and the men were dockyard employees. The men wore a special uniform and had a band led by a Mr. Ribbon.

The threat of invasion was still real at that time and considerable efforts were made to protect the yard. A network of Fortifications was constructed, to form a chain of defence, not only to protect from seaward attack but also from landward invasion.

An earlier battery on Paterchurch point was improved and Martello towers were built on the south west and north east corners of the Dockyard walls, themselves heightened and strengthened.

Hutted encampments of Infantry and Artillery had been scattered around the town, and permanent barracks were built for them at Llanion, on the Barrack Hill and at Pennar.

Further down the harbour, forts were built at Scoveston, Hubberston, South Hook, Stack Rock, Angle and East Blockhouse.

It is obvious that Pembroke Dock was built with just one aim in mind, so the announcement of the closure of the Dockyard in 1926 was a grievous blow, and unemployment remained high in the town throughout the thirties.]

Army - Vernon Scott

Snow flurries gusted across Pembroke Dock on a bleak, bitterly cold February morning 132 years ago as the 31st East Surrey Regiment prepared to leave the town. The men had breakfasted early and at first light they were assembled on the Defensible Barracks parade ground, stamping chilled feet on the frozen square.

As the light strengthened, orders were barked, the troops snapped to attention, and with their commanding officer at the lead, they tramped out across the drawbridge and began descending the Barracks Hill in orderly ranks to the Royal Dockyard below.

The year was 1855 and from garrisons throughout the nation Queen Victoria’s soldiers were off to the Crimea. The 31st East Surreys had received their embarkation orders only a week or two earlier. Although the notice was short there had been time for an officers ball to which all the gentry of Pembrokeshire had been invited.

It was by all accounts a damned swell affair, with a band brought down from Cardiff to play for dancing and enough fine Food on the tables to have fed the whole of Pembroke Dock. There were some hungry bellies in the town which could have done with it too.

Meanwhile, the enlisted men had said their farewells at a much humbler level. They had swarmed into the smoky inns and taverns of the dockyard town and those of nearby Pembroke to drink, wench and make merrie.

The snow had thickened by the time the regiment reached the Royal Dockyard and there amidst much excitement and tokens of grief from wives, families and sweethearts, the men embarked upon the troopship Imperadore bound for the Crimea.

The majority of the soldiers had never heard of the place. The war there was the first major military engagement in which the British Army had been involved since Waterloo many years before. There were, in fact, a few grizzled Waterloo veterans in their number who had quaffed many a free measure of ale during the East Surreys time in Pembroke Dock on the strength that they had soldiered with Wellington , the Iron Duke.

As the Imperadore slowly moved away from Pembroke Dock in the swirling snow, a young lieutenant in the Royal Engineers and who was attached to the East Surreys, looked back searching for the barracks on the hill.

His name was Charles Gordon and long before the turn of the century he was to become the best-known general in the Imperial Army. He was also to die a martyr in the Sudan at Khartoum. As an officer he had been privileged to live out while at Pembroke Dock and had lodged in a house at the top of Lewis Street. He was a man who kept to himself and was not altogether popular with his fellow officers. Many who watched the regiment depart Pembroke Dock on that cold grey morning had frequently seen him walking to and fro at the foot of the Barracks Hill studying a book.

When his papers arrived from the war office summoning him to the Crimea for active service with the 31st East Surrey Regiment, he was reported to have exclaimed with despair “I have received my death warrant!”

From the high stem of the Imperadore, Gordon continued to look back at the sloping town of Pembroke Dock and the barracks atop the hill, until a thick blanket of snow cut both off from his view. He never saw then again.

Work on the building of Defensible had begun 11 years before, in 1844. Mr. James Cole, a mason who worked on the battlements during the construction and who remembered seeing Gordon walking to and fro studying a book, he was still alive and residing in the town when the First World War started in August 1914.

Those who are familiar with the barracks and admire their size and strength may be unaware of the remarkable fact that they were completed in just 12 months, the contractor, Thomas Jackson, handing them over to the military on November 25th, 1845.

According to records ... Possession was taken at three o’clock in the afternoon and was officially indicated by the hoisting of Her Majesty’s (Queen Victoria) flag amidst deafening cheers from hundreds of spectators. A substantial dinner with a liberal quantity of double strength Welsh ale was given to the workmen.

These men deserved their reward, too, because even in this day and age, with all the contractors mechanical aids, it is doubtful whether such a substantial fortress, capable of accommodating a regiment of soldiers, could be completed in 12 months.

Its first occupants were the Royal Marines of the Portsmouth Division, transferred there from the guardship Dragon moored off Pembroke Dockyard. They were shortly joined by two companies of the 14th West Yorkshire Regiment.

For several years after the military take-over; the trench or moat around the barracks was not enclosed ... "presenting a great danger to the unwary, particularly on pitch black nights".

Several marines, returning to quarters much the worse for wear after over-indulging, toppled over the moat and were killed. Their headstones with suitable epitaphs, are still to be seen in the old town cemetery (now a garden of rest) in Upper Park Street, and one reads:

To the Memory of John Harding. Late Private Royal Marines who was accidentally killed by falling into the entrenchment at the Fort Barracks, Pembroke Dock, October 10th 1850 age 32.

The verse underneath, obviously composed by someone with a very dry sense of humour, says:

The Lord direct our feet and guide with gracious care.

 in even step we danger meet

 in every path a snare.

Then reader pause whoe’r thou art,

as thus my grave you view

remember thou from life must part

and perhaps as quickly too!

A local GP named Dr. Sumpter, who at that time was widely known in the district, lost his life through similar circumstances while returning from a professional visit to a patient in Pennar one night. He never recovered from the shock of the 30 feet fall and died from its effects.

Following the departure of the East Surreys to the Crimea, subscriptions were raised among the young men of the Royal Dockyard and the town in general, in aid of the wives and families left behind. One of the men behind this charitable gesture was a Mr.  Thomas Collins of Church Street, Pembroke Dock, and it was largely due to his efforts that a handsome sum was raised.

During the Crimea Campaign the Defensible garrison was composed entirely of militiamen who ... not only enlivened the town with a drum and fife band, but made it lively for the inhabitants in other less acceptable ways; for the militia were often times a very rough class of men, who were much given to practical joking and disquieting pranks. These men were more in number than the Defensible fort could accommodate; consequently some had to be billeted on the townspeople who doubtless were not sorry when their uninvited guests took their departure.

Between 1855 and 1861, the regiments garrisoned in the town were the Royal Pembrokeshire Artillery, the Monmouthshire Light Infantry, the Hampshire and Antrim Militia, the Montgomery Rifles, who wore a green uniform and the Royal North Gloucestershire Regiment.

This regiment, which afterwards became known as the 4th Battalion the Gloucestershire Regiment were, together with the Monmouthshire Militia, the first occupants of the wooden huts or hut encampment. These were built during the time of the Crimea War on the sloping ground overlooking the Pier Road leading to Hobbs Point. The wooden huts were condemned in 1894 by His Royal Highness the Duke of Cambridge, then a Field Marshal and Commander-in-Chief of the British Army.

After 1861 came the crack 15th Brigade to the Defensible Barracks. They were considered an elite corps. When they completed their garrison duties at Pembroke Dock they proceeded from Defensible Barracks by way of Commercial Row, Queen Street . Dimond Street and Water Street to Hobbs Point, accompanied by their band.

Because of the death, which occurred at the time, of Queen Victoria’s husband Albert, the Prince Consort, the band played with muffled drums. The soldiers of the 15th Brigade were ferried out to the troopship Tamar, lying off Hobbs Point.

They were succeeded at Defensible in 1865 by the 62nd Wiltshire Regiment ... which arrived at Pembroke Dock to the inspiring strains of its own band. Within a matter of months this band played on the occasion of the unveiling of the Prince Consort’s memorial on Castle Hill, Tenby, by His Royal Highness Prince Arthur, later titled Duke of Connaught.

Various regiments followed the Wiltshires, induding the 58th Depot, the 13th Light Infantry, the 103rd Foot, the 1st Battalion the Royal Welch Fusiliers, the 9th East Norfolks (known as the Holy Boys), the 95th Derbyshires, the 54th Dorsetshires and the 36th Worcestershires. These soldiers went into the local record book as the last stationed in Pembroke Dock who wore green facings on their uniforms and who had the old shako, a stiff military cap with a peak and a small upright tuft at the front, for headwear. They were followed by the 7th Royal Fusiliers.

In the 1880s, the 81st Loyal North Lancashire Regiment succeeded the 101st Royal Munster Fusiliers (the first all-Irish regiment to be stationed at Pembroke Dock). Their stay is of some interest because during this time the garrison chaplain, the Rev. Stuart Patterson, discovered in the regiments possessions, a Bible on which ... the first President of the United States , George Washington, took his Freemasonry Oath. This must have been a relic of the American War of Independence in which the North Lancs had fought a century before.

Acc/to Kellys Directory 1884.


Lieut. Col. Commanding,  A. T. Storer  R.E.

Major and Brevet Colonel, Sir A. W. Mackworth bart.

There was a particularly joyous welcome in Pembroke Dock for the 2nd Battalion of the 24th Foot (later the South Wales Borderers) who less than a decade earlier in January 1879 had fought off King Cetschwayo’s Zulu Impis at the siege of Rorkes Drift in Natal, South Africa.

A number of survivors of that heroic stand, in which 11 Victoria Crosses (the most earned by a British regiment before or since in a single engagement) were won, came to Pembroke Dock with the 2nd Battalion.

The 24th marched from Brecon and en-route to Defensible Barracks, halted for a rest at Pembroke Castle. There, they were officially welcomed by the Mayor, Samuel J. Allen, in the presence of thousands of people.

In the castle grounds they were ... regaled with refreshments before moving on to Pembroke Dock, preceded by the Mayor and Corporation in four horse brakes and accompanied by the band of the 1st Volunteer Battalion of the Welsh Regiment (E. Company). The streets were thronged with people and the town was gay with decorations for the occasion.

Forty-three years after the departure of the East Surreys for the Crimea, the people of Pembroke Dock turned out again to see off to the Boer War in South Africa , the 1st Battalion Royal Welsh Fusiliers. This fine body of men marched through the streets to the railway station singing the songs of the day, including Goodbye Dolly Gray. They entrained for Southampton from where they were shipped to Durban .

This is not a complete list of the regiments garrisoned at Defensible between 1845 and the Boer War in 1901; suffice to say that the old barracks although sections of soldiers continued to be quartered there, took second place to Llanion Barracks after these were opened in 1904.

Today, 142 years after the men who built Defensible were treated to a substantial dinner and double strength Welsh ale, the fort is said to being converted into hotel accommodation but many plans for its use have been proposed and failed. It is also the headquarters of the South Pembrokeshire Golf Club,

In the main wall of the front structure, above the drawbridge, is a tablet which reads:

Victoria Regina 1844.

Defensible Barracks.

This and the odd bullets, cap badges and tunic buttons, which are still occasionally washed to the surface by the winter rains that lash the Barracks Hill, are all that remain to remind the golfer and stroller of a proud and distinguished past when practically every major regiment of the line was garrisoned at Pembroke Dock.

Footnote: Pembroke Dock continued to be a garrison town until the mid 1960s. Since 1974, Llanion Barracks have been the headquarters of South Pembrokeshire District Council.


Near the shore at Pennar Point (or Pennar Gut) are torpedo stores and magazines. Submarine mining experiments have been carried on in connection with this station, and all appliances are kept there for mining the Haven in case of need. At present these submarine mining works belong to the War Department, and Royal Engineers are established there. But in the near future it is thought that the Admiralty will take over from the War Department all these works. These arrangements are understood to be part of a new scheme for the defence of Milford Haven, and will probably be developed on lines suggested in a Parlia­mentary statement made by the Right Hon, Arnold-Forster, Secretary of State for War.

If this transfer should take place, it may eventually happen that a torpedo depot will be established in the neighbour­ hood of Pennar Gut. This has, it is believed, been under consideration, and a part of the Pembroke river already been surveyed for this purpose.

Much money has been expended on the various buildings in connection with this establishment at Pennar, the total cost approximately being £17,000.

In the eighteenth century a fort was built at Pater Point, and for a time is said to have been garrisoned, but little is recorded of it. When the Yard was established, it was necessary it should be protected. The Dragon was converted into a temporary barracks for some 400 or 500 marines. Shortly after a small force of artillery was quartered in a house on the road leading to Llanreath, and consisted of six gunners and a sergeant. When this contingent was removed, the house was occupied by the master-gunner of the station.

Volunteer movement at Pembroke Dock was first started in 1859, when meetings were held in the Temperance Hall. Mr. William Harries, of Walwyn House, was one of the first members enrolled. Mr. Edgecumbe Chevalier was Captain, and Mr. McAlpin, father of Mr. K.McAlpin, Borough Surveyor, was Lieutenant. The men wore a gray uniform. It was known in 1860 as the 2nd Pembrokeshire Rifle Volunteers. The first review was held at Portfield, Haverfordwest, About two years after the regiment became changed to that of the Pembroke Dock Volunteer Artillery, commanded by Mr. Chevalier; but upon this officer leaving the town Mr. J. Richardson was made Captain. Dr. Feynolds was Surgeon; the sergeant-majors were Mr. W.H. Lloyd and Mr. George Sloggett. Mr. Richardson held command for some years; afterwards it was passed over to Mr. C.A. Christie, who kept it until the regiment was disbanded in 1884 outside the old Pater Battery. Mrs. Ramsay presented a silver bugle to this corps on July 10, 1861, and some ladies in the town worked a set of colours and presented them to the Volunteers. The colours were subsequently handed over to a late Vicar of St. Mary’s Church, Pembroke, by Captain Christie. A new company the C Company, 1st V. B. Welsh Regiment, was started in Pembroke Dock in 1904, with Mr. Treweeks, Pembroke, as Captain, and Mr. W. Bowling, of Dimond Street , Pembroke Dock, as Lieutenant. The silver bugle which was presented to the Pembroke Dock Artillery Volunteers was sent by Mr. C.A.Christie of London, the last commanding officer of this company, to Lieutenant W.H. Bowling, to hand over to the C Company, 1st V. B. Welsh Regiment for their use.

The building of the new military barracks commenced in 1899, to be completed in 1906. They were built on most modern principles. At one time the soldiers had to sleep and eat in the same barrack room, but in these new buildings a proper and commodious room was set apart for meals. Colonel Bulman, D.S.O., the commanding officer of the 53rd Shropshires, presented the men of the regiment with some steel engravings, including a portrait of His Majesty King Edward lll., for the adornment of the dining-room. The barracks are rendered fire-proof as far as possible. Each block was provided with a veranda where the men can walk out. A new parade-ground completed. The drainage system is perfect, and on hygienic principles. When the barracks were completed, they could accommodate two battalions of soldiers. A new hospital is to be erected to replace the one that is in existence at present. There is, too, a garrison prison to be built, where prisoners can be kept for short-sentence terms, instead of being sent away to other military towns, which will be a great saving to the Government, as each prisoner thus sent costs £4 to £5.

There is also in contemplation a church for the convenience of the troops; but as yet nothing definite is known of it. The gymnasium, where the soldiers get physical training, was built some time after the Hut Encampment was formed. It is a fine structure, and is occasionally used for balls, concerts, and other entertainments. There have been modern houses built within recent years for the married soldiers. There are to be built officers quarters, a library, and a recreation-room, as well as a new canteen.

Situated at a little distance from the barracks lies the military cemetery, where many a soldier has been laid to his last resting-place by his comrades, who with arms reversed and muffled drum followed his body to the grave. The largest funeral that has taken place in this cemetery was that of Colonel Isaac Moore, 13th Depot Battalion, who was buried October 14, 1868.

About 1899 quarters for the married artillerymen were built on the eastern side of the Defensible Barracks. Formerly some very old cottages stood on the site of these buildings, and were pulled down for the military structures to be erected.

Pater Battery was built by the Admiralty in 1840-1842 on the western side of the Dockyard. WiIliam Henderson was the contractor. In 1856 it was taken over by the Ordnance Department, and renovated from plans prepared by General Gordon. It mounted twenty-three guns. In this place the Milford Haven and the Plymouth Division Submarine Mining Militia were first formed. It was afterwards much used by the Pembroke Dock Artillery Volunteers for practice and drill. The battery was dismantled in 1903. When it was pulled down, some of the stones were obtained by permission of the Admiralty to go towards the building of St.Teilo’s Church. A question in connection with this was raised in Parliament by Mr. Wynford Philipps, the county member, as to the legality of the matter; the reply was given to the effect that if any religious denomination had applied for the stones for the same purpose, the request would have been granted.

The Martello towers were built in 1850-1851; the contractors were Messrs. Joseph and Charles Rigby, London ; chief-foreman, Mr, Stovall; under-foreman Mr. Noakes, father of Mr. Noakes, High Street. They were intended as a coast defence. One is situ­ated off the Hard, Front Street , and the other opposite the Fort Road . These towers were formerly occupied by sergeants of the artillery and their families, but are now unoccupied and obsolete for military· purposes. The one approached by the Fort Road is utilized for storage, but the other, off the Front Street, is now used as an information centre.

Military Aviation

A portent of the military flying use of the Haven came in May 1912, when the Royal Navy brought a unique monoplane to Dale. This was the Burney X2, an advanced design equipped with hydrofoils. Tests were carried out through out the summer in the sheltered Haven waters, these coming to a premature end in September when the aeroplane, with Lieutenant G. Bentley Darce in the cockpit, stalled and crashed while being towed aloft, happily without injury to Darce. The following summer an improved version, the X3, was brought to Dale and initial tests proved satisfactory. However, while engaged in taxiing trials the X3 was wrecked on a Haven sandbank, so effectively ending these experiments - the first recorded uses of the Haven for military aviation.

The outbreak of war in August 1914 brought a new menace, the efficient and ruthless German U-Boat fleet which had great success against British maritime trade. To counter this major threat and to protect the merchantmen, and later the convoys, close to shore, air stations were set up all around the British coast. Pembrokeshire, strategically located at the junction of some of the most vital sea trade routes, was well placed to provide a measure of protection to shipping, and the war years saw the establishment of two Royal Naval Air Stations within the County boundary. First to be set up was the air station at Sageston, near Milton - this became known as MAS Pembroke - and it provided much needed air cover over the south-western approaches. Initially equipped only with airships, the station became operational in early 1916, the first ascent being made on 25 April by Commander Fuller as observer and Midshipman Colson as pilot.

MAS Pembroke operated various types of non-rigid blimps, the first Submarine Scout (SS) type being equipped with an aircraft fuselage slung underneath as accommodation for the crew of two. Later, the more efficient and better equipped Coastal type airships - with twin engines and a purpose built car for the crew of three - were introduced at the station. In 1917 land planes were added to the complement, the first flight being made by Sub Lieutenant Allaway on 29 April in a Sopwith 12 Strutter biplane.  Allaway became a casualty later in the year, lost on a flight from the station, and there were also losses among the airships, both aloft and on the ground.

The second air station was established at Fishguard in 1917 and operated seaplanes - initially Fairey Hamble Babies and Short 184s - on similar patrols. Attacks on U-Boats were made by aircraft from both stations and in May 1918 Pembroke airships flew 15,000 miles of patrols. An additional type of aircraft was introduced at Pembroke in 1918, namely, DH6 training machines which, although unarmed, added to the deterrent against the U-Boats. MAS Pembroke had a complement of over 400, plus a contingent of some fifty women personnel.  With the Armistice, both Pembrokeshire air stations were run down and subsequently closed, but it was not until March 1920 that the last servicemen left the Pembroke station. The site returned to agriculture, only to be re-claimed for service use less than twenty years later.

Many of Pembrokeshire residents had their first close contact with aeroplanes through the flying circuses run by personalities like Sir Alan Cobham. Several such circuses visited Pembrokeshire in the 1930s. Pioneer flights over considerable distances were now much in vogue and Pembrokeshire had visits from various aviators attempting to break yet more records. Amy Johnson, doyen of a generation becoming increasingly air-minded, briefly visited Pembrokeshire in 1933, prior to a flight with husband Jim Mollison from Pendine in Carmarthenshire to the USA in a De Havilland Dragon biplane. In July 1931 two American aviators made a landing at Moylegrove after a trans-Atlantic flight, fog forcing them to make an unscheduled stop in west Wales before continuing on to Croydon the following day. Another unscheduled - and far more spectacular - arrival was made by two other Americans in August 1934, when they crashed on Carn Ingli, above Newport. The airmen - Sabelli and Pond - were not seriously injured but their aircraft was severely damaged. They had completed a trans-Atlantic flight in July and were on the return route when the accident happened. Pieces of the aircraft are said to still exist in Newport .

The county boasted one resident aeroplane in the mid-1930s, that belonging to the Earl of Essex who lived at Lydstep Haven. He kept the machine in a shed at Manorbier. And the 1930s craze for home building examples of the French designed Flying Flea reached west Wales , with construction starting on at least two examples, one of which survived until after World War Two. However, it never flew. Also briefly appearing in Pembrokeshire skies were the famous German airships Graf Zeppelin and Hindenburg. The Graf Zeppelin was seen by a few south Pembrokeshire residents early one August morning in 1931, while the ill-fated Hindenburg was spotted by many local people at 9 o’clock on a May evening in 1936.

Royal Air Force.

During the lean post-war years of the 1920s Pembrokeshire saw little aviation activity, the occasional flights through to the newly-independent Ireland providing some local interest. As the decade progressed speculation grew locally on the use of the sheltered Milford Haven waters for military sea planes.

Pointers to the future came in September 1925 when one of the first of the Royal Air Forces new Southampton twin-engined flying-boats visited Pembroke Dock on trials. After leaving the Haven the flying-boat forced landed in the sea off Ireland and had to be towed into Belfast .

In 1927 Press speculation was predicting an RAF station at Pembroke Dock with a complement of 1,000 men, and the following June five Southampton flying-boats flew in for an exercise in conjunction with the Royal Navy. This was indeed the shape of things to come.

By mid-1929 the Pembroke Dock Air Base was being talked about in definite terms with the imminent transfer of part of the former Royal Dockyard - closed in 1926 - from the Admiralty to the Air Ministry. This did not, in fact, happen until April 1930, when the new RAF Pembroke Dock station was established under the RAFs Coastal Area. The embryo station had an engineering officer, Flight Lieutenant Bill Liniker, as its first CO. A small contingent of RAF airmen, several RAF Police and Air Ministry officials made up the rest of the RAFs initial presence. From these small beginnings RAF Pembroke Dock was to develop into a major flying-boat station, responsible for guarding the vitally important Western Approaches to Britain . The neutrality of Eire meant that the vital trade routes had to be protected from the western seaboard of Britain , and Pembroke Dock and the Haven Waterway proved to be ideal for the operation of flying-boats. Conditions were primitive and accommodation for the men was initially found in the dirty and derelict sail loft. With true service ingenuity the airmen soon made themselves at home and the town of Pembroke Dock - so hard hit by the closure of the Dockyard - welcomed its new service residents with open arms.

Pembrokeshire’s Press, quoting no less an authority than a June 1931, issue of the London Times, reported that a flying-boat squadron, No. 210, had been temporarily removed from Felixstowe, Suffolk, to Pembroke Dock where it will be based until 30th September.

In June 1931 a newly-formed squadron, No 210, moved from Felixstowe to Pembroke Dock, bringing two Southamptons to the Haven. These were permanently moored off the station as there were no slipway facilities to bring the machines ashore. The temporary nature of 210s move became permanent late in the year and Wing Commander Robert Leckie, a pilot with a distinguished war record from the 1914-18 conflict, assumed command of both the squadron and the station. This squadron was to look upon Pembroke Dock as its main home base for more than a decade, finally bidding farewell to the West Wales RAF Station in the dark days of 1943.

Throughout the 1930s RAF Pembroke Dock grew ever larger. A major building programme was put in hand; two huge hangars were constructed along with a slipway and accommodation blocks for the airmen. The Southamptons were replaced with more modem types of flying-boat and, as the RAFs expansion programme grew apace, new squadrons formed at the base.

From these early beginnings, Pembroke Dock - or PD as it was known with affection amongst the flying-boat fraternity - was to become the largest operational flying-boat station in the world and over which the RAF Ensign was to fly proudly for 29 memorable, historic, testing years.

As early as 1925, a year before the Dockyard closed, newspapers were carrying references to air visitors to the sheltered waters of Milford Haven. And by 1927 there was informed speculation as to Pembroke Dock becoming an Aerial Mail Base.

In November 1927, the West Wales Guardian was confidently predicting that in the near future a seaplane base would be established at Pembroke Dock with an RAF strength of about a 1,000, speculation fuelled by the arrival of flying-boats on exercise that same month and in June the following year.

County MP. Major C. W. M. Price, in the House of Commons in March 1929, prompted the Financial Secretary to the Admiralty to disclose that negotiations were in progress for the transfer of the Dockyard from the Admiralty to the RAF.

The Air Base question rumbled on in the newspapers throughout 1929, it becoming something of a local issue in the General Election in which Major Price was defeated by Major Gwilym Lloyd George. The new M.P - warned in the August that the civilian population (of Pembroke Dock) ... will not find compensating employment in the substitution of the air base for the Dockyard.

The New Year was, at last, to see the much heralded air station become reality but it was left to another Fleet Street giant, The Observer to break the news. The local Press quoted the Observer in April as saying Pembroke Dockyard will henceforth be an RAF station ... The Air Ministry will use the place as a base for flying-boats and seaplanes.

By March 1931, figures were being quoted, £107,000 for the accommodation of flying-boats at Pembroke Dock. The Labour Notes column in the Guardian commented: The sum is not a large one to a town that has been used to receiving £200,000 a year from the Admiralty, but the really important point about it is that this is a beginning.

When the main contingent of No. 210 Squadron arrived in June it was met at the railway station by a large number of town people, anxious to see the new men in blue. The RAF, as with all servicemen, soon settled into their new surroundings, forming sports teams and beginning a series of dances at the Temperance Hall. These were immediately popular, attracting patrons in their hundreds, with the Arcadian Dance Band (directed by Roy Roberts) providing the music.

No. 210 Squadrons temporary stay was, in January 1932 made permanent and soon afterwards the unique floating dock, used for maintenance of flying-boats on the water, was towed into the Haven. It was to be a feature of the waterway for over six years.

By September, the Guardian was able to report that tenders were being invited for new barrack blocks at the station, This work requiring considerable demolition of old Dockyard buildings The much-needed slipway was built the following year and the first of the huge hangars, still standing today, was to rise above the waterfront soon after.

There was a gradual rise in the numbers of personnel at the station which in its early years, was commanded successively by Wing Commander Bob Leckie, Wing Commander Arthur Harris (Later famous as Bomber Harris) and Wing Commander R.H. Kershaw.

A pre-war tradition began in May 1934, when the first of Pembroke Docks Empire Air Days was held at the RAF Station and attracted a very encouraging attendance of over 5,000.

In January 1935, RAF Pembroke Docks rugby team scored what must have been a very satisfactory win over another and long-established flying-boat station, Calshot, by 17 points to 6. On the soccer field there was success too - 5 goals to 3 over Andover to reach the semi-final of the RAF Junior Cup.

By now, the long serving Southamptons were giving way to four-engined Singapores, four of which were ferried out to Singapore by 210 Squadron crews. Sadly only three made it. The fourth crashing in Sicily in January with the loss of the nine man crew. This was the first of several pre-war fatal crashes involving Pembroke Dock aircraft.

Singapores and Southamptons took part in the 1935 Empire air Day attended by 2,000 people, the floating dock being one of the main attractions. The long-promised second squadron, No. 230, had by now joined 210, but the new unit was soon to leave, ultimately for the Far East , and towards the end of the year only one flying-boat remained at PD.

This prompted the Bubble and Squeak correspondent of the Guardian to reflect - being an old man with a long memory.  I have been wondering whether we shall see a repetition of the Bellerophon and Thunderer which came here as guardships but which one day said Ta, ta, see you later but never came back. Sometimes the Admiralty acts very quickly and perhaps the RAF is learning some of the tricks. I hope my fears are in vain.

That same year a farsighted statement was made by a Home Office official during a conference at Haverfordwest: - No part of Pembrokeshire is immune from air attack by 300 m.p.h. bombing planes - he said. Four years later the unnamed official was to be proved painfully right, especially where the townspeople of Pembroke Dock were concerned.

With war clouds looming on the European horizon the pace of activity quickened at RAF Pembroke Dock with much building work being carried out. Late 1936 saw the emergence of No. 228 Squadron, a unit which was to be long associated with PD. Also back in commission in 1937 was the Dockyard Chapel located within the RAF station and which was to become well-known to thousands of servicemen as the Garrison Theatre . The church had been closed since 1926.

All roads led to Pembroke Dock in June 1937, when the RAF Station was again open to the public. This Empire Air Day attracted between 4,000 and 5,000 people, many of them travelling in the 500 cars which passed through the Dockyard gates. The air display cane to a thrilling climax when a Scapa flying-boat, representing hostile aircraft, was attacked by two Wallace biplanes and shot down in flames. All good stuff in 1937 ... before long this would become all too real for PDs flying-boat crews!

The shape of things come arrived in August 1937, when Caledonia, one of the first of the Empire Class of flying-boats, touched down on the Haven during a proving flight around the U.K. The large metal Seaplane was the forerunner of her military sister, the Sunderland , which itself was soon to make a maiden flight. Caledonia made PDs biplane flying-boats look old fashioned.

In March 1938, the Guardian reported the arrival of four of the latest type of flying-boat.  No names were mentioned but they were in fact, Supermarine Stranraers for No. 228 Squadron.

The Guardian also commented under a heading -Tide on the turn for Pembroke Dock-, on the various military building works in the area. In the Air Station, buildings worth tens of thousands of pounds have been and are being erected. There can be no doubt that the Air Ministry have planned a big future for this base, and the giant hangar which is now being built must mean there will soon be additions to the present squadrons.

Empire air Day in 1938 saw the official debut at PD of the magnificent Sunderland; an aircraft which was to serve at this station for 19 illustrious years, The first Sunderland, which had been at Pembroke Dock during the previous week, returned to the station on Air Day morning and took off and landed several times, The Press reported that the silver giant showed her paces over Haverfordwest, Milford Haven and Tenby as well as. Pembroke Dock. Also on view - sadly for the last time at a local air Day - was the floating dock, soon to depart for pastures new.

The Air Day Sunderland left PD soon after and was delivered to No. 230 Squadron in Singapore, on the way breaking all records for the flight.

A Sunderland of No. 210 Squadron was to make less welcome headlines in September 1938, when the machine crashed in the Haven with the loss of two lives. There was more sadness as the year ended when the Commanding Officer of 210, Wing Commander W. N. Plenderleith collapsed and died suddenly at the early age of 39. The military funeral at Llanion Cemetery was a novelty in 1938; in the war years soon to come it was an all too familiar happening in Pembroke Dock.

The 7,250 people, who flooded into the RAF station for Empire Air Day in May 1939, were thankfully unaware that they were witnessing the end of an era. This was just three short months away from war.

On Empire Air Day, the Sunderland and one of the RAF new eight gun fighters - the Hurricane - stole the show. The Hurricane approaching from the Llanion Barracks direction, roared low over the station at over 300 m.p.h., and then a few minutes later returned at its lowest safe speed. Many spectators would have liked to have seen more of this plane reported the Guardian.

In June the Press recorded that the new wireless station near Imble Lane is nearly completed. The towering pylon has lighting equipment fixed and can now be seen for miles on both day and night:

The wireless station came on the air just in time, for the balloon was to go up just a few short weeks later.

After so many days of tension that dread announcement (of war declared) on Sunday morning did not come as a surprise and found South Pembrokeshires twin towns grim and resolute. So reflected the West Wales Guardian of 8th September 1939 as Pembroke and Pembroke Dock geared themselves for war.

With the war came the censor and the censor was to prove mightier than the pen. What would have made headlines in peacetime was absent from the local newspaper columns in wartime.

RAF Pembroke Docks first fatal wartime Sunderland crash on 18th September was not reported at all, but the succession of funerals with full military honours at Llanion Cemetery, all reported in the Press, told their own story. The first reference to the night time crash of the 210 Squadron aircraft was not made until months later and then in something relatively obscure called The Lifeboat, an R.N.L.I. publication.

What did get headline treatment was the rescue of the 34 man crew of the steamship, Kensington Court , in October 1939. Two Sunderlands landed in the open sea to pick up the crew from a lifeboat, after the vessel had been shelled by a German U-Boat. An hour or so later the 34 men were standing on dry land, courtesy of the RAF.

For this rescue the pilots of the two Sunderlands Flight Lieutenants Thurston Smith (228 Squadron) and Jackie Barrett (204 Squadron), were awarded D.F.C.s.

Pembroke Dock on a decidedly-chilly December day in 1939 was a long way from home for 200 Australian airmen who arrived at the RAF Station to join the new Aussie-manned Sunderland squadron. The censor’s iron hand relaxed to allow the Press fair rein on this story. Pembroke Dock was not mentioned by name but the Station Commander, Squadron C.O. and, surprisingly, the squadron number, No. 10, were all reported.

-          Gee, its cold in this place - said one Aussie.  We don’t mind the rain but this frost, ugh!  Then there’s this crook blackout – that’s one of our grouses, commented another. - But for all that I sampled a few of the beauties of the locality these last few nights. This was not elaborated on, nor was any explanation needed!

In the early months of the war the road up the aisle was a busy one for so many couples who tied the wedding knot before the war intervened too much in their lives. Many RAF personnel from Pembroke Dock were married in the first months of the war, but were soon to leave their brides behind as postings took them many miles from PD.

Pembroke Dock was no longer Pembrokeshire’s only air base; just five miles to the east the former World War One airship station at Milton was being hastily transformed into RAF Carew Cheriton. This was the first of several land stations to be built within the county during the war years. Yet, for all its military importance, the Haven - with its flying boats, naval base, fishing fleet and convoy assembly point - was totally undefended. No anti-aircraft guns were in position locally as the war progressed to its first anniversary, a fact cruelly exposed by the Luftwaffe on 19 August 1940 when three Junkers Ju88 dive bombers flew with impunity up the Haven and bombed the Admiralty oil tanks at Llanreath. The resulting conflagration was the largest oil fire ever seen in Britain , and cost the lives of four firemen as it raged for many days.  RAF Carew Cheriton, too, received the attention of Luftwaffe bombers, a hangar and three aircraft being destroyed in October 1940, and there were further raids in 1941.

Pembroke Dock town, so vulnerable near its dockyard and air station, was severely hit in sustained raids in May 1941; indeed, the community was one of the hardest hit per head of population in the whole of the British Isles . The Luftwaffe raids prompted the construction of an airfield in the remote south-western corner of the county, near Angle village. From here a succession of fighter squadrons - mostly with Spitfires and Hurricanes but also at one time operating the rare Whirlwind twin-engined fighter - were based from late 1941 onwards. Both Carew Cheriton and Angle initially were entrusted with maritime protection, and many fruitless patrols were made over the sea, often in marginal weather conditions.  Maritime protection was also the principal role of the second generation of airfields. Talbenny and its sister, Dale, opened in mid-1942 and each for a time operated a squadron of Wellington bombers operating under Coastal Command. One was manned by Czechs, the other by Polish airmen. The following year saw two more airfields, at Haverfordwest (Withybush) and Templeton, open.

The last pairing of Pembrokeshire air bases was on the north-west side with St David’s in partnership with nearby Brawdy; the former opened in autumn 1943 and the latter early in 1944. Here operational tasks were undertaken mainly by Halifax bombers of Coastal Command units.  Through out the war there was a very fluid movement of aircraft and squadrons between bases, none more so than that adopted by the flying-boat units at Pembroke Dock. Their global role was reflected in the continual flow of aircraft into and out of the Haven, many returning for major servicing at the station. On one occasion ninety-nine flying-boats were on the water or in servicing areas around Pembroke Dock and Neyland on the opposite shore.  Part of the railway yard at Neyland was converted for such a purpose and a slipway specially built.

Pembroke Dock flying-boat station was credited with many U-Boat sinkings from mid-1943 onwards, but the cost was very high in both men and machines. As a station it was known through out the Service simply as PD and it is always remembered with great affection by those who had the privilege of being posted to this Haven base. Men of many nations flew from Pembrokeshire air stations, and Pembroke Dock had the distinction of welcoming the first US Navy squadron to operate in the European theatre when VP-63 flew their Catalina flying-boat into the Haven in May 1943. History was also made the same month when an Australian Sunderland pilot Fg. Off. Beresford made a successful landing on Angle airfield after sustaining a damaged hull in a take-off at sea.

Although principally a county of RAF stations, the Fleet Air Arm operated from local air bases too. For a time they used Angle and in 1943 took over Dale. They also established a seaplane training station at Lawrenny, operating Walrus amphibians and later Kingfisher floatplanes from the upper reaches of the Haven from 1941 to 1943.

With the wars end the majority of local airfields became surplus to requirements. Although many of the wartime structures have been removed over the past forty years and more, most of the runways remain as large and almost immovable reminders of the front line air role that Pembrokeshire played in the Second World War. There was short lived speculation in the papers of mid-1946 over the proposed move of Short Brothers, makers of the Sunderlands, from Rochester to Northern Ireland. Pembroke Borough Council invited Shorts to establish part of their plant at Pembroke Dock, but the aircraft company said a polite “No thanks” - choosing Belfast.  

Aviation in Pembrokeshire after the war years has mainly been centred on two of the airfield sites - Brawdy and Haverfordwest - plus the flying-boat station at Pembroke Dock. RAF Pembroke Dock continued its association with the mighty Sunderland until 1957. No successors for the Sunderland were ever ordered so the retirement of this grand aircraft sounded the death-knell for PD. The flying-boat squadrons, which had carried out such a variety of tasks in the post-war years, finally left the Haven early in 1957, and the station reverted to the Admiralty in 1959.

It was not quite the end of the Sunderland saga locally as, in March 1961 a Sunderland latterly operated by the French Navy was donated to The Sunderland Trust for preservation and display at Pembroke Dock. This grand old lady was displayed just inside the old RAF station wall until 1971, the salt-laden atmosphere of its external location having taken a great toll of the airframe in that time. The aircraft was transferred to the RAF Museum at Hendon, London , where today it is on permanent view.

In 1945 there was an impressive ceremony in the RAF Church , the old Dockyard Chapel, when the Chaplain-in-Chief of the RAF dedicated a magnificent stained glass window in memory ions out of Pembroke Dock during the war. Sadly, PD no longer has this fine window - it was taken from the Chapel in 1958 and moved to the Officers Mess at RAF Mountbatten, Plymouth.

