Pembroke Dock
Pembroke Dock is a town
A town is a human settlement larger than a village but smaller than a city. The size a settlement must be in order to be called a "town" varies considerably in different parts of the world, so that, for example, many American "small towns" seem to British people to be no more than villages, while...

 in Pembrokeshire
Pembrokeshire is a county in the south west of Wales. It borders Carmarthenshire to the east and Ceredigion to the north east. The county town is Haverfordwest where Pembrokeshire County Council is headquartered....

, south-west
South West Wales
South West Wales is a region of Wales. A definition consisting of the unitary authorities of Swansea, Neath Port Talbot, Pembrokeshire and Carmarthenshire is used by a number of government agencies and private organisations including:*BBC...

Wales is a country that is part of the United Kingdom and the island of Great Britain, bordered by England to its east and the Atlantic Ocean and Irish Sea to its west. It has a population of three million, and a total area of 20,779 km²...

, lying north of Pembroke
Pembroke, Pembrokeshire
Pembroke is an historic settlement and former county town of Pembrokeshire in west Wales. The town and the county derive their name from that of the cantref of Penfro: Pen = "head" or "end", and bro = "region", "country", "land", and so it means essentially "Land's End".-History:The main point of...

 on the River Cleddau
River Cleddau
The River Cleddau consists of the Eastern and Western Cleddau rivers in Pembrokeshire, west Wales. They unite to form the Daugleddau estuary, which forms the important harbour of Milford Haven....

. Originally a small fishing village known as Paterchurch, the town was greatly expanded from 1814 onwards following the construction of a Royal Naval Dockyard. It is the third largest town in Pembrokeshire after Haverfordwest and Milford Haven.


Prior to 1814, the site of modern Pembroke Dock and its nearby settlements were mostly farmland and the area was referred to as Paterchurch. The first recorded mention of Paterchurch was in 1289. In the area a medieval tower
A watchtower is a type of fortification used in many parts of the world. It differs from a regular tower in that its primary use is military, and from a turret in that it is usually a freestanding structure. Its main purpose is to provide a high, safe place from which a sentinel or guard may...

 was built and, like nearby 18th century and 19th century fortifications, it may have served as a lookout post. By the 17th century, additional domestic and farm buildings stood close to the tower and the isolated settlement had its own cemetery, whose last recorded burial is that of a Roger Adams, in 1731. The ruin of the tower now lies within the walls of the Dockyard.

Paterchurch Tower was the centre of an estate said to stretch from Pennar Point to Cosheston. This changed hands in 1422 when Ellen de Paterchurch married a John Adams. Prior to the building of the town and before the dockyard was thought of, various sales and exchanges took place between the principal local landowners - the Adams, Owen and Meyrick families. These exchanges left the Meyricks
Meyrick Baronets
The Meyrick Baronetcy, of Bush in the County of Pembroke, is a title in the Baronetage of the United Kingdom. It was created on 5 May 1880 for Thomas Meyrick, Conservative Member of Parliament for Pembroke from 1868 to 1874. Born John Charlton, he had assumed by Royal license the surname of Meyrick...

 in control of most of the land on which the dockyard
Shipyards and dockyards are places which repair and build ships. These can be yachts, military vessels, cruise liners or other cargo or passenger ships. Dockyards are sometimes more associated with maintenance and basing activities than shipyards, which are sometimes associated more with initial...

 and new town were to develop. By 1802 the Paterchurch buildings were mostly ruins.
The Pater Tower should in all rights be open to the public but the County Council Refuse to open it up.
Pembroke Dock is so Historical it needs to have it's history on display to the public.

Naval Dockyards

The origins of naval shipbuilding on Milford Haven were in the private shipyard of Jacobs on the north side of the Haven at Milford. Following Jacobs's bankruptcy, the Admiralty took over his shipbuilding facility which became Milford Dockyard. With the end of the Napoleonic War, the Admiralty decided to relocate this facility to the village of Pater on the south side of the Haven. The town of Pembroke Dock was founded in 1814 when a Naval Dockyard
Royal Navy Dockyard
Royal Navy Dockyards are harbours where either commissioned ships are based, or where ships are overhauled and refitted. Historically, the Royal Navy maintained a string of dockyards around the world, although few are now operating today....

 was established, initially called Pater Dockyard. The Naval Dockyards Society published a historical review in 2004, and an online resource can be found at Pembroke Dock Community Web Project.

