Three Towns Forum - Talk about Llandudno, Colwyn Bay & Conwy

The Local => Times Past => Topic started by: Fester on March 27, 2011, 10:30:37 PM

Title: Great Orme Gunsite Memoirs
Post by: Fester on March 27, 2011, 10:30:37 PM
Recently, I was lucky enough to meet Quiggs, and resulting from an earlier thread on this forum, it came to light that he and his family lived in the gunsite on the Great Orme !
He lived there for quite a few years, and I expressed an interest in knowing more about it.

Well, that caused many memories to come flooding back, and I urged him to write them down which he did.
I read them last week, and I found them amazing.
Sometimes hilarious, sometimes a little sad, but always fascinating.

Quiggs is a very modest chap, and felt that people might not be interested in his writings.
So I am introducing the subject for him, here... it is well worth hearing about.

If anyone replies showing interest, then Quiggs has agreed to give us one anecdote at a time.. rather than gave us a large amount to read all at once.

So over to the Forum members... anyone wanna hear it?
Title: Re: QUIGG'S GREAT ORME GUNSITE MEMOIRS
Post by: suepp on March 27, 2011, 10:40:37 PM
absolutely, this is what the forum's all about, as far as I'm concerned, social history and real life experiences
Title: Re: QUIGG'S GREAT ORME GUNSITE MEMOIRS
Post by: Fester on March 27, 2011, 10:42:26 PM
Thats very encouraging...
Mr Quiggs, over to you to set the scene!

Title: Re: QUIGG'S GREAT ORME GUNSITE MEMOIRS
Post by: Merddin Emrys on March 27, 2011, 10:48:35 PM
yes, as Suepp said  :)  *&(
Title: Re: QUIGG'S GREAT ORME GUNSITE MEMOIRS
Post by: brumbob on March 27, 2011, 10:59:46 PM
Come on Quiggs, spill the beans  *&(
Title: Re: QUIGG'S GREAT ORME GUNSITE MEMOIRS
Post by: Trojan on March 28, 2011, 06:14:59 AM
Quiggs' Digs!

 *&(
Title: Re: Quigg's Great Orme Gunsite Memoirs
Post by: Quiggs on March 28, 2011, 02:44:02 PM
Well OK, at the behest of Fester, I'll start my story from my birth, which I hope will explain how I came to N.Wales and hence the Gunsite,  ( Coast Artillery School ) on the West Side of the Orme, Instalment 1 :-

            An Evacuee’s Tale.            1.
I was born in Coventry, just prior to the start of the 2nd. World War. We survived the first series of Luftwaffe Bombing by spending the nights outside the City in an old caravan, returning next morning, so that my father could go back to work as an Aircraft Fitter. But the house next door was badly damaged and ours sustained some damage as well.( I recall as a youngster, that the Piano and Sideboard had hundreds of small marks all over the front, when I asked my parents about them, they told me they were caused by the bomb blast, shattering the windows and embedding the shards into the furniture. )
   My first memory was of being taken along what I think, ( due to the crunching sound,)  was a gravel pathway There was a large Moon shining and an Owl hooting in the trees. Next I was on what could be described as a Fire Escape or balcony in my mothers arms to listen to the Owl    When I described this scene to my mother and asked how old I was, she thought for a while, then said that it must have been when we evacuated from Coventry to Anglesea and stayed for a while in a Hostel and that I was 18 months old.
    My father was relocated to work in Saunders Roe, near Beaumaris, to work on Catalinas and Sunderland flying boats. We next went to live in an old Corrugated Iron Cottage on the long straight Rd. into Newborough, next to a lane down to the Warren.
   There was a farm next to the lane and they looked after us, supplying eggs, butter,( which I sometimes helped to churn when I got older ) and milk. I remember one day, the farmer’s wife rushing across the lane to get me, and dragging me back across to the hen house, to watch a chick hatching out of the shell.
       My father started to grow some vegetables, one day I asked to go out and watch him digging in the garden, whilst he was using the spade I thought that I could help with a fork that was sticking upright in the ground. I managed to drag it out and then plunged it back down into the ground, straight through my right foot, I still have the scar, fortunately it went between  my toes without doing any damage. Strangely I’ve never been keen on gardening ever since.
   It was about this time that dad went hunting / poaching, with his .22 Rifle or 12 Bore shotgun, for rabbits, pigeons, ducks, pheasants etc. I some times accompanied him, with the strict understanding that I stayed behind him and kept quiet. We disturbed a rabbit one day and it made it’s escape by swimming across a large pond, where we were unable to follow. I never knew rabbits could swim, but I suppose when needs must
Title: Re: Quigg's Great Orme Gunsite Memoirs
Post by: brumbob on March 28, 2011, 03:30:16 PM
great start  D)
Title: Re: Quigg's Great Orme Gunsite Memoirs
Post by: Pendragon on March 28, 2011, 03:53:32 PM
Interesting read Quiggs.  Keep it coming  :D
Title: Re: Quigg's Great Orme Gunsite Memoirs
Post by: Quiggs on March 28, 2011, 07:54:39 PM
Instalment 2


   We later moved to a flat above a barbers shop in Hill St in Menai Bridge, near to a Cinema. Where we remained until V.E. day. Nearby some soldiers were billeted and my parents got to know a couple of squaddies, they often came to our flat to spend the evening, playing cards etc. There would be a knock on the door the lights were turned off and two shadowy  figures would enter. I thought that it was because of the blackout but now and again they would bring a present with them, a bag of sugar or some butter, maybe a tin of bully beef and best of all, a round tin of boiled sweets for me. They became family friends and used to visit us in Llandudno many years later after the war.    They were drafted away from Menai Bridge together with all the other soldiers. A Little while after they had gone I went rooting around in the grounds where they had been billeted and found a Hand Grenade in the undergrowth. I couldn’t pull the pin out so I put it in my pocket.
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I then went to the corner shop to buy some sweets and put the Grenade on the counter, to get my money out of my pocket. Things are a bit hazy after that, I know there was a lot shouting and people running around, then a Policeman turned up and there were lots of questions. I never did get my sweets.       It may have been a practice grenade or real one, I never found out.
   It was about this time that V.E. day was declared, I recall being carried out of the flat at night to see the fireworks and celebrations, unfortunately I was not allowed to join in as I was suffering with chicken pox and was Persona non grata.
   We then moved to my Grandparents in Llandudno, where they had a Guest House, our black cat came with us but shortly later disappeared. The following week my father returned to Menai Bridge to collect the remainder of our possessions, there on the doorstep was our black cat. Amazing to think it found it’s way back to Menai Bridge.                       
Title: Re: Quigg's Great Orme Gunsite Memoirs
Post by: Pendragon on March 28, 2011, 08:17:33 PM
Quiggs I'm lovin this matey x
Title: Re: Quigg's Great Orme Gunsite Memoirs
Post by: Quiggs on March 28, 2011, 08:42:08 PM
I'm glad you find it of interest, I was not really convinced by Fester.
Title: Re: Quigg's Great Orme Gunsite Memoirs
Post by: Fester on March 28, 2011, 08:51:24 PM
Quiggs.. get to the hand-grenade story.... it slays me. 
Title: Re: Quigg's Great Orme Gunsite Memoirs
Post by: Quiggs on March 28, 2011, 08:54:27 PM
Try going back to 7-54 posting. :D
Title: Re: Quigg's Great Orme Gunsite Memoirs
Post by: Blodyn on March 28, 2011, 10:06:27 PM
This is fascinating, Quiggs, I'm looking forward to the next installment.  Thanks very much for starting to post your story. 
Title: Re: Quigg's Great Orme Gunsite Memoirs
Post by: Fester on March 28, 2011, 10:11:05 PM
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Try going back to 7-54 posting. :D

 :o    :-[ :-[ :-[    Because of... Z** Z** Z**
Title: Re: Quigg's Great Orme Gunsite Memoirs
Post by: suepp on March 28, 2011, 10:11:36 PM
Brilliant to have first hand account, great recall  $thanx$
Title: Re: Quigg's Great Orme Gunsite Memoirs
Post by: Quiggs on March 28, 2011, 10:24:07 PM
Instalment 3

.                          By this time I had a sister, Joan.   Shortly after, my father’s brother and his wife turned up. He had been in the Engineers in Germany. There were also some American soldiers billeted up at the top off the house, so I had a ready supply of Gum, Lifesavers and Chocolate etc.   
   Things must have been a bit crowded. Probably too many women in the kitchen! And with many soldiers returning from the war, housing was in short supply, so the next thing I knew, we were living on the Gunsite on the West Shore of the Great Orme. as Squatters, I think it was still under M.O.D. control
   The Gunsite is situated at the end of Llys Helig Drive, it was separated from the drive by a large wooden gate, which was under the control of a caretaker, who opened it in the morning at 8 o’clock and locked it again about 6 o’clock. More of that later.                We occupied what had been the fortified Guardhouse, as you enter the site, just where the road starts to go downhill there is / was a path on the right hand side that leads to the Guardhouse. ( See Photo of exterior of the building on the Forum )
   It was very basic, the basement area consisted of an outside entrance at the rear, which was accessed by some concrete steps, which ran from either side of the entrance to either side of the building, so that it could be accessed from both sides in a hurry. Inside there was a short corridor with a room each side. At the end of the corridor it opened out to form a large room The front centre of the room extended forward with the sides  at an angle of about 45 deg. with several small square openings about 4ft 6 ins high in the outer walls, to allow the occupants to fire out at any attackers, the window openings were also angled on the inside, in the manner of arrow slits in Castle Walls, to allow the defenders to cover a larger area of fire.   The upper floor had an entrance at the top of the steps on the Northern end of the building. Just inside became the kitchen area. Turn left inside the door along a short passage, with a room on the right, my parents bedroom. Which I think my father constructed with panel walls.
   The passage led into another square room, with a large cast iron stove with an oven on it’s right hand side. It could take half a hundred weight of coal / coke to fill the grate. So dad obtained some fire bricks, to fill part of the space, to save using so much fuel.
Title: Re: Quigg's Great Orme Gunsite Memoirs
Post by: Quiggs on March 28, 2011, 10:32:49 PM

   At the Southern end was another room, that became the bedroom for my sister and I. The back of the stove was against this bedroom wall so it afforded some slight warmth in the winter, but not much, because it was so greedy on fuel, it was left to go out each evening. So we piled our coats etc. on top of the bed and wore socks on our feet with the pyjamas tucked in. My mother also put a couple of bricks in the oven before the fire went out, then wrapped them in newspaper and put them in the bed as foot warmers. When it was really cold we wore gloves and a cap as well.
   With the basement area below the living accommodation being open to the elements, via the firing apertures, the rooms above could be quite cold, particularly the winter of 1947.
   Back outside the rear of the building at the bottom of the stairs, opposite the basement entrance, there was another flight of stairs leading away to a small square room at the top, this was the  Toilet! A bit of a sod at night, particularly in the winter slithering up the steps glazed with ice, then sitting on a cold ‘Bog’ freezing your nuts off. Not to be recommended.
   The walk to Lloyd St. School was not much better, we sometimes put an old pair of socks, when we had any, over our shoes to provide a grip on the ice going downhill.
   There were other families living there as well, in various buildings and they formed a roster to take the kids to school, one parent in front, one behind, to make sure no one escaped!    One morning, the group assembled and we made our way out of the gunsite only to be confronted by a herd of goats blocking the way, it was stalemate for a while, neither group giving way, finally the goats dispersed and we proceeded to school but we were late that morning. It was also cold in the schoolroom, we often wore our coats in class and the milk monitor brought in the bottles of milk to put them to thaw in front of the small fire in the classroom, the ice in the bottles forced the caps up in small icicles .
       The families contacted the council, to see if transport to school could be provided as there was no bus service to the site but were told that it was short of the qualifying distance and that we would have to continue to walk.    This continued for a while but more families joined the community, for that is what it was developing into, everyone helping each other.
Title: Re: Quigg's Great Orme Gunsite Memoirs
Post by: Merddin Emrys on March 28, 2011, 10:56:22 PM
Great stuff this, thanks for the 'real' history, I was born in Coventry too!  *&(
Title: Re: Quigg's Great Orme Gunsite Memoirs
Post by: Quiggs on March 29, 2011, 02:15:35 PM
Instalment 4


The buildings that were occupied were as follows:- From the gate the road went straight ahead for a 100 yds. or so before going downhill, as stated earlier, the path to our home was on the right  At the bottom of the slope there was an entrance to a field on the left, with a cottage style building just inside, occupied by Mr and Mrs Fenn, then later,  Mr and Mrs Smith.     The road then turns to the right and levels off. After about another 100 yds. or so there was an opening in the hillside, on the right, with a Nissan Hut, Mr and Mrs Barr. A little further on the left, was a flat roofed building, the concrete base is still there, the openings to the soil pipes show were the toilets were, Mr and Mrs Drabble, with their children, George, Leslie, Evelyn and Barbara. A little further on, on the right, just a little way up the slope, was another cottage. Mr and Mrs Williams. Continuing  onward the road divides, with a mound in the centre, another cottage on the top, Mr and Mrs Wright.  Bear right up a slight incline, at the top of which is a large concrete area on the right, where some Nissan Storage Huts used to be. Opposite on the left is a large
mound, probably from the spoil when the area for the Nissan Huts was excavated. The purpose of the mound was to hide the area from being observed from the sea.  Onward ’till the road turns left, on the right hand side was a small flat roofed bunker type building occupied by Mr and Mrs Sutcliffe and children, their names escape me. A path continued past this building to a larger house, Mr and Mrs Smith and Peter. Continuing along the path leads to a road, going up towards the end of the site, another building on the right, Mr and Mrs Williams, brother to the other Williams earlier. Returning back down the hill until the road on the left, leading down from the mound earlier, another cottage, Mr and Mrs Hughes.

