Dutch Commando memorial, Porthmadog

Link to French translationDutch Commando memorial, Porthmadog Harbour station

This memorial, inside Spooner’s Bar at Porthmadog Harbour station, commemorates the presence in Porthmadog of No.2 Dutch Commando during the Second World War. The unit used the station buildings as its headquarters and billet.

During 1942 and 1943, hundreds of soldiers from France, the Netherlands, Belgium, Norway, Czechoslovakia and Poland – as well as some German men who detested the Nazis in their homeland – were brought together in a special unit called No. 10 Inter-Allied Commando. A commando is a soldier who is trained to carry out specialist missions.

The Inter-Allied Commandos were important to the war effort as their knowledge of their respective homelands would be invaluable when Britain and its allies liberated mainland Europe.

From August 1942, Porthmadog was home to a party of 42 soldiers from the Free Dutch ‘Princess Irene’ Brigade who had come to North Wales to train. The Dutch commandos trained in the mountains and rivers around Porthmadog, during the day and in night exercises.

The Dutchmen used a number of other local buildings, besides Harbour station. They used the walls of Britannia Foundry (just over the main road from the station) for climbing practice. For rest and relaxation, the soldiers set up their own meeting place, the Prins Willem Club, at Brecon House in Bank Place. They were also regular visitors to dances at the town hall on Saturday nights. Here they socialised with local women, and several Dutch soldiers went on to marry Porthmadog girls.

With thanks to Adrian Hughes, of the Home Front Museum, Llandudno

Postcode: LL49 9NF     View Location Map

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