On 10 February 1816, the first two ships were launched from the dockyard – HMS Valorous and HMS Ariadne, both 20 gun Post-ships, subsequently converted at Plymouth Dockyard into 26-gun ships. In the span of 112 years, five Royal Yacht
Royal Yacht
A royal yacht is a ship used by a monarch or a royal family. If the monarch is an emperor the proper term is imperial yacht. Most of them are financed by the government of the country of which the monarch is head...

s were built, along with 263 other Royal Navy
Royal Navy
The Royal Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Founded in the 16th century, it is the oldest service branch and is known as the Senior Service...

 vessels. The last ship launched from the dockyard was the Royal Fleet Auxiliary
Royal Fleet Auxiliary
The Royal Fleet Auxiliary is a civilian-manned fleet owned by the British Ministry of Defence. The RFA enables ships of the United Kingdom Royal Navy to maintain operations around the world. Its primary role is to supply the Royal Navy with fuel, ammunition and supplies, normally by replenishment...

 tanker Oleander on 26 April 1922.

As the dockyard and its importance grew, the need to defend it was addressed and Pembroke Dock became a military town. Work began in 1844 to build defensible barracks. In 1845 the first occupiers were the Royal Marines
Royal Marines
The Corps of Her Majesty's Royal Marines, commonly just referred to as the Royal Marines , are the marine corps and amphibious infantry of the United Kingdom and, along with the Royal Navy and Royal Fleet Auxiliary, form the Naval Service...

 of the Portsmouth Division followed though the years by many famous regiments. Between 1849 and 1857, two Martello tower
Martello tower
Martello towers are small defensive forts built in several countries of the British Empire during the 19th century, from the time of the Napoleonic Wars onwards....

s of dressed Portland stone
Portland stone
Portland stone is a limestone from the Tithonian stage of the Jurassic period quarried on the Isle of Portland, Dorset. The quarries consist of beds of white-grey limestone separated by chert beds. It has been used extensively as a building stone throughout the British Isles, notably in major...

 were constructed at the south-western and north-western corner of the Dockyard. Both were garrisoned by Sergeants of Artillery and their families.

In 1925, it was announced that the Royal Dockyards at Pembroke Dock and Rosyth were to close. A petition to Prime minister Stanley Baldwin stressed the lack of alternative employment and the economic consequences, but the decision, however, was irreversible. The Navy simply had too many dockyards and the Admiralty had to keep a fleet together with much-reduced funds. The choice was laid out starkly by the First Sea Lord, Admiral of the Fleet Earl Beatty
Earl Beatty
Earl Beatty is a title in the Peerage of the United Kingdom. It was created in 1919 for the prominent naval commander Admiral of the Fleet David Beatty. He was created Baron Beatty, of the North Sea and of Brooksby in the County of Leicester, and Viscount Borodale, of Wexford in the County of...

, in his speech at The Lord Mayor’s
Lord Mayor of London
The Right Honourable Lord Mayor of London is the legal title for the Mayor of the City of London Corporation. The Lord Mayor of London is to be distinguished from the Mayor of London; the former is an officer only of the City of London, while the Mayor of London is the Mayor of Greater London and...

 Banquet on 9 November 1925: ‘Whether these Yards are necessary for naval purposes, the Admiralty is the only competent judge. As to whether they are necessary for political or social reasons is for the Government to decide. The fact is, that so far as the upkeep of the Fleet is concerned, they are entirely redundant.’

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

Although active warships were not based in Pembroke Dock after the 1940s, and formal dockyard work ceased in 1926, the base remained an official Naval Dockyard
Royal Navy Dockyard
Royal Navy Dockyards are harbours where either commissioned ships are based, or where ships are overhauled and refitted. Historically, the Royal Navy maintained a string of dockyards around the world, although few are now operating today....

, and retained a Queen's Harbour Master
A harbourmaster is an official responsible for enforcing the regulations of a particular harbour or port, in order to ensure the safety of navigation, the security of the harbour and the correct operation of the port facilities.-Responsibilities:Harbourmasters are normally responsible for issuing...