       The clamour for transport to school was increasing. So my father borrowed my grandfathers car, as no one else had a car, and he clocked the distance from Lloyd St. School to the furthest family on the site, which just gave the qualifying distance for free transport.  So after some disagreement the council finally agreed and from then on we had a Taxi to and from school.  This service was provided by Barlow’s Taxis from Queens Rd. Craig y Don, who had a fleet of Austin eights of pre war vintage. ( I think that was the model ) Big black saloon cars with chrome bumpers and large Headlights and bulbous wings.
   A while later as all the suitable buildings on the site were occupied, some families started to occupy the buildings of the Radar site, up the concrete road near the Rest and be Thankful Café, on the Marine Drive, so the Taxi would pick us up on the Gunsite and then drive up to the Radar site to pick up the children from there   
   One morning on the way back down the Marine Drive, we were confronted by a large Ram standing in the middle of the road, the taxi driver slowed down and sounded his horn, but the Ram refused to move, so the driver crept forward slowly towards the beast. We thought afterwards that he saw his reflection in the shiny wing of the Taxi, because he suddenly charged. BANG, straight into the offside wing. He staggered back knees buckling under him, shaking his head from side to side going Bbaaaaaaaa  Bbaaaaaa baaaaaaa, before slowly staggering off. The dent in the wing had to be seen to be believed. It’s one of the funniest thing I’ve seen. We were still laughing when we got to school.
   The site caretaker had a dispute with some of the residents,( because that’s what we were, having been given Rent Books, 8s and 6p/wk. rent, they’d given up trying to evict us.) about being late opening the gate in the morning. Alongside the Gate there was a Sentry box, which also contained the main switch for the electricity supply, to get his own back the caretaker turned off the supply to the site. I’m not really sure what happened but some of the residents worked for MANWEB, the electricity board, anyway the supply mysteriously by-passed the Sentry box, control box, we had no further trouble.
   Apart from one of the residents, a man was sent round to read the electricity meters, when this particular meter showed that none had been used, the resident explained that he’d been away. The explanation accepted, the meter reader left. The next quarter, the same thing happened again, this time he said he’d been called to work away on an urgent job, so hadn’t used any electric. Again the meter reader left, but suspicions aroused. A week or so later an Inspector arrived after dark, to find every light on and
                                 5
electric fires in every room. Further investigation revealed the tenant had by-passed the Electric Meter. He subsequently went to Court and was never seen again.
Title: Re: Quigg's Great Orme Gunsite Memoirs
Post by: Trojan on March 29, 2011, 06:01:56 PM
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A while later as all the suitable buildings on the site were occupied, some families started to occupy the buildings of the Radar site, up the concrete road near the Rest and be o Café, on the Marine Drive, so the Taxi would pick us up on the Gunsite and then drive up to the Radar site to pick up the children from there

I remember a forum member on the old forum who went by the nickname Pobo, telling us he lived up there.
Title: Re: Quigg's Great Orme Gunsite Memoirs
Post by: Hugo on March 29, 2011, 06:44:16 PM
My cousin Peggy Whittle lived there with her husband Harry before they emigrated to Canada.
Title: Re: Quigg's Great Orme Gunsite Memoirs
Post by: Quiggs on March 30, 2011, 12:01:43 AM
Yes I remember the the name Whittle, but cannot recall exactly where they lived, maybe in the Cottage type building vacated by the Hughes who by-passed the meter, I'm not sure.
Title: Re: Quigg's Great Orme Gunsite Memoirs
Post by: tonyf on March 30, 2011, 10:41:34 AM
Quiggs has started me thinking about the Gun Site as a squatter. I'd like to post  some of  my early memories as a small contribution to our social history. I hope members are still interested? Anyway, here goes first Installment: When the war ended the army moved out and 10 or 12 families moved in on the gun site as squatters. My parents grabbed the first house on the left (now built on), I say house in the loosest of terms, it had 2 rooms, front room and bedroom, no electricity, bath or inside toilet. It did have an Aga for cooking, heating and hot water. The toilet was outside in a dark, cold lean to which I hated. They named the house the ‘Nook’. The Nook was situated on a small (20ft) cliff facing the Conway estuary and the prevailing westerly winds. The loo was a chemical loo that my parents emptied over the cliff every Sunday wind permitting and the bath was a tin one for which copious amounts of water were boiled for the Sunday night bath! I remember a corrugated lean-to being added with a stable type door as the main entrance. We had a cat for the mice as there were loads of them. We also kept chickens that the foxes loved and I recall hunt the egg to eat in garden game.
I remember the blasting of the road/tunnels on the A55 at Penmaenmawr which could be seen across the Conway Estuary from the Nook as a small boy standing on his bed looking out of the window (we were lucky enough to have glass in it) in the middle of the night until assured by my Dad that all was well. I must have been screaming or something as the flash bangs  were very frightening? Sundays were always a favourite for me besides the ‘over the cliff with the loo’ bit which invariably had a comic slant to it. Sundays were also tide dependant as my Dad used to go for winkles taking me with him, obviously something from the war and rationing. Lovely they were. I used to come home with crabs and small fish in a can. Also the occasional Herring Gull (common seagull) eggs, salty and fishy but nutritious!  ¢¢##
Title: Re: Quigg's Great Orme Gunsite Memoirs
Post by: suepp on March 30, 2011, 10:51:58 AM
these stories are absolutely fascinating, I had no idea people lived there - when did you move out and where to? I think these stories need to be compiled into a book  *&(
Title: Re: Quigg's Great Orme Gunsite Memoirs
Post by: tonyf on March 30, 2011, 11:11:03 AM
Hi Suepp, all will be revealed in the next couple of instalments  $thanx$
Title: Re: Quigg's Great Orme Gunsite Memoirs
Post by: Michael on March 30, 2011, 11:14:01 AM
Are you sure about the blasting of the road tunnels? I always understood that they were constructed around 1935/6.  Do you think you heard blasting in the many quarries in that area?
Title: Re: Quigg's Great Orme Gunsite Memoirs
Post by: DaveR on March 30, 2011, 11:21:09 AM
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Are you sure about the blasting of the road tunnels? I always understood that they were constructed around 1935/6.  Do you think you heard blasting in the many quarries in that area?
1932 Penmaenbach Tunnel
1935 Pen-y-Clip Tunnels
Title: Re: Quigg's Great Orme Gunsite Memoirs
Post by: tonyf on March 30, 2011, 11:25:42 AM
Hi Ormegolf, you could possibly be right as I believe some of the tunnels have dates on from the 30s? I just vividly remember it to be late at night and obviously dark and coming from where the tunnels are today. It was 1949/50ish.  It could possibly of been blasting railway cuttings, road widening or some such, but from memory it was for only one night.
Title: Re: Quigg's Great Orme Gunsite Memoirs
Post by: Hugo on March 30, 2011, 11:35:17 AM
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Yes I remember the the name Whittle, but cannot recall exactly where they lived, maybe in the Cottage type building vacated by the Hughes who by-passed the meter, I'm not sure.

If my memory serves me right the Whittles lived in a Nissen hut that was in the centre of the site where the road divides and one road  goes to the left towards the shore.
I'm not certain but my uncle Bobby Sam Hughes may have lived in the gunsite too, must ask Norman or Pat next time I see them.
By the way the Sutcliffes had 2 boys that I can remember, Graham and Howard and they moved to Conway Road, but I can't remember the daughters names.
Title: Re: Quigg's Great Orme Gunsite Memoirs
Post by: tonyf on March 30, 2011, 12:39:56 PM
tonf instalment 2: I was sent to Lloyd Street School at 3, I made such a fuss that I was taken away till I was 4! Assembly was a bit of a thing; the Catholics went to the Catholic church Our Lady Star of the Sea over the road in the morning and then marched in at the end of the Protestants prayer Assembly. It was very divisive in those days which I'm pleased to say is a prejudice of the past. Us Gun Site kids were transported in 2 taxis, I believe the boss was called Mr Barlow? He owned a garage somewhere in Llandudno (Craig-y-don). He was my favourite, on occasional Fridays on the way home he’d give us kids an orange or a banana, almost unheard of in those days; God knows where he got them from. Funny how I remember coming home but not going! Bonfire night he used to stop his taxi, those big black types of the late 40s, tie a rope from the bumper or some other strong point to a gorse bush and pull it out for a bonfire dragging it behind him to the Gun Site. What a great bloke he was. Then there was Louis (Lewis?) the milkman, he’d been at Arnhem (bridge too far). He obviously survived for a reason as he had about 10 kids. We used to jump on the running board of his milk wagon for a ride. Those were the days; I remember it as either sunny or snowing, never raining, now why is that? It must have rained though because it reminds of the time we tried to get electricity. The house to the right of the road was a bunker type with grass on the roof that housed perhaps the radios etc during the war that were long since removed but the electricity remained. The owners of this house were the ‘Gordon’s’ who had a son called Michael my best friend; well he would be there wouldn’t he? and only friend at the time as we weren't allowed to wander too far at that age.. Mr Gordon was a manager of the ‘Electric Laundry’ off Council Street in Llandudno. So you would imagine with his electricity background things would have been pucker! Mr Gordon and my Dad ran a cable from the junction box at his house to our house straight to a light. I forgot to mention we used to have paraffin lamps. Anyway the cable wasn’t long enough so they joined it with insulation tape. The join just so happened in the middle of the road. They had dug a small channel out and covered it with grit. Oh deep joy, an electric light, I think we all sat around staring at it that night. Next day after it had been raining overnight a dead sheep was laying in the road, electrocuted via a puddle in the road. Oh well, back to the paraffin lights. Still, we had mutton stew for a while!
Title: Re: Quigg's Great Orme Gunsite Memoirs
Post by: Quiggs on March 30, 2011, 01:58:27 PM
Instalment 5.     ( It would appear that my memory of some of the family names differs slightly with those of Tonyf, but some episodes are similar, The explosions that I recall were as a result of Blasting in Penmaenmawr Quarry )



   My father was now working in Llandudno Junction  as a Toolmaker, in Colderator, later to become B.D.A. then Hotpoint.    He purchased some reject glass Fridge shelves, to glaze the windows of the basement, to stop the weather entering. They were too large for the aperture, so he tried to cut them to size, I went to assist by holding the glass sheets whilst he scored them with a glasscutter, this being done, he tapped the glass with a small mallet, whilst I held it in place with the off-cut overhanging the bench, but to no avail, he then scored both sides of the glass as hard as he could, then tried again to knock off the excess, still no joy, desperate measures needed, he told me to hold it firmly in place and he hit it with a 4lb. Lump hammer. BANG, the glass exploded into thousands of pieces. Unbeknown to dad, it was tempered glass, similar to that used in car windows and cannot be cut. The basement was never glazed.

