Dinas boatyard, Y Felinheli

button-theme-evacDinas boatyard, Y Felinheli

This area, known as Dinas, has long been a centre of marine engineering. During the Second World War, boats were built here for Middle East operations.

In 1847 the Rev Rees Jones, a young Methodist preacher from Barmouth, moved to Y Felinheli. He soon established various businesses, including shipbuilding. The largest of his wooden-hulled ships was the Ordovic, which left Y Felinheli in spring 1877 to take its first cargo from Cardiff to Italy.

He was also a grocer and owned shares in ships. Sometimes he had up to 60 people working for him. In 1880 the barque AM Rowlands, of which he was part-owner, was lost on the Atlantic Ocean while sailing from St Lucia to Falmouth, Cornwall. The crew were removed by a Norwegian barque, leaving their vessel “in a sinking condition”. An official inquiry was later held into this “abandonment”.

The Rev Jones dropped dead in 1885 while delivering an address at a meeting of Arfon preachers. The shipbuilding business was continued by his son, William Edward Jones, but began to lose out to shipyards which built steel-hulled vessels.

During the Second World War, the old shipyard was taken over by Dowsett Engineering Construction Ltd (or Dow-Mac) to assemble flat-bottomed boats for the Admiralty. Some of its engineers were moved here from its home on the Suffolk coast, an area vulnerable to attack. Each tug was c.15 metres long with a small wheelhouse at the stern. The vessels towed supply barges (also assembled here) in the waterways of the Persian Gulf, vital for the Allied war effort. Before being transported to Liverpool by lorry, each one was trialled in the Menai Strait for seaworthiness.

Today Marine Engineering Services continues the tradition of servicing vessels, for commercial and leisure owners. Many vessels used for construction and maintenance of windfarms have been serviced here.

With thanks to Adrian Hughes, of the Home Front Museum

Postcode: LL56 4RQ    View Location Map

Website of Marine Engineering Services

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