All was not forgotten however as for many years Pembroke Dock held Flying Boat reunions attended by many veterans from all over the world. A replica of the memorial window was erected in the Pembroke Dock Library and a marvellous photographic exhibition was mounted in the Pater Hall. 

For twenty-five years the Fleet Air Arm controlled Brawdy, the station being known as HMS Goldcrest. From 1952 it was an active naval airfield, flying a variety of front line and training aircraft in support of the then considerable carrier fleet. The decision to end fixed-wing flying in the Navy led to the axing of NAS Brawdy in 1970, the station returning to its former owners, the RAF. In 1974 RAF Brawdy became the home of the Tactical Weapons Unit, transferring from Chivenor, and for the next eighteen years until 1992 it provided much of the sophisticated weapons training required by fast jet pilots in the Service.

PDs last Sunderlands left the Haven within days, some to Wig Bay, Stranraer, for storage and others to the Far East to join the RAF’s last flying-boat unit. Flight Lieutenant A. Ford flew the last aircraft out of PD en route to Singapore.

Churches and Chapels.

The Dockyard Chapel.

The first Services were held on the frigate Lapwing which had been run aground and was used as offices and storerooms. Up to about 1820 these were conducted by the Vicar of Pembroke. After this ship was broken up in 1828 the Services were held in a wooden building but the increase in the numbers made it imperative that a larger building be constructed.  The site chosen was in the north east corner of the Yard and work started in 1831.  Consideration was given to future installation of heating by banking up the site before constructing the building. The design was very plain with very large windows. The three west doors are approached by two flights of steps. The interior had a gallery on each side and at the west end, the main floor had a nave two side aisles chancel with choir stalls and a sanctuary in a recess. It was capable of seating 1100.  Most of the pews were box pews with doors. The reading desk was a two decker, the Chaplain reading the prayers from the upper box and the clerk leading the responses from the lower. The pulpit was very high, reached by a winding staircase and when in it the preacher was at the same height as the gallery. Up till 1857 it was the custom for the Chaplain to read the prayers in a white surplice and during the singing of the psalm before the sermon change into a black cassock to preach.  Right from the very beginning the Chapel was renowned for its choir, and sang at the visit of the Duke of Clarence in 1827. The choir occupied the west end gallery and in 1836 an organ was installed in this gallery. A large painting representing a dove descending from the clouds towards a chalice obscured the east window. In later years a stain glass window replaced this painting.

It was expected that the marines and Dockyard Policemen not on duty marched to the chapel every Sunday morning as well as the crews the “Royal Sovereign” and the Irish Mail steamers in harbour. All Dockyard apprentices were expected to attend and after the opening of the National School the Master, Mistress, and pupil teachers. In the early days of the Sunday school held in the national school all the pupils after attending Sunday school were marched down to the chapel for the morning service.

In 1844 Mr William Edye Master shipwright drew up plans for landscaping the grounds around the Chapel with trees and shrubs.

A Coat of Arms belonging to the yacht Royal Sovereign was affixed to the west gallery in 1850 when that yacht formerly the Royal Yacht of William IV was broken up. The bell was taken from the captured Spanish cruiser El Phoenix (renamed Gibralter). It appears that the building was never actually consecrated during the time it was used by the Admiralty but it is said this omission was rectified in 1927 but no trace can be found

According to the census of Religious Buildings in 1851 the Dockyard Chapel could accommodate 800. This census also lists it as not being consecrated or licensed with an average attendance of 250 in the morning and 100 in the afternoon. The Chaplain of Her Majesty’s Dockyard was J H Mallet. A Tablet in memory of Edward Laws who died in 1854 was placed on the south wall. This was destroyed in the 1970s.

Gas lighting was installed in 1874 and the afternoon services replaced by evening services. A small font was installed at the entrance to the south aisle in 1875

A Description of 1875:

 A spacious stone building. It is entered by 3 doors at the Westem end which are approached by flights of stone steps. Above the centre entrance is a small square set tower having a hemispherical summit surmounted by a cross within is one small bell. The church consists of a nave, a singularly small chancel, side aisles and galleries. In the west gallery there is a fine organ in front of which the members of the choir sit. The interior has an exceedingly neat and pleasing appearance, the roof is lofty and having a large flat ceiling unsupported by pillars, it is well worthy of attention. Above the communion table and covering the east window is a handsome painted screen, its subject intended to be emblematical of Christianity. There is also a handsome pulpit reached by a winding staircase and balustrade. There is one tablet affixed to the south wall.

Kellys Directory   1884.

The Dockyard church is a plain building, erected inside the walls of the Royal dockyard, and consisting of a small chancel, nave, aisles, with galleries, the west gallery containing  a fine organ: above the centre entrance is a small square tower, surmounted by a cross : the church was built for the officers and workmen of the dockyard, for whom seats were appropriated in the area: the north and south galleries are set apart for the sailors and soldiers of the garrison, the public are permitted to attend any of the services, there are seats for about 1100 persons. The Rec. Fredrick William Nickoll M.A. is the chaplain, appointed in 1881.

From 1885 onwards various alterations to the internal arrangements took place and included reducing the height of the pulpit, doing away with the clerk leading the responses, panels on which were painted the Ten Commandments and the Lords Prayer were removed. The Choir and organ moved to the main body of the church, galleries shortened and pews removed and replaced.

While Captain Kelly was Superintendent of the Yard the Training Ship “ Atlanta ” which had originally been built in Pembroke Dockyard was lost at sea with a tremendous loss of life and a collection was organised for a memorial window to those lost. £75 was raised by Mrs Kelly in the Yard and a stain glass window was installed at the east end of the Chapel depicting Christ in the ship rebuking the wind and saying “Peace be still” at the base was the dedication “To the Officers and ships Company H.M.S. “Atalanta” Perished A.D., 1879 in 1887.

The Parish of Pembroke Dock – Silas T Phillips 1898

Dockyard Chapel.

As a Government building it neither secures nor claims episcopal oversight and consequently has never been consecrated. Baptisms celebrated there, were registered in the Parish Church Register.

Electric light was introduced in 1905 and all gas fittings removed.

Frank Owen remembered the Chapel:

Situated at the east end of the Royal Dockyard, standing in its own grounds and approached from the corner of Commercial Row stood the Royal Dockyard Church. It could be easily identified from sea or land by the domed tower at its west end. The Church stood at the end of the Senior Officers Houses and was approached by a road flanked by high trees. This road terminated in a wide forecourt presenting a tall building with wide steps which led to the bell Tower and the entrance. Here, right up to the closure of the Dockyard Mr.  Lewis would welcome you with dignity and present you with your hymn book and psalter - this between his duties as verger and Bell Ringer.

The church possessed only one bell, as apposed to St Johns which had eight. The building was always referred to as a church but in some quarters is only recognized as a chapel and not consecrated.

The last resident Royal Naval Chaplain was the Rev. R D Gilbertson MA whose father was well known in Pembroke as a solicitor and clerk to the Castlemartin Division which covered an area from Angle to Penally. Understandably, most of those who worshiped at the Church were associated with the Dockyard and on Sunday mornings, the front rows were occupied by uniformed officers of the Royal Navy, the Resident Officers and their families. The remainder of the congregation consisted of the lower ranks and various officials of the civilian branches seated strictly according to rank. This may sound rather snooty but the Dockyard boasted some of the finest craftsmen in the country and there was enormous pride attached to a man’s craft or trade.

When all were assembled there would be heard the stirring sound of the band of the resident battalion which was stationed at Llanion Barracks. Led by the Drum Major and to the tune of its Regimental march the detachment detailed for Church parade would march with pride along the Avenue then enter the Church and occupy the pews at either side, towards the rear to allow for reassembly after the service. The band would be in the balcony and play for the service, accompanied by the civilian organist and by instrumentalists who were associated with the choir.

The choir was made up of many of the most talented vocalists and musicians in the area under their Choir Master, Mr. Thomas Handcock of Cheriton House, Water St. Mr.  Hancock was an imposing gentleman of great personality and musical genius, Stocky with wild hair and goatee beard, he controlled his choir with a baton of iron. Known as “T G” he inspected applicants for the choir, tested them and then gave them a trial run. Boys on acceptance were paid 2s and 6d per quarter - It worked out that if a boy gave 1d per service for the collection, he just about broke even at the end of the quarter but if he spent his money on Mrs Rogers home made toffee on the way to Church then he had to be well practised in the art of shaking the collection bag to give the impression that he had dropped in a few coins.

Although Mr. Hancock was Organist and Choirmaster, other talented musicians, Mr.  Reginald Calver, Mr. Frank James and Miss Ivy Lewis - all first class organists, assisted him. There were also a number of ladies choristers.

At the closing of the Dockyard and the Church all these fine trained choristers were in great demand and invited to join the choirs of other churches and other denominations carrying on the traditions which they had learned.

Later the building became the Garrison Theatre and even later a Motor Museum . Now part of the Enterprise Zone and plans are being submitted to turn it into a warehouse.

Church of England Services were held after the school was built from 1844 to 1848 in the National School prior to the opening of St. Johns Church . During the time that Divine services were held in the schoolroom a rather alarming event took place. A large number of people had congregated to hear a funeral sermon given by the Rev. George Fitzroy Kelly (afterwards Dr. Kelly). Owing to the weight caused by such an unusually large congregation, the floor cracked down the middle with a loud noise, despite the fact that stanchions had been placed under it in view of an extra strain. Such consternation was caused by the mishap. Fortunately, no accident occurred, but the assemblage at once dispersed.                      

St John’s Church

In 1844, by the passing of an Act (6 and 7 Victoria , chap. xxxvii 1843), Pembroke Dock was formed into a district, and in November 1844, the Rev. George Fitzroy Kelly was appointed as the first incumbent. At a meeting held on December 11 (Thursday), 1845, it was proposed by the late Mr. William Hulm that a new church should be erected in the old burial-ground. This was seconded by Mr. Robert Lanning, then the Town Clerk.

An amendment was proposed by the late Mr. Cocks, that the sacredness of the burial-ground should not be interfered with, and that other ground should be selected for the church. This was seconded by Mr. Glanville, and carried by a large majority.

On August19, 1846, Mr. Meyrick, the owner of the Bush Estate, conveyed through Edward Laws, Esq., a site for the erection of a new church. On this site some of the very oldest inhabitants of the town remember there was once a rope-walk, owned by a man named Eldridge.

The ground for the building of the church was staked out on Wednesday, September 4, 1846, and the foundation stone was laid on September 21, 1846 by Lord Auckland, at that time First Lord of the Admiralty. He was accompanied by Sir Charles Adams and Captain Berkeley, subsequently Lord Fitzhardinge, and other gentlemen of the Board of Admiralty. The Mayor and Corporation were also present. It was an occasion of much rejoicing and ceremony. The Superintendent of the Dockyard, - Captain Falcon, after Lord Auckland had spoken, gave a short address. The Royal Marines formed a guard of honour, and the band of the 37th Regiment was present and added to the general effect. The architect was J. Harrison, Esq., and the contractors were Messrs. Jones and Griffiths.

The cost of the church was £3,500.

On September 9, 1848, the Church of St. John the Evangelist, as it was named, was consecrated by the Lord Bishop of St. David’s, the late Right Rev. Connop Thirlwall, who was accounted one of the greatest Greek scholars of his day.

With the consecration of the church Pembroke Dock became ecclesiastically a new parish, that of St. Johns.

The first incumbent, the late Dr. George Fitzroy Kelly, is still remembered by many as a preacher of great ability, with an attractive personality; and he gained the affection of a11 his parishioners. He died January 25, 1878 aged seventy-seven years, and was buried in the New Cemetery . The pulpit was placed in St. Johns Church as a memorial of him, and a brass tablet in front of it is thus inscribed:

In Memory of

Dr. FITZROY KELLY, M.A., LL.D The first, and for thirty years, Vicar of this Parish.

Died January 25th, 1878.

We preach Christ, and Him crucified.

During the three years that the Rev. Frederick Glyn Montague Powell, MA., was Vicar of the parish, St. Johns Church was restored and reseated, and also provided with a heating apparatus. The church was re-opened on Sunday, January 4th1880, and on that day the military attended this place of worship for the first time, having previously gone to the Royal Dock­ yard Chapel.

The schoolroom, a detached building standing in the church grounds, was erected when the Rev. John Seymour Allen was Vicar. Mr. Kenneth McAlpin was the architect and con­tractor. It was opened, by the late Right Rev. W. Basil Jones, Lord Bishop of St.David’s.

There are three memorial stained windows in the church. The first was placed there in memory of the late Isaac Smedley, Esq., J.P., who was a devoted Churchman. The inscription reads:

To the Glory of God, and in Memory of ISAAC SMEDLEY, J.P., of Water Street in this town, who entered into rest. June 12th, 1896, aged 55 years.

This Window was erected by friends who admired him for the services rendered to the Church, the poor, and the public.

The inscription on another window is as follows:

To the Honor and Glory of God, and in Loving Memory of RICHARD AND AMELIA JANE JENKINS. This window is given by their daughter, Phoebe S. Mathias, A.D.1899.

To perpetuate the memory of the late Dr. James F. Stamper, M.D. a memorial window, the work of Mr. C. E. Kempe, was placed in St. John's Church, inscribed thus:

To the Glory of God, and in Memory of JAMES FENTON STAMPER, M.D., J.P.

who entered into rest May 22nd, 1900, aged 52. He was a devout Churchman, a loyal friend, a skilful physician, and a good citizen.

The cost of this window was defrayed by voluntary subscriptions.

(He lost his life when he fell into the moat at the Defensible Barracks).

There are seven mural tablets in the church, one in memory of the family of the Properts. It will be remembered that Mr. Propert is mentioned in an earlier chapter as being one of the first magistrates of the town.

Another tablet is in memory of one Lewis Davies, who was killed in an attack on pirates off the coast of Borneo , September 7, 1868.

There is also one erected to Henry Groves, an early inhabitant of the town, and a former churchwarden.

Four tablets are fixed in the chancel to the memory of a family named Shawe Jones. A grant was given to this family by the Secretary of State for War for rights to be buried in the military cemetery.

In September, 1849, the weathercock was fixed on the church.

In 1865, the town clock was placed in the tower of St. Johns Church, mainly by the efforts of the late Dr. Fitzroy Kelly, Alderman Hughes, and Mr. Cornelius Williams. The cost of the clock itself was £170; the expenses in connection with its erection were a little under £50. Public subscriptions were raised to defray the same, to which the Admiralty contributed £50.

The organ was built by Messrs. P. Conacher and Son, Huddersfield. It cost £360, £100 of which was given by Mrs. Thomas McMaster. The organist was Mr. H. Taylor, of Dimond Street.

For many years only one bell announced the time for service which was hung in the year 1848. To commemorate the Coronation of King Edward VII., a peal of bells was placed in the tower. The bells were first rung on September 29, 1902, on the anniversary of the opening of the church. The makers of the bells were Messrs. Mears and Stainbank, who also had made the first bell in 1848. The cost of the complete peal of bells, which was £403, was principally defrayed by public subcription, but two were entirely given, one by the Rev. J. W. Longrigg, M.A., a late chaplain of the Dockyard, and the other by members of the Teesdale family,

The Vicarage is a handsome stone residence standing in its own grounds within the church enclosure, and was erected in 1857. Many years before the erection of this building a limekiln stood on the site. It is said to be haunted by a little white dog.

Prior to the Vicarage being built, the first clergyman, Dr. Kelly, resided in a house in Bush Street, now occupied by the firm of W. T. Smith and Sons, wine and spirit merchants.

The first baptism recorded in the register of the church was that of William Henry Budge, son of George and Harriet Budge, on November 29, 1844. The first baptisms that actually took place within the church walls were on October l, 1848, and were those of Elizabeth Sarah, daughter of William and Jemima Earwaker; Thomas John son of William and Marianne Morris; and Dorothy, daughter of John and Elizabeth Nicholls. The first marriage that was solemnized was by license, on October 3, 1848. The contracting parties were Ann Elizabeth Spriggs, of Pembroke Dock, and James Thomas of Haverfordwest. The officiating clergyman was Dr. Kelly.

Sir William White, K.C.B., LL.D., F.R.S., Director of Naval Construction, was married in this church to Miss Martin, daughter of a former Master Shipwright of Pembroke Dockyard.

St Patrick’s Church (see PENNAR)

For many years there was a small mission cottage in Pennar, purchased through the instrumentality of the Rev George McHugh, one of the earliest curates in the parish. In this cottage services were held regularly, and were well attended. Later the Rev. F.G. Montague Powell interested himself in getting a large wooden building erected in the garden of the mission cottage, which for a time served its purpose very well as a temporary place of worship, until St. Patrick’s Church was erected. The foundation stone of this church was laid on May 1, 1894, by the late Lady Catherine Allen of Woodfield, mother of the Rev. John Seymour Allen, M.A., who was the Vicar at that time. The total cost of St. Patrick’s Church was £2,324. The architects were Messrs. Nicholson and Son, Hereford , and the contractors Messrs. Davies and Morgan, Pembroke. The site was granted by the War Department. The church was consecrated on July 11, 1893, by the Suffragan Bishop of Swansea . 

St Teilo’s Church

On Saturday, June 13, 1903, Mrs. F.C. Meyrick, wife of Colonel Meyrick, C.B., laid the foundation-stone of St.Teilo’s Church near Waterloo, and it was opened for Divine worship on February 9, 1904, the name-day of the old welsh saint, by the Arch­ deacon of St.David’s. This church was built principally with stones removed from Pater Battery, to which reference is made previously. The carting was freely done by Messrs. Brown, of Kingswood , and Messrs. Gibby. The bell was given by Mr. Elijah Howell, of Queen Street East , and was taken from the wreck of a steamship, the Ben Nevis. This mission church will prove a great convenience to Llanion, Waterloo, and the surrounding district.

Bethany Baptist

The first chapel in the town was Bethany , which was erected in 1818. The late Sir John Owen of Orielton granted a little band of Baptists a choice of different portions of ground on his estate on easy terms, whereon to build, on a ninety-nine years lease, at the nominal rental of 1s. per year, with power to claim for themselves or successors for nine hundred and ninety-nine years on the same conditions. Taking advantage of these generous terms, the Baptists commenced the building of their chapel at the west end of High Street, between the entrance into Bufferland and the road leading into Pennar. Having secured the land, with the exception of the masonry and the plastering, the structure was built up by the labour of love; for the woodwork was made and the carting done gratuitously, chiefly by Dockyard men before and after Government hours, as, indeed, was the case in the building of all the early Nonconformist places of worship in the town. Such free labour helped greatly in the erection of the chapels. But even then the cost was not inconsiderable. When it is remembered that a farm labourers wages seldom amounted to more than 5s. a week and food, with possibly a few perquisites, and a Dockyard shipwrights pay was but £1 4s., it is not easy to imagine at what cost of self-denial each little body of worshippers raised for themselves  a house of prayer.

The original Bethany Chapel was smaller than the present one which was erected later. It was surrounded by a stone wall 7 feet high, with heavy wooden gates, which enclosed a burial ground, where many of the earliest inhabitants of the town were buried. The road by the side of the chapel, sometimes called Bufferland Lane, was at that time private property, and was owned by Mr. Barclay, schoolmaster. It was shut off from the public by gates at both ends.

The small stream which still meanders slowly at the back of the gardens in Hill Street once flowed almost across the site of Bethany Chapel. This stream lies between the Bush and Orielton estates, though since the early days of Bethany much of its waters have been drained, and its course somewhat diverted.

The first pastor of Bethany Chapel was the late Rev. Gabriel Devereux, who was a saintly character, and whose ministry was much appreciated and long remembered by many. He died January 12, 1833, at the early age of twenty-six years, and was buried in the graveyard of the chapel.

The old building became very dilapidated; it was therefore pulled down and a new structure erected in its place. The new building was extended 4 feet further out than the old one. The grave of the Rev. G. Devereux by this extension became actually enclosed within the chapel walls, and because of this a tablet was placed to his memory above the spot where his remains lie buried. Some time after Mr. Gabriel Devereux’s death the Rev. John Morgan was pastor of Bethany. He was an able and scholarly man, who for a time also conducted an excellent middle-class school He was followed, in 1845, by the late Rev. H.J. Morgan, who was known as a powerful preacher and a strong theologian. He remained here until 1867, when he removed to Milford. After him came the Rev. William Davies. He was a felicitous preacher, and remained eleven years. It was during his pastorate the present chapel was erected.

When the first Bethany Chapel was built, the placing of the windows was left until the last. This was because at the commencement of its erection the window-tax was in force, but before the building was completed it was repealed. So the fore­ sightedness of the Baptists in this direction was rewarded.

The foundation stone of the present building was laid by Miss. Rose Reed, daughter of Sir E.J.P  Reed, K.C.B., M.P in the year 1877, on the morning of the day that the Japanese vessel, the Hei-Yei, was launched at Jacobs Pill. When the chapel was rebuilt, the old lease was yielded to the Ordnance Department, who had taken over the Barrack Hill from the Admir­alty in 1830. The Government wanted the approaches kept clear for a gun-range, and therefore desired to annex some of the surrounding property, which belonged to Sir John Owen of Orielton. To meet their ends, they offered compensation and lease renewals to all who occupied the land which they required. The old Board of Ordnance stone which marked the boundary of the Government property in the direction of Bethany is still to be seen fixed in the wall which encloses the chapel.

On September 14, 1904, the memorial stones of a new schoolroom were laid, respectively, by Owen Philipps, Esq., Amroth Castle ; Mrs. J. D. Jones, Miss  (Sketch) Edwards, Mr. Wi1liam Evans, Mr. John Edwards and Mr. Joseph Llewellyn. Moreover, the chapel itself was renovated, and fitted with increased accommodation, and also with an organ chamber. The minister was  the Rev. J.D. Jones. He was a native of this county, but went at an early age to Glamorganshire, where after a time he became a candidate for the ministry. He studied for four years at Haverfordwest College . He first settled in Swansea . In 1880 he accepted the unanimous invitation of Bethany Church to become its minister, and there for nearly quarter of a century he has laboured with much acceptance and success.

Bethel Baptist.

In the early 1840s, owing to a misunderstanding between the late Rev. John Morgan (described as a very stern and fiery man) and his people, a great many of the members of the church and congregation left during his pastorate. There being no other Baptist chapel in the place, they held their meetings, at first in the malt-house, now the Criterion, at the corner of Llanion Terrace, and afterwards in a billiard­ room on the premises of Mr. William Robertson, timber-merchant and shipbuilders, in the lower part of North Meyrick Street, near the site of the sawmills so long belonging to the firm of McMaster and Co.

This part of the town at that time was commonly known as The Quarry. A church was formed, and deacons were elected, whose names were Messrs. W. John senior, Samual Allen, George H. Davies, Thomas Brown, John Peters, and W. John junior. In 1844 the church was admitted into the Baptist Association of the county. The late Rev. John Rees, of Upton and the Rev W.H. Thomas of Water Holmes, took great interest in the young cause, and frequently preached in the room at The Quarry.

Bethel Chapel was built in 1845. The first minister was the Rev. D. L. Pughe, who is reputed to have been an able preacher. He remained about four years, and removed to Builth, Breconshire. He was succeeded by the Rev. Evan Davies, whose stay was only two years; he was followed by the Rev. T. Thomas, whose brief pastorate terminated in 1854. In October, 1855, the Rev. W.F. Bliss entered upon his pastoral charge of Bethel. He laboured with much acceptance in the church for ten years. Mr. Bliss was a very cultured man. He kept a middle-class school for boys in the town which proved to be of great service. From 1865 to 1868 the Rev. J.D. Williams was minister. He was followed bv the Rev. E. Roberts, who came in 1869 and removed in 1873.

There was an interval of three years before the calling of another minister, and during that period the chapel was rebuilt.

During the erection of the new building, before the old ceiling could be removed, some of the supports gave way, and it fell in. Fortunately, the accident occurred in the dinner-hour, when there were but few workmen on the spot, or the consequences must have been very serious indeed; as it was, among a few who were present, two or three men were severely injured.

The beauty of the new chapel certainly far exceeds that of the former structure.

Another minister of Bethel was the Rev. R.C. Roberts, who was educated in Llangollen College. He came here in 1876 and has perserveringly carried on his duties since then without a break.  He wrote a History of the Baptist movement in Pembrokeshire.

Gilgal Baptist Chapel – See PENNAR

Wesleyan Methodists.

Long before Pater existed, John Wesley had visited Pembroke several times, and preached at St.Daniel’s Church and in the Town Hall, Main Street, about the year 1763. Pembrokeshire and Brecknockshire were then divided into two circuits, really the only two in Wales.

Shortly after the formation of the Dockyard, the Wesleyan Methodists began to hold meetings in a house at Pembroke Ferry, under the leadership of Mr. Richard Allen, father of the late Richard Allen, shipbuilder. Mr. R. Allen senior was the first follower of John Wesley in the immediate district, and was a man of strong personality. Among others who preached at the Ferry was the notable Billy Dawson, who, detained there on his way to Haverfordwest by the inclemency of the weather, gave his memorable sermon from the subject, Death on the Pale Horse.

Ebenezer Chapel.

A society which consisted of sixteen members was formed, and afterwards met in the house of Mr. James Allen, Front Street until Ebenezer Chapel was built, when this small band joined themselves to the Wesleyans who worshipped in the little chapel on the hill.  This chapel was built on a piece of ground at Treowen, now known as Wesley Row, very shortly after the Baptists had erected Bethany. The Wesleyans obtained their lease from Sir John Owen on the same terms as the Baptists, and when the ground was taken over by the Government £30 was given to the trustees of the chapel in lieu of the lease.

This small chapel, which was named Ebenezer, was opened for Divine worship in 1820, having been in building about two years. All the work that could be possibly done by those interested in it was voluntarily given.

At its opening it had a church-roll of something like sixty members. The singing was a special feature in the services. Mrs. John Rixon of Pembroke, widow of the late Mr. John Rixon, Mayor of the borough 1899-1900, sang as a girl in the choir, which was led by a band of instrumentalists. Every effort was put forth by its members to be in their places in time, for to be five minutes late or to be absent without leave meant a possible penny fine. The preachers who at first conducted the services in this little chapel were itinerant ministers, who rode long distances from one Mission station to another, and whose property oftentimes consisted of but little more than was contained in their saddle-bags.

In space of time the worshippers at Ebenezer increased to such an extent that sufficient sitting accommodation could not be found. It was therefore thought advisable to build a more commodious place of worship, so in 1846 a site was obtained in Meyrick Street North . The foundation-stone of the new chapel was laid by Mrs. John Road, and it was opened for Divine worship on April 21 (Good Friday), 1848, the Revs. Mr. Wood and Dr. Beaumont officiating on the occasion. During the erection of the chapel a prominent Wesleyan, Mr. John Bolch senior, who gave gratuitous labour on the building, fell from the scaffolding and was killed.

The first marriage in Wesley Chapel took place on August 27, 1850. Mr. and Mrs. Jones, the bride and bridegroom, were presented with a Bible, a hymn-book, and one sovereign on the occasion.

In the year 1865 Wesley Chapel was extended westwards. At the time the foundation-stone of this extension was being laid ­ which ceremony was performed by Mrs. Jonas Dawkins - an accident occurred. The platform which had been erected for the purpose gave way, and many were precipitated to the ground. A few people were slightly hurt, but, happily, no serious results followed from the mishap.

It was thought wise to get a renewal of the lease at this time, and it was granted by the trustees of the Bush estate for ninety­ nine years.

The enlargement of the chapel was not completed until 1867.

The chapel was further improved between the years 1882 and 1885 by the construction of a new entrance-lobby, by the alteration of the old fashioned high-backed seats, and in many other ways, which rendered it more comfortable for the worshippers. It is the largest place of worship in the town. The ministers, according to the Wesleyan system, remain only three years in the church.

Trinity Chapel  Pembroke Ferry.

In the seventies some of the Wesleyans again commenced regular services, and formed a society at Pembroke Ferry.

The late Mr. W. Lawrence of Queen Street East, had the interest of the work at this place greatly at heart, and by his unwearied efforts the present little place of worship, was built at a cost, exclusive of the school-room, of £170.

The corner-stones of this chapel were laid on November 10, 1879, by the late Mrs. Evans, of Trinity Wharf, Mrs. W. Lawrence, Miss. Trayler, and Miss Green, each lady giving a donation of £5.

The late Mr. Ladd was the architect, and the late Mr. Thomas Thomas, of Queen Street East, was the builder.

The first service was held in the chapel on August 12, 1880. The sermon was preached on the occasion by the Rev. Josiah Cox, who was at that time superintendent of Tenby Circuit.

The late Mr. Lawrence, superintended the good work carried on at Trinity Chapel for many years, and gained for himself the title of the Bishop of the Ferry, by which name he was still affectionately remembered by very many.

He was succeeded by Mr. Miller, who during his time did much good work.

Pennar Wesley Chapel built in 1870. (See PENNAR). 

Tabernacle Congregationalists.

A few years ago an old sail-loft in the Front Street was taken to carry on mission work in that part of the town, where much good is being done. In connection with the work, Miss. Barret,  Mr. John Green, and others, deeply interest themselves, and their efforts are greatly appreciated by the people dwelling in that neighbourhood.

When the Dockyard was transferred from Milford, half a dozen Congregationalists, who had come up from that town, met in a room in the Front Street to hold their services, and once every month went into Pembroke to receive the Sacrament from an ordained minister of that place; but seeing that the Baptists and Wesleyans had built churches of their own, the Congregationalists set their minds on erecting a chapel.

As there was some difficulty in obtaining land for the purpose of building a place of worship, two cottages which belonged to a Mr. Wilkins, of Llanbwm, were secured in North Brewery Street. Here the new owners proceeded to erect a small chapel in the gardens. On Good Friday in the year 1824 this place of worship, which they called the Tabernacle, was opened. The Congregationalists had invited the Rev. Thomas Williams of Neuaddlwyd, to become their first minister. Owing to the debt on the building, the cause at the outset was not very prosperous, and their minister was not even passing rich on forty pounds a year, for the stipend that he received was only £39 per annum.

Following this minister came the Rev. Mr. Lewis, who was succeeded by the Rev. Thomas Williams, of Merrivale, Templeton, known generally as the Rev. Thomas Williams the second. This minister was the father of the late B.T. Williams, Esq., Q.C., County Court Judge, Carmarthen.

After a few years the Tabernacle was enlarged by removing one of the sides of the building and making it wider, so that, literally it was as broad as it was long. Still the congregation became too large for the increased accommodation, and, after much prayerful thought as to the advisability of erecting a more commodious church, they decided to do so.

Albion Square Congregational Church.

It needed much deliberation to arrive at this decision, for a debt of £140 still remained on the Tabernacle. However, they purchased a piece of leasehold property from Thomas Meyrick, Esq. for the term of ninety-nine years, for which they paid £561.

This piece of ground consisted of the house once occupied by the late Mr. Propert, J.P., and a portion of adjoining ground. Where the chapel now stands originally grew trees and plants, which formed Mr. Propert’s orchard, and which opened out to Albion Square by a wooden door.

The cost of erecting this new place of worship, the Albion Square Congregational Church, was £3,940, which included the fees of the architect and clerk of works and legal and other expense.

The foundation-stone of the present handsome building was laid on June 28, 1865, by Mrs. Jenkins, of London, in the presence of a large assembly, including the Mayors of Haverfordwest, Tenby and Pembroke. The architect, R.C. Sutton, Esq., presented Mrs. Jenkins with a handsome silver trowel with which to lay the stone. In a prepared cavity beneath the foundation-stone was placed a bottle containing a copy of the Patriot and the Christian World, together with a few coins and documents of Church matters.

The chapel was opened for public worship on Friday, June 28, 1867. The late Rev. E. Paxton Hood preached in the morning and evening, and the Rev. D. Anthony, B.A., then of Tenby in the afternoon.

Rev. Eliakim Shadrach, was the pastor at the time the present chapel was built. He was a saintly man and an excellent preacher, and was much be­loved by his people. On the north wall of Albion Square Chapel is fixed a tablet to his memory, on which the following words are inscribed.

In Remembrance of:

THE REV. E. L. SHADRACH, For forty years a faithful Minister of Jesus Christ.

was ordained at Doncaster in the year 1829. After a short period he removed to Aberystwyth, and was co-pastor with his father, the late Rev. A. Shadrach, for six years. In the year 1835 he removed to Dursley, where he laboured with great acceptance for twenty-two years. In the year 1857 he commenced his ministry at the Tabernacle, Pembroke Dock, where he successfully discharged the duties of the pastorate twelve years . During his ministry this Chapel was erected, in which he preached for nearly two years. After a short ill­ ness he fell asleep in Jesus, April 8th, 1860 aged 64 years. To perpetuate his memory the church and congregation have erected this Tablet.

Following Rev. Shadrach came the late Rev. Dr. Davies and the Rev. J. R. Webster.

Also Rev. J. E. Griffiths who was born at Neath. In 1867 Mr. Griffiths entered Bala (now Bala Bangor - College), where he had a very successful course and obtained a first class diploma. In 1870 he entered his first pastorate, at Vochriw near Merthyr. In 1877 he removed to Lion Street Congregational Church, Blaenavon, where remained until August, 1886, when he commenced his present ministry at Albion Square Chapel, and ably, faithfully, and consistently preached the Gospel in that place. During his pastorate he had the satisfaction of seeing the extinction of the chapel building debt. Special services were held on the occasion, from Sunday, June 18, to Wednesday, June 21, 1899. On that day a big social tea took place, which was followed in the evening by a meeting at which Mr. Isaac Samuel, who was at that time treasurer of the church, announced that the whole of the debt had been completely cleared off. This debt, since the year 1865, had by accumulation of interest and incidental expenses increased to the sum of £6,389.13s.

During the latter part of 1897, Albion Square Church was closed for renovation, and at the same time a splendid new organ, made by Messrs. P. Conacher and Co., of Huddersfield, was erected in the north end of the building; the old one had previously stood near the south wall. A platform was also made below the pulpit for the choir. The cost of the new organ and renovation combined was £700; the organ alone cost £432. The talented organist was Mr. William G. Phelps, of Laws Street North.

The church had sittings for 1,350 people, but has held upon special occasions 1,500. The improvements were completed, and it was re-opened for Divine worship, on February 9, 1898. Amongst the many zealous workers in Albion Square Chapel, special reference must be made to the late Mr. James Hancock, Mr. Richard Allen, and Mr. Joseph Lewis, who were truly pillars of the church; also to the late Mr. John James, who passed away at the advanced age of eighty-seven. He was foremost in every good movement connected with the cause, and was the senior deacon for many years. Mr. I. Samuel and Mr. H. Pinch, have also done much good work in connection with the church.

Salvation Army Barracks.

After the erection of the new Congregational chapel the old Tabernacle was vacated, and subsequently became requisitioned for other purposes. It was for some years used as a public hall, and afterwards as the Salvation Army Barracks.

Upper Meyrick Street Chapel.

In 1843 a dissension arose amongst the Congregationalists worshipping at the Tabernacle, and some of the members decided to separate themselves from the mother church. They obtained a piece of land in Meyrick Street South whereon to build another chapel.

The foundation-stone was laid on February 12, 1851, by W. F. Moart, Esq., London, and the church was opened on Wednesday, December 3, 1852, when special services were held. The Rev. J.D. Davies, of Albany Chapel, London, preached in the morning, and the Rev. D. Rees, of Llanelly, in the evening of the day. The services were continued on the following Sunday, December 7, when the Rev. J.D. Davies again preached.

The chapel was renovated in November, 1889. The first minister of was the late Rev. Josephus Williams, who prior to his pastorate in this place of worship had been minister of the old Tabernacle, Albion Square. Mr. Williams was an able minister and a man very remarkable for the extent of his general information. He could speak at length on any subject. He was followed by the Rev. Mr. Ramsay, who was an eloquent speaker, but he remained only about two years. After him came the Rev. Charles Goward, who was a sound preacher, a good man, and thoroughly devoted to his work.

Another was the Rev. W. A. Edwards, who was born at Aberdare, Glamorganshire. He studied at Brecon College. He has been minister of Meyrick Street Church for over thirty years successively, and, being so long associated with the people, has made for himself many friends. Mr. Edwards was a man of wide reading, and is well versed in geology and astronomy.

Gershom Chapel Queen Street East.

In 1837 some of the members and adherents of the West Gate Church, Pembroke, who resided at Pembroke Dock began to hold services in a private house belonging to one of their number in Market Street, and afterwards in a large room in Melville Street. These services were conducted alternately by the Rev. John Davies, of Mead Lodge, and the Rev. William Powell, of Pembroke.

Steps, however, were taken to build a chapel, and a site was obtained in Queen Street East. The responsibility of this undertaking fell chiefly on the Rev. John Davies, who was appointed in 1835 home missionary for Pembroke and its neighbourhood by the South Wales Association of the Calvinistic Methodist.

This chapel, which is known as Gershom, was opened on Christmas day, 1838. It is a quaint little building, standing a short distance off from the street, with, to the modern eye, a somewhat strange arrangement of pews. In 1844 Mr. Davies became its recognised and settled minister. He remained at Pembroke Dock until

1852 and was most faithful in his labours. After his removal, he served various churches, and died at Newport , Monmouthshire, 1870.

Early in 1853 the Rev. Lewis Evans became pastor of the church, and faithfully fulfilled this duty for nearly eleven years. He died October, 1863. The congregation, who mourned the loss of a Christian minister, placed a tablet to his memory on the south wall of St. Andrew’s Chapel, which bears the following inscription:

In memory of  THE LATE REV. LEWIS EVANS, who presided over this Church during a period of eleven years and entered into his rest October l6th 1863 aged 41 years.

This Tablet is erected by the church and congregation aided by his brother ministers, as a token of the love and esteem which they cherish for him. In life he was faithful, diligent, and blameless, always abounding in the work of the Lord; and in death he was more than conqueror, through Him that loved him and gave Himself for him: changing the cross for the crown, and the sword for the palm of victory.

When St. Andrew’s chapel was built, this memorial was removed from the oId chapel, and placed on the south end wall of the new place of worship.

The Rev. William Evans, M.A. commenced his labours on January 1st 1865, having previously served at St. Johns Church, Runcorn, for nearly two years and a half.

The Rev. William Evans is a native of Glamorganshire, and is the grandson of the late venerable William Evans, of Tonyrefail, a name that is known and honoured throughout Wales. This much revered and good man died in 1891 at the great age of ninety­ six. His grandson was educated for the ministry at Swansea, the University of Glasgow, and Cheshunt College. He matriculated in London in 1855, obtained one of Dr. Williams scholarships in 1857, graduated B.A. in 1860, and M.A. in 1861.

St.Andrew’s Chapel.