    My father had a sports bike with drop handlebars, which he turned them up the other way, which I thought looked a bit strange and daft, but later became clear, as on his way home from work he would sometimes collect a sack of coke from the gas works, by Billy Simpsons yard on Maesdu Rd. The sack would fit into the curve of the handlebars whilst he pushed it home. Shopping was also a bit of a trudge, it was helped a bit by piling as much as possible onto my sisters pushchair, rather than carrying it, it was a Saturday event usually, down to the shops for the weeks supplies, such as they were, as rationing was still in place, woe betide you if anything was forgotten, you would just have to do without. We were fortunate that a milkman started to supply the site, so that was one item less to carry home.  The rations were supplemented by putting snares to catch rabbits, fishing off the rocks at the far end of the Gunsite, scavenging for crabs on the foreshore and occasionally collecting Periwinkles on the way home, just below the West shore Tollgate. They’re not there any more, my mother would boil them and we would pick them out of the shell with a pin and eat them with bread and butter, if we had any.
   Dad would sometimes go with a rake to the beach, by the black rocks end of the West shore,  to collect Cockles, when they were available.
   Breakfast was quite often toast and dripping, with a sprinkling of salt and a cup of tea.     We would also collect blackberries, elderberries, sloes, mushrooms etc when in season.
   Looking out of my bedroom window one morning I saw a couple of birds nearby, which I did  not recognise, so I called my mother to have look, she said that they were Partridges and to keep quiet. She got my fathers shotgun loaded it, quietly opened the window and fired, throwing the gun onto my bed she jumped out of the window and collected one of the birds, the other had disappeared into the bracken, we searched for a while but never found it, still dad had Partridge for dinner.   Rabbits were becoming scarcer so we had to forage further affield, I accompanied dad one day to try to shoot some rabbits with his .22 Rifle but we had no luck, On the way back we saw a Cormorant on the shore drying its wings, dad gave me the gun and said see if you can hit that. I lay on the grass, took aim and squeezed the trigger, I don’t know who was more surprised, me or dad, ’cos I got it. It seemed a waste to leave it, so we took it home, plucked, gutted and cooked it.  I f you can imagine meat with the texture of rubber, that tasted of  fish, you can get an impression of what it was like. Consigned to bin, never to be repeated.
Title: Re: Quigg's Great Orme Gunsite Memoirs
Post by: tonyf on March 30, 2011, 07:16:21 PM
I’m a bit confused with Quiggs reference to the names living at the Gun Site. I have only mentioned the Gordons as far as I’m aware. The only other names I recall are the Whittles, Drabbles and Sutcliffes. I did supply him with a list of names and a map of where they lived very kindly supplied to me by Councillor Phil Evans JP a year or so ago and I presume the Town Hall had this information for rent collecting and eventual rehousing. I would therefore take the names to be correct with some slight spelling errors, for instance Emily Gordon is down as Emmie (short for I know). For those interested other families were: On going through the gate:
My family on the left of the road in the gun shelter then the Gordons to the right in an OP (Observation Post).  Next came Eric & Vera Quiney (believe this is said as Kwinee) in the guard shelter on the right then the Drabbles to the left, George & Hilda Williams to the right. Henry Whittle to the right at the first junction. Taking the road to the left was (believe it or not) another George and Hilda Williams (though it could be a printing error) followed by Bob & Mary Hughes. The top road housed the Sutcliffes to the right. Back on the main road all to the right was Sid & Win Moore, Charles Smith and Mary & Cliff Bacon' That's as much info I have except for a photocopy of my house being built behind the 3 guns in 1940 when the school moved from Shoeburyness. If anyone is interested I'll attempt to put it on the forum this weekend       

Title: Re: Quigg's Great Orme Gunsite Memoirs
Post by: Hugo on March 30, 2011, 07:49:55 PM
It's great reading yours and Quiggs' stories of life on the Gunsite and I'm looking forward to hearing more. You've just confirmed what I thought about my Uncle Bobby Sam Hughes and Aunty Mary that they did live on the Gunsite.
I remember going to Harry Whittles place, there's spectacular views from that place now.  It seems that a lot of families from the Gunsite moved to the Creuddyn Estate because I can rember the names when I lived there.
Title: Re: Quigg's Great Orme Gunsite Memoirs
Post by: Quiggs on March 30, 2011, 08:34:18 PM
Tonyf, The first George & Hilda Williams, is incorrect, it should read Peter Williams & Wife?    Brother to George Williams.
Title: Re: Quigg's Great Orme Gunsite Memoirs
Post by: Yorkie on March 30, 2011, 08:43:16 PM
Although I was born and brought up around the Smoke, I am finding this a fascinating story from Quiggs.  Fortunately, having lived here for  a few years I am able to follow the movements and get a vivid picture of his and the family's life duiring that time.

We certainly had our problems with Hitler's mob in the South East but somehow or another the worst place I lived was in an old prefab.   How they managed on a gun site beggers belief!   

I am copying each "chapter" and putting them into a single document, so at the end of it there could be the beginnings of a nice little book!   Keep it up Quiggs.    $thanx$
Title: Re: Quigg's Great Orme Gunsite Memoirs
Post by: Quiggs on March 30, 2011, 08:44:42 PM
6


On occasions we would have a lovely roast dinner, meat gravy, veg. etc. and for the rest of the week, there would be meat on sandwiches, or a stew, which would last a few days. I used to love dipping some bread in the bottom of the roast tin, where the juices had congealed into a brown jelly. I later found out that what we were eating was one of the young Goats off the Orme.  Dad took some sandwiches to work for his lunch, his workmates were surprised to see him with meat on a sandwich, corned beef or Spam yes, but meat.! He couldn’t say what it was, so he said it was some Venison that he had been given by a Gamekeeper. They asked if he could get some for them. So some time later, we had our Sunday roast, and he took some of the surplus to his workmates, we had no refrigeration to store food, so it was better to be used this way. I’ve no doubt that a bit of trading went on, a bag of sugar, some butter or maybe clothing coupons. This wasn’t a regular occurrence, but just now and again.
   My Saturday treat, was after I received my pocket money, was to go along Llys Helig Drive to the end, turn left at Marine Drive and a few yds. up on the right was a café. With my sixpence and a sweet coupon, a bar of Chocolate, it rarely lasted until I got back home.

One morning we awoke to find a column of Army lorries parked beyond the closed gate to the site, a lot of the children soon gathered to see what was going on.     There was an Officer pacing up and down in an agitated manner, often checking his watch and looking back up the drive.
   His patience exhausted, he ordered the lead vehicle to drive through the gate, the driver was a little reluctant but the Officer shouted at him to GET ON WITH IT. So he drove his lorry straight through, a great crash and timber scattered all over the road. The rest of the convoy followed. The Officer told us to stay away as he left.
   A little while later, who should come strolling down the drive, whistling as he went, was the Caretaker.    When he saw the gate he started shouting and said that he would fetch the Police and that there would be big trouble.    When we said that the Soldiers had done it, his jaw dropped and he went ashen. Apparently he was supposed to come early to let them in, but must have forgotten.    We never saw him again and the gate was never replaced.    Waste not and want not, we gathered, carried and dragged the timber to our various homes, we had firewood for quite a while afterwards.
   If it wasn’t for the gate posts, you wouldn’t have known there had been a gate there. The posts are still there, although the concrete hinge support post has been removed from one side of the road to the other during later constructions.
   The soldiers were there for several days and when they departed the remaining Nissen Huts that had been on the large flat concrete base, opposite the large hump were gone.

   I went exploring up among the gorse and bushes, at the rear of our home, to see if I could find any rabbit runs to exploit, but to no avail. I think we must have eaten most of them by now, as we weren’t the only family trying to catch them. I’d arrived at the top of the site, by the Marine Drive, I looked at the Ivy, which was adorning a cliff on the other side and for some unbeknown reason thought that it would be a good idea to see if I could climb up it.  So I clambered over the wall, scrambled up the slope on the other side and proceeded to climb up. The ivy stems were quite thick at the bottom, but the higher I climbed the thinner they became, finding a secure grip, that did not start to pull away was getting more difficult.    Suddenly!   the ivy leaves right in front of my face parted and an Owl flew out, nearly knocking me off.  What a scare!,  for me and the Owl. I gingerly made my way back down, resolving to make a mental note, not to try that again. Chastened, I slowly slunk back home.
Title: Re: Quigg's Great Orme Gunsite Memoirs
Post by: Quiggs on March 30, 2011, 08:47:22 PM
Yorkie, I claim copyright.   :D
Title: Re: Quigg's Great Orme Gunsite Memoirs
Post by: norman08 on March 30, 2011, 08:54:00 PM
great stories  keep them comming  the youngsters don,t know thier born  yes Bri after there we moved to the prefabs
Title: Re: Quigg's Great Orme Gunsite Memoirs
Post by: Fester on March 30, 2011, 08:59:49 PM
This topic is red-hot now.
I expected members to be interested, but this has blown me away.
Thank you Quiggs for the time you have spent, on it ... and Tony F and others for adding to it, and furthering it.

Quiggs, I was waiting for the Owl story... with that, the hand-grenade and everything else...I don't how the hell you have survived to this day.

Mmmmm bread and dripping..STILL to this day the best food you can eat!    $dins$
Title: Re: Quigg's Great Orme Gunsite Memoirs
Post by: Yorkie on March 30, 2011, 09:08:49 PM
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Yorkie, I claim copyright.   :D

That is automatic my friend!  I'll edit it for you if you wish!  Fester can do the proof reading.   ;D
Title: Re: Quigg's Great Orme Gunsite Memoirs
Post by: Fester on March 30, 2011, 09:10:58 PM
That might involve teaching Fester to read... which might delay things somewhat!
Title: Re: Quigg's Great Orme Gunsite Memoirs
Post by: Trojan on March 30, 2011, 10:56:36 PM
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My Saturday treat, was after I received my pocket money, was to go along Llys Helig Drive to the end, turn left at Marine Drive and a few yds. up on the right was a café. With my sixpence and a sweet coupon, a bar of Chocolate, it rarely lasted until I got back home.

Would it have been The Gogarth Refreshment Room, run my Miriam "Yr Ogof" Jones?
Title: Re: Quigg's Great Orme Gunsite Memoirs
Post by: DaveR on March 30, 2011, 11:01:54 PM
Nice pic, Trojan. Those steps the lady is standing on are still there today, albeit hidden under a hedge.
Title: Re: Quigg's Great Orme Gunsite Memoirs
Post by: Quiggs on March 30, 2011, 11:09:39 PM
It's the house on the Marine Drive, just above the entrance to Llys Helig Drive, I don't know her name, she served light refreshments from her back door, with one or two small tables in the garden, if my memory serves me.
Title: Re: Quigg's Great Orme Gunsite Memoirs
Post by: tonyf on March 31, 2011, 08:19:47 AM
Yes, and she also sold cigarettes to those who smoked and if I remember correctly even on a Sunday when every other shop in town was closed. As a side, Quiggs, I have replied 3 times to your e-mails via the  forum with attachments. I'm obviously doing something wrong, so if you click on my profile you'll find my e-mail address, e-mail me direct and I'll send said plan of the gun site with families to you. The two Williams' families......it's my eyesight, not what it was!     
Title: Re: Quigg's Great Orme Gunsite Memoirs
Post by: tonyf on March 31, 2011, 08:29:20 AM
Tonyf instalment 3
I also remember wandering off one day and coming across a genuine Romany Gypsy horse drawn caravan. The gypsy lady inside invited me in for a drink of pop of some sort (don’t know where her family was at the time) and when I got home and told my Mother she went banzai saying I’d be taken away and sold! Thinking about it now there were quite often gypsies selling clothes pegs around the gun site. 
Life was good, during one summer we moved to the Shropshire hotel on the seafront opposite the pier as livers in for a few weeks, my Mother as a waitress and Dad as a cook during his 2 weeks holiday from the Hotpoint factory where he worked as a paint sprayer, all by hand, nothing automatic in those days. The food for breakfast was lovely, bacon and eggs which was a rare teat for me but, to have it every morning I'll never forget, better than porridge! It was okay there as I could wander over to the beach all day and make sand castles to my hearts content and try and dam the incoming tide. A photograph I have shows me and my Mother on Shropshire’s steps with my favourite ‘Dan Dare’ belt.What with that and the open fresh air of the Gun Site  I was brown as a berry at the end of the summer. Though I enjoyed it, I also missed the ‘Nook’ and nagged my Father to take me home for an afternoon which he did once. It was a good 8 mile walk there and back so it was understandable why he didn’t fancy it. When we got there I just hared about the field like some demented greyhound. On the way home my Dad had a rare moment of generosity and bought me one of the first ‘Batman’ annual's for 2/6 from the Post Office in Gloddaeth Avenue which was quite a lot of money in those days  (I wouldn’t call him tight, just careful, well I suppose you had to be in those days). I was over the moon and read it to death. Wish I still had it now, worth a bit!
Title: Re: Quigg's Great Orme Gunsite Memoirs
Post by: Quiggs on March 31, 2011, 09:27:39 AM
That has just triggered another memory from my time in Menai Bridge. I'd gone with some other lads across a Green, where a couple of Romany caravans and horses were stationed. We gave them a wide berth in case they took us away. We'd gone to a tree where there was a Rope swing, when it was my turn to have a go I slipped and split the back of my head on a rock. As I was running, crying with blood pouring down my neck, one of the Gypsy women saw my distress and grabbed hold of me, I was terrified, however she calmed me down, bathed my head and took me into the Caravan to dress my wound. All I can recall about the interior of the van, was how spotless and colourful it was. A curtained bed at the rear, shiny glass ornaments and mirrors, a big polished brass oil lamp hanging in the centre, coloured glass in the windows, casting light onto the glass ornaments. With lace covers on the chairs and small table.  Quite magical.  I also lost my fear of Gipsies
Title: Re: Quigg's Great Orme Gunsite Memoirs
Post by: Quiggs on March 31, 2011, 10:37:13 AM
One side effect of these memoirs, is loss of sleep. The human brain is a remarkable organ, during my sleep, my sub-conscious retrieval system must be scouring the deep reccesses of my memory banks, because I sometimes wake up,with the memory of some incident and I then have to piece together the details Then I have difficulty going back to sleep.  It's your fault Fester, You pushed me down this path !   WWW
Title: Re: Quigg's Great Orme Gunsite Memoirs
Post by: Fester on March 31, 2011, 11:37:46 AM
I have something for your insomnia Sir!