, until 2008 (one of the last 5 QHMs in the UK, together with those at the currently (2010) extant bases at Devonport
HMNB Devonport
Her Majesty's Naval Base Devonport , is one of three operating bases in the United Kingdom for the Royal Navy . HMNB Devonport is located in Devonport, in the west of the city of Plymouth in Devon, England...

, Portsmouth
HMNB Portsmouth
Her Majesty's Naval Base Portsmouth is one of three operating bases in the United Kingdom for the British Royal Navy...

, Rosyth
Rosyth Dockyard
Rosyth Dockyard is a large naval dockyard on the Firth of Forth at Rosyth, Fife, Scotland, owned by Babcock Marine, which primarily undertakes refitting of Royal Navy surface vessels.-History:...

 and Clyde
HMNB Clyde
Her Majesty's Naval Base Clyde is one of three operating bases in the United Kingdom for the Royal Navy...

). The Royal Maritime Auxiliary Service
Royal Maritime Auxiliary Service
The Royal Maritime Auxiliary Service was a British Government agency which ran a variety of non-combat support vessels for the Royal Navy.-Organisation:...

 (RMAS) was based in Pembroke Dock until disestablishment in 2008, and the Ministry of Defence
Ministry of Defence (United Kingdom)
The Ministry of Defence is the United Kingdom government department responsible for implementation of government defence policy and is the headquarters of the British Armed Forces....

 sold the freehold of the site to the Milford Haven Port Authority (MHPA) in 2007. For most of the last 20 years of MOD usage, the principal RMAS assets seen in the base were the MOD Salvage & Mooring Team (formerly CSALMO) vessels located there, the majority of which were relocated to the Serco base in Burntisland
Burntisland is a town and former royal burgh in Fife, Scotland on the Firth of Forth. According to an estimate taken in 2008, the town has a population of 5,940....

 on the River Forth
River Forth
The River Forth , long, is the major river draining the eastern part of the central belt of Scotland.The Forth rises in Loch Ard in the Trossachs, a mountainous area some west of Stirling...

 upon the activation of the £1bn Future Provision of Marine Services (FPMS) contract in May 2008.

RAF Base

With the closure of the dockyard in 1926, also the year of the 1926 United Kingdom general strike
1926 United Kingdom general strike
The 1926 general strike in the United Kingdom was a general strike that lasted nine days, from 4 May 1926 to 13 May 1926. It was called by the general council of the Trades Union Congress in an unsuccessful attempt to force the British government to act to prevent wage reduction and worsening...

, unemployment was high through the Great Depression
Great Depression
The Great Depression was a severe worldwide economic depression in the decade preceding World War II. The timing of the Great Depression varied across nations, but in most countries it started in about 1929 and lasted until the late 1930s or early 1940s...

 until 1931 when No. 210 Squadron RAF
No. 210 Squadron RAF
No. 210 Squadron was a Royal Air Force unit established in World War I. Disbanded and reformed a number of times in the ensuing years, it operated as a fighter squadron during World War I and as a maritime patrol squadron during the Spanish Civil War, World War II and the Cold War before it was...

 arrived equipped with Southampton II
Supermarine Southampton
-See also:-References:NotesBibliography* Andrews, C.F. and E.B. Morgan. Supermarine Aircraft since 1914 . London: Putnam, 1987. ISBN 0-85177-800-3....

 flying boat
Flying boat
A flying boat is a fixed-winged seaplane with a hull, allowing it to land on water. It differs from a float plane as it uses a purpose-designed fuselage which can float, granting the aircraft buoyancy. Flying boats may be stabilized by under-wing floats or by wing-like projections from the fuselage...

s. For almost 30 years the Royal Air Force
Royal Air Force
The Royal Air Force is the aerial warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Formed on 1 April 1918, it is the oldest independent air force in the world...

 were based at Pembroke Dock. During 1943, when home to the Sunderland
Short Sunderland
The Short S.25 Sunderland was a British flying boat patrol bomber developed for the Royal Air Force by Short Brothers. It took its service name from the town and port of Sunderland in northeast England....

 flying boats, it was the largest operational base for flying boat
Flying boat
A flying boat is a fixed-winged seaplane with a hull, allowing it to land on water. It differs from a float plane as it uses a purpose-designed fuselage which can float, granting the aircraft buoyancy. Flying boats may be stabilized by under-wing floats or by wing-like projections from the fuselage...

s in the world.