Soon after Mr. Evans settlement it was decided to erect a larger place of worship. Accordingly, St. Andrews Chapel was built. The foundation-stone of this beautiful church, which is built in the Italian style, was laid in August, 1865, by Mrs. Ezra Roberts, wife of one of the firm of Davies and Roberts, who constructed the Pembroke and Tenby Railway. The chapel was opened in November, 1866. Mr. Evans continued his ministry at St. Andrews until 1875; when he removed to Aberystwyth, where he remained six years as pastor of the English Calvanistic Church. During his absence the Rev. John H. Griffiths, M.A., officiated as minister for the greater part of the time. He is now in the United States of America.

The Rev. W. Evans, M.A., returned to his former sphere at Pembroke Dock in April, 1881, and continued to faithfully serve St Andrew's Church as minister until he resigned the pastorate, preaching his farewell sermon on the evening of Christmas Day, 1904. Evans was widely and worthily known as a scholar, and has written two or three books. He has occupied most of the places of honour in his church, and was appointed Moderator in 1897.

At the south end of St.Andrew’s Chapel is a very beautiful stained-glass window representing the Prodigal Son meeting his Father. This window was given in 1882 by the late Captain Cocks, who attended this place of worship. In addition to the tablet raised in remembrance of the Rev. Lewis Evans, there is a brass memorial tablet placed on the walls to the late Mr. James Owen.

On it these words are engraved:

In Memory of JAMES OWEN, R.C.N.C,

A Member and Office-bearer of this Church, who died 20th June, 1902, aged 55 years.

Erected by the Officers of the Chief Constructors Department, H.M. Dockyard, as a mark of respect and esteem.

Another tablet has been placed in this chapel:

In Loving memory of JAMES DAVIES,

For many years a Member and Deacon of this Church, and a faithful Sunday school Superintendent, Who died 28th September, 1900 aged 61. This Tablet is erected by his two daughters.

The organ was built in 1896. The organist was Miss. Gertrude Webb, of Bush Street, who is a young lady of much musical ability.

In 1883 a branch Sunday-school was opened at Llanreath, in the house of Mr. Peter L. Jones, now of Belmont House. In 1885 a chapel was opened for Divine worship, when the Rev. D. Saunders, D.D., preached, who had also preached at the opening of St. Andrews Chapel. Since then the Llanreath chapel has been enlarged, and there is now a prosperous church, with a flourishing Sunday-school, there, and the good work carried on is universally admitted to be of great blessing to the growing village on the hill.

Gershom Chapel Primitive Methodists.

When the Calvinistic Methodists vacated Gershom Chapel in September 1866, it was taken over after a time by the Primitive Methodists, who hitherto had worshipped in a little chapel at the top of South Park Street, which was approached by a flight of steps. This chapel was afterwards sold, and turned into a public-house known as Temple Bar. Prior to this, a few of these Methodists met for worship, in Park Street North , two cottages being converted into one room for the purpose. The minister at that time was the Rev. Mr. Maynard, and it was through his influence that the early chapel at the top of Park Street was built.

St Mary s Church Roman Catholic.

Early in the forties a few followers of the Roman Catholic faith met for worship in a house in King Street, which house subsequently became the Eagle Brewery, where the late Rev. John Thomas, B.A., of Liverpool, was born.

The first Roman Catholic priest who lived in the town was the Rev. Father Lewis, whose custom it was to preach on Sunday afternoons in the open air at the top of Pembroke Street. Mainly by his efforts St. Mary’s Church was erected in North Meyrick Street during the years 1845 and 1847. The church was dedicated on Thursday, August 29, 1847, and on the occasion the Rev. Father P McDonnel gave a special address in the evening to a crowded congregation. The church, which stands in its own grounds was enlarged and renovated by the untiring zeal of the Rev. Father Oliver Murphy, who succeeded the Rev. Father Lewis. On the walls of St. Mary’s Church hangs a memorial tablet to a lady who was buried within the building. The tablet bears the following inscription:

Sacred to the Memory of ANN MARTHA DARBY,

The beloved wife of ABRAHAM DARBY RN.

She was born May l6th, 1814 and died March 2nd, 1849, and was ill four years.

Her body lies beneath.

The funeral of this lady was the first that took place in the town according to the rites of the Roman Catholic Church. It was on March 9, 1849. The procession solemnly march ed through the streets of the town from the house, which is said to have been in Llanion Terrace, to the church, and was accompanied by the two priests (the Rev. Father Lewis, and the Rev. Thomas Sick, from St. Bernard’s Monastery) and two acolytes. The body, covered by a pall, was borne by six naval officers, wearing mourning scarves and hat-bands, assisted by the deceased lady s three medical attendants, who also wore deepest mourning. Large numbers of people followed the procession with marked respect. The body was brought into the chapel, and there laid to rest. An extempore address, given by the Rev. Thomas Sick, was intently listened to, and made a deep impression on his congregation. The building was crowded almost to suffocation.

The Rev. Father Murphy came as a young and genial priest to Pembroke Dock from Kilkenny in the year 1850, and after forty-four years of residence in the town he passed into rest, March 14, 1894, having borne an unblemished character, and won the good feelings, not only of his own flock, but of the whole of the townspeople. In what esteem he was held was shown on the day

of his funeral. His mortal remains, by special permission granted by the Home Secretary, were interred in the adjoining church grounds: Amidst a huge concourse of people, his body was borne to its last resting-place by the sailors of H.M.S. Rupert, port guardship at that time in Milford Haven. The band of the Welsh regiment played the Dead March in Saul. So large was the crowd on the occasion of this good mans funeral that at least two people died from the results of the crush.

On the headstone which marks the grave of the Rev. Father Murphy, are these words:

In Affectionate Remembrance of The REV. FATHER OLIVER MURPHY.

Born at Kilkenny 17th March l825. Ordained priest at Kilkenny May 1850.

Pastor at St. Mary’s Catholic Church, Pembroke Dock from 1850 until his death, 14th March, 1894. R.I.P. De Profundis. Eternal rest give unto him, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him.

The officiating and resident priest of St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Church in 1900 was the Very Rev. Dean V.J. Kelly. He came to Pembroke Dock February, 1900. The Dean is a cultured writer and scholar. He studied at Ushaw College , Durham , and at the English College , Rome .

Salvation Army.

The Salvation Armys advent to this town took place on January 21, 1883. The first Captains name was Henry Gover.

For many years the Army held their meetings in the Albion Hall which had formerly been the old Tabernacle of the Congregationalists. The hall has now disappeared, and houses have been erected on the site. The Salvation Army then held services in a large room attached to the Albion House.

On May l, 1883, General Booth visited the town, and spoke in Albion Square Chapel. The building was so crowded that many failed to gain admission. Since the formation of the Army in the town it has done much good.

 Plymouth Brethren.

A small body of the Plymouth Brethren meet for worship in an anteroom of the Temperance Hall, and also a few of the same denomination hold meetings in a room in the lower part of Commercial Row which they call the Gospel Hall.

The Parish of Pembroke Dock – Silas T Phillips 1898.

Parish of Pembroke Dock

Her Majesty sanction was published in the London  Gazette on June 3rd 1844. The boundaries were defined as  “ All that part of the said Parish of St Mary, Pembroke bounded on the north, North – west and south by Milford Haven and on the east by am imaginary line commencing at a point at the southern end of Imble Rd and thence extending northward along the middle of such road as far as the middle of the high road to Pembroke and thence eastwards along the middle of such last road to a point opposite to the middle of the road leading to Pembroke Ferry and thence towards the north-west along the middle of such road as far as the road leading to Carmarthen and then in a straight line across such last mentioned road and along the western boundary of a certain meadow called Patch so far as the high water mark at Llanion Pill”.

Places of Worship.

The total capacity of the places of worship in Pembroke Dock according to Findlay in 1875 was 6620.

Apart from St Johns for which an architect was employed there is a remarkable similarity between the original designs of the early places of worship in the Town. It is believed that a Mr John Road, a draughtsman in the Dockyard drew up the plans and designs. Later he was assisted by Mr George Willing. Mr. W Mason is credited with setting out the roofs; he also turned all the pillars free of cost. Dockyard shipwrights did the roofing and the floors while the dockyard joiners did the doors windows and pews.

1824 - The first Anglican Church Services to be held in the new locality were conducted on board the Naval Frigate H.M.S. Lapwing, moored close to the foreshore, when the Vicar of St Mary’s Pembroke officiated.  Later, a wooden Church was erected in the South East corner of the yard to be replaced in 1834 by the stone built imposing Chapel."

1834 The cemetery in Upper Park St. , the gift of Mr. Thomas Meyrick of Bush was consecrated by the Bishop of St David’s and a small chapel erected on the site which was enclosed by high walls and a wrought iron gate, kept locked at all times. There was, until the late 1800s a stone in the wall near the north east corner recording the fact that William Instance, who had help erect the walls around the cemetery was the first person to be buried in it.  Being so close to the early town was a great boon as the coffins were normally carried followed by the mourners walking. In 1898 the Rev Silas Phillips recorded that this stone was broken beyond repair. On the north west side were buried the Marines who died while based at Pembroke Dock.  Burials continued until 1869 when Llanion Cemetery was opened. Some burials were subsequently arranged in family graves, e.g. the "Teesdale" grave. Although the Chapel was originally intended just for the burial service it was often used by the priest attending a funeral, for baptisms. Mason records that, as there was no font an ordinary basin was used and that sometimes two of three children would be baptised together and sometimes several families. The Chapel continued in use for over a hundred years, latterly as a mortuary.  During the time of Canon David Stevens the Church was persuaded to sell the land to the Pembroke Borough Council/ South Pembrokeshire District Council who cleared the site and laid it out as a Leisure Garden . The headstones were stacked against the walls and those which had been damaged, preserved A Record was kept of those headstones which can be identified and may be inspected at the Offices of the South Pembrokeshire District Council. Mason gives an estimate of 3934 burials in this cemetery.

The Parish of Pembroke Dock – Silas T Phillips 1898.

1844 Nov 13 Rev George Fitzroy Kelly first incumbent of the Parish and from this date baptisms and burials were registered in the registers of the district of St John but until a new church was built marriage had to be celebrated at St Mary Pembroke. The new incumbent lived with the captain Superintendent of the Dockyard and he conducted services in the National School. At that time no evening service was held in the Dockyard Chapel.

St John’s Church.

1844 - by Act (6 & 7) VICTORIA, the area under the description of Pembroke Dock was included in the Municipal Borough of Pembroke and was described as the Pater Ward, a District  for the purpose of Local Government and so for Ecclesiastical purposes a new Parish (as soon as a Parish Church was consecrated).

Under an Order in Council on 23 May, I844, Pembroke Dock was formed into an ecclesiastical district, called the District of Pembroke Dock, and the Rev. George Fitzroy Kelly was in Nov. 1844, appointed as the first incumbent and remained in office until his death in 1878; the headstone of his grave is close to the Llanion Cemetery Chapel entrance. Pending the building of a new Church, the Vicar resided at the residence of the Capt. Superintendent of the Royal Dockyard and conducted Services at the National School in Victoria Rd.

1846 - The land upon which St Johns Church was built was acquired from the Bush Estate Trustees for £50. The site was originally used as a rope works by Mr.  Eldridge.  The trustee was Edward Laws, a memorial tablet to him was erected after his death in the Dockyard Chapel. In 1983 this was found smashed, in rubbish, outside the Chapel. It was pieced together, by the Dockyard Shipwrights under Mr M. Naish, framed and was placed in the Main Office H.M. Mooring and Marine Salvage Depot Pembroke Dock. 

On September 21st, the Ceremony of Consecration was arranged. At this time Pembroke Dock had become one of the most progressive Towns in Wales and a Military and Naval Station of National importance. The Ceremony began with the assembly of the Procession at the National School . The procession was said to be the most imposing Pembroke Dock has ever seen, comprising the following:-

Scholars of the National School, Architect & Builder, the Mayor and Corporation with mace bearers, Military Officers of the Depot & Garrison in full dress uniform, Naval Officers in Port in uniform, the Rev.  Dr. G.F. Kelly, MA. (First Incumbent of the Parish) and Churchwardens, The First Lord of the Admiralty, the Earl of Auckland with Sir Charles Adams and other gentlemen of the Board of Admiralty

At the site, Lord Auckland was greeted by the hoisting of the flag of the Admiralty and received by a guard of honour composed of a detachment of Marines, the Enclosure being kept by the 37th Hampshire Regt.  The Rev. James Allen read the inscription on a parchment which was placed in a sealed bottle with the customary coins.

When the stone had been well and truly laid, Lord Auckland delivered an address and he was followed by Captain Falcon M, then Captain Superintendent of the Royal Dockyard.

A plate was placed over the cavity in the stone and then walled over. It is believed that the stone lies near the tower door.  The plate covering the hollow stone was inscribed “This corner stone of St John the Evangelist was laid on the 21st of September A.D. 1846 by George Earl of Auckland G.C.B. First Commissioner of the Admiralty, James Pack Harrison Architect, David Griffiths  Mason,  T. Maples Clerk of Works.”

Services were being held at this time in the National School but on the 18th March 1847 the congregation was so great that, at a Funeral, the floor started to collapse The Rev. G F Kelly who was preaching was obliged to “suspend” the service. This increased the urgency for the opening of the Church.

In Sept., 1848, the Church was consecrated by Bishop Thirlwall. The resultant building costs amounted to £3500 and this sum was chiefly collected through the efforts of the Allan family and the Dean of St David’s. The exterior has walls of trimmed and dressed limestone a triple ridged roof and a square tower.

The interior of the Church with its fifteen arches supporting the roof and tower, consisted of chancel, nave, north and south aisles and vestry with a square tower and later a chiming clock. The columns are of dressed limestone. The original windows were fitted with small squares of tinted glass. The weathercock was fixed to the top of the Tower in 1848. The floors were of concrete with pine pews. The choir sat at the back of the church, children under the tower and an orchestra accompanied the choir and congregation.  The original entrance was on the south side was designed without steps. The development on Bush St meant that the majority of the congregation used the smaller door on the north side. This entrance had to be altered and a suitable porch built. There was a large stove installed for heating in the Chancel.

Mrs Ann Powell was appointed sextoness and carried out those duties for 33 years.

The Parish of Pembroke Dock – Silas T Phillips 1898.

St John.

Originally every legal document described the church as St John without indicating which St John was meant although it is believed that the inscription on the plate over the foundation stone bore the inscription St John the Evangelist.

The first Churchwardens elected on 12 October 1848 were Mr James Jennings (Chymist & Druggist) and George White. Patronage of the new benefice was vested in the Crown and the bishop alternatively.

Originally the Church floor was of concrete. The Pews were deal and capable of being fastened to prevent the entry of all but those who rented them. There were no choir stalls in the chancel.

In 1867 a building was provided at a cost of £96 9s 4d for Sunday School purposes. This building in King Williams Street later became a warehouse.

1894.  The damage done to the west end of the Church presumably by an earthquake was repaired and the chancel screen erected – the screen cost £100 and was dedicated on Feb 1st 1894.

The capacity given in the 1851 census of religious buildings was free 500 other 375 and the average congregation 400 + 79 scholars in the morning and 750 + 62 scholars in the evenings.

A site for the Vicarage was purchased for £80 in 1857 and a stone residence standing in its own grounds within the Church enclosure was erected. Previously a limekiln stood on the site.  The cost was £1100. Until the building of the Vicarage, the Vicar Rev. D. Kelly resided in the house now occupied by Mr.  John Roberts, Undertaker, in Bush St .

A harmonium was purchased was purchased for the Church in 1858 and was played by Miss Adeline Grove. This was replaced in 1860 by an organ.  On the building of St Teilos Mission Church this harmonium was moved there The organ installed in was by Vowles originally made in 1819 and has two manuals and fourteen stops, at present (1998) it is installed in St Patrick’s church. It was fitted in the southeast corner of St Johns and the choir was moved to that area as well.

The Rev. John Nicholas was the first Curate to be appointed in 1861 followed by the Rev. C D Quinland and the Rev. Geo. E. McHugh who lived up in Pennar. He married the daughter of the Chief Constructor at the Royal Dockyard, Mr. Fincham and with the help and patronage of his father-in-law the Rev. McHugh commenced cottage lectures and a Sunday School at Pennar.

An attempt was made to provide accommodation for a Sunday School in King William St. (Gas House Lane) in 1867 but with little success.

1878 - The Vicar the Rev. Dr. George Fitzroy Kelly died at the age of 77 and was buried at Llanion Cemetery . He was remembered as a preacher of great ability with an attractive personality. The Pulpit in St Johns was provided as a memorial and a tablet affixed to it.

He was succeeded by the Rev. F. G. Montague Powell MA. The Rev. A Wilson was Curate.

The Vicarage was enlarged in 1878.

On 16 July, 1879, a faculty was granted for the restoration of the parish church, included the installation of stained glass windows, some by Kempe, a carved pulpit of marble and bath stone, new seating, ornamental tile floor covering, a handsome reredos, patent heating apparatus and the building of a new North Porch.

On the 3rd of August 1879 wore surplices for the first time and moved from the south aisle to the Chancel.

The Church re-opened on 4 January 1880 after refurbishing which cost of £1500. After the restoration. Weekly Eucharists were introduced and the Infantry Bn., stationed at Llanion Barracks was present having previously attended Sunday morning Service at the Royal Dockyard Chapel. The pew rents had been abolished which meant that more seats were available for the poorer members of the congregation. The Rev. F G Powell resigned and on December 14th the Rev. John Seymour Allen became Vicar. He was related to the Allans of Cresselly.

The Schoolroom and Hall by the church was completed in 1883 at a cost of £1300. The design was by Mr. K. McAlpin.

In 1884 there was a robed choir of forty and the present organ was installed in 1890. It was purchased at a cost of £360 from Messrs Peter Conacher.

Kellys Directory   1884.

The parish church of St. John was built in 1848, at a cost of £3000, Which sum was collected chiefly through the exertions of the Dean of St. David’s and other members of the Allen family: the site, consisting of half an acre, was purchased from the Bush estate and conveyed to the vicar  and churchwardens : the church consists of chancel, nave, aisles and vestry, with 1 square tower and chiming clock  It is built of finely chiselled limestone, and has seats for 801 persons, so arranged that everyone is within easy hearing of the preacher : the organ, with 14. stops and double manual, is by Vowles: there is a surpliced choir of forty voices: in 1879 the church was beautified and improved internally at a cost of £1500 the alteration comprised stained windows, carved pulpit of marble and Bath stone, new seating, ornamental tile flooring, a handsome reredos and patent heating apparatus: the money was borrowed by the Rev. F. G.M Powell, vicar, and repaid partly by him and partly by` his successor, the Rev. J. Seymour Allen. The Vicarage is a handsome structure of hewn lime stone standing in its own grounds, adjacent to the church, with which the style of architecture harmonizes. The living is a vicarage   gross yearly value £370 with house, in the gift alternately of the Crown and the Bishop of the diocese, and held since 1880 by the Rev. John Seymour Allen: MA of Baliol College Oxford, F.R.G.S.

Between the vicarage and the church stands the parish room and Sunday school, a very handsome edifice in complete accordance with the church: it was built in 1883 according to the design of “Mr. K. McAlpin C.E. at a cost of £1,300, collected by the present vicar, the Rev. J. Seymour Allen: it consists of a main room and two class rooms, and is capable of seating 400.

Con­nected with the church is a wooden mission building, at Pennar, with accommodation for 200, here services are carried out almost precisely as at the parish church: it is contemplated to build a new church of limestone here, to­wards which a fund has been started.

The Chancel screen was erected and dedicated on 4th February 1894.

Later that year on August 31st saw a new Vicar the Revd Silas Thomas Phillips and the following year saw the first use of the High Altar and the dedication of the new St Patrick’s Church. This was also the first year that women became members of the Choir. They were seated in what is now the Lady Chapel.

On 1st July, 1898, a faculty was obtained for the erection of a new east window in the parish church, which was dedicated on September 29th 1898

The peal of eight bells was installed in 1902. Much of the cost was raised by public subscription but one was paid for by Rev. J. W. Longrigg MA. RN. the Dockyard Chaplain and another was given in memory of Joseph Teasdale JP.

On Sunday October 22nd a Service of Thanksgiving was held for Peace on our Coasts on the Sunday after the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Trafalgar.

On 28th April the Rev. Silas Phillips died and on August 19th Rev. David L Prosser became Vicar. He later became Bishop of St David’s then Archbishop of Wales. 

1915 Daily Eucharist started March 28th.

After the First World War the old choir vestry was converted into the Lady Chapel and the names of those who died from the Shropshire Regiment are remembered on the oak panelling there. It was dedicated on October 5th 1919.  The Choir then used what had been the Clergy Vestry and a new Clergy Vestry was built above the old one.

The Roll of Honour of the Town inscribed on the Screen of the Lady Chapel


Oct      19.                   Stanley Dier.

Oct      26.                   Edward Bowmaker.

Oct      28.                   William Lynn Allen.

Oct      28.                   Charles George Williams Andrews.

Oct      28.                   Alfred Henry Bull.


May 13.           Tom Ashton.

                        William John McCarthy.

Edward John Beavil.

Arthur Benjamin Stephen Mules.

May 28.           William Stephen Chivers.

Aug. 10.          Bertie Thomas Ashmore.

Aug  27           Arthur E. Ridout Thomas.

Sept. 18.          Thomas Lloyd.

Sept  25.          Joseph George Watson.

Sept  28.          Thomas John Birmingham

Oct.                 Albert Edwin Williams.


March 13.        John Alfred Griffiths

March 28.         Thomas McCloghrie

March 30.        William John Beddoe

May 31.           John Hubert Rogers.

                        Albert Victor Searle.

                        George Evans.

July 16.            Lewis Canton.

July 26.            D. Aubrey Williams.

July 28.            Albert Victor Adams.

Sept 26.           George James Rich Saunders.

Nov 3.             Fred Brooks.

Nov 13.           David Edgar Evans.


Jan  25.            William George Hobbs.

Feb 12.            John Martin Evans.

March 20.        Sidney Thomas Elliott.

March 26.        William Arthur Picton.

April 19.          Albert S. Lloyd.

June 7.             Frank Manning.

July  9.             Reginald George Thomas.

July 16.            Samuel George Turner.

Aug  5.            James Wood.

Sept 12.           Albert Hugh Bunt.

Sept 20.           Ernest Norris.

Sept 21.           Frederick James Thomas.

Oct 21.            John Mason.

Oct  30.           T. Howard Williams.

Dec  5.             James Edgar Ball.


Jan  20.            Walter I. Phelps

Jan  22.            John Clements.

April 2.            Thomas Alan.

April 18.          Harry Pugh.

April 23.          Frederick George Truscott.

May 27.           John Henry Dawkins.

                        Bertie Theodore Pinniger.

July 7.             Frederick James Bunt.

July 20.            Albert John Moffatt.

Aug 21.           Robert Matthew Ingledew Leonard.

Sept   2.           John P. Joseph Phillips.

Sept 17.           Gilbert John Jones.

Sept 26.           Edwin Skyrme.

Oct   4.            Stewart Thomas.

Oct 9.              George Price Davies.

Oct 23.            Lewis James Thomas.

Nov  5.            Owen Magall.

Nov 6.             William Jones.

Nov 10.           William George Bevans.

Nov 25            Henry Lloyd,

Dec. 5.             Edward Farrington.

Dec 27.            Frederick James Jones.


Feb  26.           William John Davies.

Thomas Emment.

Frederick John Scurlock.

Mervyn Williams.

The Roll of Honour of the KSLI.

Memorial Panels on the north side of the Lady Chapel St Johns Church Pembroke Dock.

To the Glory of God and in Memory of their Comrades especially those who were confirmed by the Bishop of this Diocese, this screen is dedicated by the Officers and men of the Kings Shropshire Light Infantry who went from Bush Camp in this Parish to the Great War 1914-1918.

Harry Boycott.

Arthur Longmate; David Haddon; William Coombes; Edwin J. Herbert; Percy Mackenzie; Victor Leaver; William  H. Fletcher;  Ernest Thomas;  Lionel J. Morley; Frederick Beech; Harry Bostock; Harold Grice; Frederick Stephens; Alfred H. Lowe; Albert Henshall; Samual Hallan; Henry Fleming.

Phillip Preece; William Fox; William Stockton; John W. Higgins; George Kniverton; George Brinsley; Joseph N. Scudmore; John W. Johnson; Henry J. Haver; Joseph Cotton; George H. Williams; Charles E. Burgwin; Edwin Noble; William Carter; Jesse Haynes; James H. Green; James Evans; Ernest Cashion; Harry Grimshaw; Edward P. Davies; William E. Cornes; Charles Ogden; Ernest Breeze; William Southerton; Richard Lloyd; William G. P. Brown; John W. Langford; Walter Crowther; John R. Suchon; Gordon Drury; Samual Thompson; George E. Lawley; James H. Correll.

Cecil Lines; John Richards; William H. Richards; George J. Turner;  John Taylor; Harry Macdougall; George H. Price; Thomas N. Brassington; Stanley E. Davies; James Maney; Samual Bower; William Kelly; Herbert Goostry; John J. Sawyer; William Rimmer; Albert J. Johnson; Jeffery Ryder; Harold W. Symonds; George H. Roberts; Thomas Francis; Thomas Evans; Clarence J. Reynolds; Wallace Taylor; John Brick; James T. Walton; Percy Simmonds; William Roberts; George Haynes; Robert Daniels; Richard Woodruff; Charles Oliver; Lewis J. Gilbert; Cadwell Anderson; Edward H. Owen; George Bloomfield; John T. Latham; Walter Warhurst; John Tunsdall; James Norris; John S. Josephs; Albert Lewis.

The names are carved on 8 oak panels.

Rev. Prosser had been instrumental in organising fundraising in all the Churches through the war years to build a new schoolroom at St Patrick’s. This was completed in 1924.

In a letter written January 19th 1924 he states that he had recently sold one of the little camp churches built on War Department ground and vested in himself personally. The highest bid he received was £15 – Was this the one on Bush Camp?

In 1926 the Dockyard closed, Unemployment and depression hit the town and many tradesmen left the for other Government establishments.  The Dockyard Chapel also closed and many of the Choristers transferred to St John's choir.

The Rev. Prosser was followed by the Rev. J. Davies whose Scottish Terrier is said to still haunt the Vicarage.

He was followed by the Rev. D. D. Bartlett who served the Church during the Second World War. During that period one of the Air Raid Shelters for the town was the Vicarage basement. After a period of illness he left the town and the Rev. J. T. Morgan who had been Priest in Charge of St Patrick’s was appointed Vicar of Pembroke Dock. He had the reputation of being vitriolic and not very tolerant.

He was followed by the Rev. D. J. Stevens who had previously been involved with Mission work. After his death the Rev Alan Thomas was appointed Vicar in 1977.

Pembroke Dock, St. John.

A Perpetual Curacy or District Chapelry (Peel Parish) District assigned out of the parish of St. Mary, Pembroke, by Order in Council, dated 23rd May, 1884 (Gazetted 3rd June, 1884).

The income of the Incumbent amounts to £291 gross, and consists of the following annual payments:-

l.  £271 received from the Ecclesiastical Commissioners.

2. £20 paid by the War Office.

N.B. - A sum of £12 16s., with interest, is payable every year until 1909 to the Governors of Queen Anne’s Bounty, dated 4th September, 1878, for £384 for altering and enlarging the Parsonage.

The £271 consists of

(a) £150 under the Order in Council of 23rd May, 1884, and

(b) £121 annual grant undcr Order in Council of 27th July, 1863.  

The £20 is a Rent-charge on the Military Cemetery , and is paid under Deed, dated 28th August, 1860,                           

There are three Curates who are licensed at £120 each.

The buildings are-

(1). The Parish Church with a burial ground about 1 ½ acres in extent, which was closed for burial in 1863. A piece of land was bought for £50 from the trustee of the will of Mr.  Thomas Meyrick, as a site for the Church, and conveyed to the Commissioners for building new Churches on l4th August, 1846. Another piece of land was bought from Mr.  Thomas Meyrick for the nominal consideration of 10s. and conveyed by Deed, dated 19th September, 1834.

The present Church was consecrated on 29th September, 1848, and the burial ground on 26th September, 1834.

(2). The Mission Church of St. Patrick’s, Pennar, which was consecrated on 11th July·, 1895, the site of which was conveyed by the War Office on 25th April 1895.

(3). The Mission Church of St. Teilo, which was licensed on 8th February 1904.

(4). The Parsonage, with garden, &c., containing altogether 37 1/2 perches. The site was bought in 1857, by the Governors of Queen Anne’s Bounty for £80, and they also spent £8 10s. on costs of conveyance in the; same year, and £594 0s. 1d. on building the Parsonage. These three sums, amounting to £682 10s. 1d., were made up as follows-

£454 given by Bishop Thirlwell in 1855;

£200 grant in the same year out of the Royal Bounty money to meet such gift;

£32 10s. 1d. interest thereon.

As stated above the, sum of £384 was raised by mortgage in 1878 for altering and enlarging the Parsonage.

I am informed that the Ecclesiastical Commissioners paid £150 in 1858 and £200 in 1859 from the Gally Knight funds towards the cost of the Parsonage, but I cannot find any record of such grants in the Annual Reports.

St Patricks - (See PENNAR).

Mission Room at Llanreath

The Rev F G M Powell contemplated the building of a Mission Hall at Llanreath. Several open air meetings were held there on summer evenings after Evensong at S Johns.  Eventually arrangements were made to use a room erected by the Calvanistic Methodists but numbers dwindled and the mission closed.

St Teilos.

The funding of this Church was quite unusual. With the exception of a few free gifts the cost was met by the quarterly offerings of the congregations of St Johns and St Patricks.  The Vicar had made an appeal on a pamphlet explaining the proposal for obtaining the funds and the response was such that no fund raising by means of bazaars etc. was necessary.  The stone came from the old Pater Battery which was being demolished in the Dockyard at that time and was carted to the site free of charge by Mr Thomas  Brown of Kingswood and Mr Joseph Gibby of Bierspool. Questions were asked in Parliament about the material from the Dockyard being used free of cost in the construction of this church. The Church is a small rectangular building with a continuous nave and chancel. A lean to at the west end contains the porch and the vestry. It has a small projecting turret set within the gable apex at the west end containing the bell. It is constructed of rubble limestone with red brick dressings and the roofs are of slate. Internally the walls are plastered, ceiling boarded as are the floors.  The bell was donated by Mr Elijah Howell of Queen St . It had come from the wreck of the Steam Ship Ben Nevis.  A harmonium purchased for St Johns Church in 1858 on the building of St Teilo’s Mission Church  was moved there. It was played by Miss Maud Thomas.  Among the furnishings donated was a communion service by Dr Stamper, cross and vases by his wife and an Alter cloth by Miss Stamper. Candlesticks by Rev. Goodenough MA. RN., alms bags from Mrs Harris, book for the lectern and altar Miss Packe, alms dish Mr and Mrs T Brown, altar desk Mrs Williams, kneeling cushions Mrs Smith and the stove by a lady member of the congregation

The Mission Church was consecrated Feb 9th 1904.

1912 February 7th St Teilo’s schoolroom opened.

St Teilo’s. May 1923 (extract from the Parochial Magazine).

At the Annual Easter Vesting proposals were made to alter the seating of the Choir with a view to enabling all worshippers to kneel during the services and to make the approach to the altar rails easier. The proposals were carried into effect but the alterations did not in any way help matters and so the seats were returned to their old position. It has been suggested that the taking away of a complete row of chairs could help the kneeling; considerably. To make the approach to the Altar easier it is really necessary to build a Chancel but that is out of the question at the moment when all should be helping St. Patricks with the building of the School. It is a question that might be faced as soon as things settle down.

At a meeting held on Tuesday night (April 24th) it was decided to discontinue the Bible Classes during the Summer and autumn months.

On Tuesday night (April 24th) the Deputy Assistant County Commissioner of Boy Scout movement together with Mr. Cohen of Milford Haven addressed the Scouts in the School. Both speakers set high ideals before the boys and if their advice is followed then St. Teilo’s troop would contribute considerably to the efforts to make our nation Godlier, purer, and more peaceful than it now is.

Gilgal see PENNAR.


Until the creation of the Dockyard the only schools in the area would have been in Pembroke.

A Grammar School was established there in 1690 and was housed in part of the old Town Hall (pulled down in 1820). It was a "free" school usually the schoolmasters were clerics and was described as "excellent" in the eighteenth century.

With the new influx of population in the early nineteenth century, there rose a demand for education. Several small private schools were set up including two by what is now Bethany Corner but which used to be Bethany Square.

Mr. John Allans School.

1815 school opened by Mr.  J Allen assisted by his son John and daughter Elizabeth, who taught the girls, in Kings St.

The first schoolmaster in the town was a Mr. John Allen, and his school was started in the following way: After the Battle of Waterloo in 1815, the prospects of the farmers were gloomy indeed. Mr. Allen, who at that time farmed the whole of Mr. Barlow’s parklands at Lawrenny, seeing that his agricultural occupation was but a waste of time and energy, moved into the small town of Pater, and opened a school in Middle or King Street, assisted by his son John and his daughter Elizabeth, who took charge of the girls.

The school flourished well, and the tuition given to the scholars was much in advance of the times. Very many were the boys who were taught at Mr. Allen’s school that afterwards passed into the Dockyard and successfully, John Allen junior, after the death of his father, continued to run the school.

In 1847 the Inspectors report says:-

A long room of the master’s dwelling house on the first floor is the place where this school is kept, and is exceedingly well adapted for the purpose. The master is experienced in teaching but his course is very limited.

The furniture consisted of one desk for the master with four long desks and twelve benches for the scholars but no blackboard or maps of any description.

The house is in good repair but the schoolroom and furniture had the appearance of having been much used. The parents of his scholars were tradesmen, mechanics, farmers and a very few of them labourers.  Matthew 5 was read well by many of his pupils and questions answered.  Some arithmetic questions were worked out and many of the copybooks were exceedingly well written and clean.

School at the bottom of Charlton Place   Mr. Issacs.

School in very large room built for the purpose opposite Bethany Chapel by Mr.  Tregenna, premises later used by a Mr. Jane and then a Mr. Whale.

Then Mr. Tregenna opened a school in a very large room built for the purpose opposite Bethany Chapel. His school-room at that time was the largest building in the town; temperance festivals, chapel tea-meetings, and other large gatherings, were held there. A Mr. Jane afterwards occupied the premises and kept a school of some note; he dignified the place by giving it the name of Jane’s Academy. Also a Mr. Whale conducted a school for a short time in the same place.

Mr. Barclays School.

This School was in High St. Mr. Barclay was a man of scientific and advanced ideas. His school was where the Caledonian Inn, High Street, now is. He had a galvanic battery which he used occasionally to allow the boys to try. He oftentimes talked to them about electricity, and told them that this force had great possibilities which he would never see come to light, but that they might.

In 1847 it was inspected.

The school was held in Mr. Barclay’s dwelling house in a back room. The furniture consisted of 3 desks, 1 table 6 benches 1 small map of the world and a blackboard.  He said that he had more maps, a pair of globes and astronomical apparatus. Mr. Barclay had received a good education and had, many years ago, been delivering lectures on astronomy and natural philosophy in the principal towns of Great Britain and Ireland.

His scholars are limited to twenty and consisted of farmers, tradesmen and mechanics sons. There was one adult here studying navigation who seemed to have made considerable progress considering the short time he had been under instruction. The manners of the lads were very rude and they amused themselves by mimicking their Master.

All in the school read Matthew Chapter 4. The copybooks of some of them were exceedingly well written Could answer questions on Astronomy and navigation as well as trigonometry, some of them exhibited a good taste in linear drawing.

Following these schools were other minor ones kept respectively by Miss. Copplestone, Miss.  Harrison, Miss. Furlong, Miss. James, and a Mr. Hitchings.

A quaint old schoolmaster, Mr. Newman, who kept a school for boys in North Park Street, was remembered by some. He had a wooden leg, having lost his own in the American War during an engagement between the British frigate Shannon and the American vessel the Chesapeake , which proved one of the most noted naval duels ever fought, and which terminated in a victory for the British.

A dame-school conducted by a Mrs. Bennett flourished, too, at this time in the Middle Street .

Mr. Tom Morris kept a school near the old Fountain Well in Upper Park Street; he afterwards removed to Queen Street, and there a large loft at the bottom of his garden was used as his schoolroom, and was approached by a ladder from the back­.

Mr. William Thomas also kept a school, and was sometimes assisted by his brother, who afterwards became a well-known preacher in the Calvinistic Methodist denomination - the late Rev. John Thomas, B.A., of Liverpool. The school was situated in Middle Prospect Place , and was of superior standing.

Mrs. Raynes kept a mixed school in Commercial Row. Miss. Pearn had a school for girls. Mrs. Ellard also kept a school for both boys and girls in Princes Street .

Technical knowledge, apparently, was not unknown in those long­ ago days, for the children taught by Miss. Slocombe, North Park Street , were expected to ball her fire, and to assist in the washing-up of dishes and other household duties.

A Mr. Gayton, also, who lived in Laws Street North , in the house of his brother-in-law (who was a retired boatswain from the Royal Sovereign), is remembered to have imparted knowledge in the same practical way. His boys sometimes helped to mix the culm and slime by way of profitable exercise.

In the house immediately next Wesley Chapel, where for many years the Wesleyan ministers resided, a man named James formerly kept a school for boys.

Other private schools were those of Mrs. Groves, Bellevue Terrace; the Rev.W.B. Bliss; Miss Canham, afterwards Mrs. Venning; the Misses Burgess, in Bush Street ; and Miss. Christie. Some years later, upon the retirement of Mrs. Raynes, the daughters removed to the house now occupied by Dr. Reynolds, then known as Macfarlane House, and opened a high-class boarding and day school. The Misses Raynes subsequently kept their establishment in the house where Liptons shop was. In the same house at one time there was a boys school with a Mr. Quatermain as master.

For some time a Miss King kept a school in Meyrick Street , and afterwards in Queen Street East .

A good school was conducted by the Misses. Edwards at the bottom of Tregennas Hill. They subsequently removed it to Lower Meyrick Street .

In the same street, also, Miss Barclay, daughter of the Mr. Barclay already mentioned, had a flourishing school.

Well-known schools for girls were presided over by Mrs. Eastlake, in the upper house in Charlton Place; Miss Ruth Allen, in Lewis Street; Miss Rowe, in Laws Street, subsequently in Bush Street; also by the Misses Davies of Upper Meyrick Street, as well as the Misses Davies of Cleddau House, Bush Street, who afterwards removed to Water Street.

A Mr. Hickson kept a boys school in Water Street for a short time.