Sorry to be causing you lack of sleep, but I bet you are glad you kicked this off.... and now Tony F coming in to elaborate further... its all great stuff!
Title: Re: Quigg's Great Orme Gunsite Memoirs
Post by: Quiggs on April 01, 2011, 12:28:09 AM

   Three or four of us were playing together, at the far end of the site and noticed that the Gulls were nesting on the cliffs, so some one suggested that we should go and get some Seagulls eggs.  We proceeded down to the shore and made our along towards the cliffs. Part of the way was blocked by some very large rocks, that had come away from the cliffs in the distant past,  We had to climb up from the shore and make our way along higher up.  We eventually came to an area that moved inwards in a ’U’ shape, at the bottom of a valley that came down from the Marine Drive above,(  Looking at the map of the Orme, it is the area just past Squatters Rocks.)  I’d been here several times before, but  the water ran down it making it very slippery and this was an area that made me scared.

                                 8
Successfully negotiating the ’  Danger Zone, ’ we got to the nesting area and collected several eggs.   Making our way back, I had nothing to carry my eggs in, so I tucked my pullover into my trouser top and tightened my belt. And placing the eggs in the front of my pullover, we crossed the ’Danger Zone ’ and  along the shoreline ’til we had to go back up to the site.
   It was a scramble up a grassy slope, almost to the top I slipped forward,’ Crunch ’ OH, NO.!  With egg yolk oozing out of my pullover, I made my way to the top and took it off, getting some of the contents all over my hands, face and hair, what a sticky sight.!     Wiping off what I could on the grass, I made my way home.
   Mother decided I warranted a bath, so down came the tin bath off the kitchen wall, and after several kettles of hot water, off the fire grate, I was bathed.  It was unusual for me to have my bath first, as my sister usually had that privilege. Seagulls eggs have a strong flavour when boiled or fried, more palatable scrambled, but I preferred them when mother made an egg custard.

   One of my friends lived on the top Radar site and often came down to play. One day on his way down, he was confronted by a group of  Nanny Goats with their young Kids, he deviated off the path to avoid them, but one of the Nannies took exception to his presence and Charged.  Wallop! Straight into a gorse bush.    He arrived in a state of distress, his arms and legs covered in tiny red spots, where the gorse spines had pierced his skin, just deep enough to draw blood. It wasn’t often that the Goats attacked, but you had to be wary when they had Kids.
   A group of us decided to camp out one summer weekend and pitched a tent, in the field, at the bottom of the slope into the site, behind the home of the Smiths. We spent the first night messing about and giggling, so in the morning we were knackered.    The next night, we spent some time after dark, collecting Gloworms off the grasses between the gorse bushes and putting them in a jar to light the tent, but they do not glow for very long.    We took them back in the morning.    They are not a worm but a beetle, the females are flightless and to attract a mate, the end of the abdomen glows with a greenish / yellowish light.   The males are attracted by the light and fly in.   ( I’ve been up there several times after dark, June / July time, but have not found them again )     Being so tired, we went to sleep and  slept right through.      In the morning someone suggested that we went to Peter Smiths house, at the other end of the site, as they kept a few chickens, it was not unknown for these chickens to lay eggs in the bushes by their house.        We’d helped to find them with Peter on previous occasions.
   We set off full of hope, searching around, one of the lads found a large clutch of eggs just under the edge of a gorse bush.  We gathered a few and headed back to the tent,    I diverted home to get a frying pan, whilst the others got a fire going. Retuning to camp, we built up the fire with bracken and twigs out of the hedge, placed the frying pan onto the fire, we cracked a couple of eggs into the pan,   a few seconds elapsed until the smell hit us.    The eggs must have been in the gorse bush for weeks, and boy were they addled.
    The remainder of the eggs were swiftly despatched over the hedge onto the shore below. We departed to our respective homes for breakfast, me taking the frying pan back                              
    Mother was non too pleased, she made a tentative attempt to clean it, but the smell was to much and it was consigned to the bin.      
   The Family who lived in the first Cottage, on the left of the site had no electric when they moved in, cooking was done on the fire, or a small paraffin stove.
   On the opposite side of the road there was a flat roofed shelter, the front facing seawards.      Access was by a door at the back of the building, inside was a large single room, the seaward facing wall had several square openings, which gave an uninterrupted view of the sea. These openings could be closed by some heavy metal shutters on the outside.   I think that they were used as observation posts during firing and they had an electrical supply.   The Sutcliffs lived in a similar one, just past the large hump, in the middle of the site, on the right hand side.    (  I digress. )
   Back to the family in the cottage, over a period of time, he chiselled a groove across the road to the shelter, ( it can still be seen today.)   I think he put the cable through a metal conduit pipe, to supply his home, life became a little easier for them.
   Some time later,  I was walking down the hill, when I saw a sheep lying in a puddle on the road, where this electric supply ran. When I got closer I realised that it was Dead.  I went home and told dad, we returned and dad went to turn off the supply in the shelter and the sheep was removed, it had obviously been electrocuted. A bit of a row ensued, and the supply was dug out and re-laid.   If I had touched the beast I would not have been here to tell the tale.

   I’d had an electric shock some time previously, I had gone down from my house to see Leslie Drabble, who lived on the left hand side of the road, just below.    The entrance that they used was on the seaward side of the building, through the door was a dark corridor, I knocked on the door and entered, Leslie called me in, as I proceeded  I flicked the light switch, the next thing I was on the floor.  The switches were all metal and the conduit ran down the outside of the wall,  They would be illegal these days,                   

   Talk of the dead sheep has just brought to mind another incident.  At the Eastern end of the large hump, was an Emergency Water Supply concrete tank.    Passing by one day I heard a sheep bleating, on further investigation I discovered a sheep had fallen into the tank and was unable to get out.  It had probably fallen in whilst trying to get a drink, as it was a hot summer that year and the grass on the Orme was dry and brown.                      I attempted to try and grasp it, but each time I reached down, it swam away out of reach.
   On reflection it was probably just as well, because as good as my intentions were the damn thing probably weighed more than I did and would and more than likely have dragged me in, we would have drowned together, as there was no one else around.  I went to fetch my father, but by the time we got back it was too late. It was out of reach so there it remained, stinking to high heaven.
   Going back through these events, it is beginning to make me think that I’ve led a charmed life!!!
Title: Re: Quigg's Great Orme Gunsite Memoirs
Post by: tonyf on April 01, 2011, 08:26:32 AM
My next instalment is going to be my last as I feel that the time is right for me to call it a day. To everyone that has been reading what I recall of our early days on the Gun Site I thank you all for your kind comments, it was fun to do. But, it is plain we remember some of the same things in different ways which could confuse the forum. The electrocuted sheep is a point in question as I recall when I wrote in my instalment 2 it was a wire joined with insulation tape by my Dad and Bob Gordon who lived in the OP on the right of the road above our house (the one that Quiggs describes as having metal covers on the openings). Also puzzling is that Quiggs recalls that the ‘Smith’ family lived where we lived but it was us, I even have a picture of the house we called the 'Nook'  being constructed in 1940 with the 6? pounders at the side. I will attempt to upload the photos this weekend (any hints on uploading photos?) It is a possibility that the Smith’s moved from their squat to ours after we were re-housed by the council in 1953 when I was 6. But, I thought that we all moved out around the same time once the new council estate was completed. If anyone knows exactly I’d be pleased to hear from them.
Title: Re: Quigg's Great Orme Gunsite Memoirs
Post by: DaveR on April 01, 2011, 08:36:32 AM
If you have any problems uploading the photos, feel free to email them to admin@threetownsforum.co.uk and I will add them to this thread.
Title: Re: Quigg's Great Orme Gunsite Memoirs
Post by: Ian on April 01, 2011, 09:02:29 AM
Quote
To everyone that has been reading what I recall of our early days on the Gun Site I thank you all for your kind comments, it was fun to do. But, it is plain we remember some of the same things in different ways which could confuse the forum

Tony, I for one have thoroughly enjoyed the narratives you're both writing, and I don't think that the differences in recall - which there are bound to be - detract or confuse, frankly. This is the essence of social history;  the examination of differing sources to arrive at a composite image of society at a very different time.

What you've both contributed thus far is absolutely invaluable, and I really would urge both you and Quiggs to continue for as long as you can. Please.
Title: Re: Quigg's Great Orme Gunsite Memoirs
Post by: Ian on April 01, 2011, 09:04:16 AM
Quote
(any hints on uploading photos?)

Go here (http://threetownsforum.co.uk/forum/index.php?topic=114.msg956#msg956)

http://threetownsforum.co.uk/forum/index.php?topic=114.msg956#msg956 (http://threetownsforum.co.uk/forum/index.php?topic=114.msg956#msg956)
Title: Re: Quigg's Great Orme Gunsite Memoirs
Post by: tonyf on April 01, 2011, 09:29:09 AM
Thanks for that guys, I hadn't thought of it in that way, therefore I'll keep my 'Recal hat' on, it's a bit like Harry Potters 'Sorting Hat' only it takes ages to work. As my Dad was in the Army at the Gun Site I could perhaps include some of the stories he told me if anyone is interested? Thanks for uploading info, I'll give it a go.
Title: Re: Quigg's Great Orme Gunsite Memoirs
Post by: DaveR on April 01, 2011, 09:33:26 AM
Both yours and Quiggs memoirs have been fascinating and they are what this Forum is all about, so please keep them coming.  $good$
Title: Re: Quigg's Great Orme Gunsite Memoirs
Post by: tonyf on April 01, 2011, 10:29:02 AM
As I mentioned earlier my Father worked at the Hotpoint factory in Llandudno Junction. I remember one Christmas my parents decided to kill one of our chickens for Christmas dinner (they were expensive in those days). My Dad duly wrung its neck and tied its feet to the cold water tap (no hot water taps, no hot water even) and as it was hanging upside down proceeded to pluck it. My Dad was from London and this was his first time at this sort of thing but assured my Mother all would be well. Unfortunately, the chicken came around and started flapping and screeching still tied to the tap, what with that, my mother screaming and feathers going everywhere my Dad trying to grab its neck which he eventually managed and wrung it’s neck properly this time. I don’t recall having chicken again after that unless it came from a butcher. ! used to go to the Hotpoint kids Christmas party, a very special occasion jelly, ice cream and cakes when they actually meant something, not an everyday thing like today, a bit of a show, magicians etc and presents piled high, the same for each age group girl or boy waiting patiently for your name to be called out wandering with increasing trepidation if they’d forgotten me. For the first couple of years my father used to walk to the Victorian bus shelter on West shore to catch the bus to work and back home again in the evening. We all know how open it is to the prevailing westerly winds and rain across the mountains of Snowdonia and Conway estuary. Must have been rough in the winter but the walk in the summer would have been a real pleasure (if you weren’t going to work that is). Anyway, he eventually bought a 125cc BSA Bantam motorbike and as young as 4 I’d walk from the ‘Nook’ to the junction of Marine drive and Llys Helig Drive (a major hike for a 4 year old which you would not, in any circumstances, allow today) and wait at the big rock and the fresh water spring opposite, which were still there last time I visited, for a lift on the pillion. No crash hats in those days! How carefree we were, no telly, a battery driven radio, marching to the Dam Busters theme, Nelly the Elephant and how much is that doggy in the window bow wow on a Saturday morning? It’s a funny thing looking at that rock which my wife and I do every time I come back home and walk the Orme. After 60 years it is still fresh in my mind (not like some other of my memories).
Title: Re: Quigg's Great Orme Gunsite Memoirs
Post by: Fester on April 01, 2011, 10:43:24 AM
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Both yours and Quiggs memoirs have been fascinating and they are what this Forum is all about, so please keep them coming.  $good$

Tony F and Quiggs.  Can you imagine, more than half a century ago, as you were running around innocently living these events, that you would both be recounting them to an eager audience.. by bouncing them off several satellites, and beaming them into peoples computers or hand-held phones!

This just goes to show how the world has changed, and both your accounts are totally valid.... and anyone else out there who lived through these experiences.
Keep 'em coming guys.
Title: Re: Quigg's Great Orme Gunsite Memoirs
Post by: tonyf on April 01, 2011, 10:59:41 AM
Thanks Fester. To elaborate on the Hotpoint party. It involved walking to either the Victorian bus shelter on the West Shore or, if memory serves me, down to the junction with Trinity Ave to catch the bus that used to start from Trinity Church to Llandudno Junction, attend the party while the parents did their own thing. On completion of the party, get the bus back  to town and then walk home. We slept well in those days! That's how it was, either that or no party and worst of all, no present!
Title: Re: Quigg's Great Orme Gunsite Memoirs
Post by: Quiggs on April 01, 2011, 04:57:31 PM
Wandering about the area above the large concrete area one day, just below the Marine Drive, I dislodged a large roundish stone, about 2ft. In dia. It gathered speed as it crashed it’s way through the gorse, suddenly it deviated to the right, heading straight for the home of the Suttcliff’s, I was petrified, but just at the last minute it turned to the left and disappeared over the wall onto the concrete. The Suttcliffs had some cages at the rear of their home, where they kept/bred white Mice, the boulder would have demolished them and anyone who walked out of the door. What a fright! I quietly slunk home.