Given its importance as an RAF base, it was no surprise that during World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 Pembroke Dock was targeted by the Luftwaffe
Luftwaffe is a generic German term for an air force. It is also the official name for two of the four historic German air forces, the Wehrmacht air arm founded in 1935 and disbanded in 1946; and the current Bundeswehr air arm founded in 1956....

. On Monday 19 August 1940 a Luftwaffe Junkers Ju 88
Junkers Ju 88
The Junkers Ju 88 was a World War II German Luftwaffe twin-engine, multi-role aircraft. Designed by Hugo Junkers' company through the services of two American aviation engineers in the mid-1930s, it suffered from a number of technical problems during the later stages of its development and early...

 bomber flew up the Haven waterway and bombed a series of oil tanks sited at Pennar. The oil fuelled fire that followed raged for 18 days and was recorded as the largest UK conflagration since the Great Fire of London
Great Fire of London
The Great Fire of London was a major conflagration that swept through the central parts of the English city of London, from Sunday, 2 September to Wednesday, 5 September 1666. The fire gutted the medieval City of London inside the old Roman City Wall...


Following the war the town enjoyed a degree of prosperity; this, however, changed in 1957 when it was announced that the RAF would be drastically reducing its presence. A few years later the final British Army
British Army
The British Army is the land warfare branch of Her Majesty's Armed Forces in the United Kingdom. It came into being with the unification of the Kingdom of England and Scotland into the Kingdom of Great Britain in 1707. The new British Army incorporated Regiments that had already existed in England...

 regiment also left the town.

The town's prosperity did increase again with the opening of the oil refineries on the Milford waterway and the construction of an oil fired power station
Pembroke Power Station
Pembroke B Power Station is a 2,000 MWe natural gas-fired power station currently under construction near Pembroke in Wales. The new power station is being built on the site of the former oil-fired power station which closed in 1997 and demolished in 2000....

, but never to the high levels experienced when the dockyard was fully operational.

Pembroke Dock also has a link to Hollywood - the full-scale Millennium Falcon
Millennium Falcon
The Millennium Falcon is a spacecraft in the Star Wars universe commanded by smuggler Han Solo and his Wookiee first mate, Chewbacca...

built for The Empire Strikes Back was created in one of Pembroke Dock's hangars by Marcon Fabrications in 1979.


Today, much of Pembroke Dock's maritime industry has gone. The town continues to cope with high unemployment
Unemployment , as defined by the International Labour Organization, occurs when people are without jobs and they have actively sought work within the past four weeks...

, limited public and private investment, and decaying buildings. The town briefly had a resurgence in the late 1990s and early 2000s with the arrival of large superstores such as Tesco
Tesco plc is a global grocery and general merchandise retailer headquartered in Cheshunt, United Kingdom. It is the third-largest retailer in the world measured by revenues and the second-largest measured by profits...

 and Asda
Asda Stores Ltd is a British supermarket chain which retails food, clothing, general merchandise, toys and financial services. It also has a mobile telephone network, , Asda Mobile...

 the development of the Cleddau Business Park, and also the local Peacocks. Like many high streets in provincial towns Pembroke Dock has struggled especially with the closure of Woolworths
Woolworths Group
Woolworths Group plc was a listed British company that owned the high-street retail chain, Woolworths, as well as other brands such as the entertainment distributor Entertainment UK and book and resource distributor Bertram Books...

 at the end of 2008. At present the main retail street (Dimond Street) has several large retail units closed down.

The town was badly affected by the collapse of ITV Digital
ITV Digital
ITV Digital was a British digital terrestrial television broadcaster, which launched a pay-TV service on the world's first digital terrestrial television network as ONdigital in 1998 and briefly re-branded as ITV Digital in July 2001, before the service ceased in May 2002. Its main shareholders...

 in 2002, from which their main customer call centre
Call centre
A call centre or call center is a centralised office used for the purpose of receiving and transmitting a large volume of requests by telephone. A call centre is operated by a company to administer incoming product support or information inquiries from consumers. Outgoing calls for telemarketing,...

 was based. Much of the green field land set aside for development of the Cleddau Business Park remains unsold and undeveloped. The Pembrokeshire Technium was built and opened in 2006. Although the initial interest was slow the first major uptake on this facility began in 2009 when Infinergy built a wind farm in the local area and based its local office in the centre. There has been approval given by Pembrokeshire County Council for a new yacht marina to be built alongside Front Street but work has yet to begin.