1847 State of Education in Wales - Pembroke Dock.

Miss Capplestone’s  School.

The schoolroom was part of a well built house, in excellent repair. The furniture was composed of a square table 5 benches and three chairs also in good repair. Neither maps, prints nor lessons on boards were to be seen.

The scholars were tradesmen and mechanics children but not one was capable of reading in the Scriptures. Those present were mere infants.

Miss Furlongs School.

This is held in the room of an inn, which is in good repair. The furniture in the schoolroom consists of three tables, six chairs, five benches and a sofa but no maps of any description. The mistress is the innkeeper’s daughter. The scholars are for the most part tradesmen’s children and very young. A part of the Romans chapter 4 was read. The copybooks were tolerably well written considering that the scholars were so young.

Miss Harrisons School.

This school is conducted in the first-floor room of a well-built and substantial house; but the room is by far too small to contain all the scholars. Few were present, in consequence of the severe weather.

The furniture consisted of one large box, one square table, and six benches, but no maps of any description, nor lessons on boards.

Tradesmen and mechanics children were the scholars. Considerable time is devoted in this school to sewing. Writing is not taught.

The 5th chapter of Romans was read, but not with ease.

George Hitchins School.

This school is kept in a very dirty room on the first floor of the master’s house. The grate and many parts of the wall were very much out of repair.

The furniture consisted of a small desk for the master, three broken desks for the scholars, and five equally bad benches, at the sides and in the middle of the room. The master made great exertions to keep his scholars quiet and silent, while I was there, but they cared little for him, though he used the flat ruler upon some of them. The scholars were the children of mechanics and labourers.

They read the 12th chapter of Romans. There are 12 months in a year - named them correctly, and the number of days in each month, but did not know the number of days in February when it is leap-year, nor the reason of leap-year. Only one copy-book of those I saw was well written.

Miss James School.

This school is kept on the ground-floor of a dwelling-house. Here the mistress lives with her mother. Sewing and reading only are taught. Very few were present, in consequence of the severity of the weather.

The furniture consisted of seven chairs, two benches, and many kitchen articles, but no cards, lessons on boards, prints, nor maps of any kind.

The greater part of the scholars are of the labouring class.

A part of the second chapter of St. Matthews Gospel was read, but imperfectly and no answer could be had to any question proposed by the mistress or myself upon it. Writing is not taught. The scholars present were young children.

Mr. Neumans School.

This school is held on the ground-floor room in the master’s dwelling-house. The house and especially the schoolroom were in bad repair. I found the master who has a wooden leg, without a coat, and four scholars without shoes sitting near a small fire.

The school furniture consisted of two tables and four benches; in another part of the room were jugs, fuel, baskets, turnips, and many other miscellaneous articles. The scholars were labourers children; none present could read in the Testament. Copy- books were very ill written.

Miss Pearn’s School.

This school is held on the ground floor in a well-built house.

The school furniture consisted only of a few low benches, a large table, but no maps, nor any lessons for the use of infant-schools.

The mistress is a young woman living with her parents, and teaches sewing as well as reading. There was not one present that could read in the Testament, and, on my requesting, the mistress to put some questions to them her mother said. They are little bits of things they cannot answer any questions.

Miss Pinch’s School .

A back room in her parent’s dwelling-house is the schoolroom. Five small benches composed all the furniture.

Mechanics and labourers children were the scholars, with one or two tradesmen’s.

None present could read the Scriptures, or answer any questions except repeating a few religious sentences by rote, and reciting some short pieces of poetry, which last they did correctly. Writing is not taught.

Miss Slocomb’s School.

When I entered this school I saw the mistress busily engaged with a trowel in her hand, plastering the partition- wall, which was quite out of repair, and the scholars, without any books in their hands looking at her. The schoolroom is a ground room in her father’s dwelling-house. One table, two benches, three chairs, and a coffer made up the furniture.

The scholars were labourer’s children. None present could read the Testament; those who were reading in the Spelling -book had a variety of books, and no class could be formed. The mistress said they were too young to be questioned, and declined putting any questions to them.

Mr. Wm. Thomas’s School.

This school is kept in two rooms at the back of the dwelling- house in which the mother of the master lives. The furniture consisted of four tables, two small benches, three chairs, but no maps or lessons on boards of any kind.

The master commenced his vocation of teaching at the early age of thirteen, in consequence of his father’s death. He continues to attend Mr. Barclay’s school in the evening. He had a good control over his pupils, and is assisted by his mother when all his scholars are present.

His scholars are tradesmen, mechanics, and labourers children many of them are very young. A part of the 1st chapter of St. John was read tolerably well by many.

1870s Mr. Nathan John, B.A. Lond., started a commercial and preparatory school for boys, which had been a much-felt need ever since Mr. Bliss’s school had been closed. Mr. John first opened his school in Meyrick Street North ; from thence he removed to the house which was once the Victoria Hotel ; subsequently he transferred his school to Meyrick Street South . He afterwards gave up his private school. When the Intermediate School was established, he was appointed one of the classical masters, where he continued until he was elected Headmaster at Brecon County School.

In 1905 there were only four private schools in the town ­ namely, one kept by Miss. Radmore, established many years ago in Laws Street South; also in the same street Miss. Jenkins conducts a school for girls; and Miss B. Grieve has a school for small children in Bush Street. In an anteroom of the Temperance Hall there is a school for boys; Mr. F. Bowden is the master.

1847 Sunday Schools.

Bethel School.

I visited this school on the 27th December, in the after noon. It appeared well conducted, and the teachers of a superior class. I saw hardly any lads above 13 or 14 years old among the scholars. I was told that at that age they expect to become teachers directly, and left in disgust if not appointed.

They appeared all to be reading. They showed a good deal of Scriptural knowledge in their answers, but not much intelligence. The school appeared to be well conducted.

Tabernacle School.

I visited this school, after leaving  Bethel Sunday-school, from which it differed little.

Wesleyan School.

I visited this school, in the morning. The business of the school was commenced at 10 minutes past 9 by singing a hymn. The 18th Psalm was then read, and an extempore prayer delivered, as such prayers always are very fluently, by one of the teachers. Nearly all, if not quite, all the children could read. I saw no ill-clad children, those who cannot afford decent, or even good, clothes for their children, will not send them to school: there are a good many such.

National Schools.

From what has been stated, it will be seen that good private schools were not lacking from an early period in the history of the town; but it came to be felt that there was a necessity for an efficient public elementary school, and a movement was set on foot to establish such. Accordingly, a committee was formed, and to this committee, which included Captain S. Jackson, who was the Superintendent of the Dockyard at that time, Messrs. William Edye (the Master Shipwright), Thomas Pretious, John Adams, the Revs. R. Bloxham, C. Phillips and others, the Government granted the lease of a piece of land at the base of the Barrack Hill for the purpose of erecting a National School. The deed of conveyance was made on June 1, 1841, and the ground was let at a peppercorn rent for 1,000 years.

When the Superb was launched on September 6, 1842, a grand bazaar was held in the Dockyard in order to raise funds towards the building of this school. Captain Jackson and Builder Edye were the principal promoters of this bazaar, and interested themselves in it accordingly.

In or about the year 1845 the National School was opened. The first master of the boys was Mr. Francis Allen, and the first mistress of the girls was Mrs. Maria Allen, his wife, with a staff of monitors to assist them.

From this time the educational state of affairs in the town made great progress, and from this school many lads were turned forth who subsequently gained high positions in life.

Many of the Kensington students obtained their successes through the grounding received in the National School . The school flourished, too, in numbers, and became over-crowded. Partly because of this - for at last very many boys under the age of seven had to be sent home for want of room - and partly because the Church of England principles taught at the National School were disturbing to the minds of many Nonconformists, steps were taken to establish a British School. The inspection into the State of Education in Wales 1847 recorded National School.

I visited these schools (for the boys and girls separately) on the 18th of January. The Schoolhouse, which is of two stories, is built against the hill on which the Barracks stands. The ground being higher on one side of the building than on the other rooms which appear from the front to be upon the ground-floor appear from the back to be upon the first floor, and those which from the back appear to be upon the ground-floor from the front are underground. Hitherto the two schoolrooms have occupied the upper floor, one at each end with separate entrance, and the master and mistress have lived on the ground-floor; a change was however being made by which the whole of the upper floor will be appropriated to the boys schoolroom, what is now the. Masters house converted into a girl’s schoolroom and a new house for the master erected on the east side of the present one. The ground at the back is terraced, and contains the master’s garden, the out buildings   (which are very inconvenient) and a small-enclosed yard for the children.

  Boys School . I was I present when this school was opened for the day. A hymn was sung, having been first repeated by a couple of lines at a time, from the master’s dictation. The prayers were few and short and the manner of the children very good. The numbers present at prayers were then taken. Such as had arrived too late for the commencement were admitted into the school and noticed. The business of the day began (in the senior class) with a spelling lesson conducted by monitors. This lesson had been learnt at home. Places were taken, and general animation prevailed. The same class read a chapter from the History of the land published by the Christian Knowledge Society, about   William Rufus. They then spelt and explained different words occurring in it. The mode of spelling (followed was for each boy to repeat a syllable of the word; when each syllable, had been in this way repeated separately, the next boy repeated the entire word: the succeeding boys spelt and repeated the word syllable by syllable, and then the entire word, in the same manner and order as the preceding - ones had repeated it.. The writing from dictation, which follows, was in general well done. The Twelve monitors all read extremely well and answered with intelligence questions from early English history.

I attended a little to some of the other classes while at their work. They appeared to be going well.

The master had a good method of conduction of the school. All the scholars were kept employed. The master’s manner appeared to me to be rather confused and nervous at times.

After the monitors had collected books and slates, and given in the numbers present of their classes some explanation of absence was asked and the school class by class dismissed.

The school has some tendency to become a preparatory school for the Apprentices school in the Royal Dockyard. Many of the scholars are the children of Shipwrights and as such are eligible to be apprentices.

The Boys school could accommodate 295 with an average attendance in 1904 of 180. The Headmaster in that year was Mr. H. Hinchliffe assisted by Mr. H. M. Milburn, J. Griffiths, W. G. Griffiths, and H. Williams.

Girls School.

The 1847 Inspection records:

I was present at the opening of this school in the afternoon. The girls entered very slowly and quietly. They began by repeating Grace after meat. The afternoon was given up entirely to sewing except for the teachers who sew for the first hour and a half then cipher and write for the last hour. I heard 24 girls read from Acts they read slowly, distinctly and well. They answered questions well, especially their senior teacher who appears to me in every way qualified to make an excellent schoolmistress. A few sums were worked both on slate and mentally quickly and correctly. They sang in very good time. Nothing could exceed the neatness and regularity, which appears to pervade this school.

The Girls school was held in the downstairs or basement area of the building and will accommodate 225 girls. In 1904 the average attendance was 153. The headmistress was Miss D. Edwards and the assistant mistresses Miss M. Fisher, E. Griffiths, and E. Davies.

Infants School.

Mason says that this was held in a new wing that had been built in the playground in 1894. He describes it as a spacious room partitioned off for the convenience of teaching and it would accommodate 220. Miss M. Jenkins was the headmistress assisted by Miss M. Grimes, C. Roch, M. Ogleby.

British School.

The suggestion of forming this school was heartily taken up, especially by the workmen of the Dockyard. A committee was formed, with Mr. Bonniwell at its head. A site was secured in South Meyrick Street , where the Coronation School now stands and the British School was erected together with the school­ house. The Dockyard men gave voluntary labour, and in addition to this subscribed money according to their means, which money was collected fortnightly. On May 1, 1846 a concert, at which several selections from Handel and other masters were rendered, was given in the Temperance Hall in order to aid the funds of the proposed new British School. The concert was conducted by the late Mr. John Radmore. It is recorded that there was a large audience present, including Mr. Davies, then Mayor of the Borough of Pembroke.

Bethel Chapel was in building at the same time as the school, and between the site of that and of the school two sawpits were made respectively for each place, where planks were sawn for the erection of the buildings. The school was built with ordinary stone and mortar. During the latter part of the year 1847 a terrific storm raged over the town, and the west pine end of the British School fell down; owing to the roof not being completed and the newly-made mortar not being dry, the wind had full play to loosen the wall, and caused this catastrophe. But willing hands soon repaired the damage, and the school was opened in May, 1848.  All the woodwork and joinery had been done by the Dockyard craftsmen free of charge.

The first Master was Mr John Adams who had a reputation of being very quick tempered and fond of the use of a ruler although regarded as an excellent headmaster. There were four pupil teachers, Thomas Watkins, John Jenkins, Ebenezer Jones and Henry Roach.  Mrs Adams was headmistress of the Girls school assisted by three pupil teachers, Jane Phillips, Jane Thomas and Jane Thomas.

When inspected by Mathew Arnold, then Inspector of Schools, it was pronounced the first school in Wales in maths.

In 1854 Mr Adams was appointed headmaster of the Goat St School Swansea and Mr and Mrs Cocks replaced the Adamss. Mr Cocks was appointed Postmaster of Pembroke Dock in 1871 and Mr William Williams became Headmaster and Miss Mumford headmistress. In 1872 the British schools (but not the National school) became Board schools under the provisions of the Education Act of 1870. By January 7, 1873, the Borough of Pembroke School Board had taken over the British School .

The last members of the School Board were Mr. Joseph Richards, chairman; Mr. John Owen, vice-chairman; the Rev. C. H. Phillips, and Messrs. T. Ormiston, R. Collins, J. Logan, W. Smith, J. Rowlands, W. G. John; and the clerk of the Board was Mr. R. D. Lowless. When the old British School in Meyrick Street came under the Board, Mr. William Williams, now of the Coronation School , was appointed to it; since that time he has held the highest reputation as a teacher. The same may be said of Miss. Griffiths, who is head­ mistress in the girls school at Albion Square . She has occupied this position for very many years.

It was found that the numbers of children in the area who had been excluded from education because of the lack of funds was quite large when the numbers in Pembroke were taken into consideration.  Until 1889 the syllabus at this and the National school, especially for the boys, was built around the subjects required to pass the examination papers set in the dockyard for entering as apprentices. In 1889 the Schools Board, despite great opposition, introduced a wider syllabus to include more commercial subjects as not all pupils were able to gain employment in the dockyard.

On account of the increase in the population of Pembroke Dock and its neighbourhood, it became necessary to erect more schools; consequently a girls and infants school was opened in Pennar on January S, 1874, and in 1877 a fine school, with several class­ rooms, was opened for boys only, in Albion Square.

Also, in 1892, a school was built in Llanion, which has proved of great service to that district.

After the boys left the British School in Meyrick Street for Albion Square, the British School was improved and enlarged for the girls and infants. Miss. Rogers, of Church Street, was for many years been headmistress of the infants school.

In 1890 the Albion Square School became so crowded that it was thought expedient to divide it into two sections, and the upper standards were made into a higher grade school.

The school was enlarged in 1896, and it was further enlarged at a later date.

After the passing of the Welsh Intermediate Education Act, steps were taken to establish one of the county schools in this town. The school was first opened at the old.Victoria Hotel, which had become vacant, with Mr. T. R. Dawes, MA. Lond., as its Headmaster, and Miss. I. A. Perman, MA. Lond., as First Mistress. The school began with about eighty pupils. In due course a suitable building was erected, which stands to the east of Bush Street . Two acres of ground were purchased from the Government for the site. The contractor was the late Mr. Edward Evans. The school has proved to be very successful, and many of its pupils have graduated in the Universities of London and Wales . On Monday, December 5, 1904, a new physical laboratory in connection with the school was opened by Principal Griffiths, F.R.S. The building is erected in the adjoining ground, and is the work of Mr. David John, builder, from the designs of Mr. D. E. Thomas, architect, of Haverfordwest.

Coronation School.

During the autumn of the year 1901 the old British School in South Meyrick Street was taken down, and the freehold of an adjacent house was purchased with a view to erect on the enlarged site. This became necessary on account of the inadequate accommodation in the Albion Square School, which is proved by the fact that for some time many of the children of the higher grade were taught in the schoolroom of Albion Square Chapel.

The new school was designed by Messrs. George Morgan and Son, Carmarthen . The contractor was Mr. C. Young, of Gwyther Street, and the cost of the building was rather over £9,000. During the time this school was in course of erection the girls and infants were instructed in Wesley and Meyrick Street Congregational Sunday schools respectively, until the new building was completed.

The structure, which is named the Coronation School , was opened on May 4, 1904, by Miss. Grace Smith, daughter of Mr. William Smith, chairman of the Pembroke Borough Education Committee. The building is of a handsome character, and consists of two stories. The upper one was given to the higher grade section, and the lower one to the junior portion of the school.

The Coronation School is quite one of the finest, if not the finest, school in the Principality; and being the most imposing structure in the town, it is much to be regretted that it is not in a more prominent position.

  On the day it was opened the children of the various schools, wearing distinctive ribbons, assembled in Albion Square, from whence, accompanied by the teachers and headed by the temperance band, they marched in procession to Meyrick Street, where they were presented with round tins of chocolate which bore a portrait of the King. After receiving these, the children dispersed. The Mayor of the borough (Mr. W.M. Griffiths, 1903-1904), the members of the Corporation, as well as many of the members of the old School Board, marched from the Council-chambers in the market house. Upon their arrival the opening ceremony took place. Brief speeches were made by the Mayor and others, amongst whom were Sir Lewis Morris and Mr. Bancroft, H.M. Inspector of Schools. Sir Lewis Morris presented medals to some of the children for regular attendance. Mr. A.J. Adams and Mr. W. Williams were the headmasters of the Coronation School. After the opening of the new school, the girls and the infants were transferred to Albion Square, and the boys to the Coronation School. In closing the words of Sir Lewis Morris used on the occasion of opening this school are most appropriate: The progress of Welsh education is more like a fairy-tale than one of real life. And in this progress Pembroke Dock has made and kept for itself a foremost place.

Albion Square School.

Built by the School Board in 1876 and opened in1877. This was one of the schools built to cope with the large numbers of children who had not been able to obtain education due to financial reasons. It had originally been intended to build it in Upper Gwyther St., to cater for the children from the east end of the town but suitable arrangements for the land could not be agreed on and the present site was offered by the Admiralty for a sum of £240. Originally this was a boys school. In 1889, when the School Board introduced the new curriculum, this school was divided in two. The “Higher Grade” for boys, with Mr. W. Clemmow B.A. as Headmaster. Included among the subjects taught were book-keeping, French, shorthand and chemistry. The Junior school again for boys, had Mr. W. Williams as Senior Master. It was enlarged eastwards in 1896. With the building of the Coronation School the boys were transferred there and Albion Square School became a Girls School.  The part used by the senior girls would accommodate 180 with an average attendance in 1904 of 162. Miss C. J. Griffiths was the Headmistress and Misses A. C. Cullen, E. Eynon and A. R. Evans were the assistant mistresses. The infants portion would accommodate 230 with an average attendance in 1904 of 167 Miss P. C. Rogers was the headmistress and Misses F. Devonald and F. Davies were the assistant mistresses.

Albion Square School   - extracts from the Log Book - (Format used as per the Log Book).

2OTH DECEMBER 1877 School opened - Mary Anne Edwards Headmistress, Myra E. Rowe appointed pupil teacher - 66 pupils

22ND MARCH 1878 - Little boy from first class died after a short illness.

12th APRIL 1878 - Half day holiday Wednesday - Launch in Dockyard.

2ND AUGUST 1878 - 152 children.

l4TH - l8TH OCTOBER 1878 - Songs sung before Inspector – Twinkle, twinkle little star; Little Bo Peep; Children go; The North wind.

9TH – 15TH DECEMBER 1878 - Small attendance due to frost and snow.

16TH - 19TH DECEMBER 1878 - Severe weather - Broke up for two weeks.

12TH - 16TH MAY 1879 - Small attendance - Circus in Town.

11TH – 15TH AUGUST 1879 - Half holiday Wednesday - Regatta in Town.

1ST - 5TH SEPTEMBER 1879 - 185 children.

17TH  21ST NOVEMBER 1879 - New stove at further end of school.

15TH - 19TH DECEMBER 1879 - Public entertainment given by children on Thursday night.

12TH DECEMBER 1879 - Report "One fire is hardly sufficient to heat the room in very cold weather; and it would be desirable to have a stove or fireplace at the furthest end from the present fireplace".

26TH APRIL 1880 Muriel J. Davies and Myra Rowe guilty of insubordination. They failed to bring me an exercise which they were requested to reproduce owing to the slovenly way in which it was first executed.

6TH - 10TH SEPTEMBER 1880 - 223 children.

20TH - 23RD DECEMBER 1880 - Broke up for Christmas holidays. On the night of the 23rd. children gave annual entertainment at the Temperance Hall. Prizes for regular attendance were distributed.

10TH - 14TH JANUARY 1881 - Frost and snow - small attendance.

17TH - 21ST JANUARY 1881 - Severe weather - small attendance.

24TH - 28TH JANUARY 1881 - Severe weather - small attendance.

23TH - 17TH MARCH 1882 - Visit to Pembroke Dock of Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh.

9TH - 13TH OCTOBER 1882 - Attendance slack on Tuesday owing to fair in Pembroke.

20TH - 24TH NOVEMBER 1882 - Holiday on Wednesday afternoon owing to launch.

30TH APRIL - 4TH MAY 1883 - Holiday on Tuesday. Visit to town of General Booth .

27TH APRIL - 1ST MAY 1885 - 250 children.

1ST - 5TH FEBRUARY 1886 - Snow.

10TH SEPTEMBER 1886 - 317 children.

20TH - 24TH SEPTEMBER 1886 - Attendance not so good this week owing to the Sports and black-berrying.

10TH - 14TH OCTOBER 1887 - A very wet cold week of weather.          

21ST - 25TH NOVEMBER 1887 - Fever still raging. School smaller through Dockyard discharges.

9TH - l3TH JANUARY 1888 - During the school holidays four or five boys broke into the school and did considerable damage to the apparatus and windows.

7TH - 11TH MAY 1888 - Attendance reduced on Thursday afternoon owing to the Circus.

31ST AUGUST 1888 - 300 children.

OCTOBER 1889 - The Teachers have difficult work through the great irregularity through sickness, half day holidays in the Town and Market days.

29TH NOVEMBER 1889 - Half holiday Wednesday afternoon because of snow.

13TH - 17TH JANUARY 1890 - Great deal of sickness in town.­ Whooping cough and Influenza.

11TH – l8TH AUGUST 1890 - Practiced the Japanese Fan Drill.

6TH - 10TH OCTOBER 1890 - The Mistress from the Hut Encampment likewise visited to see the Drill.

18TH - 19TH DECEMBER 1890 - Prizes on Friday. Halfday holiday.

26TH - 30TH JANUARY 1891 - Find the Staff sufficient in number but very inefficient.

4TH - 8TH MAY 1891 - Holiday on Thursday - launch of the Empress of India.

18TH - 22ND MAY 1891 - Small attendance - measles - 80 children.

28TH - 29TH MAY 1891 - Schoo1 closed Tuesday afternoon by order of the Medical Officer - measles.

8TH - 12TH JUNE 1891 - School re-opened by order of Medical Officer - 140 children in attendance out of 300.

3lST AUGUST - 4TH SEPTEMBER 1891 - Holiday on Monday owing to the introduction of FREE EDUCATION.

30TH NOVEMBER 1891 - Report on Meyrick St. School. The room is greatly overcrowded and unless the opening of the new school relieves the pressure the classroom should be enlarged.

11TH - 18TH JANUARY 1892 - Severe weather - frost and snow.

18TH - 22ND JANUARY 1892 - Holiday Wednesday morning - Funeral of the Duke of Clarence.

l8TH - 22ND APRIL 1892 - Epidemic of Smallpox. Some fearing to come fearing they may come in contact with children from infected homes. Am very careful to investigate and sent all such children home.

13TH MAY 1892 - Letter from School Board to send all children home from Front Cottages and from all houses where Smallpox existed.

17TH - 2lST OCTOBER 1892 - Mr.  Harries and Mr.  Hancock visited Monday. Mr.  Hancock, Sanitary Inspector, visited on Tuesday. Desired us to ascertain if any children were suffering with their throats. If so to send them home as Diphtheria was prevalent and a little child in class four has died with it.

30TH JANUARY - 3RD FEBRUARY 1893 - Closed at 3.45 p.m. owing to the launch.

24TH - 28TH APRIL 1893 - 274 children.

8TH - 12TH MAY 1893 - Circus in town on Monday afternoon.

12TH - 16TH JUNE 1893 - The attendance not nearly so good as before Whitsuntide owing to the Diphtheria. A report having been current that the drainage was defective caused many parents to absent their children.

18TH JANUARY - 1ST FEBRUARY 1895 School closed all week except Tuesday due to very severe weather.

6TH - 10TH MAY 1895 - Half holiday Wednesday - launch of Renown.

20TH - 24TH MAY 1895 - Dismissed children at 11 a.m. on account of The Review.

16TH - 20TH MARCH 1896 - Sent home a number of children suffering from Ringworm.

23RD - 27TH MARCH 1896 - Half holiday Wednesday - Circus.

27TH APRIL - 1ST MAY 1896 - Half holiday Wednesday - Launch.

18TH - 22ND MAY 1895 - Holiday Wednesday - Queens birthday.

17TH - 21ST OCTOBER 1898 - Absent on 18th at the trial of Mr. W. C. Harries at Haverfordwest.

8TH - 12TH MAY 1899 - Holiday on Tuesday - Launch of the Royal Yacht and Royal visit.

28TH JANUARY - 1ST FEBRUARY 1901 - Half day Tuesday - Proclamation of King.

8TH - 12TH APRIL 1901 - Circus in Town.

l7TH - 2lST JUNE 1901 - Half holiday Wednesday - Circus.

23RD - 27TH SEPTEMBER 1901 - A holiday given to children on Friday. Teachers were engaged all day removing all books and apparatus from the old school.

30TH SEPTEMBER - 4TH OCTOBER 1901 - Commenced work in the Meyrick St. Congregational Sunday School.

4TH - 8TH NOVEMBER 1901 - Schools closed - Epidemic of measles. Closed two weeks. Opened but again closed. Reopened 3rd December - 80 present.

22ND - 26TH JUNE 1903 - Half day holiday Thursday - Circus. Half day holiday Friday - Kings birthday.

1ST JULY 1903 - Control of school passed to Town Council.

30TH SEPTEMBER 1903 - 162 children.

l8TH NOVEMBER 1903 - Inspectors report: This School is conducted in temporary premises which makes the work very difficult.

2ND - 6TH MAY 1904 - Holiday given - Opening of Coronation School­ all children took part in the procession.

30TH MAY - 3RD JUNE 1904 - Commenced duties at the Albion Square Council School.

22ND JUNE 1904 - 168 children.

l6TH - 20TH JANUARY 1905 - Order from Council - Opening time ­9.30 a.m. and 2 p.m. Registers closed ­ 10.15 a.m. and 2.30 p.m.

l6TH - 20TH OCTOBER 1905 - Order from Council to amass the children on Saturday at the Market House to commemorate the Centenary of Lord Nelson.

22ND DECEMBER 1905 - 8TH JANUARY 1906 - Christmas holidays.

14TH - 18TH DECEMBER 1908 - Medals distributed on l7th. by Committee.

4TH APRIL 1911 - Small fire.

l9TH - 23RD JUNE 1911 - School closed for one week from Tuesday afternoon - Coronation.

18TH - 19TH JANUARY 1912 - Distribution of medals on Wednesday.

26TH - 30TH AUGUST 1912 - The Board of Education have recommended the Education Committee to retain Standard one boys in the Infants school as they are of the opinion that male teachers are not suitable to instruct children of such tender years.

l6TH - 20TH DECEMBER 1912 - Distribution of medals and prizes on Wednesday afternoon. Children presented with oranges on Friday morning.

27TH JUNE 1913 - End of first book.


18TH - 19TH DECEMBER 1913 - Distributed oranges Friday morning.

23RD - 27TH FEBRUARY 1914 - Dismissed at 3.40 on Monday - Launch.

16TH - 20TH MARCH 1914 - Mr.  Grieve visited relative to the fixing of a new stove.

28 TH JULY 1914 - Broke up through epidemic. Returned August 4th.

23RD NOVEMBER 1914 - 138 children.

l4th - l8th DECEMBER 1914 - Distribution of medals, prizes and oranges.

18TH - l9TH MARCH 1915 - 197 children.

l6TH JULY 1915 - Holiday - French Flag Day.

7TH OCTOBER 1915 - School closed by Dr. Morgan for three weeks - Scarlet Fever.

19TH NOVEMBER 1915 - Half day on Friday - Russian Flag Day.

22ND DECEMBER 1915 - Distribution of oranges.

2ND MARCH 1917 - Miss Edwards resigned and left - Mrs. Wright appointed.

19TH - 23RD FEBRUARY 1917 - The Mayor and Sanitary Inspector visited to form a War Savings Association.

4TH FEBRUARY - 2ND APRIL 1918 - School closed - Measles.

3RD - 7TH JUNE 1918 - The Tank and War Loan Certificate week.

12TH AUGUST 1918 - Bessie Susan Jenkins - Head Teacher; Mrs Owen ­ uncertificated; Mrs Wright - uncertificated; Miss Allen - supplementary.

l8TH NOVEMBER 1918 - On November 11th the Armistice was signed. As school was closed that week we celebrated the same today by singing Patriotic school and Music Hall songs - children contributing solos and recitations and experiences of the day.

12TH NOVEMBER 1918 - School closed until 7th January 1919 ­ influenza.

1919 - Staff - Bessie Susan Jenkins; Rosa J. Luly 29-1-97; Clara E. R. Brooks 30-3-90; Mary H. Brock 3-5-96; Gwen Allen 25-7-97; Elizabeth A. Gibby 27-7-91; P.M. Jones 29-6-00 student; Winifred Llewelyn student.

28TH MAY 1919 - lst Battalion Welsh Regiment received colours.

1ST SEPTEMBER 1919 - Rosa Jane Luly temporary Head Teacher.

24TH SEPTEMBER 1919 - Elizabeth Ann Gibby Head Teacher.

29TH SEPTEMBER 1919 - 149 children.

5TH NOVEMBER 1919 - School closes for YMCA -OLLA PODRIDA-

1ST MARCH 1920 - Patriotic songs and talk.

28TH MARCH 1920 - 149 children.

28TH JUNE 1920 - Early closing for Circus.

30TH JUNE 1920 - YMCA Eisteddfod.

14TH JULY 1920 - Half day holiday – YMCA-OLLA PODRIDA-.

4TH NOVEMBER 1920 - Leakage in gas pipe - reported and repaired.

23RD DECEMBER 1920 - The children had a party and concert this afternoon including dramatisation, dancing etc. and a Christmas tree was provided for the babies and third class.

11TH - 2lST JANUARY 1921 - Children had been in school during the holidays and tampered with desk and cupboards.

22ND FEBRUARY 1921 - School closed until 7th March - influenza.

27TH JULY 1921 - YMCA fete in Bush grounds.

3OTH AUGUST 1921 - Dismissed early - Baptist Sunday School Singing Festival.

13TH OCTOBER 1921 - Assembled and dismissed early - Pembroke Fair.

16TH DECEMBER 1921 - The children took part in a collection in aid of the Mayors Unemployment Fund.

23RD DECEMBER 1921 - A special program had been prepared for the closing day and much pleasure was derived from a surprise visit from Santa Claus who was sent along to us from the Girls Department together with a number of Christmas fairies to help him.

JANUARY 1922 - School closed for one month - Whooping cough and influenza.

28TH FEBRUARY 1922 - School closed - marriage of Princess Mary.

3RD APRIL 1922 - Closed on account of snowstorm.

4TH MAY 1922 - Report - Premises consist of a main room and two classrooms. In the room three distinct classes taught. The lighting in the main room is not good.

24TH MAY 1922 - Empire Day celebrated.

27TH SEPTEMBER 1922 - Fete and Gala for Nurses Home.

24TH NOVEMBER 1922 - School opened at 9 a.m. to allow children to assemble to place their pennies on the line for the Half Mile Fund in aid of the Mayors Unemployment Fund.

13TH DECEMBER 1922 - School closed in afternoon - Fete and Gala for the Unemployment fund.

2OTH DECEMBER 1922 - Held a Mothers Day and Christmas Concert when a collection of £1-5-0d. was taken in aid of the Mayors Unemployment Fund.

22nd DECEMBER 1922 - The children had gifts distributed among them from the Teachers and the Christmas tree was a great success.

6TH MAY 1923 - Closed for Festival.

6TH JUNE 1923 - Closed 3 p.m. - YMCA Fete and Gala.

21ST DECEMBER 1923 - Christmas celebrations.

1ST AUGUST 1924 - Albion Square Treat

19TH DECEMBER 1924 - Christmas concert December l8th.

19TH FEBRUARY 1925 - School closed for one week - measles.

23RD DECEMBER 1925 - The usual concert and Christmas celebrations and the children much enjoyed finding their gifts in giant crackers.

27TH JANUARY 1926 - 32 new dual desks.

28TH APRIL 1926 - School closed - United Choral Festival.

7TH JULY 1926 - Front Street Mission Treat.

19TH JULY 1926 - The attendance today is very bad indeed owing to the stormy weather and the demoralising effect of the terrible thunderstorm of yesterday. Several panes of glass in the front classroom were shattered by the hailstones but otherwise the school escaped damage.

13TH SEPTEMBER 1926 - Circus in town - dismissed early.

22ND SEPTEMBER 1926 - 196 children.

24 TH DECEMBER 1926 - Each child was given an apple and orange in addition to the gifts from the Staff. A concert was held on Wednesday afternoon.

6TH MAY 1927 - A number of four year olds were admitted.

29TH JULY 1927 - St. Andrews Treat on Wednesday.

23RD DECEMBER 1927 - On Wednesday afternoon a concert was given to which the Mothers were invited and a collection taken for the Boot Fund.

3RD - 10TH FEBRUARY 1928 - Several children excluded for Ringworm and Scarlet Fever by Nurse Henry and Dr. Saunders.

7TH DECEMBER 1928 - School closed on 20th November for Jumble Sale in aid of local Boot Fund.

2lST DECEMBER 1928 - Christmas celebrations as usual on the 20th.

11TH FEBRUARY 1929 - Attendance not very good - A heavy snowstorm in progress.

12TH FEBRUARY 1929 - Attendance is again so badly affected by the frozen condition of roads that only 62 children are in attendance - school closed.

13TH FEBRUARY 1929 - Only 75 children present - register not marked.

14TH FEBRUARY 1929 - Only 78 present a.m. and 82 p.m.

18TH FEBRUARY 1929 - Another snowstorm - Morning 18, afternoon 17.

22ND FEBRUARY 1929 - Attendance very bad this week - 6

10TH APRIL 1929 - Closed - Annual Choral Festival.

20TH DECEMBER 1929 - Concert - "A celebration of the Season". Closed until the 6th January.

30TH JULY 1930 - Coronation Sports - half day holiday.

10TH OCTOBER 1930 - Pembroke Fair - half day holiday.

DECEMBER 1930 - The usual Christmas concert was held on wednesday afternoon and gifts distributed today.

28TH JANUARY 1931 - School Holiday - Attendance for past 3 months is 90

3RD JULY 1931 - Percentage holiday.

31ST JULY 1931 - Coronation School sports - half day holiday.

22ND DECEMBER 1931 - The Christmas concert will be held this p.m.

23RD DECEMBER 1931 - School closed for Christmas.

21ST DECEMBER 1932 - Christmas concert.

23RD DECEMBER 1932 - School closed for Christmas.

19th JULY 1933 - School closed - Coronation School sports.

10TH OCTOBER 1933 - Closed 2.30 p.m. - Pembroke Fair.

20TH DECEMBER 1933 - The Christmas concert was held this afternoon and a large number of parents attended. Mrs. Finn loaned us the Christmas tree and a collection was taken for a Gramophone Fund.This raised 17/-.

22ND DECEMBER 1933 - Closed for Christmas.

2lST FEBRUARY 1934 - 151 children.

14TH MARCH 1934 - Bethany Eisteddfod - Closed early.

18TH APRIL 1934 - Wesley Bazaar - Closed early.

2ND MAY 1934 - St. Andrews May Fair.

24TH MAY 1934 - The school closes this afternoon for the Air Pageant at the RAF Base, HM Dockyard. Empire Day this a.m.

10TH OCTOBER 1934 - Dismissed 2.30 - Pembroke Fair.

28TH NOVEMBER 1934 - School closed tomorrow - Marriage of Prince George, Duke of Kent to Princess Maria of Greece .

20TH DECEMBER1934 - Concert held yesterday and gifts distributed today.

5TH MARCH 1935 - Mr.  Harding the dentist attended today for the first time.

30TH MARCH - 29TH APRIL 1935 - Closed - measles.

2ND MAY 1935 - School paraded to the Park at 3.00 p.m. - rehearsal of parade for Jubilee.

3RD MAY 1935 - School closed on 6th and 7th - Silver Jubilee ­ Children to assemble on Monday at 2 p.m. for distribution of Jubilee Medals.

30TH MAY 1935 - School closed - Rural Church Festival.

29 TH JUNE 1935 - Dismissed early - St. Andrews Rose Fair.

3RD JULY 1935 - Percentage half day holiday - Bethel and Bethany Treats.

17TH JULY 1935 - Half day holiday - Coronation School Swimming Sports.

22ND JULY 1935 - Closed 23rd July - Coronation School Sports ­ Four weeks Summer holiday.

28TH OCTOBER 1935 - Miss Jones leaves today - promoted to Headship of Llanion Girls School. Presentation yesterday afternoon - Jean Carr presenting a bouquet; Fred Butcher an engraved umbrella and Miss Allen a handbag on behalf of the children and Staff.

30TH OCTOBER 1935 - St. Johns Bazaar.

6TH NOVEMBER 1935 - School closed - Wedding of the Duke of Gloucester.

14TH NOVEMBER 1935 - General election.

18TH DECEMBER 1935 - The usual Christmas concert was held today and the Parents turned up in excellent numbers - a collection being taken for the Gramophone Fund though this did not realise as much as was hoped.

20TH DECEMBER 1935 - Closed for Christmas.

28TH JANUARY 1936 - Funeral of King George V - Dismissed 11.30 a.m.

6TH MAY 1936 - Assembled early for the Church Missionary Pageant.

18TH OCTOBER 1935 - Note received from Office that children of three may now be admitted and several have been entered today.

9TH NOVEMBER 1936 - Miss Gibby attending Mayoral Banquet.

22ND DECEMBER 1936 - Christmas concert - so many children absent that Parents not invited.

18TH DECEMBER 1936 - Proclamation of King George VI - half day holiday.

