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It was during the first world war that the Llandudno Brigade (Royal Welch Fusiliers) a major part of the 38th Welsh Division and the 53rd Welsh Division Territorial Army Volunteers took part of the battle of the Somme. The Llandudno Brigade was ordered to take Mametz Wood, which had been converted by the Germans during two relatively quiet years into an extremely well defended position, perhaps the best defended on the entire front.

At the insistence of the French, General Haig committed the Llandudno Brigade to a frontal attack on the German positions. In two days of fighting, the 38th Welsh Division (which included all the Llandudno volunteers) lost 1,187 men with 2,806 wounded and brought about the total destruction of Mametz village by shelling.

After the war, the people of Llandudno (including returning survivors from the 38th Welsh Division) contributed generously to the fund for the reconstruction of the village of Mametz.

Links to Mametz Wood also Battle of the Somme - Mametz
also The Welsh at Mametz Wood


In July 1939, the 69th Medium Regiment of the Caernavon & Denbeigh Yeomandry was formed as a Territorial Army regiment based at the Argyll Street Drill Hall in Llandudno. By May 1940, after training at St. Asaph, they had just arrived at Le Harvre and marched half across Northern France to Coutrai in Belgium when they found themselves caught up in the massive evacuation of retreating Belgian troops. They soon found themselves subjected to intensive aerial fire and suffered their first casualties. In the retreat, this lightly armed artillery regiment (who after fighting for many days, until almost without ammo, they, under orders, had destroyed their artillery) found themselves led into an ambush at the Flanders town of Wormhout.

The ambush had been laid by the notorious Wilhelm Mohnke commandant of the S.S. Regiment Leibstandarte Adolf Hitler. Just a few reached nearby Dunkirk and were among the very last to be evacuated on the Isle of Man Steam Packet 'Tynwald'.  All the remainder (save one who lived to tell the tale) were shot or taken prisoner and then massacred by the Germans in a barn at Esquelbec. It was two days after the massacre that a burial party of Austrian soldiers discovered Gunner Parry still alive and took him to a field hospital manned by captured members of the Royal Army Medical Corps, which included Staff Sergeant Eric Fernhead (a pharmacist from Llandudno) who recognized Gunner Parry and nursed him back to health. Only after they had both safely returned to Llandudno did the world learn of the Massacre at Esquelbec in Wormhout on 28th May 1940.

Llandudno was formally twinned with Wormhout on 14th April 1989 since when there have been many contacts. The citizens of Wormhout consider themselves to be Flemish not French and when a bowling team from Wormhout visited Llandudno at Easter 2003 it was (in addition to studying our local Crown Green Bowling) to demonstrate to our local bowlers the Flemish version of boules - so different from the French.  In Flemish Boules, two markers were placed about 22 yards apart and a team of six had one boule each.  The boules were wooden wheels about 10 inches in diameter and about three inches wide and weighted on one side.  The boules were rolled towards the marker and required considerable skill to adjust to the bias.

Links to Wormhout also Esquelbec Beer also Jeanne Devos Museum also Battlefield Tours

Llandudno Attractions

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Compilation © 2002/2007 by Noel Walley  –
Last updated December 2008.

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