      Christmas time had mixed emotions, as on the one hand we were isolated from any events down in the Town, but on the other there was a community spirit amongst the residents, that I have not experienced since. One Christmas, Mrs Barr, who lived in the Nissen Hut below our house, invited all the children to a party, where we played games such as ducking for apples in a bucket, trying to take a bite out of a home made toffee apple hanging on a piece of string and seeking sweets hidden around, outside and in.
        We spent ages making Christmas decoration from crepe paper and tinsel prior to Christmas eve.  My father made toys for us and they tried to make Christmas as special as they could.

   Frank Tyldsley, a local builder who lived on Llys Helig Drive, just before the Gunsite, invited all the children off the site to his daughters birthday party. She normally wore her hair in a long plaited  pigtail, which came way below her waist, but on the party night it was loose and flowing, right down to her ankles. I thought that it was amazing.     His generosity was much appreciated.  ( For Festers benefit, I found out years later, that he was a Freemason. )    he put on a spread that like that none we had ever seen before.      We played hide and seek around his large house, I found myself in one of the bedrooms and hid in a wardrobe. I must have been in there for ages, because they all came looking for me. Finally Frank himself found me, just as I was about to step out, the base of the wardrobe collapsed.  I don’t suppose he was too impressed, but he said  nothing and sent me back downstairs. We all left the party with a Gift.  Brilliant.


   One day I returned home to find my mother all excited, she had a letter which she kept looking at. When the time came for father to return home from work, she kept looking out of the window for his arrival. When he did arrive there was tears all round.
   We had finally been allocated a new Council House, on the Tre Creuddyn Estate.
An estate that coincidently had been built by Frank Tyldsley.    We went to view it on the Saturday, it was not quite ready, shortly later we moved in. The pavement had not been completed, but one morning two workmen arrived and started laying flagstones. They looked like Laurel and Hardy, one a large bloke and the other small and  slim, but boy could they lay flagstones.  They worked their way down the street and back up the other side, you could roller skate along the pavement and hardly feel the joins. Brilliant.      A while later some workmen arrived with a truck full of lamp standards, yep! You guessed it, they dug up the pavement to lay cables and erect the lamp posts. The pavements were never the same again. I think it’s called Council Planning!

       My carefree life changed after that,      I started working as a carry out boy for the Co-Op butchers shop, which is the little shop next to the Computer shop, by the traffic lights on Trinity Ave. It’s currently an Antique Shop.
     Later that year I started in John Bright’s Grammar School, time to get my head down and get stuck in.

   
   I don’t regret my time on the Gunsite, they were happy care free times for me,       I think my parents probably saw it in a different light. But it taught me to appreciate what you’ve got and to be self sufficient.
      I’ve always seen my father as a good provider, he taught me many things as a child on the Gunsite, such as how to ’fish’ and gut the catch, rake Crabs from under the rocks, to shoot a Rifle and 12 Bore Shotgun, to shoot  or snare rabbits, then gut and skin them. Stalk Duck up the Conway River, then pluck and prepare them. 
   I often wonder if some Major Disaster strikes the Earth, how many people would cope with having to catch their food, instead of going to a supermarket, or if the squeamish could skin and butcher a Goat ?  A rabbit even.
      
   Later, when I was 14. I exchanged a small steam train, an electric train and some tracks for a B.S.A. three wheeler car, that required renovating. It was from a guy down the Rd. and with help from friends pushed it home. I returned for the engine, only to find it in bits in an old tin bath.
   I dragged it home and showed it to dad.  He told me to clean and lightly oil all the parts. That done he showed me which parts to start putting together, that done, the next parts and so on. I eventually I completed the build, one or two small errors on the way, but HEY! I did it.    I’ve built many others since. 

   I trust that I’ve given the reader a taste of life, during the war and my times as a Squatter on the Gunsite, with all it’s trials and tribulations.       The incidents described do not follow a strict chronological sequence but they all happened.         There must have been many other incidents during my five years there, but sixty-one years on, the memory is not what it was.


      On reviewing my times there, I’ve amazed myself at the difference between my youth and to-days cotton wool protected, scared of litigation society.
    Hey, you have to take responsibility for your own actions, to watch for dangers and problems, then deal with them. If it goes wrong it’s maybe your fault, not always someone else’s


               FIN.
Title: Re: Quigg's Great Orme Gunsite Memoirs
Post by: DaveR on April 01, 2011, 05:14:58 PM
They were very interesting to read, Quiggs, thank you for taking the time to put them on the Forum.  $thanx$
Title: Re: Quigg's Great Orme Gunsite Memoirs
Post by: suepp on April 01, 2011, 05:22:41 PM
yes thank you, both Quiggs and Tonyf really enjoyed reading them $thanx$
Title: Re: Quigg's Great Orme Gunsite Memoirs
Post by: Yorkie on April 01, 2011, 05:27:54 PM
Thanks for an interesting story.  It brought back lots of memories for me from wartime and the years after.   Maybe I will put my memories down in writing sometime.   Thanks. &well&  and  $thanx$ a 1,000,000
Title: Re: Quigg's Great Orme Gunsite Memoirs
Post by: Hugo on April 01, 2011, 06:03:13 PM
I've really enjoyed reading about life on the Gunsite, if any more memories come to light please jot them down.   Life was so very different in those days, we all had nothing but it makes you appreciate what you do have now.
I was driving on the Marine Drive today and took these photos of how it looks now. I can recognise where my cousin Peggy Whittle and Uncle Bobby Sam and Aunty Mary lived because I have memories of going to visit them when I was very young.  I think that I can recognise where Tonyf lived too.
Quiggs, when you moved from the gunsite, did you move to Ffordd Dwyfor?
Title: Re: Quigg's Great Orme Gunsite Memoirs
Post by: tonyf on April 01, 2011, 06:48:14 PM
Thanks Hugo, my house was further to the left and now has a millionaires house on it, a fact that will come out in my next instalment when I came across the bloke that lived in it. Meanwhile I'm going to attempt to upload a photo of my house being built by the army 1940/41 so stay tuned!
 And Quiggs, sorry to see you finish, it's like losing an old friend. We're in touch and we've promised to meet up some time soon when I'm next home for a beer and a reminisce
Title: Re: Quigg's Great Orme Gunsite Memoirs
Post by: Fester on April 01, 2011, 07:08:25 PM
I like beer too Tony F?  Can I come?
Also... if it was imperative that all historical accounts had to match exactly, then there would only be one history book in the library.

Mr Quiggs, don't let those brain cells relax just yet.. I reckon those memory banks are not fully exhausted.

After all, the gypsy incident triggered of another tale didn't it? (another evocative one too) ..so who knows whats lurking in that grey matter.
Title: Re: Quigg's Great Orme Gunsite Memoirs
Post by: tonyf on April 01, 2011, 07:26:05 PM
Not a problem Hugo as long as you forgive me for my Mother throwing water at you!
Title: Re: Quigg's Great Orme Gunsite Memoirs
Post by: Fester on April 01, 2011, 07:30:09 PM
???
Title: Re: Quigg's Great Orme Gunsite Memoirs
Post by: DaveR on April 01, 2011, 07:34:36 PM
TonyF has kindly emailed me a pic to show everyone. You can click on the pic to see a larger version:

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"This is my house the 'Nook' being built 1940/41. The OP at the far left was the Gordon's place with the metal covers over the windows as remembered by Quiggs."
Title: Re: Great Orme Gunsite Memoirs
Post by: Ian on April 02, 2011, 08:54:12 AM
This topic seems to have struck a chord with everyone.  The idea of others contributing memories in the same way about Llandudno and the area seems an excellent suggestion. and I might rename this topic to make it more general and inclusive.  Thanks to both of you for such a great addition to the forum.
Title: Re: Great Orme Gunsite Memoirs
Post by: white rabbit on April 02, 2011, 11:05:07 AM
I've really enjoyed reading these stories - please keep it up
Title: Re: Great Orme Gunsite Memoirs
Post by: tonyf on April 02, 2011, 01:53:31 PM
I think what Ian has suggested is a great idea, to have other peoples experiences and especially us older ones would give the younger members of the forum an insight to how we lived and really speaking 'managed' All I can say is 'I had a happy childhood' that I believe has shaped me as I am today. On that note I will submit my final instalment and hope that others will take up the baton and give us their experiences of life in Llandudno. Here goes:
Eventually at age around 4 I got a large 3 wheeler bike which I used to ride into town following my mother to work. Thinking about it now, it was a heck of a way for a young boy on a 3 wheeler with no gears; this must have been where I got my riding bug and determination. I remember one day cycling home head down struggling against the wind (which as anyone from Llandudno would know, is always windy!) along Abbey road shouting at my mother to ‘wait for me’ when I ran into the back of a parked car and went headlong into the boot. My mother of course, had to stop for me when the owners came out to comfort me! Never mind, I survived to cycle another day which I’m still doing to this day an average of 15 miles a day to and from work in the Dockyard at Portsmouth! If we walked, I’d always pester my mother to let me go into the grounds of Loretta College as it was then, and stare up at the at the statue of Mary. For some reason I was fascinated by this. Is it still there? 
I have wondered in the past about a boy of similar age to me who lived in the last house on what they now call millionaires row before the new ones were built post 1960s. Their garden butted up to the field behind the Nook. He used to come down and I’d meet him at the fence but for some reason our respective mothers used to call us back, there must have been some sort of prejudice even then, they were rich, we were poor and I suppose they thought we were rough being  squatters! Well you would these days too wouldn’t you? Finally, when I was 6, a man from the Council came and offered us a flat on the Council estate in Llandudno, I remember it well, I didn’t want to go but I believe we all had to. We ended up at 14 Ffordd Penrhyn, luxury, hot water, bath, flushing toilet etc…After a while we swapped with the people upstairs in the top floor flat No 18 for some reason, though thinking about it the woman upstairs in the middle flat, Mrs Jones had a son who was a bit odd and sang loudly in the bath that got on my mother’s nerves. Our new flat was number 18, not a good move as far as I was concerned because I had to fetch the coal from the shed up three stories of stone steps! Again, I suppose it did me good in the long run.
The End
Title: Re: Great Orme Gunsite Memoirs
Post by: Hugo on April 05, 2011, 03:06:52 PM
Is this the area where you lived on the Gunsite Tony?     I remember buildings being on the Gunsite but cannot remember what most of them looked like apart from my Uncle Bob's and cousin Peggy Whittle as I did go inside them a few times.
Title: Re: Great Orme Gunsite Memoirs
Post by: Michael on April 05, 2011, 04:47:51 PM
Like a lot of members I have enjoyed reading these great posts. The short story I am now going to write is the first time I have EVER mentioned this to anyone----I was far too frightened and, I might add, ashamed of myself. The same period of time, around 1941 , I was by myself on the upper slopes of the Orme, more or less above the gun sites, mucking around by myelf, probably skipped school, aged around 11. Yes, thats right. Eleven. Having cycled all the way from Rhos. And I came from a very protective family who kept a very close eye on me, by the standards of that time!!!  I spotted a small boulder about twice the size of a football. I wondered what would happen if I started it rolling down, there was a small mound of "spoil" from one of the mine tunnels, I thought it would stop there. So,off it went, bounced straight over the spoil right down to the Marine Drive, became airbourne and shot right across the road and smashed into a thousand pieces against the wall on the far side. I was terrified and quite expected to be arrested when I came off the Orme. Fortunately, of course, there was no one much around apart from soldiers at the gunsite. But, I could have killed a couple of forum members when they were at a very young age if they had been in the wrong place at the wrong time. Mike
Title: Re: Great Orme Gunsite Memoirs
Post by: tonyf on April 05, 2011, 07:00:34 PM
Hi Hugo, yes it's one of those houses. I read somewhere that the 3 concrete gun emplacements were buried under one of them. Best way to tell is if the original gate (or it's replacement) is still there. Our house would be about 50 yards further on with a road to the left. Must have a look next time I'm home. Thanks anyway Hugo, much appreciated.
Title: Re: Great Orme Gunsite Memoirs
Post by: Blodyn on April 06, 2011, 11:58:33 AM
Many thanks for all those stories, Quiggs and Tony F, like the other Forum members I have thoroughly enjoyed reading them.  I had had no idea that anyone had lived at the gunsite after the war and I will look at it in a new light next time I'm walking there. 