The two Martello Tower
Martello tower
Martello towers are small defensive forts built in several countries of the British Empire during the 19th century, from the time of the Napoleonic Wars onwards....

s remain: one is now a local museum, while the other is in private hands and has been converted for residential use and is largely intact. The dockyard wall is substantially complete and has been recently repaired by experts with dressed stone and lime mortar. The two listed hangars built to house the Sunderland flying boats used to guard the Western Approaches
Western Approaches
The Western Approaches is a rectangular area of the Atlantic ocean lying on the western coast of Great Britain. The rectangle is higher than it is wide, the north and south boundaries defined by the north and south ends of the British Isles, the eastern boundary lying on the western coast, and the...

, have been rebuilt and now used for other uses. The Dockyard church
Garrison Chapel
The Garrison Chapel is a chapel to The Royal Dockyard at Pembroke Dock in Pembrokeshire, Wales.It was designed by George Ledwell Taylor and founded in 1830. It has been rebuilt using Objective One funding from the European Union and has yet to find a new use....

 has been rebuilt using Objective One funding from the European Union
European Union
The European Union is an economic and political union of 27 independent member states which are located primarily in Europe. The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Economic Community , formed by six countries in 1958...

 and has yet to find a new use.

A few buildings on the site of the old Llanion Barracks still stand. The Officers' and Sergeants' Mess once used as council offices is now occupied by Pembrokeshire Coast National Park
Pembrokeshire Coast National Park
Pembrokeshire Coast National Park is a national park along the Pembrokeshire coast in West Wales.It was established as a National Park in 1952, and is the only one in the United Kingdom to have been designated primarily because of its spectacular coastline...

. The Original Guardroom remains and is now residential accommodation and a listed Victoria Powder Magazine
Magazine (artillery)
Magazine is the name for an item or place within which ammunition is stored. It is taken from the Arabic word "makahazin" meaning "warehouse".-Ammunition storage areas:...

 remains set in to the coastal slope which is accessible from Connacht Way. The old parade square has recently been converted for housing.

Pembroke Dock is well-served by the A477 trunk road
A477 road
The A477 road is a major route in the Welsh counties of Pembrokeshire and Carmarthenshire, connecting St Clears and Johnston. It includes a toll bridge, the Cleddau Bridge between Pembroke Dock and Neyland....

 which runs from St. Clears through Pembroke Dock and over the Daugleddau estuary via the Cleddau Bridge
Cleddau Bridge
The Cleddau Bridge is a toll bridge on the A477 road that spans the River Cleddau between Neyland and Pembroke Dock, Wales. It was originally called the Milford Haven Bridge, Due to errors in the box girder design it collapsed during construction in 1970 and did not become operational until...

 to Haverfordwest
Haverfordwest is the county town of Pembrokeshire, Wales and serves as the County's principal commercial and administrative centre. Haverfordwest is the most populous urban area in Pembrokeshire, with a population of 13,367 in 2001; though its community boundaries make it the second most populous...

. It also has a ferry terminal from which ferries sail twice-daily to Rosslare
Rosslare Harbour
The village of Rosslare Harbour grew up to serve the needs of the harbour of the same name , first developed in 1906 by the Great Western Railway and the Great Southern and Western Railway to accommodate steamferry traffic between Great Britain and Ireland...

 in Ireland
Ireland is an island to the northwest of continental Europe. It is the third-largest island in Europe and the twentieth-largest island on Earth...

. The service is operated by Irish Ferries.

The town is served by Pembroke Dock railway station
Pembroke Dock railway station
Pembroke Dock railway station serves the town of Pembroke Dock in Pembrokeshire, Wales.The station is served by a regular daily service to/from Swansea via Whitland, with connections for the South Wales mainline available at Swansea....


Proposals to re-name the town

There have been a number of occasions over the years (most recently in 2003) when it has been suggested that Pembroke Dock should undergo a change in name in order to improve the town's image in respect of it reputation for high unemployment and industrial decline. Suggestions for a new name have included Pembroke Haven, Pembroke Harbour and a reversion to the original pre-1814 name of Paterchurch. To date none of these proposals have come to fruition.

External links

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