23RD DECEMBER 1936 - Children received Christmas gifts.

29TH JANUARY 1937 - ....but today has been very bad because of a fall of snow which has made the roads bad and as many of the children are affected by the unemployment of their Fathers they have not the boots or clothing to face this weather.

11TH FEBRUARY - 1ST MARCH 1937 - Closed - influenza and measles epidemic.

11TH MAY 1937 - Coronation gift mugs presented by Miss Gibby in place of Mr. W. Smith.

12TH - 19TH MAY 1937 - Holiday - Children will parade at 2.30 tomorrow to march to the Parade in the Park.

3OTH JUNE 1937 - Half holiday - Rose Fair in market. 28TH JULY 1937 - Coronation School Sports.

14TH - 18TH OCTOBER 1937 - Half term holiday.

2ND NOVEMBER 1937 - Funeral of R. D. Lowless.

23RD DECEMBER 1937 - Christmas vacation.

9TH FEBRUARY 1938 - A number of children had to leave school for isolation against typhoid - due to the orders of the Military Medical Officer.

25TH FEBRUARY 1938 - Low attendance - sickness and inoculation illness.

l8TH MAY 1938 - Dismissed early - St. Andrews May Day Fair in Market Hall.

26TH MAY 1938 - Half Day - Deanery Festival at St. Johns.

9TH JUNE 2938 - School closed on 10th - schools excursion to Bristol.

11TH NOVEMBER 1938 - Armistice Day celebrated.

16TH DECEMBER 1938 - Dismissed early for Christmas Party Celebrations in Girls department.

22ND DECEMBER 1938 - School closes for Christmas.

23RD JUNE 1939 - Closed Friday for the United Schools Educational Outing.

18TH JUNE 1939 - Coronation School sports.

3RD AUGUST 1939 - School closed mid-day - not opened until 2nd October - National emergency - all children under five excluded -some unofficial evacuees admitted.

6TH DECEMBER 1939 - Dr. Jones and Nurse Merriman examining children - list of twelve children for Cod liver oil and malt.

21ST DECEMBER 1939 - Closed for Christmas.

8TH JANUARY 1940 - Under fives not admitted - several returned.

19TH JANUARY 1940 - Very wintry weather - bad conditions of roads through snow and ice.

10TH MAY 1940 - One week Whitsun holiday.

14TH MAY 1940 - Distributed milk under the milk scheme.

16TH MAY 1940 - Deanery Festival - half day.

8TH JULY 1940 - First air raid warning.

10TH JULY 1940 - The first actual raid occurred this morning.

The children remained in school and took cover beneath their desks. Community singing kept them happy and there was no panic. Both Staff and children behaved splendidly. Teachers have resolved to work extra time to make windows more protective by covering with net.

15TH JULY 1940 - Air raid in afternoon.

17TH JULY 1940 - Warning given in dinner hour.

18TH JULY 1940 - School closed due to Air Raids.

4TH NOVEMBER 1940 - School opened - under fives excluded. Sixty four children present out of one hundred and ten.

6TH NOVEMBER 1940 - A severe air raid occurred early this morning ­ only six pupils arrived - fifteen in the afternoon.

11TH NOVEMBER 1940 - Miss S.O. Davies is absent suffering from shock following the destruction of her home on the night of November 9th.

25TH NOVEMBER 1940 - School assembled 10 a.m. - air raid alert last night.

28TH NOVEMBER 1940 - School assembled 10 a.m. - air raid alert last night

5TH DECEMBER 1940 - Children proceeded to shelters 11.45 a.m. - air raid alert.

20TH DECEMBER 1940 - Closes today for Christmas after Christmas celebrations.

20TH JANUARY 1941 - Hail, sleet and snow.

23RD JANUARY 1941 - Assembled 10.00 a.m. - air raid alert during night.

13TH FEBRUARY 1941 - Assembled 10.00 a.m. - air raid alert during night.

1?TH FEBRUARY 1941 - Assembled 10.00 a.m. - air raid alert during night.

4TH MARCH 1941 - Assembled 10.00 a.m. - air raid alert during night.

11TH MARCH 1941 - Assembled 10.00 a.m. - air raid alert during night. Alert 10.24 a.m. - all clear 10.34 a.m.

12TH MARCH 1941 - Alert 10.10 - 10.30 a.m.

13TH MARCH 1941 - Alert 3.29 - 3.55 p.m. - Children in shelter.

14TH MARCH 1941 - Assembled 10.00 a.m. - air raid alert during night.

17TH MARCH 1941 - Assembled I0.00 a.m. - air raid alert during night.

26TH MARCH 1941 - Alert 3.50 - 4.15 p.m.

27TH MARCH 1941 - Alert just before playtime - in shelters until 11.40 a.m.

28TH MARCH 1941 - Assembled at 10.00 a.m. - Alert at 2.00 p.m. ­ parents called for children - all collected by 5.15 p.m. - all clear 6.15 p.m.

1ST APRIL 1941 - Alert 10.03 - 10.48.

4TH APRIL 1941 - Assembled at 10.00 a.m. - Easter holiday.

21ST APRIL 1941 - Assembled at 10.00 a.m. - Alert 10.50 - 11.05.

22ND APRIL 1941 - Assembled at 10.00 a.m. - Alert

23RD APRIL 1941 - Assembled at 10.00 a.m. - Alert

28TH APRIL 1941 - Alert 2.58 - 3.50 p.m.

29TH APRIL 1941 - Assembled at 10.00 a.m. - Alert 2.45 - 2.28.

30TH APRIL 1941 - Alert 2.20 - 2.40 p.m.

1ST MAY I941 - Alert 9.55 - 10.25 a.m.

2ND MAY 1941 - Assembled at 10.00 a.m. - Alert last night.

5TH MAY 1941 - School hours altered (Double summer time). Morning 10.00 - 12.34 Afternoon 2.30 - 4.30.

9TH JUNE 1941 - On account of a very heavy air raid on May 11th, the LEA decided in view of the conditions locally to close the schools. They have remained closed until today. (29children in attendance) The time of assembly has reverted to 9.30 a.m.

11TH JUNE 1941 - There was another heavy raid last night and as only two pupils attended this morning we were instructed to close the school.

12TH JUNE 1941 - Seven pupils - meeting at 3.30 at Coronation School to discuss evacuation.

18TH JUNE 1941 - Registration for evacuation took place on Friday and Saturday l2th and l3th. Examination of clothing on Sunday p.m. Medical inspections on Monday and the evacuation took place yesterday (Tuesday). From this Department 24 children have officially evacuated. School has re-opened today and 15 pupils are in attendance. Miss S. O. Davies has proceeded with one section of the evacuees to Amroth. Thirty children remain on the school roll (27 have self-evacuated).

1ST AUGUST 1941 - School closed for two weeks - holidays in two parts this year.

3RD SEPTEMBER 1941 - 44 children.

12TH SEPTEMBER 1941 - Closed for two weeks holiday.

20TH SEPTEMBER 1941 - 73 children.

19TH DECEMBER 1941 - Christmas holidays.

11TH FEBRUARY 1942 - The Wardens examined childrens gas masks. Alert 2.35 - 2.50 p.m.

6TH JULY 1942 - Alert in early hours of morning.

7th JULY 1942 - Alert in early hours of morning.

8TH JULY 1942 - Alert in early hours of morning.

12TH OCTOBER 1942 - School meals began today - 10 children proceeded to the Coronation School for dinners.

19TH OCTOBER 1942 - 11 dinners.

2ND NOVEMBER 1942 - 26 dinners.

24TH NOVEMBER 1942 - Alert 2.35 - 2.55.

27TH NOVEMBER - 90 children.

23FD DECEMBER 1942 - Christmas holiday.

17TH MAY 1943 - The Savings Association for this Department have set a target of £350 for a propeller in the Wings for Victory Campaign this week.

24TH MAY 1943 - The final total was £1,610

25TH JUNE 1943 - 108 children.

23RD DECEMBER 1943 - Christmas holidays - The children received gifts of sweets from the American soldiers stationed in the area.

1 ST DECEMBER 1944 - 151 chi1dren .

22ND DECEMBER 1944 - Christmas holiday.

23RD JANUARY 1945 - Heavy snow.

24TH JANUARY 1945 - Heavy snow.

26TH JANUARY 1945 - Heavy blizzard of snow.

29TH JANUARY 1945 - Heavy drifts of snow made school yard impassable and there is no access to the lavatories so school has been closed.

9TH APRIL 1945 - Pembrokeshire County Council took over - Education Act 1944.

10TH MAY 1945 - V.E. Day on 8th May. School closed for V.E. and V.E.+ days. Children attended at Llanion Barracks for tea yesterday.

14TH MAY 1945 - Children given a Victory Party by the teachers following school hours.

24TH MAY 1945 - Empire Day - Children assembled in the playground to watch the Royal Canadian Air Force parade and salute on the square.

21ST DECEMBER 1945 - 100 children have been invited to a party at Llanion Barracks on Thursday 27th December given by the 8th Battalion Manchester Regiment.

4TH JUNE 1946 - Headmistress attended Royal Garden Party as school savings representative. Had the honour of meeting Queen Elizabeth.

3RD JULY 1946 - Coronation School Sports.

20TH SEPTEMBER 1946 - Terrible storm - Miss S.O. Davies was blown down on the way to lunch - strained wrist and bruises.

27TH NOVEMBER 1946 - Miss M.H. Brooks absent this afternoon after getting wet through in the storm that burst as the children were taken to the Coronation School to dinner.

5TH FEBRUARY 1947 - Snow falling steadily.

7TH FEBRUARY 1947 - A bitterly cold day with a further fall of snow has ended a week of very wintry weather. The average temperature in the school was 42 degrees though first thing in the morning the thermometer registered 38 degrees. The percentage attendance for the week was 38. 60.

5TH MARCH 1947 - A heavy blizzard of snow which began to fall yesterday has severely impeded roads. Only three children have arrived but there are no fires lit and in the absence of fires the Assistant Director has permitted the closure for today.

6TH MARCH 1947 - The fires are still unlit and the closure of school is again permitted. Mrs. E. Lewis the recent Caretaker has been dismissed for failure to carry out her duties and has decided not to work her notice.

18TH JUNE 1947 - United Choral Festival at Wesley.

2ND JULY 1947 - P.T. demonstration at the Drill Hall Pembroke.

14TH JULY 1947 - Jacqueline John fell down in the playground and is detained at the Nurses Home for Xray for suspected concussion,

31ST JULY 1947 - Measles epidermic - 69 cases.

1ST AUGUST - 9TH SEPTEMBER 1947 - Holidays.

19TH NOVEMBER 1947 - Closed - Marriage of Princess Elizabeth to Philip Mountbatten.

19TH DECEMBER 1947 - School closed today for Christmas. Vacation after celebrating a week-end concert.

3RD MARCH 1948 - Bethany Eisteddford - Half day holiday.

3OTH APRIL 1948 - Miss  Brock retired - Member of staff since 30th August 1918 - To show their appreciation of her services Miss Brock received a presentation from the staff and scholars, the gifts consisting of a silver cake basket, a case of fruit spoons and forks with server and a beautiful bouquet of tulips and narcissi.

Iona Jones, Elwyn Coleman, Jacqueline Hay and Gordon Payne made the presentation scholars and Miss M.G. Allen on behalf of the staff, she having served during the whole of Miss Brocks service.

5TH MAY 1948 - Short session because of the visit of the Dagenham Girl Pipers to the Garrison Theatre.

18TH JUNE 1948 - Combined School Sports at Bush Camp.

14TH JLLY 1948 - Half day - St. Patricks Fete.

28TH JULY 1948 - Half day - St. Patricks Sunday School Outing.

30TH JULY – 10TH SEPTEMBER 1948 - Holiday.

1ST DECEMBER 1948 - Area Music Festival at Garrison Theatre .

16TH DECEMBER 1948 - Concert and party.

17TH DECEMBER 1948 - School closed for Christmas.

15TH - 22ND FEBRUARY 1949 - Half term.

16TH JUNE 1949 - District School Sports at Bush Camp - Short sessions. - 9.15 - 11.15 and 12.15 - 2.15.

18TH JUNE 1949 - Music Festival - Short sessions.

15TH JULY 1949 - Short sessions - County Sports at Bush Camp.

27TH JULY - 13TH SEPTEMBER 1949 - Holidays.

13TH SEPTEMBER 1949 - Coronation status altered to Modern Secondary School - Boys and girls transferred to "Upper Department " which has become a Mixed Junior School .

30TH NOVEMBER 1949 - Short sessions - Bethany Eisteddfod.

20TH DECEMBER 1949 - Christmas party.

17TH MARCH 1950 - Received one ton of coke.

31ST MAY 1950 - Short sessions - Crowning of May Fair Queen.

21ST JUNE 1950 - Short sessions - District School Sports ­ Postponed because of heavy rain.

22ND JUNE 1950 - School Sports as above.

28TH JUNE 1950 - Short sessions - District United Festival.

28TH JULY - STH SEPTEMBER 1950 - Holidays.

l6TH NOVEMBER 1950 - One ton of coke delivered.

5TH DECEMBER 1950 - One ton of coke delivered.

18TH DECEMBER 1950 - Fall of snow during the night.

19TH DECEMBER 1950 - Christmas concert.

20TH DECEMBER 1950 - Christmas party.

21ST DECEMBER 1950 - Closed for Christmas.

15TH - 29TH JANUARY 1951 - Closed because of epidemic.

19TH FEBRUARY 1951 - One ton of coke.

22ND FEBRUARY 1951 - One ton of coke.

9TH MARCH 1951 - Showers of sleet and snow on Wednesday and today.

19TH APRIL 1951 - Staff - Miss E. A. Gibby; Miss C. E. Treivena; Miss E. S. Thomas; Miss M. G. Allen; Miss E. G. Davies.

6TH JUNE 1951 - Short session s - Area School Sports - Bush Camp.

13TH SEPTEMBER 1951 - Stormy weather - ....and during the afternoon a strong gust of wind removed several slates and damaged the partition which divides the main room.

SEPTEMBER 1951 - Report - .....all the classrooms except one which has an open fire are heated by closed stoves.

18TH DECEMBER 1951 - Christmas party.

19TH DECEMBER 1951 - Christmas concert.

6TH FEBRUARY 1952 – Two minutes silence - Death of King George VI.

8TH FEBRUARY 1952 - The School assembled to hear the Proclamation by the Mayor, J. R. Williams, of the Accession of Queen Elizabeth - Proclaimed from the steps of Albion Square Church .

11TH MARCH 1952 - One ton of coke.

20TH MARCH 1952 - One ton of coke.

?TH APRIL 1952 - Nurse Williams the District Welfare Nurse attended the school this afternoon. She has taken the place of Nurse Merriman who has resigned.

28TH  MAY 1952 - Half day - Schools Area Singing Festival.

29TH MAY 1952 - Half day - Junior and Infants School Sports.

11TH JUNE 1952 - Short sessions - School Area Sports at Bush Camp.

28TH JUNE 1952 - Short sessions - United Singing Festival at Wesley.

9TH JULY 1952 - Half holiday - St. Patrick’s Church Fete.

17TH JULY - 2ND SEPTEMBER 1952 - Holiday.

18TH DECEMBER 1952 - Christmas concert and party. - In spite of the snowstorm the attendance was reasonably good -.

3RD MARCH 1953 - Ferry boat not sailing - Fog.

4TH & 5TH MARCH 1953 - Ferry boat delayed by fog.

?MAY 1953 - The Mayor (Darrel Rees), Mayoress, Town Clerk and several Councillors presented a Coronation Mug to each of the Children.

? JUNE 1953 - Alderman E. B. Davies presented souvenir propelling pencils. Half day - Junior and Department Sports.

18TH JUNE 1953 - Entry in the log book - I left this School in 1904 for the Coronation School - signed by J.B. Munro.

23RD JUNE 1953 - The School attended the Cinema to see the Coronation Film.

24TH JUNE 1953 - Short sessions - United Choral Festival.

19TH JULY 1953 - Short sessions - Royal visit to Wales.

16TH JULY - 1ST SEPTEMBER 1953 - Holiday.

18TH DECEMBER 1953 - School party on wednesday p.m. - preceded by Concert.

5TH FEBRUARY 1954 - Severe wintry conditions.

8TH FEBRUARY 1954 - Pipes burst during the week end.

1ST MARCH 1954 - St. Davids Day celebrations - Snow falling steadily all morning.

16TH JUNE 1954 - Short sessions - Junior School Sports.

22ND JUNE 1954 - Short sessions - Area School Sports.

23RD JUNE 1954 - short sessions - United Choral Festival.

16TH JULY - 1ST SEPTEMBER 1954 - Holidays.

1ST SEPTEMBER 1954 - Staff - E.A. Gibby; C.E. Trevena; P.E.B. Lodge; J.E.H. Chick; M.G. Allen.

16TH NOVEMBER 1954 - Short session so that children can parade for the arrival of the First Welsh Regiment.

30TH NOVEBER 1954 - Severe storm during the night damaged roof ­ part of the play-ground barricaded off - Slates from Co-op. ­ Window panes also broken. Ferry not running and busses hampered by fallen trees.

3RD DECEMBER 1954 - Miss Lodge absent due to a fire at her home.

14TH DECEMBER 1954 - Christmas concert in which every child took part.

4TH JANUARY 1955 - Snowstorm and bitterly cold weather.

25TH FEBRUARY 1955 - Heavy snowstorm.

19TH DECEMBER 1955 - Christmas concert - By courtesy of A. J. Morgan it was held in the main room of the Junior Department.

20TH FEBRUARY 1956 - Snowstorm.

30TH MAY 1956 - Early sessions - Choral Festival.

6TH JUNE 1956 - Early sessions - School sports.

13TH JUNE 1956 - District 5chool Sports.

10TH JULY 1956 - Presentation - Assembled in Albion Square Hall schoolroom for presentation to M G Allen who retired after forty years service. A log effect fire and a toaster were presented.

17TH DECEMBER 1956 - Christmas concert.

18TH DECEMBER 1956 - Christmas party.

5TH APRIL 1957 - Miss Trevena appointed Headmistress - to take charge after Summer holiday.

29TH JUNE 1957 - District sports.

26TH JUNE 1957 - Choral singing festival.

4TH DECEMBER 1957 - Electric light on for first time. A Smiths electric clock has been installed.

4TH SEPTEMBER 1962 - New lobby - Four wash-hand basins - Extension to Cloakroom to take seventy pegs. Play ground has been re-surfaced.

10TH JANUARY 1963 - Christmas holidays extended by two days because of severe weather.

1ST OCTOBER 1963 - Mr Evans 19 Arthur Street is the new caretaker.

27TH JANUARY 1964 - No coal delivered - school closed early.

APRIL 1964 - School broken into - much damage done to locks etc. - money and Biros missing.

27TH AND 28TH MAY 1965 - Mrs Downes absent a half day each day attending successful interview for headship in Pembroke. (Golden Manor). Left l6th July 1965.

22ND NOVEMBER 1965 - Bad roads - snowy weather.

14TH JULY 1956 - Retirement of Miss Trevena. Assembly of Parents and friends. The Mayor. J.R. Williams and school managers present ­ Presents - Nest of tables from parents, a tea trolley from the children and a "wonderful wall electric clock" from the Staff of the Junior and Infants schools. Mr. A.F. Morgan will be the Headmaster of both Departments from the 1st September 1956.

Staff - Miss E.M. Nash, Mrs N. I. Jones, Mrs M.S. Oliver, Miss G.M. Richards and Mrs L.M. Rees.


Llanion School.

The school was built on the London Rd. in 1892 for girls and infants. In 1904 Mason records that children from as far away as Cosheston and Slade used to attend this school and that it had a very good reputation. The school was built to accommodate 140 pupils in the girls school and had an average attendance of 127, while the infants which was built to accommodate 80 actually had an average attendance of 82. The infants school was enlarged at about that time. The Headmistress in 1904 was Miss M C beer and the assistant mistress was Miss M Howell.

Coronation Council School.

This school was opened on the site of the old British School May 4th 1904. At the time Mason described it as “a magnificent building of commanding proportions composed of trimmed limestone and ornamented with bath stone mullions”.

It occupies the site of the old British schools, Meyricks Street south.  The rooms are capacious and calculated to promote all the conditions of health, necessary in keeping the brain active for teaching and learning. The playground is rather small for a large number of boys but the street outside happens to be a very wide one providing room to relieve the crowding inside. The school bears on its front the date 1902, but it was not opened for teaching until the 9th May 1904. The upper portion of the school allotted to the senior boys will accommodate 400. The average attendance in 1904 was 322. Mr A J Adams was the headmaster and Messrs J. R. Norris, J. S. James, W. W. Winbury, E. Griffiths, W. Smith, and G. F. Davies were the assistant masters.

The junior boys take the lower part of the building capable of accommodating 400. The average attendance was 290 in 1904. Mr W Williams was the Headmaster and Messrs G P Davies, G L Edwards E L P George and J Fisher were the assistant masters. If the Central Hall is brought into use then a total of 1200 boys could be accommodated”.

The 1970s witnessed a reorganisation of secondary education in the area. Pembroke Grammar School and the Coronation Secondary School, Pembroke Dock, merged to become a comprehensive school on the Bush site, where there is also now a sports centre. Most of the Coronation School building in Argyle Street was demolished and the pupils and staff of Albion Square and Llanion Junior Schools were moved there to a new purpose-built school.

County Intermediate School.

This was founded under the Welsh Intermediate Education Act of 1889. Despite massive fundraising by way of bazaars, concerts etc. insufficient funds were available to build a new school at first and it was agreed to utilise the old assembly rooms of the Victoria Hotel near the National School at the top of Pembroke S.. These rooms were fitted out and refurbished but were not ideal. There was no proper playground although the stable yard below the building and the Barrack Hill provided a substitute.  The school was opened in January 1895 and the Headmaster was Mr. T. R. Dawes M.A. (Lond), the senior mistress was Miss I. A. Perman M.A. (Lond).

A new school was built at the east end of Bush St and opened on the 27th June 1899. The cost was £3000.  It consisted of an assembly hall, chemical and physics laboratories, science lecture room, six classrooms, kitchen and manual workshop. The grounds extended to approximately two acres with facilities for hockey, football, cricket and tennis. It was built to accommodate 250 pupils and in 1904 the average attendance was 170. The premises were also used in the evenings for the Evening Technical and Science Schools which had been based at the Mechanics Institute in Meyrick St. 


Originally Brunel planned to lay his main railway line to the small village of Fishguard, on the north coast of the county, while to serve the southern parts a branch was planned from near Whitland to the town of Pembroke. Tenby was then little more than a village, but this too was to be served by a branch line connecting with the Pembroke line.

The Irish potato famine of 1846, coupled with a general trade depression, caused the company to reconsider its proposals, and after several changes of plan it was decided to proceed with the main line, but to take it through the county town of Haverfordwest to Neyland, where a harbour was to be built on the shores of Milford Haven. There was, at that time, no provision made for a line to the south part of the Haven

The line reached Haverfordwest in January 1854, and the extension to Neyland was opened on l5th April 1856, harbour works being established there as planned. The new terminus at Neyland was named New Milford by the SWR, and remained the Irish port of the GWR until the building of Fishguard Harbour in 1906,

In 1853 the SWR obtained an Act to build a line to the south of the county serving the holiday resort of Tenby and the dockyard town of Pembroke Dock terminating at Pennar Gut but no work was carried out.

In 1859 a Company was formed the South Wales, Pembroke and Tenby Junction Railway and an Act of Parliament to build was obtained on 21st July 1859.

The title was later shortened to Pembroke & Tenby Railway. The intention was to link, Pembroke Dock, Pembroke and Tenby with Brunel’s line near Narberth and Mr. J. S. Surke was appointed Engineer. The intention was to build a standard gauge line rather than broad gauge.

It was two years before the company was able to raise sufficient capital to start the work.

David Davies a reputable contractor, who had worked on what was later called the Cambrian Railway formed a partnership with Ezra Roberts, to construct the line for £106,000.The agreement was signed on 4th July 1862, with a completion date of 2lst July 1864.  Construction started in September 1862

The stretch between Pembroke and Tenby was completed by 30th July 1863 with the first train to Pembroke departed at 7.30 a.m, the final train of the day left Pembroke at 9.10 p.m.

There was a coach connection from Pembroke station to Hobbs Point where passengers could board the ferry for Neyland and the SWR terminal.

Work was in progress on extending the line to Pembroke Dock and on by the end of December 1863 a breakthrough had been achieved in the tunnel between Pembroke and Pembroke Dock however; it took some time before work on the tunnel was completed.

The first station at Pembroke Dock was near the route to Hobbs Point and remains can be found between the Co-operative filling station and Lidls store. The first train reached Pembroke Dock on 9th August 1864.

From the first the line proved profitable. In 1865 the present Pembroke Dock station was opened and became the largest station on the line with two platforms, a turntable and loco shed.

An Act of Parliament was obtained in June 1864 to extend the line from Tenby to Whitland and work started in August 1864. The contract for £200,000 was again awarded to Davies & Roberts. Work included a siding to Moreton Colliery enabling coal to be transported to Pembroke and Pembroke The official opening took place on 4th September 1866. Because of the differences in gauges of the two railway systems it was not possible to physically link the two systems.

By lst June 1868 the GWR had converted one line from Whitland to Carmarthen for broad gauge to the standard gauge and goods trains started to use this new section. Passenger traffic was allowed from August 1869.

Pembroke &Tenby trains could now use the GWR station at Whitland where arrival and departure bay platforms were provided for their use.

Not long after the opening of the line to Whitland their Lordships approached the P&T with regard to  extending the line into the Dockyard, agreement was reached and an Act of Parliament  of 1870 authorised the construction of the line, to run from the Railway station, through the  town into the Dockyard were sidings were to be constructed. This involved the demolition of some of the properties in the town. The new extension was worked and maintained by the Pembroke and Tenby Railway Company and carried coal, iron, steel and timber for the Dockyard.

In 1891 the Admiralty decided to purchase the line and work it themselves paying the Railway company £23000.

In 1926 the Royal Dockyard Pembroke Dock closed and the rail traffic through the town for a time ceased only to start again on a smaller scale with the re-opening up of the area as a RAF seaplane base.

After the closing of the Seaplane base in 1955 the extension fell into disuse and in 1969 the connection with Pembroke dock railway station was taken up and in subsequent years much of the old track removed.

Originally the Pembroke and Tenby Railway Company intended to build a wharf at Hobbs Point and in 1868 authority was given for this line, and a wharf as well as permission to dredge. The Railway line which opened in 1872 ran from the original terminus to a stone-built wharf jutting out into the Haven, Sidings were laid out and a wagon turntable built. There were three steam cranes and the majority of the freight using the line was coal shipments which were transferred to lighters. Later freight for the army garrison at Llanion was carried but with the closing to the Barracks this trade ceased and the track also removed in 1969.


Negotiations began in 1894 to sell the line to the GWR and a lease was signed with  effect  from lst July 1896, and Pembroke & Tenby Railway ceased to exist from lst July 1897. In 1902 Pembroke Dock Railway station had a new turntable installed as well as new sidings and signal box. Before the First World War there were six passenger trains a day in each direction between Pembroke Dock and Whitland as well as goods trains. In 1905 a halt was opened at Llanion. There were further extensions in 1942 to cope with the military traffic.

In 1953 the Pembroke Coast Express was introduced, a daily service between Pembroke Dock and Paddington.

In the winter of 1963 a new service of diesel multiple units was introduced running between Whitland and Pembroke Dock with no through trains from Paddington. Brin Hall was the engine driver of the last steam passenger train out of Pembroke Dock on Sunday 8th September departing at 5.55pm. With the departure of the steam trains came the closure of Pembroke Dock loco shed and one of the platforms.

By September 1942, Pembroke Dock could boast a new Flight of the Air Training Corps, formed at the County School under the direction of the Headmaster, Mr. H.M. Dowling. Today, that fine A.T.C. tradition is continued in the town by No. 1574 Squadron.

1947 Many of the old houses were in need of improvements, over 2000 had suffered bomb damage, many had no indoor facilities, mine, first had a flush outdoor loo. connected to mains sewerage in 1947 and an outside tap as the main water supply. About that time there was a large estate built by the Council, called Bush Camp and prefabs at Bufferland, to ease the shortage of housing. The Prefabs have now been removed and replaced by traditional built houses.  The Barracks at Llanion vacated by the army are now flats.

Hospitals and Sickness.


Sick and injured workers at the Dockyard were hospitalised aboard the Saturn, a ship moored in the Haven. What conditions were like on this hulk is anybody guess. Even in the nineteenth century, many amputations took place without a general anaesthetic, nursing care was perfunctory, and the state of medical science (while improved) was primitive by today standards.

The appointment of a medical officer to the Dockyard was not an unmixed blessing for the men. His duties included checking absences from work claimed through ill-health. During potato time, some employees would absent themselves from work at the Dockyard and work on their own plot of land. It is easy to imagine the confusion caused by the arrival of the medical officer in circumstances where absence was due to a need to dig the garden!

Pembroke Dock grew rapidly and delivered prosperity to the south side of the Haven. Conditions for the residents of the new town, however, were far from ideal. In common with many towns that underwent rapid expansion, Pembroke Docks infrastructure was not up to supporting the speed of initial development.

Water supplies in the town were eventually drawn from storage reservoirs, but some areas still depended on communal wells for their water supply. Conditions in Bush Street were so foul that the area became known as Pigs Parade.

The Dockyard Surgeons office was within the dockyard walls. During the Crimean War, an army camp was built at Llanion. This also had a hospital and an attendant medical officer. It is fair to say, however, that the next big step forward was the opening of the Pembroke, Pembroke Dock and District Infirmary in 1862 at East Back Pembroke. It was supported by voluntary contributions and public subscription. Later known as Pembroke Cottage Hospital until its closure in 1961, the hospital provided services for the people of Pembroke and Pembroke Dock. It had beds for approximately 20 patients. Other facilities existed at the workhouse in Pembroke which provided the only welfare available for the desperate and needy.

Used from 1866 until 1895, the Nankin replaced the old Saturn as hospital ship. This facility was only available for the treatment of Dockyard employees, and chiefly dealt with industrial injuries. Such injuries proliferated as industrial practices evolved from the use of wood and nails to build ships to the use of metal and rivets.

While falling from the ships on which they worked remained a common cause of injury and death for the workers, there were now the additional risks associated with the use of machinery. After the Nankin was sold and broken up in 1895, those taken ill or injured while working at the Dockyard were cared for in a small hospital within the Yard.

In this period, the unsanitary conditions of life contributed greatly to the spread of disease. Terraced housing built communities, and improved transport links ensured prosperity - but they also made it easier for sickness to spread rapidly. To control the dissemination of dangerous diseases, much depended on the vigilance of the public health officers and the vaccination doctor.

Following the spread of vaccination programmes, smallpox is now extinct in Britain . Before Edward Jenners pioneering work, however, smallpox was a disease that could kill, permanently scar or blind its victims. The disease broke out in Pembroke Dock on three separate occasions. The first outbreak centred on Queen Street in the 1850s, and was thought to come from the sale of secondhand clothes brought from Swansea .

The Pennar district of the town seems to have been particularly affected by poor social conditions and inadequate sanitation. There were severe outbreaks of cholera in the mid-1860s.

Writing in 1905, Mrs. J. Peters colourfully notes that:

-So malignant was the complaint that mourners not infrequently returned from the funeral of one relative to find another of the family had been stricken by the dread disease.-

Scarlet fever shortly followed and, in 1892, smallpox broke out.

A parish magazine dating from January 1880 reports, in relation to an outbreak of typhoid:

-We are most thankful to be able to state that this district is now convalescent. By Gods mercy we have been saved from any fatal ending to a most pernicious fever-

Pennar was struck heavily by the influenza epidemic of 1919 that followed the end of the First World War. A record of baptisms carried out shows that, most unusually, two were carried out by a nurse rather than a minister.

The private dockyard situated at Jacobs Pill went bankrupt in 1885 and part of the buildings was later used as an isolation hospital. This facility was particularly busy during the mid-1920s, when diphtheria struck Pennar. The isolation hospital closed before 1940, and the site is now derelict,

The Meyrick Hospital and Nurses Home was a familiar landmark in Pembroke Dock. Originally built to commemorate Queen Victoria Diamond Jubilee, its design was obsolete before its completion.

Furthermore, with sixteen beds, the hospital was scarcely adequate to meet all the town health needs, In fairness, however, its builders never perceived it as likely to fill that role and such accommodations as existed provided a much needed inpatient facility in Pembroke Dock. After its closure as a hospital in 1961, the building was used as a clinic for some years until these functions were taken over by more modern facilities. Eventually, however, the hospital building itself suffered the fate of much of Pembroke Docks Victorian heritage. Unused, and becoming increasingly dilapidated, the property was sold, the building demolished and the site redeveloped. Today the place where it stood is occupied by sheltered accommodation for the elderly.

Four years after the foundation stone was laid at Park Street, the Admiralty began work at Fort Road in constructing the building that was eventually to become the South Pembrokeshire Hospital. The hospital is now a much-loved part of the town. But at the time of its construction, members of the Pembroke Town Council objected to the public losing the right of access to a popular walk to the sea.

The site of the hospital has an interesting story. When the original Dockyard Walls were built, the workmen discovered skeletal remains during their excavations. These remains almost certainly belonged to the household servants of the family which owned the property on which the docks were built.

The workers grisly finds were interred opposite the walls on the area subsequently covered by the old gasworks, adjacent to the hospital site: their resting place marked by an inscribed plinth. These remains were probably moved by the Admiralty when they levelled the site to make the ground for the hospital. Whatever happened, it is certain that no trace of the bodies or the memorial plinth remained by the time Mason wrote his guidebook to Pembroke Dock in 1905.

In the same guidebook, Mason recounts the fascinating story of how workers digging the foundations uncovered a paved road and claims to have spoken to eyewitnesses to this remarkable discovery, In an act of astounding archaeological vandalism, he relates that the workmen broke up the roads remains.

The hospital, completed in 1902, covered an area of approximately six acres. Writing a few years later, Mrs. Peters reports that the estimated cost of construction was £17,500. Modern and using state of the art nursing methods, the hospital was then the most advanced health care facility in Pembrokeshire.

It is important to remember that the hospital replaced hospital provision for Admiralty employees. The new facilities were not available for the population of Pembroke and Pembroke Dock. Despite the Dockyards closure in 1926, the Fort Road hospital remained under Admiralty control. In 1930, part of the hospital was used as an isolation unit for scarlet fever and diphtheria patients.

During the war, when Pembroke Dock became a target for German bombing raids, patients treated at the hospital (and at the Sir Thomas Meyrick Hospital ) were transferred to Pembroke Cottage Hospital and Riverside. The Fort Road hospital was then used as a Royal Navy hospital, while the RAF used treatment facilities within the Dockyard walls.

From 1948 until the site redevelopment in 1959/60, facilities at the hospital enter a period of comparative neglect. The building that had been sufficient to care for those injured at the Dockyard was unable to cope with the demands placed upon it. In 1953, after the transfer of maternity care to Riverside, the hospital housed female chronically sick patients in its 16 beds. A succession of forlorn entries in the annual reports of the West Wales Hospital Management Committee throw the condition of the hospital into stark relief.

Things changed for the better at South Pembrokeshire Hospital when the West Wales Hospital Management Committee took note of the condition of public health care in the south of the county. The Thomas Meyrick Hospital, Pembroke Cottage Hospital, South Pembrokeshire Hospital and Riverside Joint User Institution, while admirable in their own way, were scarcely sufficient to deal with the needs of the population of Pembroke and Pembroke Dock in the second half of the twentieth century. Apart from the South Pembrokeshire Hospital, all these buildings were of nineteenth century origin and South Pembs itself was built at the century turn.

At that time, the prevailing trend in hospital provision was to centralise health care in larger institutions, In terms of development potential, only Riverside and the South Pembrokeshire Hospital could be expanded. For some time, the Hospitals Management Committee deliberated upon the merits of both sites, but finally plumped for South Pembrokeshire Hospital on grounds of cost and available space. When redevelopment came to the South Pembs site, it was rapid and considerable. Whereas, in 1958, the hospital had sixteen beds that were hard pushed to cope with the demands upon them, the redeveloped hospital had eighty-three. The "new" hospital, which was opened September 1961 by the Minister of Health J. Enoch Powell, received outpatients, maternity cases and some acute patients and was equipped with a new operating theatre.

In the 1970s, both the building of Withybush General Hospital and the concentration of non-acute outpatient care in community-based clinics posed a threat to the South Pembrokeshire Hospitals future, Despite its extensive refit at the start of the previous decade, the running costs of South Pembs were higher than those of the new unit. The fight to retain maternity facilities failed. But in January 1977 the vigorous campaign by the Friends of South Pembrokeshire Hospital wrung out a promise to retain hospital facilities at Fort Road.

It remains standing now: a familiar redbrick building on the approach to the sea. The site has had many additions made to it in recent years. The Pater Close Units and the Psychiatric Unit at Haven Way perform important functions for the local community, the interior has been redecorated and a new boiler house built. No operations are performed there, and acute care now takes place at Withybush Hospital, but it remains a focus for the community, held in great affection and staunchly defended by its many friends.

Sickness  see also PENNAR.

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Pembroke Dock WW2         Jottings compiled 1998 and 2009

See also Pembroke Dock  Albion Square school diary 1939-45

Quote from Churchills Speech on the Eire Bill May 5 1938:

-   If we are denied Berehaven and Queenstown, and have to work from Pembroke Dock, we would strike 400miles from their effective radius out and home. These ports are, in fact, the sentinel towers of the western approaches, by which the 45,000,000 people in this Island so enormously depend on foreign food for their daily bread, and by which they can carry on their trade, which is equally important to their existence.-

The Navy still retained a small presence at the Yard and combined with Fliers from all over the world and Army Barracks at Llanion and Pennar, Pembroke Dock had a very busy and cosmopolitan war.

Wartime was also unkind to the town. The Luftwaffe found Pembroke Dock to be both a prime and easy target, and during August 1940 the oil tanks at Llanreath were bombed, starting one of the most serious oil fires ever witnessed in Britain. Many civilian casualties were suffered, and the housing stock was severely affected with over 200 houses destroyed.

The town was the main Atlantic Sunderland flying boat base; plus part of the dockyard was used for ship repairs. Atlantic convoys were assembled, much minelaying, minesweeping, and escort work was coordinated from Dockyard HQ. It is estimated that some 17,000-cargo vessels sailed from the Haven. It was also an important storage fuel storage depot and had sizeable garrison which attracted enemy bombing attacks causing great destruction and loss of life in the town particularly between July1940 and June 1941.