Mike, I hope that your experience cured you of the tendency to thow rocks - or do I need to watch out when walking near your golf course!
Title: Re: Great Orme Gunsite Memoirs
Post by: Hugo on April 06, 2011, 01:18:49 PM
I think that you need to keep your eye on wayward golf balls Blodyn now that Mike has matured but what Mike has said reminded me of a story my friends told me.  It was just a childish prank but could have had serious consequences.
In my early teens  two friends took me down to the Hiding Cave just below the Rest and Be Thankful.  In those days it was a safe zig zag walk down the steep narrow valley and at the bottom of it was a cliff but there was a path below it that led to the cave. After seeing the cave, table,bench etc we came back to the cliff edge.
At one time the edge of the cliff must have been fenced off but all that remained of it was a single 2 inch angle iron pole which was bang in the middle of this narrow valley.
They then told me what happened on their last visit to the cave.  AA who  was the elder of the two had walked half way up the valley, while RW stayed by the cliff edge.   AA then rolled a large rock down the valley and it carried on rolling and rolling and there was no where that RW  could go to other than behind this angle iron post.
The rock hit the post with such force that the rock split in two and both pieces fell into the sea below.   :o
RW was so lucky as it could easily have had tragic consequences.
Title: Re: Great Orme Gunsite Memoirs
Post by: norman08 on April 06, 2011, 04:31:52 PM
 hi quiggs  just showed my sister your stories brings back memories ,she said you had the poshest house there lol, i also remember more of your names now
Title: Re: Great Orme Gunsite Memoirs
Post by: margo on April 06, 2011, 09:30:58 PM
i have really enjoyed reading the memories of forum members about the gunsites and would love to hear of any other stories that members recall, it is all part of the history of the area and i never get tired of reading about it.
Title: Re: Great Orme Gunsite Memoirs
Post by: Quiggs on April 06, 2011, 09:43:00 PM
Hugo, the gun foundations that Tony mentions, can just be made out, by the shadow at the right hand edge of your photo. The building is on the field that I camped in and was behind Tony's home.
Title: Re: Great Orme Gunsite Memoirs
Post by: Hugo on April 14, 2011, 04:20:26 PM
I had a walk on the Gunsite today and after you go through the gate, there is a fenced off bit on the left with a gate and notice saying keep out private property and the area is thickly covered in brambles. After about 100 yards there is a concrete foundation on the left that must have been a building at some time ( just before the info board)  a bit further on there is a road to the left but all I could see was a concrete bunker.   Is that the area where you lived Tony?.   
I seem to remember small circular concrete structures about 4 foot high that had a circular rail inside for the anti aircraft guns to run on and they were dotted around the site but all the evidence has long since gone.  After disturbing the rabbits I carried on up the sloping path through the sweet smelling Gorse and had a look down at Squatters rock where I enjoyed many happy hours fishing when I was much younger. Then to Hornby Cove before a steep climb up to the Marine Drive.    :)
Title: Re: Great Orme Gunsite Memoirs
Post by: Hugo on April 14, 2011, 04:22:46 PM
Gun site walk
Title: Re: Great Orme Gunsite Memoirs
Post by: Hugo on April 14, 2011, 04:25:48 PM
Gun site
Title: Re: Great Orme Gunsite Memoirs
Post by: Trojan on April 14, 2011, 05:56:52 PM
Hornby Cave - I remember bumping into Bernard Cribbins there once.
Title: Re: Great Orme Gunsite Memoirs
Post by: Orme Vixen on April 14, 2011, 06:19:24 PM
And his friends?

The Wombles - Wombling Song (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FZ2mJPSccvo#)
Title: Re: Great Orme Gunsite Memoirs
Post by: Michael on April 14, 2011, 08:31:40 PM
Hugo, I remember these circular concrete fixtures but not on the Great Orme, I remember them from the Little Orme. But, I dont think they were anti aircraft guns as you state, they were anti shipping. Mike
Title: Re: Great Orme Gunsite Memoirs
Post by: Trojan on April 14, 2011, 09:16:12 PM
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And his friends?

That was that daft batt Mike. What was his surname......?
Title: Re: Great Orme Gunsite Memoirs
Post by: Hugo on April 15, 2011, 11:56:25 AM
Mike, you are correct in saying that the guns were anti shipping and not anti aircraft as I thought.   Have a look at the Coast Artillery School Llandudno site which shows you photos of the guns as well as a lot more info.

Title: Re: Great Orme Gunsite Memoirs
Post by: Trojan on April 15, 2011, 02:50:39 PM
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Mike, you are correct in saying that the guns were anti shipping and not anti aircraft as I thought.   Have a look at the Coast Artillery School Llandudno site which shows you photos of the guns as well as a lot more info.


Of course Mike is correct. They towed decommissioned vessels off the coast, then used them for target practice.

I suppose it would have been difficult to do the same thing with anti-aircraft guns. Getting volunteers from the RAF would have been next to impossible.  ;D

 
Title: Re: Great Orme Gunsite Memoirs
Post by: Yorkie on April 15, 2011, 04:17:31 PM
Unless they were Japanese of course!     ;D
Title: Re: Great Orme Gunsite Memoirs
Post by: Quiggs on April 15, 2011, 04:53:05 PM
 Hugo, Tony's house was just inside the gated area of the first photo, it would have been in the corner of the garden of the property 2nd photo, where what looks like a rockery is.  The concrete area 3rd. photo is the foundations of the building occupied by the Drabble family.
Title: Re: Great Orme Gunsite Memoirs
Post by: Hugo on April 15, 2011, 05:40:44 PM
Thanks Quiggs, that concrete base is still there but that gate stating private property keep out prevents you from going there to have a look.
I'll make a comment on that house again when I have more time.
Title: Re: Great Orme Gunsite Memoirs
Post by: Hugo on April 15, 2011, 05:52:42 PM
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Mike, you are correct in saying that the guns were anti shipping and not anti aircraft as I thought.   Have a look at the Coast Artillery School Llandudno site which shows you photos of the guns as well as a lot more info.


Of course Mike is correct. They towed decommissioned vessels off the coast, then used them for target practice.

I suppose it would have been difficult to do the same thing with anti-aircraft guns. Getting volunteers from the RAF would have been next to impossible.  ;D

I can't imagine that they were put into use then  apart from target practise as there were not many German boats about  apart from the U boats that stayed for a few days off one of the coves on the Orme.   What about the German planes flying over to Liverpool, surely there must have been something there that fired at the planes.

 
Title: Re: Great Orme Gunsite Memoirs
Post by: Michael on April 15, 2011, 09:10:10 PM
Hugo, you know this area far better than me, but, I would say NO, there was no anti aircraft function at neither Great nor Little Orme. Now----to wait for me to be shot down!!! LOL
Title: Re: Great Orme Gunsite Memoirs
Post by: DaveR on April 15, 2011, 09:19:04 PM
They had a boat which towed a target behind it. I believe they hit the boat rather than the target occasionally.  :o
Title: Re: Great Orme Gunsite Memoirs
Post by: Hugo on April 16, 2011, 12:15:17 PM
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Hugo, you know this area far better than me, but, I would say NO, there was no anti aircraft function at neither Great nor Little Orme. Now----to wait for me to be shot down!!! LOL

Mike, I know very little about the gun site but assumed that because the rails on which the guns were mounted went in a complete circle they would be for anti aircraft use.  It wasn't until I saw the guns on the web this week that I realised that they were not anti aircraft guns.

However just quoting an extract below from the Bye Laws passed in 1939 seems to make the situation confused:-
 " When vessel or aircraft in danger"
Para 8 (2) (b)  states:-
"When any aircraft is observed on a course likely to bring it flying over the danger area of the range at a height estimated to be less than 10,000 foot when anti aircraft firing is in progress, firing will immediately cease and will not be resumed until the aircraft is out of danger"        ???
Title: Re: Great Orme Gunsite Memoirs
Post by: Hugo on April 16, 2011, 04:04:39 PM
When I was in my teens we had unrestricted access down Llys Helyg Drive to the Gunsite.  We would go for family picnics or walks or fishing.  People even used to go there to learn how to drive as they could do so as it was not  a public road.
About C1964 I was walking there with a friend,( who incidently lived on the site at one time) and we were prevented from going there because a gate had recently been put up blocking the entry to the Gunsite.  We just climbed over the gate and carried on walking.
After that I took a bit more interest in the area but cannot remember the dates or sequence of events.  In the papers it said that Mostyn Estates applied for permission to develop the gunsite for residential homes but the application was refused.  The buidings on the Gunsite were removed or destroyed but I cannot imagine for one second that Mostyn Estates would pay for that demolition, so who did?   
With the building permission being refused it later became the Great Orme Country Park but vehicle access to the Gunsite for the general public is still denied.
Title: Re: Great Orme Gunsite Memoirs
Post by: Trojan on April 16, 2011, 04:17:59 PM
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With the building permission being refused it later became the Great Orme Country Park but vehicle access to the Gunsite for the general public is still denied.

I used to ride my Enduro motorcycle there, which used to annoy the park warden.

Could never catch me though.  $happy$
Title: Re: Great Orme Gunsite Memoirs
Post by: Hugo on April 17, 2011, 12:40:42 PM
When they put up the gate to prevent access for vehicles to the Gunsite C1964 this also marked the boundary to the last house in Llys Helyg Drive.  It was a nice Spanish style bungalow called Plas Gwyn. and it's boundary line was level with the line of the gate.
After going over the gate you could immediately leave the road on your left and walk to the concrete foundations that once was the place where Tonyf  lived.  From there you could walk along the cliffs to the centre of the Gunsite. You are now prevented from doing this by a gate on the left which says private property keep out.
Some years after 1964  the owner of Plas Gwyn decided to build an indoor pool at the side of his house and I can remember the builders using this concrete base for doing work on the property. They would store materials etc there and had a wooden shed on the concrete. I believe that the gate and fence were put there while the construction work was going on, but it has never been removed, possibly to protect the privacy of the house.
What I never found out were a number of things such as:-
The new pool could not be fitted into the original boundary of the property (see 1st photo wall near cliff edge) so a new boundary was created.
That extra land belonged to Mostyn Estates and as they give nothing away I assume a financial transaction to purchase the extra land took place.
Planning permission for the gunsite had been refused so the land must have been green belt land or even part of the Great Orme Country Park but I'm not sure of when the pool was actually built.   How they got permission to build the indoor pool, I'm not sure.
Having said that once the work was done, I cannot see why the gate was not removed because that land is now part of the Great Orme Country Park and access to Tonyf's place should not be denied. I can only think that the owner of the house left it there on purpose to protect his privacy.   ???
Title: Re: Great Orme Gunsite Memoirs
Post by: Quiggs on April 17, 2011, 02:11:09 PM
With talk of the Gunsite being used by learner drivers etc. jogged a memory, if I'm correct wasn't one of the first fatalities,( if not the first,) of a go-cart driver, being killed.   Happened   when driving round the large hump in the middle of the site?     ^*^0
Title: Re: Great Orme Gunsite Memoirs
Post by: Morkins on May 06, 2011, 06:49:47 AM
Quigs, thankyou for your stories of life back then, wonderful reading.     Do you remember a documentary film crew, back approx 1942, tearing around the place in Jeeps and lorries?    My father was directing.  I'm told recently, it was an AKC secret then, film for practice for Dunkirk or similar.     We lived at the time in a house I'm trying to locate (photo posted by Olden), perhaps in Llys Helyg Drive.    does any of this ring any bells?     I'd love any info you have.    I remember the shooting, did not know it was target practice.
Title: Re: Great Orme Gunsite Memoirs
Post by: Micox on May 17, 2011, 09:53:19 PM
Hello young Quiney. You must be older than I thought!!!! :-*
Title: Re: Great Orme Gunsite Memoirs
Post by: Jack on September 01, 2011, 08:24:56 AM
CCBC have produced a new Gunsite leaflet that is available from the tourist info and written by Cllr Evans.  There is a nice map in the centre outlining what most of the buildings were used for.
Title: Re: Great Orme Gunsite Memoirs
Post by: Blodyn on September 27, 2011, 03:00:05 PM
Thanks for the information on the leaflet, Jack, I've got a copy now.  The leaflet's very interesting as far as it goes but it does make it sound as if the story of the gunsite ended with the end of the war, while thanks to the contributors to this thread we know better.  A post-war version of the leaflet would be interesting, too. 
Title: Re: Quigg's Great Orme Gunsite Memoirs
Post by: RichieC on October 22, 2011, 12:31:46 PM
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Are you sure about the blasting of the road tunnels? I always understood that they were constructed around 1935/6.  Do you think you heard blasting in the many quarries in that area?

