Fortifications & Barracks - Llanion Barracks

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Llanion Hut Encampment, by courtesy of Mr Michael Blake.

Llanion Hut Encampment dated from the 1850s

Llanion Barracks, by courtesy of Mr Michael Blake.

... and Barracks (c. 1905).

  Llanion hut camp was built during the Crimean war emergency. Brick barracks replaced the wooden huts in the early 1900s. Mrs Peters, writing at the time, notes with approval "they are built on the most modern principles. At one time soldiers had to to sleep and eat in the same barrack-room, but in these new buildings a proper and commodious room is set apart for meals... Each block is provided with a veranda, where the men can walk out".

Llanion Barracks witnessed the low and high points of World War II. In 1940, Britain's back was to the wall. One of the few weapons available to the barracks' anti aircraft gunners was a small Lewis gun. Nazi bombers could attack the town and oil tanks with virtual impunity. Corporal Arthur Lowe's experiences at Llanion in 1940 may have helped inspire his most famous role - Captain Mainwaring of Dad's Army.

In 1944, one of the many units training for the Liberation of Europe was accommodated here. General Eisenhower visited Llanion to inspect the United States 110th Infantry Regiment. Veterans and townspeople alike have happy memories of this pause in the life of the young soldiers, who were soon to take heavy casualties in bitter fighting against hardened SS units.

Australian airmen of 461 squadron were also quartered here in world war II. They travelled and from work in the Dockyard by a fleet of bicycles.  

The units stationed in Pembroke Dock are honoured in memorials, histories, and regimental associations. One of Llanion's last units received a different kind of recognition. The 22nd Light Air Defence Regiment gave its name to one of the town's most popular nightspots - the Double Two club.

The fine brick Officers' Mess has provided office accommodation for South Pembrokeshire District Council and (currently) the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park.  

(Sources: Peters 80; Scott, Experience shared, 209-230; Hennessey; Ashworth, 149.)

Pictures (incl. Zenith postcard) by courtesy of Mr Michael Blake.