About 2 o’clock on Friday July 5th, 1940, the air raid siren sounded in Pembroke Dock. It was the first air raid warning to be sounded in earnest, the vast majority of people seemed convinced that Pembrokeshire would never hear a bomb explode. The West Wales Guardian stated: On a certain afternoon recently an air raid warning was sounded in a certain town. At the time there was no reason to think the siren was anything other than a genuine warning of the approach of enemy aircraft.

From early July, 1940, until June, 1941, Pembrokeshire was subjected to many air raids. Throughout the period Pembroke Dock was the centre of the attack. The damage inflicted in Pembroke Dock was as great as that in any blitzed town in the country, every house in the place was damaged to some extent, while the death roll for one raid was as high in proportion as that of most of the big towns. On Wednesday, July 10th, 1940, at precisely 10.12 a.m. without any warning, the whole town was rocked by a terrific explosion.  Then, at 10.20, all speculation was ended-by the sounding of the siren in the R.A.F. Station. It was an air raid all right. A few minutes later the raider came in again across the town. There it was for all to see, a big, black Junkers 88, flying from east to west, high.  During the next few minutes there were further explosions Some ten minutes later the Junkers flew away down south to return to its base, where, according to a later German news bulletin, the pilot reported “a heavy raid on Pembroke where large fires were started”. 

The first bomb which so shook the town, fell in the harbour between Neyland and Pembroke Dock. The ferry-boat with a full complement of passengers had just passed within a few yards of where the bomb hit the water! People at Hobbs Point and the Neyland pontoon were dazed by the explosion. The other bombs, four or five in number and of smaller calibre, fell in and around Llanreath. The enemy was evidently after the oil tanks and, one bomb found its mark but it was a dud.

The anti-aircraft defences in Pembrokeshire were almost non­ existent and that the system of warning was to take many months to become efficient.

On Monday, July l5th 1940, the enemy made his second visit. Shortly after noon a plane could be heard, flying very high, but, if it was the enemy, it must have continued on its way, for the all-clear went without event. An hour afterwards, however, when most people had just finished their lunch, a noisy plane was heard coming in low across the town, followed in a few seconds by three or four explosions in quick succession. The bombs had exploded and the intruder was well on his way out of the locality before the siren was heard, and then it was the siren belonging to the RAF. The town’s public siren came into its own half-an-hour later to sound the all-clear.

The bombs fell in the field by the Birdcage Walk and did no damage. They were probably aimed at the railway bridge over Ferry Lane or at the railway line itself

At the meetings of the Borough Council demands were made for defences for the area and for the scheduling of Pembroke Dock as a danger zone so that Anderson shelters could be obtained with Government assistance. Because of the tremendous losses at Dunkirk the whole country was practically defenceless. It was decided to urge the County Council to delegate powers to the local authority so that the matter of air raid shelters, etc., could be proceeded with without delay. It was also decided that Mr. Kavanagh, the engineer, should carry out an inspection of houses for the purpose of strengthening domestic air raid shelters.

On July 22nd, a week after the attempted bombing (presumably) of the Ferry Lane railway bridge, the ex­-dockyard town experienced its first night raid. It was a Monday night and according to one report, at least eighteen bombs were dropped that night. One bomb dropped between Front Street and the dockyard railway causing a great deal of damage in nearby houses. A large, gaping hole was blasted in the dividing wall between two houses in Front Street . In the house most damaged the family with friends, numbering nine altogether, sheltered beneath the staircase while the building tottered about them. They escaped unhurt.

Another bomb came down between King Street and the railway and a third exploded in the gardens between Market Street and Pembroke Street. Other bombs fell in the Haven, some near the RN. Mines Depot, and two at Hobbs Point; five exploded between Carew and Cosheston; four at West Williamston; another behind Lawrenny Castle, and two on Mr. Rock’s farm at Waterston.

After the first night raid people began to go out of the town to sleep. It started in a small way but as the raids grew in severity developed into a veritable exodus in May, 1941. In August the then Fire Chief, Mr. Arthur Morris, reported to the Council that five members of the Auxiliary Fire Service had failed to turn out upon a "red" message. Four of the men appeared before the Council and three gave explanations, which were accepted. The fourth said he had to see that his wife and children were all right, He also contended that there was insufficient protection and said frankly he was not prepared to turn out in a raid. His resignation and that of the fifth fireman, who wrote that his wife had collapsed when the warning was given, were accepted.

At a meeting of the County Council on 23rd July, the program for the construction of public air raid shelters in the county was presented and approved.  This provided hope to Pembroke Dock people as there was concern at the absence of public shelters. At one meeting of the Borough Council early in August the complaint was made that public shelters were almost complete in raid-free Haverfordwest while in Pembroke and Pembroke Dock they had hardly been started.

The next raid was just over a week later. There was a hit and run raid on August 1st by a lone plane which dropped ten bombs across Llanion Barracks.  Although the bombs fell right across the barracks, surprisingly little damage was done. One bomb, however, killed a soldier. The unfortunate soldier, twenty-year-old Ronald Johnston, of Manchester, was standing up at the time and was struck in the stomach by a piece of shrapnel. This was the first fatal casualty to have occurred by enemy action in the county.

Pembroke Dock had not been deemed worthy of much consideration in the country defence arrangements or even of a mention in the national news bulletins - until on Monday, August 19th, a German `plane flew up the harbour and dropped a bomb plumb on one of the Llanreath oil tanks. Two local children living in Bufferland actually waved to the pilot whom they could see and whom they believe waved back.  The blaze, which followed, was one of the biggest in the history of Britain and, anti-aircraft guns began to arrive in the locality and barrage balloons appeared in the sky over Pembroke Dock. The raid at about 3.15 on the Monday afternoon and was made by three aircraft. They flew up the harbour very low and in quite leisurely fashion, turning south before reaching Pembroke Dock and then coming in again to approach the tanks from the direction of Monkton.

Workmen engaged on trenching around the tanks looked up at the approaching `planes and thought they were British. Then the bomber dived in and the men ran for shelter. Firebombs were dropped and a hit was obtained on a tank holding 12,000 tons of oil. A great tongue of flame shot up and clouds of black, thick, oily smoke billowed high into the sky. Within seconds it was obvious for many miles around that the tanks were burning. The flames and smoke could be seen from as far away as Haverfordwest. The workmen escaped without injury. The only initial injury was Mr. Fred Phillips, who was treated for shock. The people living in Military Road right alongside the tanks had a severe fright and worse was to come as the wind carried flames and great volumes of smoke in the direction of their homes.

The walls of some of the houses became too hot to touch and the oil-laden smoke percolated into many rooms leaving a trail of ruin. Some of the residents of Military Rd and Owen St worried  that the fire would spread during the night and set the street alight took to leaving their houses when darkness fell and snatching as much sleep as they could out on the Barrack Hill.

Very soon after the attack the Pembroke Dock Fire Brigade was on the scene under Mr.  Arthur Morris, tackled what they knew was going to be a formidable task with insufficient resources. The Pembroke and Pembroke Dock brigades were largely responsible for preventing the flames spreading to the nearby houses. Help was requested from all parts of the country and brigades from many areas came to join in the fight.

According to Mr Richards:

The tanks fire raged in full fury for eighteen days. During that period over six hundred firemen from all parts of the country fought the flames; eleven tanks each with a capacity of 12,000 tons were destroyed; five firemen lost their lives; the enemy made further savage but fruitless attacks, and the whole town and countryside bore traces of oil carried by the smoke which billowed far and wide. Auxiliary firemen from all parts of the county were on the scene a few hours after the attack and within the next two or three days they were re-enforced by brigades from Carmarthen, Swansea, Cardiff, Bristol, Birmingham, Newport and other parts of the country. Altogether twenty-two brigades took part in the colossal task. These men faced one of the grimmest fights of their lives. No battlefield ever presented a more ghastly picture. Flames sprang hundreds of feet into the air and, every few minutes, shot outwards treacherously from the tanks in great enveloping sheets; the heat was overpowering and the smoke blinding, choking, stupefying. Yet the firemen stuck to their task, and in that terrible holocaust sweated and strained until at last, at long last, they got control of the great conflagration. Even on the eighteenth day, when success was in sight, the pumps broke down and an alarming situation developed for several hours. A tank collapsed causing a terrific flare-up which led to the explosion of an adjoining tank. Eventually, when the oil became exhausted the flames died down and at last the fire was under control.

Five firemen lost their lives all belonging to the Cardiff Brigade. They were Clifford Mills (31), 118 Brunswick Street , Canton, a son of Mr. Jack Mills, the Welsh Rugby Union referee; Frederick George Davies (31), 6 Llanbradach Street; Ivor John Kilby (29), 44 Gelligaer Street; Trevor Charles Morgan (31), 46 Mey Street, and John Frederick Thomas (30), Elaine Street. These men were working a jet on the tanks just after 1 p.m. on 22nd August, when a large burst of flame enveloped them. Capt. Tom Breakes, Chief Inspector of the Fire Brigades Division of the Home Office, who was standing twenty feet behind the men, stated afterwards that when he last saw them they were trying to retreat. The spurt of flame was caused by a big quantity of oil escaping from the tank where the heat had caused the metal wall to become soft and burst.

On the Tuesday morning less than twenty-four hours after the blaze had been started a German `plane dived through the pall of thick black smoke and dropped four bombs. Fortunately the bombs exploded half a mile away. A few minutes later the `plane returned and machine gunned the firemen. There was a stampede for safety, most of the firemen diving beneath the fire engines. A dozen men crouching beneath one engine saw a large number of holes appear in a piece of zinc lying a few feet from them. The zinc had been completely riddled with machine-gun bullets! One fireman was taken to hospital with an injury which was not serious.

On Wednesday, the third day of the fire, an enemy machine approached Pembroke Dock from the south-west but three Spitfires went up to intercept and it was driven off. Again, two days later the enemy was in the vicinity but due to our fighter interception no raid developed. On the night of Saturday, August 24th, bombs were dropped and caused damage to hose lines and appliances. There were also some minor casualties but no serious interruption of operations.

There were air raids on the town on September 1st and 2nd but no attempt was made to bomb the tanks.

Of the seventeen tanks at Llanreath, holding approximately 45,000,000 gallons of oil, eleven were destroyed, representing a loss of 33,000,000 gallons. The twenty-two brigades in attendance used 600 men, 53 pumps, nine miles of hose and 2,000 gallons of water per minute. Feeding the men during the eighteen days cost £840. Apart from the five fatal casualties, the numbers receiving treatment were as follows:-

Serious cases treated in hospital, 38;

minor cases (mostly eyes), 241;

burns to the hands, face and neck, 180;

sprains and strains, 12;

septic feet, 2;

foot treatment (due to oil entering boots), 560;

cuts and abrasions, 22;

gastric cases, 13-

A total of l,153.

Every man who helped to fight that fire was a hero; certain it is that they all shared the tremendous hazards and they all contributed to the splendid combined effort which saved eight oil tanks and possibly a part of the town from destruction. Who, then, decided that certain Firemens services were more valuable than others, that their bravery was greater, that their daring was more glorious? Who decided that George Medals should be awarded to a handful of firemen out of the six hundred? If awards for gallantry had to be made in connection with such an epic battle action - for such it was - the only fair way to have done it would have been to present the chief officer of each brigade engaged with a medal in recognition of the services of his unit. It was no wonder that the deepest dissatisfaction was occasioned locally when the tank fire awards were announced later on. Pembroke, evidently unable to pull the right strings, received no recognition, but a George Medal and a British Empire Medal went to Milford Haven. The indignation of Pembroke and Pembroke Dock people was expressed on all sides and in no uncertain terms, especially with regard to the B.E.M. award to a Milford official who, it was alleged, spent only a short time at the scene of the fire. There was an insistent demand for recognition for Pembroke’s Fire Chief, Mr. Arthur Morris, and there is no doubt that if anyone was deserving of a medal it was Mr. Morris who, with his men, was the first on the scene, and did not go to bed for seventeen days. All who were there agreed that he worked without relaxation and regardless of personal risk, setting a splendid example to all. Yet all he received was some minor certificate commending him for his gallantry. Those who attended a special meeting of the Pembroke Borough Council a week after the tanks were bombed will never forget the appearance of Mr. Morris, who took an hour off from his grim task to report to the Council, Beneath the grime which he had not had time to wash off, his pale, drawn face, told eloquently of the ordeal the men were suffering. He was unshaven and his eyes were heavy and red-rimmed. As the meeting progressed it was noticed that on several occasions he almost fell asleep.

Next to the yeoman service of the Firemen, perhaps the greatest feature of the historic fire was the magnificent response of the townspeople and members of the Civil Defence Services to the needs of the unprecedented emergency. Wherever one turned men and women of Pembroke Dock were giving their services eagerly - providing accommodation for the firemen, helping feed them, wash them, dress their burns and provide them with a score of needs. There were ample gifts of towels, soap clothes, linen, etc., while some ladies, mostly those of the local Red Cross Detachment and St. John Ambulance Nursing Division, spent hour after hour, day and night, carrying out first-aid work at St. Patrick's Schoolroom, They were described as Angels of Mercy, which, indeed, they were, The following message which the officer in charge of the Bristol contingent asked the Guardian to publish at the time provides an indication of how much the local peoples efforts from Bristol feel towards you.  - The reception we had and the attentions which have been showered upon us by you wonderful people have really been stupendous. When we left Bristol we knew we were going to a difficult and dangerous task. We expected that we would have to endure all kinds of hardships that we would have to sleep out `on the job in all sorts of conditions and that we would have to exist on the iron rations which we had with us. Instead, we were given the most overwhelming hospitality. Everything was done for us, we were given every comfort and the good ladies even went so far as to bathe our feet. In all our experience we have never known such kindness and we do ask you to accept thanks which come from the very bottom of our hearts-.

A memorial service to the five unfortunate men was held in St, Patrick's Church, within a few hundred yards of the blazing inferno, on the following Sunday. There was a large attendance of firemen and of Pembroke Dock people, who felt deeply the loss of the five brave men.

That day, August 22nd, was the most critical of the eighteen days. The death of the five men greatly distressed their colleagues and the spread of raging flames which followed the escape of oil did nothing to re-assure anyone. In fact, there was near panic for a short time and this spread to the civil population as the fire ran with devilish speed across adjoining countryside, making Military Road impassable and damaging extensively a cottage, farm buildings and crops. In the evening there was another large escape of oil to add to the almost unbelievable difficulties under which the men worked. This produced another wave of alarm amongst the townspeople and started a rumour that another sixty Firemen had been burnt to death, So much credence was placed upon this rumour that ambulances rushed to the scene, as well as police, firemen who were off duty and scores of townspeople. Assurances that there had been no further deaths restored public confidence, and the arrival shortly afterwards of reinforcements from England was a Godsend to the men on the job whose stupendous task was almost beyond endurance.

While the Firemen went about their hazardous work in the 1st hours of the fire they realised acutely that heat and flames and boiling-oil were not the only dangers which beset them. They knew that at any moment the enemy might return to try and exact a toll of death from their ranks.

The Germans described it as a great success by the Luftwaffe. It was a serious blow to Britains war effort, probably the most serious of the early air raids. The fire destroyed an immense quantity of precious heavy oil. Lord Haw Haw, who used to live in the town, gloated over it and threatened that the whole town would be destroyed by fire. The Germans said that the pilot was only sixteen and that he had failed to return.

On the afternoon of Sunday, August 25th, when the great Pennar fire had been burning for six days, a German `plane flew over and dropped two bombs in the vicinity. It was a bold attack, evidently aimed at producing confusion and adding difficulty to the firemen great task, but again the enemy bad marksmanship proved a blessing. Both bombs fell near the tanks but caused no military damage although a few firemen received injuries and had to be treated at the Meyrick Hospital. The first bomb fell near a gate at the top of Military Road and uprooted a telegraph pole which flew through the air and, by a freak, landed point downwards a few yards away where it resumed its upright position. The other bomb exploded harmlessly in an open space. Ground defences opened up spiritedly and after unloading its cargo the intruder made hastily out to sea. People who were in Dimond Street as the `plane flew over witnessed a very unusual occurrence. An army officer was walking down the street and as the bombs whistled down he stopped, unslung a rifle he was carrying over his shoulder, loaded it and took a shot at the `plane. What he expected to gain by this action is difficult to imagine unless he had hopes of a lucky shot striking a vital part of the aircraft and bringing it down. If he expected to gain the plaudits of the onlookers for a brave act of defiance he was disappointed, for the majority were openly critical of his "sniping" and moved away quickly in case the raider flew round to seek revenge for the lone rifle shot, which in the excitement of the moment they thought to be a distinct possibility!

The tanks fire gave rise to the first suspicions that spies were lurking in South Pembrokeshire. Inevitably there were many wild and exaggerated stories of suspicious characters flashing lights, secret transmitting sets, raids and arrests by the police, mysterious midnight movements and so on. Ninety per cent of such assertions can safely be written down as being pure assumption produced by the general uneasiness of the times; the remaining ten per cent might have had some foundation in fact.

There is every reason to believe, for instance, that enemy agencies were at work during the time of the tanks fire. One night when the blaze was at its height a big car coming from the direction of the tanks pulled up beside half-a-dozen local residents who were talking at the bottom of Military Road . A man, a complete stranger, put his head out of the window and said “Isn’t it terrible, twenty men have been burnt to death up there”. Then he drove away, never to be seen by any of that half dozen people again. His story was entirely without foundation. It could not have been due to confusion with the incident in which the five Cardiff firemen lost their lives for it was before that occurrence. Of course, it might have been due to a misunderstanding or a mishearing or it might have been one of those stories which start mysteriously but quite innocently upon such occasions. But those who saw the man in the car were unanimous that there was something suspicious about him. In any event the story he told was one well calculated to produce distress and weakened morale. It was well in keeping with the Goebbels formula later to become so well known.

One spy story which gained much credence a few weeks later concerned lights which some people vowed they had seen flashing a few miles south of Pembroke on nights when enemy aircraft were in the vicinity. Indeed there were people who began to see lights everywhere, even in Freshwater East, a haven of safety for scores of Pembroke Dock folk. On one memorable night towards the end of the year a few privileged people at The Grotto, that cosy Freshwater rendezvous, where so many from Pembroke Dock were want to spend their evenings, were let into the secret that two or three Army officers were going out into the darkness to settle once and for all the matter of the lights said to be winking skywards at the bottom of the village. To add drama to the occasion one officer showed his loaded revolver round before buttoning up his trench coat and venturing forth. It was rather in the nature of an anti-climax when they returned to their expectant friends with nothing to report. They had not seen a soul and the black-out was perfect everywhere!

Pembrokeshire people and those in the south of the county in particular were getting precious little rest at nights at this period. Nearly every night the sirens would sound and even if no attack developed the drone of aircraft almost invariably followed which, though it might be in the distance, was sufficient to keep people on the qui vive. And when the sirens were silent sleep was still an uneasy thing, in Pembroke Dock at least, where it had been learnt by grim experience that it was upon such occasions that real attacks occurred. Then there were the planes which flew round and round sometimes for an hour and more on end, without any object apparent to the uneasy folk below, unless it was to keep them awake, More often than not, the siren not having sounded, no one knew whether the `plane was friendly or hostile, and people used to stand on their doorsteps hoping for the best and staring up into the sky watching the long, pointing fingers of the searchlights as they "passed the sound" from one to the other, Upon one such occasion a plane few back and fore over Pembroke Dock quite unmolested for surely an hour. Then some ones patience must have snapped because an anti­ aircraft gun went off with a great bang and the `plane was not heard again. These, presumably, were the nuisance raiders. They undoubtedly served a purpose.

Peoples nerves were beginning to get ragged, as was evidenced by the demand made towards the end of August for the removal of the flag flying over Pembroke Castle which, it was contended, might help enemy `planes to locate Pembroke Dock ! Looking back, the absurdity of the request is apparent. While the castle itself, the harbour and a dozen other aids to navigation remained the flag itself was of no consequence as a guide to the enemy. It is probable that not one enemy airman ever noticed it.

During August a number of bombs were dropped on open spaces and caused no harm. Several fell in the marshland and at Caswell, outside Tenby, on August l7th, while on the last day of the month Morvil Mountain, near Maenclochog, in North Pembrokeshire, was a target. Three of these bombs straddled the Fishguard-Maenclochog road about four miles from the village.

Pembroke Docks lucky star must have been well in the ascendant on Monday, September 2nd, 1940. In the early hours of that morning a raider roared in from the east and, with utter indiscrimination, unloaded a cargo of incendiary and high explosive bombs which completely demolished a number of houses, extensively damaged scores of others, wreaked havoc along the main thoroughfares, scored a direct hit on the Temperance Hall ­ but did not kill a soul! It was the enemy second visit that night and the majority of Pembroke Dock people had fallen into uneasy sleep when, some time after 1 am, without any warning siren, the low flying `plane awakened them. Almost immediately the bombs crashed down. In Gwyther Street people were scrambling out of bed and running for shelter downstairs when a breath stopping, air-splitting explosion threw them against walls, on to floors, downstairs and, in some cases, out of beds, as their houses heaved and tottered. One bomb had scored a direct hit on the wing at the back of No. 23, Lower Gwyther Street , and another had dropped on No. 32 on the opposite side of the road. No. 32 was completely demolished while the houses each side of it, Nos. 30 and 34, were reduced to shambles, as also was No. 23 on the other side. By remarkable good fortune three of these four houses were empty and the fourth was occupied by only two people who had reached shelter beneath the staircase and escaped unscathed,

No. 32 was the residence of Mr. and Mrs. Young, who had left on the previous Saturday for a holiday by the sea. Had they been at home they could not have escaped death or serious injury. The house next door above, No. 34, was the home of Mr. Roch, a lighthousekeeper, his wife and two children. Mr. Roch was away on duty while his wife and children were staying with friends in another district. The house below, No. 30, was occupied by Mr.  W. J. J. Phillips, the Pembroke Dock stationmaster, and a former member of the Pembroke Town Council. Mr, Phillips, a Special Constable, was out on duty, but Mrs. Phillips and their daughter were in the house, and when they heard the `plane they rushed down and under the stairs in their nightclothes - just in the nick of time. No. 23, on the other side, was the home of Mr. Wyrriot Owen, who with his family was staying out of the town.

Neighbours rushed out and stumbling through debris and blinding dust reached the wrecked houses where they immediately commenced rescue work. Mrs. and Miss Phillips were soon located and with little difficulty were brought to safety. White with dust from head to foot, they were taken to Mr. and Mrs. Hordleys house opposite where they soon recovered from their unnerving experience. Later they were joined by friends in the street who, satisfied there was nothing more they could do until morning, spent the remaining hours of darkness singing popular songs with Mr.  Fred Hordley, home on leave from the Army, at the piano. Had not the three houses been empty there would almost certainly have been a death roll, which would have added dismay, confusion and difficulty to the havoc of the attack, Yet there were people who continued to campaign bitterly against those who sought safety outside the town.

While the town was still rocking to the explosion of the Gwyther Street bombs, more H.E.s  were falling in the Lewis Street area. One exploded alongside No. 8 Lewis Street , another at the rear of the Bird-in-Hand and another scored a direct hit on the Temperance Hall. The raiders machine guns were blazing but, miraculously no one was hit, Hundreds of small marks noticed next day on the Lewis Street wall of the Temperance Hall were thought to be caused by machine-gun bullets. In the Temperance Hall a number of Firemen engaged on the tanks fire were sleeping and eighteen of them received injuries. Two were seriously injured. Fortunately the bomb which struck the hall was a small one and the four main walls of the building withstood the blast. All the same, it was nothing but sheer luck that prevented a heavy death roll. On the other side of the road the Bird-in-Hand and the houses below it were practically wrecked. Alderman Joe Gibby, landlord of the inn, was trapped by falling masonry, etc., and it was some time before he was released. However, he suffered nothing more than an injury to the foot from which he recovered within a few days. Police and A.R.P. rescue workers performed excellent service that night, especially at the Temperance Hall where the casualties received quick and efficient; attention. It was reliably reported that the only mishap occurred when a well­ known doctor engaged in giving injections to the wounded had a hypodermic needle accidentally (?) driven into a tender part of his anatomy by a layman assistant standing behind him!

A number of bombs had been dropped previously, a direct hit being scored upon Mrs. Lemon’s house on the left hand side going up Tremeyrick Street. Mrs. Lemon, a middle-aged lady, was in the house and when she heard the bomb coming dived under the table for shelter. The house collapsed around her with a sickening crash and she was trapped beneath the debris. Rescue workers were quickly on the scene and after a long and difficult task, made all the worse by the uncertainty as to whether Mrs. Lemon was alive or not, the lady was brought to safety. She was injured and badly shaken but could hardly believe her luck in being alive when she saw the ruins of her home which had been levelled to the ground.

The incendiary bombs used were of the oil type but they did little damage. One fell in the park and another on the corner of Argyle Street-Bush Street, where for months afterwards the walls were covered with black, smelly oil.

The enemy had been busy in the Tenby area earlier that night. Approximately a hundred incendiary bombs were dropped on Kingsmoor Common - miles away from any military objective. Hayricks were set on fire at Enox Hill Farm, Saundersfoot, and Little Kilowen, while between thirty and forty incendiaries were dropped near Netherwood House, Saundersfoot. The Narberth Fire Brigade was soon in action and the fires were extinguished.

Three nights later "Jerry" came again; a plane flew over Pembroke Dock and dropped a number of bombs which fell in a field on Bierspool Farm, killing three cows and injuring nine others, the property of Mr. Edward Gibby. Some of the bombs fell quite near to Bierspool House, but did little damage. Mr. and Mrs. Gibby were away from home for the night. Another bomb exploded on the other side of the road near Llanion School and smashed all the windows, while another did similar damage to a number of Llanion houses.

Pembroke Borough continued to call out for adequate air raid shelters. While the shelters being erected for the schools were described as the best in Wales there was the utmost dissatisfaction at the County Council’s communal shelters. It was stated in responsible quarters that they could be knocked over with a seven-pound hammer and spirited protests were made to the appropriate quarters.

Discontent at the arrangements for sounding the siren reached a critical pitch in Pembroke Dock following two raids which occurred without warning, within an hour of each other on the night of Wednesday, October l6th. The first raid was shortly before 9 o’clock. It was made by a single `plane which after dropping a number of flares released a string of high explosive and incendiary bombs. Some people in the streets had seen the flares and were prepared for trouble but to the majority the sickening crash of the bombs, now all too familiar, was the first intimation that -Jerry was over again-. A devils chorus of explosions and machine gun fire continued for several minutes and then there was silence. After half-an-hour or so the more venturesome left their shelter, persuaded by the quietness which then reigned, that it was all clear. But within ten minutes the raider was back and caught scores of people in the streets as he released another load of bombs.

Again there was hurrying into shelters and in the absence of anything to assure them that the danger was over many people remained in refuge, cold, shivering and apprehensive, for hours, some until the first streaks of dawn had shot across the sky. The next morning irate citizens went to the A.R.P. report centre to know why no siren had been sounded, firstly to give warning of the raid and secondly to show that the raid was over. They were told that officially there had been no raid, an answer which provoked some interesting comment as the enquirers made their way home through the glass strewn streets. If this was an unofficial raid what, asked one, would an official raid be like? Other suggestions were that the siren should be taken down and presented to the nation as disused iron and that other uses should be made of the materials which went to build the public shelters as the doors of these much maligned little structures were found to be padlocked when people ran to them during the second attack. Another suggestion, and one that was made quite seriously, was that the County A.R.P. headquarters should move from Haverfordwest to Pembroke Dock which was obviously the centre of attraction to the Germans. It was thought that the town grievances would then have some attention!

So great was the public discontent that the Borough Council decided to communicate with the Prime Minister, the Minister of Home Security, the War Office and the Regional ARP. Commissioner on the matter. A public protest meeting in Pembroke Dock was also arranged but it had to be abandoned because no suitable building with an adequate black-out was available. While there is no doubt that Pembroke Dock had every reason for its concern, in retrospect it is obvious that a system permitting warnings at local discretion, which was much in demand, would not have been a satisfactory solution of the problem, On the contrary it is possible that such a system would only have produced greater confusion and added to the perils of the people. There was a general tendency to blame the County ARP. system for all the troubles, but the fact was that the County officials were quite powerless, being entirely under the control of Cardiff. In turn, Cardiff was dependent upon Fighter Command who should have been in a better position than anyone in Pembroke Dock to know the movement of enemy planes over the country. That Fighter Command fell down on the job on so many occasions in the early days was doubtless due to the fact that the system had not by then adjusted itself to the unexpected conditions caused by the French surrender.

Between twenty and thirty H.E. bombs, some of them of the delayed action type, and several incendiaries fell at widespread points that Wednesday night. Several long bursts of machine-gun fire featured the attack and it is thought that on one occasion at least, the raider was firing into the streets. But it was another night of good fortune: no one was killed; only one man was slightly injured, no damage of military importance was done and damage to civilian property was comparatively slight.

The explosive bombs landed in King Street Lane, Wellington Street , Milton Terrace and the top of the town, one in the cemetery in Upper Park Street and another (delayed action type) in Hawkestone Road. The Bomb Disposal Squad set to work on the time bomb without delay and the following day it was driven away on a lorry before a little crowd of spectators, very interested and still just a little apprehensive!

If the raider had dropped a bomb on Albion Square during its second visit, Pembroke Dock would have lost several distinguished inhabitants. Quite a crowd of people, including a few members of the Town Council who had been inspecting the damage caused by the bomb which fell at the top of Wellington Street half an-hour before, were gathered about the square when the `plane returned. Indeed, all over the town people were standing on the pavement talking about the raid and, it can safely be surmised, making caustic comments about the siren arrangements. Then came the roar of aero engines again and there was a stampede for shelter into doorways and gutters, under walls and out into the open. On the strength of the fallacious theory that a bomb never drops in the same place twice, a number of people, including the author and at least one member of the Borough Council, Alderman J. R. Williams, jumped into the crater at the top of Wellington Street and there lay face downwards as hell broke loose around. As the bombs whistled somebody shouted a warning and girls crouching in the doorways down Wellington Street began to scream. The plane, big and black against the moonlit sky came tearing low overhead, its machineguns blazing. At the same time a lively defence was put up by the guns in the Air Station, the tracers streaking up and down the sky, creating a pattern at once beautiful and terrifying. Then the raider was gone and all was quiet again,

Another attack on Pembroke Dock occurred on the following Sunday night. Only incendiaries were dropped, and two houses were set on fire, one at the corner of Bush Street and Gwyther Street and the other in Laws Street. The other incendiaries were quickly and effectively dealt with, some in the streets, others in gardens and fields and one or two on doorsteps. On the same night some explosive bombs fell harmlessly between Monkton and Hundleton and incendiaries at Monkton, West Pennar, Hakin and Hayscastle, all without any serious effect. On the previous Sunday six high explosives were dropped at Milton Aerodrome, damaging one hangar, the NAAFI. buildings and some huts. A Dutch officer received some injuries.

Pembroke Docks almost phenomenal run of luck in sustaining repeated air attacks without any fatal civilian casualties came to an end on November 6th 1940. The chill and darkness of a November morning had not begun to dissolve when the siren wailed its mournful warning. Almost at once the drone of aeroplanes filled the air. It was a peculiar sound; the note of the engines seemed different from that heard on previous occasions and later there was considerable speculation as to what type of aircraft was used, some suggesting that they were Italian machines. Whatever they were, there were several of them, and they carried out a violent and indiscriminate attack. It is estimated that nearly thirty high explosives were dropped and most of them were of heavy calibre, causing huge craters. Eight of these bombs fell in the County School playing field, three in the Memorial Park and one (unexploded) near the Llanion tanks. Others dropped in Bush Street, scoring a direct hit on Mr. and Mrs. Kinton’s house, in the Co-op. Lane, Princes Street, Dockyard Avenue and alongside the Military Hospital, where there were some casualties and considerable damage.

Mr. and Mrs. Kinton’s house was completely demolished, burying them beneath the stairs where apparently they were sleeping. Demolition and rescue workers rushed to the scene and worked feverishly for over two hours to extricate the unfortunate people. It was hoped that Mrs. Kinton would be saved as she was heard to speak when the rescue work was in progress, but when extricated it was found she had passed away. By this time a large crowd had gathered and the people watched silently and with bowed heads as the bodies of Mr. and Mrs. Kinton were carried away to the mortuary. The body of the young Air Force man, in night clothing, was found on the pavement outside the premises. He was beyond human aid. Another lodger, Mr. T. H. Clement, a clerk in the Pembroke Dock branch of Barclays Bank, escaped with serious injuries and was taken to the Meyrick Hospital .

Heroic work by rescuers failed to save Mrs. Harvey next door, where a fire was burning, due, it is thought, to the domestic fire in the house spreading when the house collapsed. Dr. Harvey was extricated badly injured and was removed to hospital, while the baby escaped unscathed due to the presence of mind of Mrs. Harvey, who although partly buried by the debris, and on the point of collapse, threw the child clear of the fire into the passage. There it was found uninjured hanging by its clothing to a clothes peg on the wall! Bush Street from the junction of Park Street to Albion Square , was a veritable shambles. All the shops and houses around were extensively damaged, windows being shattered, doors blown in and roofs crushed by falling stones. People living in the locality had wonderful escapes, many being unhurt although parts of their houses fell in on them,

The bravery of A.R.P., fire-fighting and police personnel in the Bush Street rescue efforts won the commendation of everyone and two police officers, Sergt. Bodman and P.C. Humphreys, subsequently received decorations for their outstanding work.

On the following Sunday night, November 10th, when the enemy made his next visit, a local Civil Defence worker, exasperated at what he considered to be red tape obstructing common-sense procedure, put the siren off without permission - and got into hot water with the authorities. But he was on perfectly safe ground. The voice of the people rose up in his defence and he was acclaimed a hero. His unauthorised action undoubtedly saved several people from injury or death and had the threats of dire punishment, including imprisonment, been carried out there would most assuredly have been a public revolt on an unprecedented scale. The central figure of this interesting incident was Alderman J. R. Williams, one of the most vociferous advocates of reform of the siren system. At that time Alderman Williams, the vice-chairman of the old Fire Brigade Committee of the Borough Council, slept most nights at the Fire Station at the Market Hall. He was there on Sunday night and when, about midnight, the familiar discordant note of enemy planes was heard, he ordered a fireman, Mr. Harry Baker, to press the button. A few minutes later bombs crashed down on houses which had just been vacated by persons who had run for shelter upon hearing the warning. It is understood that Alderman Williams subsequently received some serious letters on the matter, but he remained unperturbed and with everyone stoutly defending his action, nothing came of it.

All the bombs in that Sunday night raid fell in the top part of Pembroke Dock. A direct hit was scored on 19 Owen Street, Pennar, but the occupants, Mr. and Mrs. Scourfield, were sheltering beneath the stairs, and had a wonderful escape. On Bethany corner three bombs fell together, the point of impact forming an isosceles triangle. One of these bombs completely destroyed an empty fish and chip shop next door to the Caledonia public house and tore away part of the inn. The landlord, Mr. Beynon, with his wife and members of the family were sitting in their kitchen and were unhurt. Undeterred by the extensive damage to their premises and the loss of a lot of stock, the Beynons opened again for business without loss of time, an action much appreciated by the many local patrons of this old established house. The second bomb struck No. 11, just opposite the chip shop, the residence of Mrs. Emment, who, fortunately, had run for shelter to the cellar of a neighbour’s house nearby upon hearing the siren. Mrs. Griffiths next door and Mr. Joe Davies and members of his family from next door to the chip shop had also gone to the neighbour’s cellar and thus escaped. `- thank God for the siren - was the fervent expressions of these people the next day. The third bomb fell on Bethany Baptist Chapel and caused considerable damage.

Members of the Pembrokeshire Constabulary had narrow escapes. The Police patrol car had only just passed Bethany and was going up High Street when the bombs dropped. It bounced with the explosion and it can be safely assumed that the speed cop then put on a bit more speed!  A constable on foot, P.C. Greenslade (later Sergt. Greenslade, who died in February, 1965) was standing in the narrow street running up alongside the chapel when he heard the warning whistle. He lay flat and was uninjured. Other bombs, H.E. and incendiary, fell around Cross Park and Pennar and caused some damage but no casualties.

Although no concentrated attack occurred between November 6th, 1940, and May l2th, 1941, the night skies over Pembrokeshire were hardly ever free of the hum of aircraft and the flash and crack of ack-ack fire during that period. It was a period of uneasiness. Night after night the sirens wailed, followed in a few minutes by the sound of aircraft approaching from the south. Sometimes a bomb or two or a single parachute mine or a bunch of incendiaries would be dropped at random; sometimes the metallic rattle of a machine-gun would provide a sharp contrast of sound against the deep note of the bombers, sometimes a low flying raider would fly round and round as if in an intense search. But no major attack developed, As the weeks of 1941 wore on the bombers became more and more inclined to leave Pembrokeshire alone, flying high over the area in their hundreds to attack Merseyside, the Midlands and Northern Ireland.

This, however, did not ease the minds of the local people who almost every night, at about the same hour, had to leave their beds or their firesides to go to shelter or out on ARP. duty. As the hordes came over, the big guns down the harbour would start firing and between the scores of searchlights, ack-ack bursts like splashes of gold dust would add colour to the beautiful lattice pattern in the sky. Sometimes, but not very often, an aircraft would get caught in a searchlight beam and, small and glistening thousands of feet above the earth and looking so pretty and harmless, it would turn and twist while all the guns for miles around opened up. For hours the all-pervading drone of the planes with the intermittent crack of the guns and the zip of falling shrapnel would go on until at last the final flight had passed on its mission of death to the north. A lapse of perhaps half-an-hour and the performance would start all over again as the bombers hooked it for home, obviously in less orderly flight and some of them making ominous noises which spoke of rough handling by our ground defences and night-fighters. The next morning the news bulletins would tell which town had received the bombardment. Liverpool and Merseyside were attacked time and again. Swansea had its merciless three nights blitz. Midland towns were bombed. Belfast had its turn and even Dublin , neutral and well lighted, became an objective on one occasion. All these nights Pembrokeshire watched, listened and waited. There was an inescapable feeling that one night it would be Pembroke Docks turn and, sure enough, it came on May 12th, when the town was almost reduced to a shambles under the terrific bombardment.