Forumers interested in the particularly technical construction of the Penmaenmawr to Llanfairfechan section during the early 1930's and the lifetime history of the A55 in the west of Conwy section will be well informed by referring to this thorough and entertaining article

http://www.meccanoindex.co.uk/MMpage.php?MID=12528&id=1319282681 (http://www.meccanoindex.co.uk/MMpage.php?MID=12528&id=1319282681)


*Please note that there is a second page to this article which can be accessed by clicking on the 'Page Forward/Page Backward' arrows on the top left-hand corner of the article itself.
Title: Re: Great Orme Gunsite Memoirs
Post by: DVT on December 10, 2011, 09:50:15 PM
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With talk of the Gunsite being used by learner drivers etc. jogged a memory, if I'm correct wasn't one of the first fatalities,( if not the first,) of a go-cart driver, being killed.   Happened   when driving round the large hump in the middle of the site?     ^*^0

I'm a new member and only just found this thread, which makes fascinating reading - thanks to all contributors.

I've highlighted this posting as I am the archivist for North Wales Car Club, which was formed in 1956 from the Llandudno Motor & Aero Club.  I have all the minute books from that time right up to present!

I have been led to believe that the "lads" who used to go go-karting were part of the group that formed the NWCC.  Does anyone have any more info on this, or dates of when the tragic incident happened - I think 1953 or 1954, but guessing a bit.

The afore-mentioned Frank Tyldesley was one of the early NWCC members.  He competed on the RAC Rally in 1954 in an Austin Westminster, navigated by Geoff Flint (Estate Agent) and Fred Ward (who emigrated to Canada).

Thanks for any info!
Title: Re: Great Orme Gunsite Memoirs
Post by: Cambrian on December 11, 2011, 11:45:45 AM
I recall this tragic accident happened in the mid-1960s.  The young man (whose name might be Colin) was testing a go-kart which flipped over and he unfortunately sustained fatal injuries.  I think he worked at the now demolished garage in Bodhyfryd Road. Hope this gives you some leads.
Title: Re: Great Orme Gunsite Memoirs
Post by: ed jones on December 11, 2011, 03:36:44 PM
Miriam yr ogof JONES was my great grandmother. My dad was Ted yr ogof, boatman and fisherman who died in 1965, there is a monument to him on the prom not too far from the jetty steps where he died. I don't have much information on my Grandmother other than she lived in a cave on the Great Orme where she brought up numerous kids, 'some woman'.
Tony f is a good mate of mine we joined the fleet air arm together in 1964. We recently met up again after 40 odd years in Torquay of all places.
Title: Re: Great Orme Gunsite Memoirs
Post by: Hugo on December 11, 2011, 05:29:45 PM
Miriam was a remarkable woman Ed, she lived in a cave which I believe was on the old maps as Gogarth cave and the cave is now hidden by the garage door in St Petrocks. The cave was in the way for the construction of the Marine Drive but Miriam refused to leave the cave unless Mostyn Estates gave her a cottage which they did. She ran a business from the cottage called Gogarth Tea Rooms and the remains of the cottage are still there.
I pass it often when I walk around the Orme and the kitchen tiles are still there and well preserved.
I used to speak to you Dad often on the Prom and Ted always knew every one of us and had a word every time we went by. A lovely guy who died far too young.
Title: Re: Great Orme Gunsite Memoirs
Post by: jane B on December 11, 2011, 07:58:28 PM
What a great story! A remarkable family!
Title: Re: Great Orme Gunsite Memoirs
Post by: Hugo on December 12, 2011, 11:06:58 AM
These are some of the photos of Miriam that appeared in Jim Roberts' book Llandudno.  The books great and I've read it so often some of the pages have fallen out!
The last photo is of the steps that Miriam was pictured on. They're still here and often think of her in the old photo of over 100 years ago when I walk past them
Title: Re: Great Orme Gunsite Memoirs
Post by: Llechwedd on December 12, 2011, 11:11:05 AM
I've often wondered where those steps led to!

Hey Ed we went to school together. I thought you wanted to join the navy?
Title: Re: Great Orme Gunsite Memoirs
Post by: martin on December 12, 2011, 11:34:44 AM
Hugo it is really fascinating that someone could live in a cave in this country and live to such a ripe old age, do you have the full details of the publication please, I would really like to try and obtain a copy from the 'tinternet.  Thank you for posting such an interesting story.
Title: Re: Great Orme Gunsite Memoirs
Post by: Hugo on December 12, 2011, 07:02:48 PM
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Hugo it is really fascinating that someone could live in a cave in this country and live to such a ripe old age, do you have the full details of the publication please, I would really like to try and obtain a copy from the 'tinternet.  Thank you for posting such an interesting story.

Martin, the cuttings I found by accident in the Conwy Archives and I actually bought Jim Roberts' book called "Llandudno" from there too. I don't know of any books that tell just of the life of Miriam Yr Ogof but I'll copy a passage from Ivor Wynne Jones' book "Llandudno Queen of the Welsh resorts" for you.
The garage of St Petrocks is all that is left of a natural chamber from which Llandudno's last cave dwellers were displaced in 1877 to make way for the Marine Drive. During the 40 years that they lived in the cave Miriam and Isaac Jones had reared 15 children, including 3 sets of twins. Isaac who was born in Amlwch in 1811, was seriously injured when he tried to fly by tying seagull wings to his arms and leaping into space, but Miriam nursed him back to health in the cave and he lived to be an octogenarian. They refused to leave the cave until the Marine Drive company gave them a cottage, where Miriam died in 1910 aged 91.
Title: Re: Great Orme Gunsite Memoirs
Post by: martin on December 12, 2011, 07:21:50 PM
Thanks for that Hugo, it is an unbelievable story, what lives they led, look at us today, we really do not know we are born.  I went on Amazon and have found several publications by Jim Roberts on the past time of Llandudno, I have ordered one and will let you know what it contains when it arrives,  it is 128 pages of old photographs of the town so it should be interesting.  Thanks again for the onfo.
Title: Re: Great Orme Gunsite Memoirs
Post by: Hugo on December 13, 2011, 04:53:39 PM
This is St Petrocks and the cave is behind the garage door on the left of the photo.
Title: Re: Great Orme Gunsite Memoirs
Post by: ed jones on December 13, 2011, 05:08:58 PM
Hugo, many thanks for that information. I have only just found three towns forum thanks to Tony f. I moved away from Llandudno in 1964 and I now only visit occasionally, Next time I'm there I will visit the Conwy Archives and also will buy a copy of Jim ROBERTS book. Llechwedd, who are you? If you look at the members list you will see I can be contacted by e mail.Memories of school are dim, apart from the girls and football!
Title: Re: Great Orme Gunsite Memoirs
Post by: martin on December 13, 2011, 06:00:09 PM
Hello Ed, I have just ordered one of his books from Amazon, he has written quite a few and I now think the one I am getting is not the one that contains the photos of Miriam.  But Amazon is the place to go, there are some sellers charging around £12, but if you look around there are some far cheaper sellers,  mine is from The Book Depository Ltd and is brand new and costing just over £7 including P&P.  Like you I have only recently found this site, there is some really interesting stuff on  here, the old postcards are well worth a look.  Regards  Martin
Title: Re: Great Orme Gunsite Memoirs
Post by: Hugo on December 13, 2011, 06:53:27 PM
Sorry Martin but mine cost £4.99 from the Conwy Archives.

Ed, I didn't realise that you left Llandudno so early until Tonyf posted something on here.  The last time I remember talking to you was by Thomsons Newsagents in South Parade. I was with Wyn Griffin when we met you and I think that you lived round the corner in Somerset Street. Must have been about 50 years ago!
Title: Re: Great Orme Gunsite Memoirs
Post by: martin on December 13, 2011, 07:23:53 PM
Hugo, you can go off people you know!   There's me thinking I had the bargain of the year.   Where are these mystical archives please? 
Title: Re: Great Orme Gunsite Memoirs
Post by: Hugo on December 13, 2011, 07:37:04 PM
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Hugo, you can go off people you know!   There's me thinking I had the bargain of the year.   Where are these mystical archives please?
     

The old Lloyd Street School next to the Lifeboat Station.        $hands$
Title: Re: Great Orme Gunsite Memoirs
Post by: martin on December 13, 2011, 07:50:58 PM
Thanks Hugo, I am still on crutches having broken my ankle in three places so I want to get as close as possible to it, I take it it is in Llandudno, is it the building just past the church in Lloyd Street?  (I don't know where the lifeboat station is).
Title: Re: Great Orme Gunsite Memoirs
Post by: Hugo on December 14, 2011, 10:44:32 AM
I've just sent a PM for you Martin.

The Conwy Archives open on the 28th December after Christmas but then close on the 29th December and then reopen in the new year on 3rd January 2012.
Title: Re: Great Orme Gunsite Memoirs
Post by: ed jones on December 14, 2011, 09:49:29 PM
Martin, many thaks for that. I'm off to Amazon
Title: Re: Great Orme Gunsite Memoirs
Post by: Hugo on December 15, 2011, 01:37:06 PM
1851 Census showing Isaac Jones' address as " Cave by Gogarth"
Title: Re: Great Orme Gunsite Memoirs
Post by: Hugo on December 15, 2011, 07:55:31 PM
Sorry but the Census date was 1861 not 1851       :-[
Title: Re: Great Orme Gunsite Memoirs
Post by: Welshmunchkin on December 15, 2011, 08:00:13 PM
There is also a book of photos written by Jim Roberts in Asda Llandudno
Title: Re: Great Orme Gunsite Memoirs
Post by: martin on December 15, 2011, 08:15:07 PM
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There is also a book of photos written by Jim Roberts in Asda Llandudno

Do you know which one it was?  He has done quite a few on Llandudno. $walesflag$
Title: Re: Great Orme Gunsite Memoirs
Post by: Welshmunchkin on December 16, 2011, 11:15:10 AM
No I'm sorry I don't. I was in a bit of a hurry and just picked it up but didn't take in the title. It was full of pictures, as you would expect, but to be honest most of them I had seen before, indeed I used to have prints of some of them on my wall in the 1970's.
One of my favourite books about Llandudno is "Llandudno Queen of the Welsh Resorts", and again in the 1970's I worked through the book taking all the suggested walks. Loved it! So interesting.
Title: Re: Great Orme Gunsite Memoirs
Post by: martin on December 16, 2011, 11:56:56 AM
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No I'm sorry I don't. I was in a bit of a hurry and just picked it up but didn't take in the title. It was full of pictures, as you would expect, but to be honest most of them I had seen before, indeed I used to have prints of some of them on my wall in the 1970's.
One of my favourite books about Llandudno is "Llandudno Queen of the Welsh Resorts", and again in the 1970's I worked through the book taking all the suggested walks. Loved it! So interesting.

Thanks for that information, I have seen, "Llandudno Queen of the Welsh Resorts", advertised on the same site I am getting the one I ordered from, sound really nice, especially as it contains walks.  At present I am still recovering from breaking my ankle in three placing in June, as one of the breaks was to the joint, it is taking a long time, but I love walking so when I am once again fit, I will do some of the walks.  Thanks again for you reply.
Title: Re: Great Orme Gunsite Memoirs
Post by: Hugo on December 16, 2011, 06:46:49 PM
Christopher Draper wrote a book " Walks with history-Llandudno"       I haven't read it yet, but if it's like his other book " Llandudno before the hotels" it should be good.
Hope that you soon get over your injury as I know how much pleasure you can get from the walks. I've trapped a nerve in my back so have not done any walks for nearly 3 months.    :(
Title: Re: Great Orme Gunsite Memoirs
Post by: martin on December 16, 2011, 07:04:11 PM
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Christopher Draper wrote a book " Walks with history-Llandudno"       I haven't read it yet, but if it's like his other book " Llandudno before the hotels" it should be good.
Hope that you soon get over your injury as I know how much pleasure you can get from the walks. I've trapped a nerve in my back so have not done any walks for nearly 3 months.    :(
Thank you Hugo both for the information and the good wishes.  I have this week reached another milestone and chucked the crutches into a dark corner, so now I really am a hop along, I am hopeful of a good if not full recovery by next spring.  Mind you, what car do you drive, from what I have read, steel toecaps are the order of the day when walking around Conwy. _))* _))*
Title: Re: Great Orme Gunsite Memoirs
Post by: Hugo on December 16, 2011, 07:31:02 PM
What can I say only " it wasn't me your honour"     and no I'm not going on the Jeremy Kyle Show and doing a lie detector test either!       :twoface:
Title: Re: Great Orme Gunsite Memoirs
Post by: Nemesis on December 17, 2011, 10:37:04 AM
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Christopher Draper wrote a book " Walks with history-Llandudno"       I haven't read it yet, but if it's like his other book " Llandudno before the hotels" it should be good.
Hope that you soon get over your injury as I know how much pleasure you can get from the walks. I've trapped a nerve in my back so have not done any walks for nearly 3 months.    :(

