Dickie’s boatyard site, Beach Road, Bangor
Archibald Dickie founded his boatyard in Tarbert, Scotland, in 1868. The business moved in 1925 to Bangor, taking over premises previously occupied by Rowland’s dockyard. From 1925 until 1940 the company built small wooden-hulled pleasure craft, from the smallest dinghy to luxury yachts.
In 1940 it started building boats for the Royal Navy. Over the following five years, it constructed 28 vessels: 11 Motor Launches (MLs), six Motor Gun Boats (MGBs), 10 Motor Torpedo Boats and one landing craft. Completed vessels were tested in Beaumaris Bay, then handed to naval crews who sailed away to secret destinations.
MGB314, built by AM Dickie & Sons in autumn 1941, was involved on 28 March 1942 in the famous raid at St Nazaire, in Normandy, France. The British launched an amphibious attack on the heavily defended dry dock in German-occupied territory. MGB314 was heavily damaged by German shore batteries and scuttled (deliberately sunk) to prevent capture.
ML162, built by Dickie’s in 1942, shot down six enemy aircraft, took part in the sinking of a submarine and was highly commended for its part in the D-Day invasion (when Allied forces began to liberate mainland Europe). After the war, ML162 served two years in the Royal Netherlands Navy. In 1952 it was renamed Golden Galleon and converted to a passenger vessel for cruises on the Norfolk Broads. It was eventually abandoned at Reedham, on the River Yare, and is thought to have been broken up.
Dickie’s returned to commercial boat building after the war. Princess Christine, built here in 1963, continues the long tradition of passenger cruises from Conwy quay.
After boat building ceased, the Dickie name continues as Dickies International, a boatyard, brokerage and dealers for manufacturers of various new boats. It has offices around Britain, including at Pwllheli, Swansea and Southampton. In 2010 the business moved to Porth Penrhyn, a short distance to the east. Later Watkin Jones Homes began a housing development, called Y Bae, on the boatyard site.
With thanks to Adrian Hughes, of the Home Front museum, Llandudno
Postcode: LL57 2SZ