The sirens had sounded on sixteen out of the eighteen nights preceding May 12th, sometimes twice within a few hours. It was not out of the scheme of things, therefore, when a “red” message set the banshees wailing again at a minute after midnight on the night of May 11th - 12th. Almost at once the sound of aircraft filled the sky. It was soon apparent that these were not the usual high flyers winging their way northward. They were at comparatively low altitude and wheeling round the area. Everybody waited in grim expectancy. Was this it? Nearly an hour passed without the circling planes having given any indication of friendship or hostility. Not a gun had been fired at them. The optimists were cheerfully proclaiming  “They’re ours” and some had indeed gone back to their warm beds when about 1 a.m. a sharp whistle ripped the air and the rear of Mr, T. P. Owens premises in Park Street went up in the air as a bomb exploded with a great crash in his garden.

So began a night of terror, the story of which will be told as long as Pembroke Dock exists. High explosives and incendiaries rained down and, between them came many land mines, their parachutes flapping softly in the light night breeze. It was the first time land mines had been used in a local attack of any scale and they proved a terrifying weapon. While the ordinary bombs whistled down and exploded in a matter of seconds, the land mines rustled down slowly over the town, struck earth with a dull thud and then, after a few moments of ominous silence, went off with a mighty crack, wreaking havoc all around. One of the first of the mines to fall, its long, round container swinging back and fore, was mistaken for a parachutist, whilst another swishing over Park Street was thought by Mr.  W. G. Munro, crouching beside his house, to be a plane coming down with its engines cut out. It is estimated that fifteen land mines were released over Pembroke Dock that night. A number of them including some that fell in the mud off the bottom of Water Street failed to explode but those that did caused tremendous havoc.

When at last the full cost of the raid was counted up it was found that the town had suffered grievously. The death rate was practically five per thousand, which was much higher than that suffered in one raid in most of the bigger towns.  The next day it was found that thirty civilians and two servicemen had been killed, four were missing and a large number injured. Parts of three human bodies could not be identified. Nearly 2,000 houses were damaged. A similar death roll would have given London 40,000 dead in one raid. Glasgow and Birmingham about 5,400, Liverpool 4,280, Cardiff over 1,000 and Swansea over 800.

The raid revealed very vividly the lack of preparation for a raid of such extent. One regrettable feature was the lack of feeding arrangements by the County Council Public Assistance Committee. It is on record that when large numbers gathered at the Wesley Hall to be fed, only one small spirit stove was available to boil water. Later in the day the feeding arrangements were improved with the arrival of the Queens Mobile Canteens. In this connection, mention must be made of the excellent work of the local W.V.S. mobile canteen which proved a veritable boon in the confused and frightened hours immediately after the raid. Started in the winter of 1940 by the County W.V.S. organisers, Miss N. Thomas, J.P., and Mrs. Salmond, Saundersfoot, this canteen had performed grand service in many parts of the haven but it was after the big blitz that its full value was felt. A telephone message in the middle of the night to the then Mrs. Burleigh Leach, at the time the W.V.S. Centre Organiser for Castlemartin area, resulted in the prompt arrival of the mobile canteen in Pembroke Dock where it remained until about 4 to 5 p.m. the following afternoon The canteen, in charge of Mrs. Burleigh Leach and Mrs. Pinchard, operated on its own until about mid­ day when it was joined by other mobile canteens.

The total absence of an information bureau was also keenly felt. Many hundreds of people who had suffered in some way or another were at a complete loss to know what to do for sustenance and advice. Had there been a central bureau much confusion would have been avoided. A compensating feature, however, was the wonderful way in which the surrounding areas rallied to the aid of the stricken town. They showed their sympathy in a thousand practical ways, the wonderful help-your-neighbour spirit which has never failed to reveal itself amongst British people in an emergency being a bright and steady beacon in those dark, desperate days.

The heavy raid of May 12th developed according to the familiar Goering formula of incendiaries followed by high explosives. Most of the explosives were of very heavy calibre (for those days) and levelled several buildings completely to the ground. One fell right on the Pier Hotel, burying the proprietor, Mr. Rhys Morris, formerly of Haverfordwest and a native of the Solva district, and a number of people who were staying there, The Criterion Hotel across the road was almost completely demolished while along Pier Road the roofs of all the buildings were blown off and the windows shattered, There was extensive damage in the Ordnance Factory, caused it is believed, by a mine which exploded in the water near Hancocks Yard. Other devastation in this area was at the Gas Works, which received a direct hit. The laundry was destroyed while Squibbs photography premises on the other side of the road also went up in flames and was burnt out completely.

Meanwhile, a mine had parachuted down behind lower Laws Street and, exploding with a terrific detonation, laid in ruins a number of houses. Several old, respected and loved residents perished beneath the ruins. Amongst the houses destroyed was the Three Crowns, one of the most popular and cosy inns of pre-war Pembroke Dock. But the landlord, Mr. Alf Bowen and his good wife were brought out alive from the beneath the debris the following day. They recovered slowly but life was never the same for them again. Having regard to the devastation in the street and to the Three Crowns itself, it was a remarkable rescue, aided to no small extent by the steadfastness with which Mr. and Mrs. Bowen faced the terrible ordeal.

Another public house, the Prince Albert , also received a direct hit, the landlady, Mrs. Mary Elizabeth Treharne Evans, and several residents being killed. The Market House was extensively damaged as also were the new houses up at Park View Crescent where a mine touched down only ten yards away from the rear of the premises. The residents of these the town s newest properties had a really amazing escape. But they were undaunted, their spirit being typified by Mr. P. Castle, who, immediately after the raid, hoisted a Union Jack over his shattered home where it fluttered proudly during the sombre weeks which followed.

It would require a large volume to describe in detail all the scores of incidents of this savage raid. Death and destruction were abroad that night in their fullest fury but providence was there too, for numerous were the hairbreadth escapes and great were the strength and courage which, flowing steadily from a source beyond the control of man, enabled the aged, the weak and the young to bear the ordeal, and the brave to go forth into the holocaust to perform their matchless deeds of rescue, It is certain that the civil defences met the crisis with unflinching steadfastness and performed their work in a manner which left no room for criticism. With so much heroism crammed into so few hours it would be an impossible task to select fairly those deserving of special commendation. Many heroes there were whose work became known and was rightly praised but doubtless many brave deeds will for ever remain untold. It is better, therefore, to refrain from mentioning the names of many gallant people which come readily to mind. Sufficient be it to say that that night they were put to the test and were not found wanting.

The raid interrupted the gas and electricity supplies and for some time the ferry boat was stopped from running owing to the danger of mines in the harbour. For several days afterwards a minesweeper swept the path of the ferry boat before it crossed to and from Neyland.

A ghastly spectacle was presented by the light of Mondays dawn. Buildings lay in ruins, debris inches thick covered most streets and here and there on heaps of rubble rescue workers, pale, drawn and haggard, continued their task with infinite care knowing that at any moment they might find a human body. Everywhere there was devastation and people stood in little knots about the street talking in shocked tones about the events of the night. As the day wore on and the full extent of the tragedy became known residents, sick at heart, attempted to set about their own affairs, striving desperately to reconcile themselves to the terrible loss the town had suffered in life and property. But concentration in such chaos was an impossible thing and sadly people gathered their valuables together and prepared to leave the town for the night.

The Luftwaffe had been making a habit for some weeks to raid the same town on two or three successive nights and Pembroke Dock had not forgotten this fact when, early in the afternoon of May l2th, a great exodus from the town began. There was a real and understandable fear that the raiders would come again that night and thousands sought refuge outside the town, the complaints and criticisms about "fleeing to the mountains", so frequent a week before, being forgotten in the overwhelming crisis of the moment, It was not only the rank and file of the civilian population who feared another attack on the second night. Hundreds of Servicemen billeted locally were given the order - Get out of the town. Sleep where you like, but keep away until tomorrow morning. As dusk gathered military trucks went round the streets and men, women and children piled into them to be carried away from the danger area.

Refugees fleeing along the roads of France a year before could hardly have presented a more pathetic picture than the people of Pembroke Dock as they poured out of the town that bright Spring evening, An unforgettable scene was witnessed at the Mill Bridge , Pembroke. Down over the hill from Pembroke Dock they came in an endless stream, in cars, lorries and overloaded buses, on motorcycles, bicycles and horse-drawn carts and wagons. Hundreds came on foot, weary mothers with infants in arms and little boys and girls hardly of school age running behind, wonderment written plain on their pale faces; old men on sticks, young men with grim expressions, subdued boys and frightened giris. Nearly every person clutched tightly some valued possession. Many of the vehicles were piled high with articles of furniture and household ware. Dogs, cats, caged birds and parrots accompanied their owners. Many of the older folk obviously found it difficult to get along. Women bit their lips and some failed to stem the tears that filled their eyes. Childrens noise and chatter and high spirits were nowhere to be found. There was no spark of gaiety, no sign of happiness in that motley, unending procession. Dusk fell and still they came, and long after the stars had studded the sky there were stragglers hurrying from a devastated town.

Where did they go? Hundreds stayed in Pembroke where good people threw open their homes in a grand gesture of neighbourliness, and schools and schoolrooms and vestries were quickly converted into sleeping quarters by many willing hands, Probably the population of Pembroke was doubled for that memorable night and, in fact, for many nights to come. Tenby took in scores and so did Freshwater; many went to Haverfordwest and Neyland while others were given sanctuary in the villages and farmhouses of South Pembrokeshire . But not everybody found shelter. There were those who, with no friends or relatives outside the town and no money with which to pay for a roof over their heads, had to face the night in Pembroke Dock or flee to the open country. It is a fact that many people slept in the open in Bush Woods and the surrounding fields and hedges for nights after May 12th,

Pembroke Dock was a dark, deserted, dismal town that night. No more than a few hundred remained to face whatever the midnight hours held and the few who walked the streets had no company except the echo of their own footsteps through the empty houses, and so it was the next night and for many nights after until gradually with the general slackening of the air attacks, people began to return to their shattered homes.

As was expected the raiders came again in the early hours of May 13th, but no bombs were dropped on Pembroke Dock. The target that night was Milton Aerodrome, several high explosives falling in and around the village, two at Ratford Farm, one on the road outside Milton House and another (unexploded) in the drive.

When the Germans made their next and last big raid on Pembroke Dock, on the night of June 11th, 1941, the town was still largely unpopulated and thus a second heavy death roll was avoided. Although several high explosives were used, this was really an incendiary attack. Locally it is still referred to as “the fire blitz” which is an accurate and expressive description of a memorable night. Thousands of incendiaries were showered over the town and fires sprang up at scattered points. As the flames gained hold, high explosives crashed down, hindering the work of the fire fighters who turned out very quickly and performed valued service.

Several planes took part in the attack. They were over the area almost before the last note of the siren had died and immediately the air was filled with a curious hollow, rattling sound. It was a sound which could not be localised or identified. It started in the distance and quickly grew louder and more intense until the whole sky was filled with it and the drone of the planes was subdued. “It was like the rattling of ten thousand dry bones” a resident stated afterwards, an apt description. Startled citizens staring skywards were not left long to wonder. Fires broke out all round them - and they knew that the unusual sound was caused by falling incendiaries.

Pembroke Dock was ringed with flame and the horizon was soon shimmering with bright, white, intense light. Inside the circle of fire the following formations of raiders poured their bombs with the usual lack of discrimination. The explosives were mostly of the smaller type and they fell on empty houses, in gardens and open spaces, and a few in the streets. But the town did not escape without paying a toll in life, The whole of the borough was deeply grieved to learn the next day that two lads of tender years, Arthur Kavanagh, aged 13, and Cyril Jenkins, aged 18, of Bufferland, both ARP. messengers, had been killed by blast. These lads, with the grand exuberance of youth, were energetically extinguishing incendiaries in a field alongside Bufferland when a stick of explosives fell right alongside them. A well-known resident, Mr. Jack Baskerville, High Street, was killed in the same area while helping his children out into the fields. The blast caught him but the children were saved. Down in Pembroke Street an R.A.F. man sacrificed his life to save his wife. The couple were hurrying to shelter when a bomb screamed down beside them. The husband threw himself upon his wife on the ground, was caught by the blast and killed. His wife, protected by his body, was uninjured, except for shock. On the Neyland side a house received a direct hit killing the four people in it - Mrs. Margaret Evans and her daughter, Mrs. E. M. Evans; Mrs. Esther Griffiths and her daughter, Miss Esther Griffiths.

When the siren sounded many people left their homes and hurried out along the Top Road, rightly or wrongly the practice of seeking shelter in cellars, etc., having become very unpopular since the May raid. There was quite a crowd on the road just outside Pembroke Dock when a bomb was heard – “coming straight at us” one of them said afterwards. The distant whine grew to a rushing, tearing screech and the frightened people threw themselves into the hedges and on to the road, sure that their last moments had come. The bomb landed plumb in the middle of the road but failed to explode! There were many other escapes just as lucky.

Watched from Pembroke, this raid was an awesome spectacle. Fire appeared completely to envelop the town, and through it dark clouds of smoke billowed and played, Every few moments there would be a bright flash against the red glow as the bombs exploded, The darkness above was broken by the golden, rippling stars of anti-aircraft fire and the dot-dot-dot of machine gun bullets as one `plane after another tried to shoot down the barrage balloons which obstructed their path. The whole scene was a confusion of darkness and light and noise, awesome and well-nigh overwhelming.

“Pembroke Dock is burning to the ground” was the word that went round, and no one thought it an exaggeration. After the phantasmagoria of the night people were surprised next morning to find Pembroke Dock so little changed. Traces of fire, of exhaustion, of tragedy there were, but the town still stood with no widespread havoc left behind by the vicious assault.

The Boroughs fire fighting and A.R,P, services had again performed grand service, They and civilians,  extinguished innumerable small fires and dealt successfully with some big ones as well, including one in Commercial Row where a shop was completely destroyed and a number of houses extensively damaged.  On the following day, the German High Command communique stated:

“Minor formations of the German Air Force last night attacked harbour installations at Pembroke on the Bristol Channel. Two large and three small fires were observed”.

One night in March several bombs fell in and around Pembroke Dock, but little damage was done. One raider flying low over the town met a terrific barrage and it later crashed into the sea.

From then on there were isolated incidents but Pembroke Dock had survived.

Tank Fire – Question:

What were the effects of the oil pollution on the population of the town and those who fought the Tank Fire?

I searched all the records I could find and could not find a report on humans.

This was the only report found – an old torn carbon copy.


INTERIM REPORT.                                                             


This interim report is issued at the request of the farmers and others concerned. It will be appreciated that no scientific investigation can be conducted to a time-table; and in this particular instance, the un­precedented nature of the case has necessitated  a more than usual amount of specialised and prolonged study.

From the strictly scientific and academic points of view the investigation is not yet concluded, but it is considered that sufficient data have been collected to justify the issue of this interim statement.


The tanks were bombed at 3 p.m. on the 19th August, 1940; the fire resulting there from burned for 18 days being extinguished on September 5th. From August l9th to August 24th, the direction of the wind varied between north and north-west, with the result that oil and smoke were carried, and deposited over, a belt of land extending across south Pembrokeshire in a south-westerly direction. This area (which will be referred to as the "oil belt”) was comparatively well defined, and measured approximately 6 miles in length by 1 1/2 to 2 miles in width.

In the oil belt, buildings, agricultural machinery, gate-posts, and vegetation of all kinds, were heavily bespattered and contaminated with oil. Produce of market gardens was entirely spoilt, and the leaves of such, vegetables as sugar beet were severely damaged in the fields. Serious losses of sheep occurred throughout the belt, and a number of cattle also died. The condition of the surviving animals which had been on "oiled" pastures was markedly reduced; and the milk yield dropped suddenly and heavily.

The weather had been excessively dry for many weeks previous to the bombing; and the first real rain fell during the night of September 19th-20th.


Chemical analyses and animal feeding experi­ments were carried out by Mr. R.O. Davies, M.Sc., University College of Wales, Aberystwyth; and general observations in the field, postmortem, pathological and bacteriological examinations were conducted by the writer.

Contents of tanks:- Crude Fuel Oil.

Origin of oil:- Trinidad . (as stated by the Admiralty)

Analysis (as supplied by Admiralty):­

Specific Gravity  @ 60 F.                   0.9565.

Flash point (Pensley-Martens)            194 F.

Viscosity (Redwood. in secs).

            @ 60 F                  194.                                   @ 32 F.                 919.                       Sulphur                 1.17%                                     Water.                   0.5 %


Degrees of Contamination:

 Contamination of vegetation in market gardens and fields was, of course, particularly severe in the immediate vicinity of the tanks; but stock was removed from the pastures as quickly as possible. Deposition  of  oil drops commenced on the day of the fire, and continued for 24-72 hours, the longest period of downpour being at a distance of 3-5 miles from the tanks.

At 3 miles distance the produce of a large market garden was completely ruined in spite of a 12 foot high wall surrounding it. At a distance of 6 miles, i.e. towards the end of the belt, deposition persisted for several days.

On certain farms in the oil belt a number of fields escaped the oil fall. This could be verified by observation of the unspattered appearance of the gate-posts and fences; and the fact would appear to be of some significance in connection with animal losses (see below).


Quantities of grey-blue, flaky scale were deposited with the oil up to a distance of 5 miles from the tanks. This material consisted of iron, iron oxide, and paint; but special analysis revealed small proportions of lead and copper. There was no trace of arsenic.         

Premises Involved:

Mrs Jenner. Pennar.

NB. In this case stock was lost by fire and a claim has been entered in that respect. The case is included so that the list of premises concerned may be complete.

Mr       T. Phillips, 54, Military Road, Pennar.

Mr       G. M. Donovan, 10, Ferry Road, Pennar.

Mr       Reg Lewis, Glenavon Pennar.

Mr       R. W. Jones, West Grove

Mr       J. Ll. Morris, Brownslade.

Mr       W. G. Wynne, Mellaston.

Mr       J. W. Morris  Bowett.

Mr       A. Hitchcox, Orielton Gardens.

Mr       J. M. Thomas West Orielton.

Mr       A. H. Richards.Valasthill.

Mr       L. B. Roberts.Lyserry.            

Mr       E. C. Roberts.Loveston.         

Mr       F J. Jones,Sampson.

Mr       W. James  Carew.

Mr       W. Henton, Glebe, Cosherston.

Mr       T. H. Griffiths, Style.  

Mr       T. C. Murray, Buckspool.

Note:-  The above list is in order (as far as possible) of proximity to the tanks; not in order of importance from point of view of losses.


Full details will be given in the final report, but the following facts have emerged during the investigation:­

Apart from the immediate vicinity of the tanks, the greatest contamination of crops took place at Valasthill, some 4 miles from them.

Barley after threshing was dark in colour, and difficulty was experienced in disposing of it. This matter was, however, further complicated by the fatal effect of oil­ contaminated food on experimental guinea-pigs. In view of these experiments, it was considered necessary to notify all concerned that feeding stuffs contaminated by oil must be considered unsatisfactory for stock-feeding, if not actually dangerous.


It must be pointed out that the oil used in the above experiments was obtained

from a tank, the greater part of the contents of which had been burnt.

Germination tests of barley were carried out at Aberystwyth in October. The results were satisfactory, but further tests were advised nearer sowing time, in case of possible "delayed action" on the part of the oil.

In view of the feeding experiments, and other evidence which accumulated in connection with losses of farm animals, contaminated grain could not be conscientiously recommended for anything but seed; and then only if further germination tests proved satisfactory. Considerable quantities of grain (chiefly barley) were affected throughout the oil belt. On the leaves of vegetables such as sugar beet, the oil appeared to exercise a corrosive and withering effect. This was very evident on a field of sugar beet at Buckspool (inspected on October l8th) where the oil had fallen on only one part of the field. The contaminated leaves showed distinct withering, the affected area being noticeable on the first glance over the field. On close inspection the leaves seemed to be "eaten" in places. The holes appeared to be due to the oil drops, as many showed a shining black oily rim. No parasites could be found.

Rain appeared to have practically no effect in washing the oil off the herbage. Grass taken on November 26th from part of a field which had remained ungrazed since the oil fell, was found to be contaminated to the extent of over three per cent, in spite of extremely heavy rain during previous weeks.



Within a few days after the bombing, sheep and cattle throughout the oil belt began to lose condition, and became progressively, and fairly rapidly, emaciated. This loss of condition was quite obvious in October, even after supplementary feeding.

Milk Yield:­

The milk yield dropped within 3 days from the bombing to from one-half to one-third of the previous total. Owing to the excessively dry summer, the yield had been gradually diminishing, but such a sudden and severe drop could not be attributed to the same cause.


At Valasthill, the gallonage dropped from 283 gallons in August to 86 gallons in September.

At Buckspool, 12 gallons were sent off on August l8th, and only 3 gallons on the 21st.

At Sampson the gallonage went down from 19 gallons to 10 gallons during the same Period.

Compararable diminution occurred on other farms in the area.  


Again, the following is a summary of results.


The most serious losses occurred among sheep. These began in September and cases had been examined by Mr. E.P.M. Drewett, M.R.C.V S., Pembroke, and Mr Watson, M. R.C.V.S., Haverfordwest, who had come to the conclusion that the condition was of an obscure nature, but were inclined finally to suspect the oil. For some time, however, the oil was not suspected, and the actual investigation was not commenced until the beginning of October; but cases were still occurring, so that it was possible to observe the course of the condition, and to make postmortem and other examinations.

Affected sheep all showed similar symptoms and post-mortem appearance. A number of cattle also died in the area concerned. These did not show the same symptoms exactly as did the sheep, but all showed identical and somewhat unusual post-mortem appearances.

1. Sheep Losses:­

The following points are worthy of note:­

(a) No similar cases have occurred within the experience of local farmers or veterinary practitioners; nor, indeed, within the experience of the writer.

(b) No case showing the characteristic symptoms occurred outside the confines oil the oil belt.

(c) In the case of adjacent farms where one escaped the oil, and the pastures of the other were contaminated, only the sheep on the contaminated farm were affected.

(d) In the case of farms on which certain fields escaped the oil, only those sheep in the contaminated fields were affected. The difference in condition between sheep on clean and oiled fields was particularly well marked on the farm of Brownslate.

(e) All sheep in the oil belt were reported to have been in good, saleable condition previous to August 19th. This statement was substantiated by inspection of the flocks on Brownslate and other farms.

(f) The most serious losses occurred on the farm of Valasthill where analysis had shown the greatest crop  contamination apart from the immediate vicinity of the tanks, from which area stock were removed.

(g) A slight recrudescence of the condition occurred on the farm of Lyserry after some trouble-free weeks, subsequent to the pasturing of sheep on part of a field which had remained ungrazed since the oil fell.

Analysis of grass from the part of the field in question revealed 3.12% oil contamination.

Sheep involved:­

Ewes, lambs and rams were affected. Out of a total of 223 deaths, the proportions were as follows:­

Ewes 90

Lambs 123

Rams 5

The above figures are affected by the findings in para (d) above.

Percentage losses:­

On 8 farms in the oil belt the percentage losses varied from 2.4;% to 80.8% in flocks numbering from 30  to 194 sheep. The higher percentage refers, of course, to Valasthill, where 76 sheep were lost out of 94. (see above).

The losses diminished from Valasthill south-eastwards, as the oil fall lessened.

Limits of outbreak:­

As far as could be ascertained by questioning farmers and veterinary practitioners, and by reference to diaries etc., the condition was first observed on September 3rd, i.e. 15 days after the oil commenced to fall; again at Valasthill.

Approximately three-quarters of the losses occurred during September, before the investigation actually commenced; but information from the most reliable sources left no doubt that the sheep examined in October were similarly affected to those of the previous month; indeed, a considerable number of the former first showed symptoms towards the end of September.

The condition had practically disappeared by the end of the third week in October. Two sheep developed typical symptoms on November 26th, after spending 14 days on pasture ungrazed since the oil fell.

The flock had been personally inspected on November 11th, when all sheep appeared normal, except for loss in condition. They were put on the pasture in question the next day. Apart from the above cases, a few isolated ones were encountered in November and December, but these were not quite typical in certain respects (see below).

Course of Condition:

The period between the appearance of symptoms and death was variable. A comparatively small minority died within a week, but others took 4 weeks and even longer. The average interval might be put at 14 days. Some animals recovered spontaneously, and others after treatment.


The principal symptom was accumulation of fluid in the peritoneal cavity. This was, indeed, almost the only symptom, apart from evidence of jaundice in the later stages. There was no evidence of pain, fever or nervous disorder; nor was there diarrhoea. The ascites was progressive, and the amount of fluid varied from one to between 3 and 4 gallons; but even severely dropsically sheep were remarkably lively and difficult to catch. The swelling was confined to the abdomen, there being no sub-maxillary or sub-thoracic oedema.

Acceleration of pulse and respirations was observed as the ascites progressed. Generally speaking, death supervened within 24 hours from the time the sheep was unable to rise.


The fluid was quite clear, almost colourless and germ-free. There was no peritonitis. The liver was the chief organ affected. The capsule was smooth, with no evidence whatever of injury. There was some enlargement of the gall­ bladder in the later stages. On incision of the liver, the cut surface showed, as it were, a network of blood-red threads throughout the tissue. Microscopic examinations revealed an extensive focal necrosis.

It may here be mentioned that, after returning to Cardiff the writer submitted a stained liver section to the Pathology Department of the Welsh National School of Medicine, with a request for diagnosis. No personal opinion, and no history or background of any kind were given. The report concluded with the following statement;

“The liver lesion may be regarded as a toxic focal necrosis of the type produced by chemical poisoning. It especially resembles the lesions produced by some of the toxic hydrocarbons”.

In some of the older ewes, slight gastritis was observed. Only portions of the edges of the abomasal (4th stomach) folds were involved. In the case of an apparently recovered animal, which was later killed, scars were present on the edges of the folds.

The blood and lymph glands showed no apparent changes, and the remaining organs were comparatively normal. The kidneys were pale in cases of comparatively long standing.

The attempts on the part of the body to repair damage in the case of both liver and stomach lining were noticed almost exclusively in the sheep examined in November and December.

Determination of Cause:­

The following possible causes would appear to have been eliminated by analytical and other examinations:­

1  Bacteria.

2  Metallic poisons, including lead.

3. Plant Poisons, including ragwort.

4. Internal Parasites, including Liver Fluke and Stomach Worms.

Special attention was paid to the possibility of fluke, in view of the dropsical condition.


2. Cattle Losses:­

Post-mortem examinations were conducted on a number of cattle which died during October and November, after showing symptons of liver trouble.

In every instance, enlargement of the liver and gall-bladder and enlargement and impaction of the omasum (3rd stomach), were constant features.

The enlargement of the gall-bladder was very marked; in one instance, the contents amounted to just under one gallon of bile. The macroscopic appearance of the liver was not similar to that in the sheep; and, for various reasons, it was not possible to make microscopic examinations; but the general appearance was that of fatty degeneration, rather than “liver rot”. In some cases, but not in all, biliary cirrhosis was evident; and in those cases a few flukes (not more than 12) were found.

The enlargement of the omasum was also very pronounced, as well as the impaction; and this was present in all cases, irrespective of flukes or apparent fluke damage.

In one case, scars similar to those in the abomasum of the sheep above mentioned, were observed. There were no dropsical symptoms; but, as no cases with similar post-mortem appearances were encountered outside the oil belt, either by the writer or, from all accounts, by local veterinary practitioners, they were regarded with considerable suspicion.


The following is a summary of the collected evidence relating to the various possible causes; with special reference to sheep.

NB. The facts that:

(a) no similar cases had previously occurred; and that

(b) all cases were confined to the oil belt, should be borne in mind.


1. Bacteria:- The distribution and course of the condition, as well as the general condition of affected sheep, and absence of pathogenic organisms, are against this cause.

2. Metallic Poisoning:­

In view of the possibility of poisoning from the scale analyses of various organs were carried out special attention being paid to lead. No lead was found in any sheep liver; and under 2 parts per million of copper in one case (i.e. within normal limits).

Minute quantities of lead and copper were found in the liver of a bullock, but, again, the copper was within the normal limits, and there was reason to suspect that the lead might have come from the metal container in which the sample was sent.

Sheep were affected beyond the limits of the scale deposition.

3. Plant Poisoning:­

No poisonous plants likely to cause the condition were found in the area, (either fresh or dried). The two points in the introduction to this section of the report are also against this cause.

4. Internal Parasites:­

(a) Fluke. No flukes, either mature or immature, and no fluke eggs, could be found either macroscopically or microscopically; with the exception of two November cases. In one of these 6 parasites were found; and in the other, a single fluke only was found.

There was no damage to the liver capsule, and no biliary cirrhosis; nor was there any sub-maxillary or sub­ thoracic oedema. The absence of depression, the remarkable retention of vitality in many cases, and the recoveries, are against this cause.

Furthermore, the condition occurred on farms previously considered safe and which, on Personal  inspection, did not seem in the least likely to harbour the intermediate hosts of the parasites.

It is well known that massive infestation with immature flukes may cause comparatively sudden and decidedly severe, ascites, with death after a fairly short interval; but such a state of affairs postulate a previous mild winter and wet summer, Whereas the opposite was the case in this instance. The condition of the liver and ascitic fluid, were also opposed to this theory; and it is impossible to believe that any fluke, however immature, could have escaped detection,

(b) Stomach Worms. The number of these parasites was negligible. Routine dosing against them is generally practised in the district; and this was certainly carried out at Valasthill on August 28th.


The Oil and or Products of its Combustion:­

The distinction is an important one, to which full reference will be made in the final report; and it is in this connection that the investigation is still in progress.

In this sub-section, the term  “oil” will imply both the oil and/or products of combustion.

Circumstantial evidence:-

The circumstantial evidence against the oil appears almost conclusive as far as the sheep are concerned most of it has already been given, but will be recapitulated here:

Absence of previous cases with the characteristic symptoms and post-mortem appearances.

Cases entirely confined to the oil belt.

In the case of adjacent farms where one escaped the oil and the pastures of the other were contaminated, only those sheep on the contaminated fields were affected.

In the case of farms on which certain fields escaped the oil, only those sheep on the contaminated fields were affected.

The most serious losses occurred on the farm where analysis had shown the greatest crop contamination, (apart from the immediate vicinity of the tanks, from which stock were removed).

Recrudescence of the condition in sheep pastured on heavily “oiled grass, ungrazed since the oil fell; after the flock had been normal (except for loss of condition) for several Weeks.

Diminution in losses as oil fall lessened.

No other cause discoverable.

(b) Direct Evidence:- Work to this end is still in progress; but oil from one of the tanks, in which the bulk of it had burnt away before the fire was extinguished, has proved fatal to guinea-pigs.

The entirely ex parte statement of the Pathology Department of the Welsh National School of Medicine concerning the nature, and implications, of the liver lesion, is significant.

Some delay was experienced in obtaining sample of oil for experimental purposes, but this was overcome, and experiments are now being conducted on sheep.


In view of the evidence, incomplete though it is and on consideration of all the factors involved, the conviction that the oil and /or products of its combustion, is the cause of the  losses among sheep would appear to be conclusive.

The responsibility of the oil for the cattle losses is not so definite; but, in view of the apparent predilection of the oil for the liver in the case of sheep, one is inclined to regard it with grave suspicion.

The rapid loss in condition of animals on contaminated fields, and the sudden and heavy drop in the milk yield can not, as far as can be ascertained , be attributed to anything but the oil.

The oil damage to crops and vegetables is obvious; and the feeding experiments point the danger of the Contamination.


This matter was thoroughly gone into in the course of the investigation; and it is quite evident that the financial losses will seriously handicap food production in the area concerned. Some farmers have lost several years rent, and have been forced to purchase cake and other supplementary feeding stuffs to try to restore condition and milk production. Others cannot afford to buy artificial manure necessary for certain crops: and others, again, who would have normally bought cows in order to keep up the milk supply, are now unable to do so.

In view of the urgent necessity for food production of every kind at the present time, and of the impracticability of producing even peace-time quantities in the area concerned, owing to the losses, one would emphatically suggest that compensation would be, sound investment on the part of the  ----- (document torn).

NB. This interim report has been so urgently requested, in order that claims may not be prejudiced by undue delay, that there has been no time to communicate with Mr R. O. Davies, who is responsible for a considerable part of the investigation. Some of his work (from preliminary report) is contained in this statement i.e., those parts relating to analyses and seeding experiments.  

Signed    Norman  Russell

M.R.C.V.S, Veterinary Investigation Officer for South Wales and Monmouthshire.

University College of South Wales and Monmouthshire, Cathays, Cardiff.

February 14, 1941.


U-861s - Link with Pembroke Dock.  

This U boat survived a long voyage to Penang and back in 1944 and sank five merchant ships on route.

This submarine under Captain Jurgen Oesten then amazingly finished her active days in the Royal Naval Dockyard at Pembroke Dock.

After leaving Penang she became a blockade runner for the return voyage to Europe.

Upon Surrender in May 1945 at Tronheim , Norway, the Navy took her to Pembroke Dock with 20 of her German crew and proceeded to unpack her keel which was still full of contraband.  She was carrying 144 tons of wolfram, iodine, tin and rubber,  all  desperately needed by Germany.

The "U" boat was thrown open to the public from 15th to 20th of June 1945.  Finally on 21st June she was officially visited by the Mayor and Mayoress of Haverfordwest and the Chairman of Milford Haven Urban District Council, with the respective District Councillors.

"U-861s" last voyage was to Lisahally, Northern Ireland where she was due to be scuttled on New Years Eve 1945.  She managed to have her tow slipped and with more defiance had to be sunk by gunfire from the Polish destroyer "Vlyskawica".  

With acknowledgements  to Captain Oesten of "U-861", Mr Walter Irland of Milford Haven and Dr Arthur Banks.


[1] Book of Llandav  124,  255.

[2] History of Pembroke Dock.

[3] The Parish of Pembroke Dock.

[4] I.P.M. Edward II files 84 & 85.

[5] Historical Tour of Pembrokeshire.

Return to P    Return to Gazetteer

Pembroke  (Documents and matters relating to the History of) (C) B.H.J.Hughes 1998

Pembroke: Intro and Descriptions.    

1100 acc/to Giraldus Cambrensis.     

1589 George Owens Pembroke.        

1700 approx.  


Pembroke Historical Records.

Pembroke  Accounts 1330s.  

Translation Of The Charter Of  Richard II To Pembroke.    

ELECTIONS  Pembroke.      

Pembroke Castle.

Pembroke Castle contents.1330-       

Civil War.

Places of Religious Worship.

Pembroke    St Mary    Parish of Pembroke.  

Pembroke  St Michael's.         

St Annes Chapel.       





Golden. Pembroke St. Mary's.           





Grammer School.       

Education 1847.         


Fulling Mills.  


Land Tax 1791 St Mary's Parish.       

Land Tax 1791 St Michael's Parish.  

Hearth Tax 1670.       

Names associated with Pembroke.    




Haggars Cinema.



Pembroke Introduction.

According to the Llandaff records the lands of this area belonged to St Teilo.

Amongst the various documents contained in the collection known as The book of Llan Dav which were brought together in connection with the claim of Landaff to episcopal jurisdiction over all churches of Teilo’s foundation, wherever situated are several lists of the churches thus claimed, the lists being unquestionably of earlier date than the collection within which they are preserved. The churches which fall into what may be termed the Teilo area of the later county of Pembroke include

In the deanery of Penbro.

Lann rath.  - this is believed to be Amroth.- the earliest records of the name Llanreath were in 1833 when it was spelt Land reath.

Din guennhaf in Lonion villa tantum.

Gwenafs Fortification  in Lonion.

Goldern Hill (Llanion is a little north of the site.)


1100 acc/to Giraldus Cambrensis The Journey Through Wales.

The province of Pembroke comes next after Rhos, lying towards the south and by the sea: indeed, a branch of the sea divides the two. Its main town, also called Pembroke, is the capital of Dyved. It is built high up on an oblong plateau of rock, and it extends along the north and the south of an inlet of the sea which runs down from Milford Haven. Hence its name Pembroke, which means the head of the estuary.

Arnulf de Montgomery was the first to build a fortification here, from wooden stakes and turf, in the days of Henry I, King of the English. It was not very strong and it offered little resistance. When he went back to England, Arnulf left the fortress and a small garrison in the charge of Gerald of Windsor, a stalwart, cunning man, who was his constable and lieutenant. Without more ado the inhabitants of South Wales began to lay siege to the place. They had just lost their prince, Rhys ap Tewdwr, a warlike leader, who had been betrayed by his own troops in Brecknockshire, and they were left with his son, Gruffydd, who was still a boy. Under cover of darkness fifteen knights deserted the fortress in desperation, clambered into a boat and tried to escape over the water. The very next morning Gerald transferred their estates to fifteen of his own men-at-arms, dubbing them there and then as knights. The siege lasted a long time, and those inside were greatly reduced and near the end of their tether. When they had hardly any provisions left, Gerald, who, as I have said, was a cunning man, created the impression that they were still well supplied and were expecting reinforcements at any moment: for he took four hogs, which was about all that they had, cut them into sections and hurled them over the palisade at the besiegers. The following day he thought of an even more ingenious stratagem. He signed a letter with his own seal and had it placed just outside the lodging of Wilfred, Bishop of St Davids, who chanced to be in the neighbourhood. There it would be picked up almost immediately, and the finder would imagine that it had been dropped accidentally by one of          Geralds messengers. The purport of the letter was that the constable would have no need of reinforcements from Arnulf for a good four months. When this despatch was read to the Welsh, they immediately abandoned the siege and went off home.

The next thing Gerald did was to marry Nest the sister of Gruffydd, Prince of South Wales, with the object of giving himself and his troops a firmer foothold in the country. In the process of time she bore him a large number of children, both boys and girls. With the help of this family the sea-coast of South Wales was held secure by the English, and Ireland, too, was stormed.

1589 George Owens Pembroke.

The town of Pembroke standeth upon a long back or ridge of rock, being all one street in length without any cross streets. and being walled about with a strong wall of lime and stone and compassed on each side with a branch of Milford, being the upper end of the creek of Pennarmouth where the said creek parteth itself in two and, running up on each side of the town, compasseth the same as a strong moat, flowing at every tide in such sort that no access on horse or foot is permitted to the town but over two bridges, the town having three gates only and the town walls being strongly defended with six flanker towers in such sort as out of them the whole walls may be scoured and defended from approach of enemies. And in some of the same towers are fair springs of clear, sweet running water for the necessary relief of the people within the town, not to be cut off by any means.

At the west end of the town on the part where the said creek parteth itself into two branches standeth a fair, strong and large castle, strongly walled with a mighty thick wall all built of lime and stone, having within the gate two large courts, an inner and an outer, being compassed with strong garretted walls and set forth in the outer parts with divers flanker towers of all sorts necessary for the defence thereof. The said castle is seated upon a high main rock of thirty and in most places forty foot high, naturally steep in most places and the rest easily to be made in such sort that if the castle walls might be battered (as most thereof cannot be), yet were it not possible to ascend up the said rock to enter the breach, the same being so high and inaccessible. Besides, the tides daily flow about the same and the ooze and slime whereof the channel is full doth mightily defend the said castle from any assault of enemies.