Christopher Draper Has also written Walks from Colwyn Bay, Walks in the Conwy Valley and Walks from Conwy. Perhaps more, but I have all these 4 and they are excellent. Can't walk long distances, but have picked bits and pieces of interest from them and walked sections. Can recommend them.
Title: Re: Great Orme Gunsite Memoirs
Post by: Hugo on December 19, 2011, 04:34:25 PM
Isaac and Miriam Jones (Yr Ogof) were still living in the cave in the 1871 Census and had 5 children living with them at that time.
The eldest daughter (can't read the name ) was born in Liverpool??  the other 4 children were born in Llandudno.
Title: Re: Great Orme Gunsite Memoirs
Post by: Hugo on December 20, 2011, 01:37:10 PM
I had a look on the 1881 Census today and by that date Isaac and Miriam had moved to the Gogarth Tea Rooms.  Isaac was aged 71 and had retired as he had "no occupation" on the Census form. His birthplace was listed as Liverpool which seems strange as books I've read list his birthplace as Amlwch.
Miriam was then aged 50 and was working as a "charwoman"    They only had a daughter Rebecca aged 11 living at home by that time.
Title: Re: Great Orme Gunsite Memoirs
Post by: jennie.ross on January 20, 2012, 07:12:45 PM
I'm a new Member that joined today.  I would certainly like to hear more about the Old Gun site on the Orme - My dad worked ther when he was in the RAF during thw ww2.  My Grandmother lived in Ty'n Y Coed Road

Jennie
Title: Re: Great Orme Gunsite Memoirs
Post by: DaveR on January 20, 2012, 07:15:15 PM
Welcome to the Forum, Jennie.  :)
Title: Re: Great Orme Gunsite Memoirs
Post by: jennie.ross on January 20, 2012, 08:30:59 PM
Thanks Dave - I came across it by accident this evening whilst trying to find info about my family on the Orme
Title: Re: Great Orme Gunsite Memoirs
Post by: Cambrian on January 20, 2012, 08:47:59 PM
Jennie - there is a leaflet giving an outline of the hsitory of the Gunsites during the war.  This is available at the Town Hall or the Museum in Gloddaeth Street.
If your dad was in the RAF he may have been stationed at the Summit Hotel which was an RAF radar facility rather than the Coast Artillery School which was essentially an Army base run by the Royal Artillery.
There was also an experimental station situated above the CAS which may have had RAF people seconded.  It is not clear who exactly ran this - it was know locally as "Hatters Castle" - but it dealt with experimental radar systems and seems to have been a "hush hush" site.
Title: Re: Great Orme Gunsite Memoirs
Post by: Blodyn on January 20, 2012, 11:12:26 PM
Welcome to the Forum, Jennie.  Good luck with finding information on your family.  There are some very helpful and knowledgeable people on the Forum, so if you've got any more questions do keep asking.   :)
Title: Re: Great Orme Gunsite Memoirs
Post by: jennie.ross on January 31, 2012, 06:48:33 PM
Thanks Blodyn and Cambrian.

My Nain owned two shops in Ty'n Y Coed Road just befor the war - one at no 5 and one on the land to the side of the Quarry (which was owned by her Father) - I think there is a bungalow there now so if anyone knows anything about Bett Evans and her family - she was related to The Hobsons at Ivy Mount and the Roberts at Pen Y Frith Farm - that would be great.

My Taid died in WW1 but he was Robert John Hughes (my Nain re-married) and was related to the Hughes family who had the donkeys on the beach - so any info regarding that side of the family would be good too

Jennie
Title: Re: Great Orme Gunsite Memoirs
Post by: Cambrian on January 31, 2012, 07:51:15 PM
Jennie

If you look at the Genealogy section of this site there are sections on the Hobsons and some of the Hughes families in the area.  You may find something which connects with the info you already have.  There are some very kind and helpful people on the forum who seem always willing to assist with family researches.
Title: Re: Great Orme Gunsite Memoirs
Post by: jennie.ross on February 08, 2012, 06:26:52 PM
Thanks Cambrian
Title: Re: Great Orme Gunsite Memoirs
Post by: Chris H on March 20, 2012, 07:25:22 PM
Having just signed up to the forum today, I thought I may as well dive in with a post!  We visited Llandudno on Sunday, bringing my Mum over from Wrexham, as she and my late Dad used to love to take a picnic onto the Orme when he was still alive.  Llandudno holds many happy memories for me, as I spent some of my childhood there (1960 - 1966) and the Gun Site was one of our occasional playgrounds.  I recall some of the larger coastal gun positions as still in place back then, I suppose the scrap merchants hadn't yet got to the rusting metalwork that the guns used to traverse around.  I also recall the triplet barbettes lower down towards the beach, you can still see two sets on Google Earth.
One for Ed Jones, I remember your brother Johnny and your Dad, as my Dad used to take us on the pleasure boats in the summer.  My Dad was also a Lay Reader and he and Canon Daniels, the Rector, conducted Ted's funeral service at St Tudno's.  Dad said you could hardly move there, it was packed with mourners who had come to pay their respects to your Dad.
I shall have to contact a friend of mine, who is something to do with photographs at the Imperial War Museum in London.  He told me a while ago that there are some albums there showing the School and I also think that the documentary that someone mentioned earlier is still in existence.
Cheers to all,
Chris
Title: Re: Great Orme Gunsite Memoirs
Post by: snowcap on March 20, 2012, 08:26:16 PM
hi Chris, welcome to the forum, i am also a wrexham lad even though i have not lived there for the last fifty years or so, still have family in bryteg southsea + pentre broughton, hope you enjoy the forum as much as i. made some good friends on here as I'm sure you will.
Title: Re: Great Orme Gunsite Memoirs
Post by: Chris H on March 20, 2012, 09:07:20 PM
Thanks Snowcap!  I wonder if I'll bump into any of my old school friends from "Lloydy" here...
Southsea eh?  My Dad was the village bobby there in the mid-1950's!  PC 147...
I live in Cambridgeshire now, where it's far too flat and featureless. 
My Mum is now 80, so long trips out in the car are a thing of the past and she can just about manage a run to Llandudno!
Title: Re: Great Orme Gunsite Memoirs
Post by: snowcap on March 21, 2012, 07:36:08 PM
so he,s the one who used to chase us off the slag heap, lol
Title: Re: Great Orme Gunsite Memoirs
Post by: jacko on December 04, 2012, 12:08:38 PM
hello, just been to site IMPERIAL WAR MUSEUMhttp://www.iwm.org.uk/, I put in  Llandudno and shows coastal artillery school photo, have done a quick search didn't find anything covering this photo if I missed it then sorry,
Title: Re: Great Orme Gunsite Memoirs U-boat rendezvous 1915, Great Orme
Post by: SteveH on June 16, 2015, 11:45:38 AM
U-boat rendezvous 1915, Great Orme

Close to this point, on three consecutive nights in August 1915, a submarine waited to collect three German prisoners of war who had escaped from a camp for German officers in an old mansion in Llansannan, near Abergele.

On the evening of 13 August 1915, Lieut-Comm Hermann Tholens, Capt Heinrich von Hennig and Capt Hans von Heldorf forced their way through the barred windows of the 18th-century mansion and walked the 32km (20 miles) to Llandudno. Confident they wouldn’t be missed until the camp’s morning roll call, they enjoyed a meal in a café before hiding for the day on the Great Orme.

At dusk, they left their hideout and tried to scramble down the cliffs below the Great Orme lighthouse. In the waters below, a submarine moved towards them, waiting for a signal which never came as the officers failed to find their way down to the beach.  All was not lost for the three, however, as the plan was for the U-boat to rendezvous at the same position for three consecutive nights.

The following night the three made it to the foot of the cliffs but failed to make contact with the submarine and assumed, wrongly, that it was not coming. It was just a few hundred yards away, but their view of each other was blocked by a limestone buttress.

Dejected, cold and hungry, the Germans decided to walk into Llandudno, split up, and try to take a train to London. Tholens was arrested by a local policeman as he left a café in Mostyn Street after drinking a cup of coffee. That evening, von Hennig and von Heldorf flagged down a taxi near the pier and asked to be taken “to the colonel”. The driver took them to the headquarters of the London Welsh battalion billeted in Llandudno during the war.

The following day all three were returned to the camp in Llansannan by a London Welsh ambulance. Each served three months in Chelmsford jail for the attempted escape.

With thanks to Adrian Hughes, of the Home Front museum
Title: Re: Great Orme Gunsite Memoirs
Post by: Stateside on April 27, 2016, 11:47:28 AM
My grandad was Frank Morton and he worked for mostyn estates in the 60s and 70s and had a key to the main gate on the gun site. We would drive up and go and shoot at cans with some 22s (when you could do that sort of thing) and explore the site's remains including then the base of the guns still there. I remember a massive amount of sheep and rabbit droppings in the bunkers.

I also do remember him deciding to dump his old zephyr on the site as it was cheaper than scrapping it. When we came back in his new car there was a massive boulder on the old one! I have no idea how they got it on there!

I haven't been to llandudno since his passing in1994 and that was just for the funeral so I have no idea what's left of the site. Fascinating to read about it once more
Title: Re: Great Orme Gunsite Memoirs
Post by: Neil on April 27, 2016, 03:09:30 PM
The submarine part of this story sounds very doubtful to me, how could they have possibly contacted the German navy to arrange a pick up?
Title: Re: Great Orme Gunsite Memoirs
Post by: SteveH on April 27, 2016, 04:45:14 PM
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The submarine part of this story sounds very doubtful to me, how could they have possibly contacted the German navy to arrange a pick up?

This is quite well documented as I just found out.
A bit more info ......http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p02409lh (http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p02409lh)

                            http://uboat.net/forums/read.php?23,83889,83889 (http://uboat.net/forums/read.php?23,83889,83889)

                            http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p025k6wt (http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p025k6wt)
Title: Re: Great Orme Gunsite Memoirs
Post by: Jack on April 27, 2016, 05:59:53 PM
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The submarine part of this story sounds very doubtful to me, how could they have possibly contacted the German navy to arrange a pick up?

Through secret messages in Christmas cards sent to relatives in Germany.
Title: Re: Great Orme Gunsite Memoirs
Post by: Cambrian on April 27, 2016, 06:45:51 PM
The plan was hatched at Dyffryn Aled and conveyed back to Germany by an interned civilian who was being repatriated.  For those interested a fuller, detailed and well-researched account is in "U-Boat rendezvous at Llandudno" written and published by the historian and journalist, Ivor Wynne Jones, in 1978.
Title: Re: Great Orme Gunsite Memoirs
Post by: Neil on April 27, 2016, 09:27:50 PM
Thanks for all the info , it's an amazing story.
Title: Re: Great Orme Gunsite Memoirs
Post by: hollins on May 05, 2016, 04:59:51 PM
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The plan was hatched at Dyffryn Aled and conveyed back to Germany by an interned civilian who was being repatriated.  For those interested a fuller, detailed and well-researched account is in "U-Boat rendezvous at Llandudno" written and published by the historian and journalist, Ivor Wynne Jones, in 1978.

Many thanks to Cambrian for recommending this book. I managed to buy a copy and was amused to read that the author accuses the Germans of fibbing just a little bit in their account.
A very interesting read anyway and thanks again.
Title: Re: Great Orme Gunsite Memoirs
Post by: Cambrian on May 28, 2016, 10:10:44 AM
I see there is a an article in today's Daily Post regarding the "Iron Cross" said to belong to one of the escapees, Lt Cdr Herman Tholens.

However, some basic research would have shown the "medal" is actually a British First World War propaganda medal - apparently one of a series of joke Iron Crosses.  The guys who promoted this must be having a good laugh that all these years later one medal is still causing confusion!

Full details of the propaganda medal are in the Imperial War Museum website - just google:  Iron Cross - Antwerp Dinant Ghent
The picture in an earlier Daily Post edition shows the medal as being no different to that depicted on the IWM website.
Title: Re: Great Orme Gunsite Memoirs
Post by: SteveH on June 12, 2016, 11:48:11 AM
New pictures show German World War I POWs in custody in Denbigh.

PHOTO by Steve Rogers (Lt Cmdr Hermann Tholens, wearing a flat cap being led under military escort to Denbigh Gaol in 1915)

Photographs of the recapture of a German naval officer and his two colleagues in World War One who made a daring escape from a Conwy POW camp have emerged.

Lieutenant Commander Hermann Tholens and his comrades Captain Heinrich von Hennig and Capt Wolff-Dietrich Baron von Helldorf escaped from Dyffryn Aled in Llansannan - dubbed the Colditz of North Wales - in a bid to rendezvous with a German submarine, located off the Great Orme in 1915.

The trio were at large for three days but failed to hook up with the submarine and were seized in Llandudno’s Mostyn Street.
They were taken to Denbigh Gaol and held there before they were sent to spend three months in Chelmsford Prison.
Lt Cmd Tholens went on to become a senior member of the Nazi Party.

MORE   http://www.dailypost.co.uk/news/north-wales-news/new-pictures-show-german-world-11451715 (http://www.dailypost.co.uk/news/north-wales-news/new-pictures-show-german-world-11451715)