This castle is thought almost impregnable. The weakest part thereof is a small ditch that joineth to the town, which is only defended with a dry ditch, and which may be made very strong and deep. The town walls springeth from the said castle and, stretching forth on each side of the said town, enclose the whole town, as it were, within one outer or base court of the said castle. All the castle walls are standing very strong without decay, only the roofs and leads having been taken down. Within the said castle there is the great cave called the Wogan, able if occasion were to receive a great multitude of people, being a place free from all assaults or battery, and in the same is a well of fresh water of great depth which cannot be taken away by any means possible, serving for the use of the people within the said castle. The gate or entrance of the said castle is made strong divers ways, as with drawbridges and portcullises and other means.

1700 approx

Daniel Defoe records- we crossed over the isthmus to Pembroke which stands on the East shore of the great haven of Milford.

This is the largest and richest and at this time, the most flourishing town of all south Wales. Here are a great many English merchants and some of them men of good business and they told us there were nearly 200 sail of ships belonging to the town small and great. ............called little England beyond Wales.

At that time he says that St David’s cathederal was in much decay with the roof of the south aisle and the east end of the cathederal fallen in.



The Scenery, Antiquities and Biography of South Wales   Benj Heath Malkin.

As you proceed up the harbour, this magnificent piece of water is forked by a peninsula in front, dividing the great reach up to Burton Ferry from Down Pool which forms so interesting an approach to Pembroke. Here, as in all the numerous estuaries and creeks branching out from the great body the scenery becomes richer as less expanded. Fertility and beauty combine. The approach from the water shews the castle and the town to the most possible advantage. The noble and extensive ruin, hanging on the edge of the pool, with the mouth of the cavern opening as a sally port and the buildings of the ancient borough crouching under its command. The petty trade giving life to the scene without obscuring its predominant features of rural interest.       

The town is old and has declined in the same proportion as Haverfordwest has risen in importance. The buildings about the water side and generally in the suburbs are verging fast on a state of decay; but the principal street which is long and wide has a very respectable appearance though without the air of business generally expected in a county town. It has however its attractions to call the people of Castlemartin together or days of great rejoicing   Sir Hugh Owens roast Ox produced a jovial confusion as could be witnessed in a better place. It is situated in a plentiful country; it has little or no trade; and under the circumstances affords a cheap retirement to many families with slender incomes.

Pembroke- Historical Records.

1066   Norman Conquest of England

1077 - began the reign of Rhys ap Tewdwr, the last Prince of South Wales. His accession met, apparently, with little opposition. The legend that he returned from exile in Brittany to claim the throne of his ancestors is an embellishment of later chroniclers.

These were troublous times for Dyfed. In 1078 Menevia was “miserably devastated” by the pagans, and Bishop Abraham was slain. [This was the Bishop the tombstone of whose sons was found in the late 1900s in the cathedral]. The venerable Sulien, who had resigned only two years before, was compelled to resume his Episcopal charge - It was not long before the saintly old man, who had reluctantly quitted his retirement was called upon to take part in still more stirring scenes. Rhys ap Tewdwr was unable to protect the ecclesiastical metropolis of his dominions and was being hard pressed from another quarter. Trahaiarn ap Caradog from North Wales, joined by the chiefs of Powys and Gwent, tried to expand his kingdom into the South – Rhys found his natural ally in Gruffydd ap Conan, who, as he had been beaten back in his attacks on the North of Wales previously joined Rhys in the south.

His forces probably landed at Porth Cais and where met and blessed by the Bishop.

The battle was fought in Cardiganshire and Traihaiarn and the Chiefs of Powys and of Gwent were killed.  Gruffydd became ruler of North Wales and Rhys the South.

Gruffydd was betrayed into the hands of the Normans later by one of his own chiefs and was inprisoned at Chester.

[Brut y Tywysogyon].

It would appear from the Domesday Book that Rhys paid an annual sum of £40 to King William - this would indicate some sort of agreement with him. We also know that Neste Rhys’ Daughter was, some say educated, some say held as a hostage at the King’s Court.

When this payment started we do not know.

In 1081 William the Conquerer came to St David’s on pilgrimage.

William the Conquerer died in 1087.

Rhys ap Tewdwr met his death at 1093 when he was killed in battle by an old enemy.  Jestyn - a relative who was ruler of Glamorgan and who was aided by the son of a welsh ruler from the Cardigan district called Einion. Einion had fought with the Normans in several campaigns and enlisted the help of some of his Norman friends especially one called Fitzhamon who with eleven of his friends joined the force to raid the lands belonging to Rhys. Einon was promised the hand of Jestyns daughter Nesta  as reward for his support. Rhys who was about 90 was captured with his sons and all beheaded.

[Brut y Tywysogyon].

As far as I have been able to find out Rhys was survived by three children. I suspect his eldest son was the Rhys killed in 1081. The rest all but an infant Gruffydd died with him. He was survived by two daughters Nesta who was at the court of the English King and Angharad.

This left the whole area of South Wales in complete flux. There was no one capable of succeeding Rhys - Rhys’s wife was dead - his son was an infant. The only relative other than his daughters able to rule was Einion and there was so much hostility towards him that he dare not appear in the area.

In fact Einion had troubles enough. Jestyn had paid off the Normans etc., who had supported him but refused to carry out his promise to Einion regarding Nesta.

Einion was very angry about this and contacted his Norman friends. They returned and Jestyn had to flee. They divided Jestyns estates up among them - Einion had the poorest portion, Miskin, but he also was promised Nesta and her personal property. Nesta though was at the Norman Court and a favourite of Henry I.

The Northern parts of the Estates belonging to Rhys were being invaded from the North.

A Norman Knight Martin de Turribus, who held lands in both Somerset and Devon,  landed at Newport and set up a base at Nevern where he proceeded to defeat the Welsh at a battle at Morvill. It is interesting that the people living at Meline, Eglwyswrw and Nantgwyn are recorded as welcoming him without resistance. What is also not recorded is that his grandson Sir William Martin was married to Angharad daughter of Lord Rhys whose land it was as she had inherited it from her father. It is very interesting as we shall see in the south that when tracing the estates in the north part of the county many of those who came into the hands of the Normans came, not by conquest but by marriage.  Most of the Normans were single men and took Welsh wives.

As Brut y Tywysogyon says Cadwagan ap Bleddyn was plundering Dyfed

while Maryin de Turribus was reclaiming in the North the property belonging to Angharad inherited from Rhys. Arnulph de Montgomery came to the South. He was the son of Roger the great Earl of Shrewsbury.

Roger de Belesme had not come to England with William the Conquerer - he was the knight entrusted by William to help William’s wife Matilda rule Normandy in his absence so therefore must have been well trusted by the King.

From Arnulph’s father the Welsh Montgomery takes its name, though the castle was built by a knight called Baldwin in the Conquerors time. Roger retook it from the Welsh in 1090 and named it after the Norman seat of his family. He was perhaps the most influential and turbulent baron in Europe , and had married Mabel (the wicked daughter of wicked William Talvas), heiress of the grand old house of Belesme. This evil dame bore him five sons:

The notorious Robert; who assumed the title and lands of Belesme when his mother was murdered in her bath.

William, a clerk.

Hugh of Chester, called by the Welsh, - Goch - (the Red), and slain by them in 1098

Robert of Poitou .

Arnulph, who seized Southern Pembrokeshire .

A sister - Mabel, married Fitz Hamon whose name is associated with a few acts of murder and double dealing in connection with Glamorgan.

Of this family Henry of Huntingdon says that their sins were enough to frighten the devils themselves.


Roger de Montgomery (father of Arnulph) died. He had been made earl of Shrewsbury in 1071.

1095 (1097)

Brut y Tyw (Rhys), p272;  [also Ann. Camb., pp30 31]

Geralt, the steward, to whom had been assigned the stewardship of the castle of Penuro , ravaged the boundaries of Mynyv.

1090s? first charter of Pembroke granted.

1098 August 17

(Cal. Doc. France , ed. Round pp237 8 No.666)

Notification that Arnulf of Montgomery, son of earl Roger, has given to the church of St Martin of Seez, for the souls of his father Roger and his brother Hugh who was slain that year, the church of St Nicholas at Pembroch, (ecclesiam santi Nicholai in eodem castro positam) a castle of his in Wales and twenty carucates of land, together with all that his men had given or should give to the abbey. He promised that he would give other land of his lying in England , sufficient to provide footgear for the brethren of the abbey. This gift he made that he might retain nothing for himself of all the rents and dues of the land, giving even his woods for the needs of the monks, namely for building, and firing and pannage, throughout his demesne. (Episcopal Acts relating to Welsh Dioceses 1066 1272   James Conway Davies Vol 1).


(Cal.Doc.France, ed Round pp238 No668).

Notification that Arnulf de Montgomery, son of earl Roger has given to the church of St Martin of Seez  yearly ten pounds from England to be charged on the tithes of his churches and to be applied half to the footgear of the brethren at Seez, and half to the brethren at Pembroke on their buildings. Appended are the names of those who witnessed the kings confirmation: The king, Anselm, archbishop, Wilfrid, bishop, Arnulf, son of earl Roger, Robert fitz Hamon.

(Episcopal Acts relating to Welsh Dioceses 1066 1272  James Conway Davies Vol 1).


(Cal.Doc.France, ed Round pp238 No667).

Memorandum of payments due to the abbey of St Martin of Seez and the brethren of Pembroke.... from the castle church, twenty shillings. (Episcopal Acts relating to Welsh Dioceses 1066 1272  James Conway Davies Vol 1).


William Rufus died, Henry 1 became King.


Brut y Tywysogyon: 

“One Thousand and one hundred (actually 1102) was the year of Christ when there was treachery between Henry, king of England and Robert, earl of Shrewsbury, who was called de Belleme, and Arnulf, his brother, who had come to Dyfed and had established the castle of Pembroke.  And when the king heard that they were working treachery against him, he summoned them to find out the truth concerning that.   But they sought pretexts to make an excuse, for they could not trust themselves to the king.  And the king rejected their excuses after learning of their treachery.  And when they knew that the king had learned of their treachery, and they dared not show themselves to him, they occupied their castles and fortified them, and summoned help to them from all sides and summoned to them the Britons who were under them, together with their leaders, namely the sons of Bleddyn ap Cynfyn, Cadwgan, Iorwerth and Maredudd.   And they received them with honour, and gave them gifts and promised them many things and gladdened the land with liberty. And a second time they fortified their castles and encompassed them with ditches and strong walls and prepared provision and gathered together knights and gave them gifts. Robert occupied four castles, namely Arundel and Blyth and Bridgenorth and it was against Bridgenorth that the whole treachery had been aimed for he had built that without the king’s permission and Shrewbury.  Arnulf occupied Pembroke alone. And immediately after that they assembled hosts and summoned the Britons along with them. And while they were doing that Arnulf thought to make peace with the Irish and seek aid from them. And he sent messengers, that is, Gerald his officer, and many others, to Ireland and he asked for the daughter of king Muircertach for his wife. And that he obtained easily. The messengers came back joyful. King Muircertach sent his daughter and many armed ships along with her to the aid of his son in law. And for that reason the earls waxed proud against the king, without wishing for peace or agreement from him. And King Henry gradually gathered a host. And first he took the castle of Arundel . And thereupon through agreement and promises he gained possession of Blyth . And at last he came towards the castle of Bridgenorth , and with him a great host. And after surveying the castle from a distance he took council as to how he might capture the earl or subdue him or drive him out of the whole kingdom. And he resolved in council to send messengers to the Britons; and he summoned to him in particular Iorwerth ap Bleddyn, and he promised him more than he would obtain from the Earl. And he gave to Iorwerth freely, without rent or payment, that portion of Wales which was in the hands of those earls, for his lifetime so long as the king lived; that was Powys and Ceredigion and half of Dyfed, the other portion was in the hands of fitz Baldwin and Ystrad Tywi and Cydweli and Gower. And when Iorwerth ap Bleddyn was going towards the kings castle, he sent his war band to plunder the territory of earl Robert. And the war band, cruelly and hostilely executing their  lords behest, gathered vast plunder and ravaged the land and  pillaged it; for the earl had before that ordered his men to take  their flocks and herds and all their chattels into the land of  the Britons, for he placed trust in them, not supposing that he  would meet with opposition from them, not remembering the wrongs  that the Britons had formerly suffered at the hands of Roger his  father, and Hugh, his brother, and at the hands of their men,  which was held in remembrance by the Britons.

     Cadwgan, however, and Maredudd, sons of Bleddyn, were with the earl, knowing naught of that. And when the earl heard that, he despaired; and not trusting the help that was with him, because  Iorwerth and his men had deserted him  for Iorwerth was foremost  of the Britons and the most powerful, he sought a truce of the king to make peace with him or to leave the kingdom altogether.

     Whilst they were about those things, Arnulf and his men had gone to meet his wedded wife and the fleet that had come to his aid. In the meantime Magnus, king of Germany (correctly of Norway), and with him a fleet, came a second time to Anglesey;  and after felling for himself some trees for timber he returned  to Man. And there he built three castles and a second time filled Man, which he had previously left desolate, with his men. And he asked for the daughter of Muircertach, king of Ireland , as a wife for his son. And he obtained her easily and gladly. And he set him up as king over that island. And there he stayed that winter.

            And when Earl Robert heard that, he sent messengers to him to beg help for himself; but he obtained none from him. And when the earl saw that he was besieged on all sides, he asked permission of the king to leave the kingdom; and the king granted it to him. And then he left all that was his and sailed to Normandy . And then the king sent to Arnulf and commanded him to go after his brother and to leave the kingdom or else to come at the kings will with his head in his lap. And when Arnulf heard that, he preferred to go after his brother than to submit to the kings will, and he surrendered his castle to the king; and the king sent a garrison to keep it.

And after that, Iorwerth ap Bleddyn made peace with his brothers and he shared the territory with them. And after a short while he seized Maredudd, his brother, and imprisoned him in the king’s prison. And he made peace with Cadwgan, his brother, and gave him Ceredigion and a portion of Powys. And thereupon Iorwerth went to the king, thinking that he would have his promises from the king. But the king did not keep faith with him, but took from him Dyfed and the Castle and gave them to a certain knight called Saer. And Ystrad Tywi and Cydweli and Gower he gave to Hywel ap Goronwy”.

1102   1135

The Crown - Henry I - held Pembroke Castle. For some of this time Gerald de Windsor was Custodian

[Princess Nesta - The King arranged that she should marry Gerald de Windsor who held the castle of Pembroke fabulously beautiful - (Henry 1st wife by an arranged marriage did not approve of him keeping his mistress and bastards at court.) - her dowry inherited from her father was Carew Castle - and one third of the estates of her father Rhys ap Twder. A writer at the time said of her - daughter and sister of a prince, wife of an adventurer, concubine of a King, paramour of every daring lover... a Welshwomen whose passions embroiled all Wales, and England too, in war...mother of heroes, grandmother of Giraldus Cambrensis.

Childrens family names:

FitzStephen - Robert: (father was Stephen, Constable of Cardigan Castle).

seriously wounded in a battle against Owain Gwynedd after a sea borne attack on Anglesey 1157. 1166 Castellan of Cardigan Castle - betrayed to the Welsh under Rhys ap Gruffydd by a Welsh cleric  Rhigyfarch - was imprisoned but released in time to take part in the Invasion of Ireland in 1170. Travelled through Leinster with Dermot King of Leinster acc/to Geraldus in his book on Ireland .

FitzHenry - (father Henry I) - killed in battle against Owain Gwynedd in Anglesey 1157, had a son, Fitzhenry.

Justicar of Ireland in 1199 (Visited by Gerald in that year).


William FitzGerald

Maurice Fitzgerald  one of the principle leaders of the invasion on Ireland - in 1174 held the Castle at Wicklow and the county of Wicklow died 1176,

David FitzGerald - Bishop of St Davids died 1176,

Angharad, married William de Barry they had three children, Robert de Barry, Phillip de Barry, Gerald of Wales (c 1146 -1223).

Carew - William, son of Nesta and probably Henry 1st adopted the style of - de Carew - and inherited the Carew estates.

Nest and her lovers:

Henry I was no more restrained in his passions than any other powerful ruler of the 12c. It made little difference to him that the beautiful Nest, daughter of the Welsh Prince Rhys ap Tudor, had been placed in his care as a royal ward; (she was William Rufus's hostage for the good behaviour of her family) he fell in love with Nest and seduced her, and she bore him a son. In those days, however, there was an accepted way of dealing with such a situation. Nest’s baby son was named Duke of Gloucester and King Henry gave Nest in marriage to one of his barons, Gerald de Windsor - who it seems was in love with her himself. Gerald took his new wife with him to South Wales, where the fame of her beauty soon spread far beyond those parts - as far even as the kingdoms of Gwynedd and Powys in the north. Though Gerald was a Norman Baron and maintained an armed force in Pembroke Castle, he was on terms of slightly uneasy peace with Prince Cadwgan, Welsh ruler of this land of Ceredigion as well as of Powys...... Then came a Christmas when Cadwgan ordained a great Eisteddfod in South Wales, to which everyone of distinction flocked including Nest. And with the guests came Cadwgan’s daredevil son Owain. Owain lived in his father’s second kingdom of Powys, in a hunting lodge called Plas Eglwyseg at the head of a secret glen north of the Dee. Here he had gathered about him a band of reckless fighting- men, with whom he would sally forth by the path he called his war path to hunt or raid or harrass King Henry’s men -at- arms. When he came to his fathers Eisteddfod and set eyes on the lovely Nest he determined at once to carry her off. That very

night he and his men broke into the castle of Pembroke, set fire to it and dragged Nest from her bed and carried her off to Owains retreat at Plas Eglwyseg, where (it appears) she lived quite happily with her captor for some time.

But the mad action of Owain ap Cadwgan brought terrible consequences. King Henry I, appealed to by Gerald de Windsor ordered Prince Cadwgan to restore the stolen countess in pain of losing his kingdoms. Cadwgans attemps to comply met with flat defiance from his son, who eluded all efforts to capture him and war broke out throughout Wales . Norman barons aided Cadwgan’s Welsh rivals to take Powys from him and others robbed him of much of his southern kingdom. The new rulers of Powys disinherited Owain and at last succeeded in driving him out of his refuge at Plas Eglwyseg, whence he fled to Ireland, leaving Nest homeless.

The deserted beauty made her way south to be re-united with Gerald. A year or two later there was an attack by a raiding party from Ireland on South West Wales. This was opposed by Gerald de Windsor in alliance with the welsh. Owain had accompanied the raiders, but now elected to change sides and fight for his native land. In the midst of the battle Gerald recognized Owain, and even though he was fighting on the same  side, he and his bodyguard fell upon Owain and slew him, thus wiping out, to the satisfaction of everyone who counted in those days, the dishonour he had suffered at Owains hands.

Gerald de Windsor ended his warlike career by dying peacefully at his wife’s castle of Carew, (c1120) but his wifes career was not finished thereby. Though her children were now grown up and married, Nest still had her beauty. She transfered her affections to Stephen Constable of Cardigan Castle then to the Sheriff of Pembroke, presenting each of them with a son.


1138 Pembroke made a County Palatine over the land lying south of the Haven.

At the time there was somewhere near the east end of town a Hospice dedicated to Mary Magdalene probably stood outside the Gate towards Merlins Cross.

There were two town crosses one outside the Old Cross Saws the other outside the Lion Hotel but there seems to have been a central meeting place at the Elm tree where the stocks were for the punishment of wrongdoers.

1138 Earldom of Pembroke created and conferred on Gilbert de Clare. His grand daughter’s husband William Marshal succeeded in 1199  he and his sons built castle as it stands today. Well made right angle entrances of a sort designed by the Infidels to resist a battering ram, copied by the Marshals when they got home; the keep now occupies the site once humped by the motte’. Last descendent was John Hastings died 1389.


Fleet sailed from Pembroke in support of Henry II against Owain Gwynedd at least two of Nest's Children sailed - fitz Henry killed, fitz Stephen badly injured.


Invasion of Ireland from Pembroke.


Henry II passed through area on his way to Ireland - Rhys ap Gruffydd officially recognised as ruler of Deheubarth.


-Robert FitzBernard renders his account for eight ships to carry over twenty Knights and five attendants to Ireland 45s. and pay to seven pilots at Pembroke for 47 days £4. 2s. 3d, and fifty three seamen during the same period £15  2s 4d. Wages for five attendants for thirty days 56s. 3d.

1174 5 not dated

Gir Camb.  De Rebus (RS) Vol1 pp25.

William Karquit, sheriff of the province (provincia) ordered his officers and apparitors to take eight yoke of oxen belonging to the priory of Penbroc, where Gerald de Barri was fulfilling his legation, and drive them to the castle. When required for the third time to restore the same, he utterly refused and even promised worse, Gerald sent word to him that unless he restored the oxen he would be placed immediately under sentence of excommunication, to which he replied that he would not dare to excommunicate the king’s constable in his own castle. Gerald replied that when the sheriff heard all the bells of the whole monastery rung at triple intervals then he would know without doubt that he was being excommunicated. immediately the messengers had returned, by authority of his legation, with candles lit, he solemnly gave the sentence of excommunication on him, in the presence of the monks of that place, and many of the clergy of the country, and likewise caused all the bells to be sounded together, as was customary, to confirm the sentence or rather to announce the fact. On the morrow, the robber came to the castle of Lanwadein, before David , the diocesan bishop, and Gerald and his colleague, Master Michael, whom the archbishop had attached to him, who had gone there, restitution having been made and satisfaction given, when he was beaten with rods, he was to be absolved.

(Episcopal Acts relating to Welsh Dioceses 1066 1272  James Conway Davies Vol 1).

1176   1189

Henry II held Pembroke Castle (Minority)

(Gilbert fitzRichard  1176   85; Isabel 1185   89)

1199  16th July Seez

Charter Roll 1 John,m 33 (Rec Com Cal p3).

Among divers premises granted to the Knights Templars is included a mill near the bridge of the Castle of Pembroke on the seaside. (unum molendinium ad pontem castelli de Pembroc super brachium maris).

1202 July   August

Gir Camb, De Jure ( R.S.) Vol III p 227.

Nicholas Avenel, sheriff of Pembrok, and William fitz Martin despoil archdeacon Geralds prebend of Martru (Philip, chaplain), and his church of Lanwundaf  (Aidan, chaplain), both within the churchyards and without, taking captive and imprisoning men and women and compelling them to pay heavy ransom.

nd 1204 1214

(From an inspeximus 5 Edward III,Cal Pat Rolls 1330 1334 p67 Dugdale , Mon., Vol IV p321).

Grant by William Marshall, earl of Pembroke, for the souls of himself, Isabella , his wife, and all his ancestors and heirs, to the church of St John the Evangelist and St Nicholas the Confessor, of Pembroch, and the monks there of the tithes of his vills of Penbroke, Tynbeh, and Castle Martin, in free alms. Witnesses: Geoffrey, bishop of St Davids Robert, son of Richard, Geoffrey son of Robert, Ralph Bluet, Nicholas Avenel

1210   King John visited Pembroke and summoned the men of South Pembrokeshire to meet him at Holy Cross,  by the East Gate of the own,  near a hospital called Marlans Chapel, (Kings Bridge  was reputedly named after this visit.)

1215 January 11

Cal Rot Pat., 1201   16 p 126.

Letters Patent of king John to the knights, free tenants and all others of the bishopric of St Davids, informing them that he had committed the custody of the bishopric, with all its appurtenances to W(illiam) Marshal, earl of Pembroke, during pleasure. Mandate to be intendant and respondent.


William Marshal died he left to the monks of Pembroke,  the title of Pembroke mill,  Causey Mill Tenby and Kings Mill at Castlemartin.- he was buried in the Temple Church London.

1219   1231

William Marshal (son of William Marshal) held Pembroke Castle he was also buried in the Temple Church London.


William Marshal the 2nd Earl of Pembroke paid £100 to Llywelyn ab Iorwerth to prevent the ravage of Pembroke.

1220 October 5 Westminster.

Patent Roll 4 Henry III (Cal p 255).

Order to the knights and free tenants of the county of Pembroke, to be intentent to William Marshal in the same manner as before the raid made by Llewellyn, the Prince of North Wales.


Richard Marshal inherited as Earl of Pembroke. Was in ill favour at court and he was refused entrance to Pembroke Castle but besieged it and after a short time took it. He was murdered in Ireland in 1234 at, it is said, Henrys instigation.

1231 April 15 Westminster.

Patent Roll 15 Henry III,  m.3 (Cal., p 430).

Safe conduct to Robert Audeley sent on the king’s business to the constabularium of Pembroke.

1231 June 10 Westminster.

Patent Rolls 15 Henry III,  m.2 (Cal p 437).

Mandate to Henry “Crasso”, constable of Pembroke and Richard “de Rupe”, constable of Tenby, ordering them to deliver up their respective castles with their appurtenances to John Marshall and Aumaric of St Amand, to whom the king has granted their custody.


Gilbert Marshal inherited as Earl of Pembroke, married Joan daughter of King John.  He died in a tournament accident in 1241 at Hereford and is also buried in the Temple Church.  

1241 July 1 Clarendon.

Patent Rolls 25 Henry III,  m.6 (Cal p 254).

Mandate to all constables and bailiffs late of G Marshal, earl of Pembroke, in Ireland, because the earl is dead, to deliver forthwith all his castles and lands.  ...... The like to the constable of Pembroc, Kaermeredin, Cardigan and Kilgaran, committed to the custody of Hubert Huse.


Walter Marshal succeeded, as Earl of Pembroke he died at Goodrich Castle in 1245.

1246 January 16 Westminster

Patent Roll 30 Henry III,  m 8 ( Cal p. 470).

Appointment during pleasure, of Robert Waleraund to custody of all the lands and castles late of W. Marshal,  Earl of Pembroke, in West Wales; with mandate to Gilbert del Val to deliver them  to him.

Writ de intendendo to the tenants.

Mandate to the constables of the castles of Tymbeye and Pembroke to deliver to him.

1246  July 21 Oxford.

Patent Roll 30 Henry III, m2 (Cal p.484).

Mandate to Robert Waleraund to allow the heirs of Walter Marshal Earl of Pembroke, to have seisin of the Earl’s lands in Pembrokeshire, and the castle of Pembrok among other castles.

1247 August 7 Northampton.

Patent Roll 31 Henry III m 3 (Cal, p.506).

Mandate to Robert Waleraund to deliver to William de Valance, or his messenger bearing the king’s letters, the castle of Pembrok and the lands assigned to him of the lands late of W. Marshal, earl of Pembroke, with the issues since the death of the said John.


Warine de Munchensy was beaten at the Battle of Lewes and went into exile.  Pembroke castle and its estates were handed over to the Earl of Gloucester.

1264 6 June St Pauls London.

Patent Roll 48 Henry III pt1 m.12 (Cal p322).

Commitment during pleasure to Gilbert de Clare, earl of Gloucester and Hereford, of the castle of Pembroke and all the lands in the county of Pembroke of William de Valancia, with wardships, farms and other appurtenances, to be kept by the constable of the said castle and other bailiffs of the said William, so that the Earl receive the issues by view of the said bailiffs and put them in a safe place until further order, and answer for them at the king’s mandate.

1265 10 May Hereford

Patent Roll, 49 Henry III, m . 16 ( Cal. , pp423 4).

Whereas John de Warenna and William de Valencia with armed men to the number of about a hundred and twenty men as well horse as foot, have now landed in the parts of Pembroke and keep themselves there, and many adversaries of the king and the realm from beyond seas, if they knew of their landing which has been made without the king’s knowledge and will, as their leaving the realm was made peacefully and without impediment, would prepare to enter the realm with more will and spirit, to disturb the peace, or to give aid to the said John and William if they proposed to grieve the realm; the king has commanded the barons and bailiffs of the ports to keep their shore manfully and strongly against the invasion of anyone; and whereas the king has appointed Brian de Guiz as keeper of the parts of Somerset and Dorset, he commands all men of those counties to be of counsel and aid to the said Brian, in the keeping of the peace and especially in the defence of the maritime parts there; and if any are disobedient or remiss in executing the kings mandates, the king will betake him forthwith to their persons and goods, notwithstanding any liberty, as against those who care not whether  the kings and realm be given over to confusion and disherison.     Mandate to the said Brian to be keeper of the peace of the counties accordingly; and the king has commanded the sheriff to be of aid and counsel to him. And as false rumours are being spread of the king, whereby trouble may be again stirred in the realm, the king has written to the said sheriff in the form of these presents, and if the sheriff is lax, the said Brian is to urge him to be diligent for the love of the king and the common utility of the realm.

1282 April 7 Devizes.

Welsh Roll 10 Edward I, m, 10d ( Cal .  p 247).

Order to William de Valancia and to his bailiffs of Pembrok, Roger de Martuo Mari and his bailiffs of Sencer, William son of Martin and his bailiffs of Kameys, and others, not to have any communication with the Welsh rebels.


Edward I created Pembroke a County Palatine [abolished by Henry VIII].


Although Edward I drew up the Statute of Wales which laid down that Welsh Common Law, language and customs would be respected and which did not seek to put an end to “gravelkind” the welsh system of divided inheritance but it did add the provision that illegitimate sons could not be successors, that lawful widows were to be entitled to a dower, and that women could not succeed when there was no male heir.

PEMBROKE was to continue as a County Palatine owing direct allegiance to the crown where the earls were undisputed rulers owing no more than feudal loyalty to the king - they were allowed to administer their own justice, raise revenues according to their own determination  and make and enforce whatever laws they wished. (Princes and People  John Miles).

1287 July 23 Hereford.

Welsh Roll 15 Edward 1,m. 9d ( Cal .  p. 314).

Order to the bailiffs of William de Valencia, at Pembrok, to have all the posse of their lord of the bailiwick, both horsemen and footmen, ready at Kermerdyn, well equipped with suitable arms against the coming thither of the earl of Cornwall.

The like to the Bishop of St David’s or to his steward.


1289 November 16 Lampader.

Patent Roll 12 Edward 1,m. 1d ( Cal p145)

Commissions of oyer and terminer to Ralph de Hengham,  Nicholas de Stapleton,  William de Burneton,  and Master Thomas de Sudington,  touching the dissensions between William de Valence,  the kings uncle,  and his bailiffs of Pembrock and the commonalty of Haverford, which have been often laid before the council by the burgesses without any amends.

1296 November 15 Bury St Edmunds.

Close Roll 25 Edward 1,m.24 ( Cal .  p.3).

Land and rent of the yearly value of £14 5s 8d in co.  Pembroke assigned to Joan, late the wife of William de Valence, as part of her dower, and order to the escheator beyond Trent not to intermeddle wherewith.

1303 February 20 Hertford.

Patent Roll,  31 Edward 1,m.35 ( Cal p. 117).

Grant to the men of Joan de Valencia, countess of Pembroke, of the liberty of Pembroke, that their attending to prevent delay, an inquisition which has been summoned before John de Havering and Walter Hakelut, justices at Kermerdyn,  between.  .... and William de Brewosa touching certain liberties which the latter says he has in those parts,  shall not be to their prejudice or drawn into a precedent;  as they assert that their attendance without their liberty is to their prejudice.

1306 January 24 Bindon.

Patent Roll 34 Edward 1,m.36 ( Cal .  p.413).

Grant to the men of Joan de Valencia, countess of Pembroke, of the liberty of Pembroke, that their coming without their liberty before William Inge, Walter de Gloucester and Walter de Pederton, justices appointed to take an inquisition at Sweyneseye between the king and William de Brewosa, touching certain liberties which the later says he holds in those parts, shall not be to their prejudice nor drawn into a precedent. At another time a like letter was sealed of the inquisition taken in such case.

Countess Joan, wife of William de Valance died.

1307 September 20

Inq. Post Mortem, C Edward II File 4(1) (Cal p 21a).

Lands etc of Joan de Valencia, Countess of Pembroke.

m.1 Writ 20 Sept 1307

m.2 The Marches of Wales, Castle Godrich. Inq Thursday after St Denis 1 Edward II.

m.4 The Marches of Wales. Inq., Thursday after St Luke, 1 Edward II Pembroke.  Jurors;  Richard de Stakepol, kt, David de la Roche, Stephen Perrot, Alexander Robelin, Robert Vacchan, William de Cripping, Walter berth, David de Villa Pattricii, Benedict de Horston, John Longe, John Coci, Ralph Benger.


The castle of Pembroke which is worth nothing yearly (quia custuosum);

2 carucates of land, each carucate worth yearly 66s 8d;

200 burgages worth £10 yearly, half payable at Easter, and the other half at Michaelmas;

3 water mills paying £13 6s 8d yearly at the aforesaid times;

the pleas and perquisites together with the tolls are worth 6s 8d yearly;

the piscaries are worth 6s 8d yearly;

the prise of beer 60s.do.;

7a. of meadow worth 14s yearly;

the rent of Karreu for the ward of the castle of Pembroke, 28s at Michaelmas; rent of Stackpole 18s payable in equal sums at the aforementioned times;

do Kylvegy,4s;

Costeyniston 8s;

Gilcop 4s; Gonedon 4s;

Opeton 4s;

Seynt Syrone,5s;

Manynerbir, 17s;

Mynwere 4s;

Esse 1d. all payable at the aforesaid two terms;

the pleas and perquisites of the “County” of Pembroke are worth yearly  £6 13s 4d;

pleas and perquisites of the pleas of Castle Gate (Cur Porte Castri), 100s yearly; perquisites of the pleas of obligation, 13s 4d yearly.

Aymer, etc., is next heir.

1322 June 10  Haddelsey.

Patent Roll 15 Edward II, pt 2, M 5 (Cal, p186).

Mandate and request to all persons of the county of Pembroke and the cantreds therein to come properly armed to the king’s assistance in the Scottish expedition, as their laudable assistance lately given when the king was pursuing the rebels in the Marches of Wales makes the king confident they will be ready to do so; they are not to take it that their petitions before the King and council in the Parliament at York were postponed, as the king was fully occupied preparing for the said expedition, but on the king’s return they shall be attended to.

1326 Oct 29 Caerphilly.

Patent Roll, 20 Edward II, m 7 (Cal p 334).

Appointment of Rees ap Griffith to raise all the forces of the county and bring them to the king; with power to arrest the disobedient ...


Edward III born 1312 became king in 1327 and in 1330 put an end to the usurped authority of his mother, Isabella, and Roger Mortimer.

1330 Oct 23 Leicester.

Fine Roll 4 Edward III, m 15 (Cal p 194).

Order to Gilbert Talbot, justice of South Wales, or his lieutenant, and all sheriffs, constables or keepers of castles, bailiffs ministers and others in South Wales and the lands of Bergeveny and Pembrokeshire, to be intendant to William de Brom and Thomas Ace, whom the king has appointed to seize into the kings hand the castles, manors, towns, lands, goods and chattles of Roger de Mortuo Mari, earl of March, as well those which he held in fee or for a term of years or by name of wardship, as for any other cause, in the said parts, which earl the king caused to  be arrested as above (Previous entry in the Roll), and to cause the said castles etc. to be safely kept, so that they answer for the issues thereof by those whom they depute to the keeping of the same, and to make indentures of the goods and chattles between them and two knights or other good men in the places  where they be found, whereof one part shall remain with William and Thomas, and one part with the knights or good men, and to make inquisition in those parts if any such goods have been withdrawn, where, by whom, at what time and in what manner, and to seize the same again into the kings hand and bring them back to the places whence they were withdrawn, and to cause them and the other said goods to be safely kept until further order.

PEMBROKE Accounts 1330s

1331 Feb 4 Langley.

Fine Roll 5 Edward III m 30 (Cal p 230).

Commitment during the pleasure to Richard Symond of the office of steward of the county of Pembroke , so that he answer at the Exchequer for the issues thereof, receiving the usual fee.

Pembroke: The castle in the said county is worth nothing beyond reprisals.

In the town of Pembroke there are 220 burgages

paying yearly rent of assize of                                                £11, in equal sums at Easter and Michaelmas.

The rent of Richard Symond

for certain lands at Kyngesdoune,                                          6d at the same terms.

The rent of the glebe of the church of Roscrouthur               12d. at the same terms

There are 3 water mills , worth yearly                         £20

the prise of beer are worth                                                      100s yearly.

There is a certain fair held on the feast of the

Apostles Peter and Paul, for three days altogether,

whereof the profit is                                                               2s

The tolls of the market there are worth                                   3s yearly

the pleas and the perquisites of the hund red are worth                      10s yearly.

                                    Sum £36 19s 6d


1326   1327

m 12  Account of John le Herde and John Methelan , reeves of Pembroke from Michaelmas 1326 to Michaelmas 1327.

Assise of Bread and beer

assise of bread this year;                                                                     18d

assise of beer this year;                                                                       10s

from the butchers this year;                                                                18d

pleas and perquisites of the hundred this year;                                   3s  4d

pleas and perquisites of the fair, this year;                                           nil;

for the prise of beer,   Richard de Cillyngton , the Treasurer of Pembroke , and Walter Seys, are to answer, to wit,                                                                         100s. yearly.

                                    sum., 22s 8d

                                    Total receipts    £14  4s


Fees of the reeves,                                                                              2s

Fees of the clerk                                                                                 3s

Fees of the catchpole                                                                                      4s 8d

                                    Sum  9s  8d.

Defective Rents

which Thomas de Carreu received yearly

for 8 burgages in Pembroke                                                                 8s

for 11 vacant burgages, namely the burgages of :

John Cradoc,

Peter le Fraunceys,

Nicholas de Scourlagyston

John Knethil

David Caly

William de Wester


Ralph the smith

Henry Auger

John Parys   and

the House of St John                                                                           11s

                                    Sum  19s


Paid to Richard de Collyngton, Treasurer of Pembroke,                     £6  13s  9d., by one tally ;

to Thomas de Hampton , steward and Treasurer,                    110s  by one tally

Sum of all Expenses and Payments                                        £13  12s  5d  with the defective rents.

And they owe                         11s  7d.


1327   1328

Account of John Peuerel , John Methelan , John Cauntrel , and Geoffrey Toryton , reeves of Pembroke, from Michaelmas 1327 to Michaelmas 1328.

Arrears                                     11s  7d;


                                    Sum  £13  16d

Assise of Bread and Beer etc.                                                            22s  3d

Assise of bread,                                                                                  12d.,

and no more because Thomas de Hompton , the steward,

seized the liberty of the town of Pembroke into

the hands of the lord (as was found by inquisition);

assise of mea t (carnis ),                                                                         2s;

pleas and perquisites of the hundred,                                                 4s  1d;

fair tolls