Former US Army Mess

Link to French translationFormer US Army mess

Old photo of Drummond hotelThis building was erected in Edwardian times as a guesthouse called the Drummond. It was avertised in post-war years as a private hotel “only one minute from the promenade and sea” and with a tennis court in its grounds. After closing as a guesthouse, it became the Welsh headquarters of the National Trust.

During the Second World War the Drummond was requisitioned by the American Army for a doctors’ and officers’ mess. The US Army came to Llandudno during the build-up of British and North American troops for D-Day, when the Allies began to liberate France from Nazi occupation.

Llandudno played host to American army military hospitals including the 29th, 57th and 184th General Field Hospitals. Most of the American soldiers were in Llandudno for only a few weeks for medical training before heading south, closer to the casualties or field hospitals on the newly liberated European mainland. Their training in Llandudno included physical conditioning and stamina development for all ranks, with road marches, callisthenics, drill, sports and lectures around the organisation and functioning of a hospital in a war zone. Much of the physical training took place on the promenade and in fields off Oxford Road, where nissen huts were erected for kitchens.

Accommodation was already at a premium in Llandudno, with the Inland Revenue and School of Coastal Artillery taking many bedrooms. It was hard work for the billeting officer to find quarters for the American soldiers, but Llandudno’s landladies came in for praise when an American officer described them as “more like mothers than landladies”.

On 6 May 1944, American soldiers and nurses became the first foreign troops to join Llandudno’s annual civic parade. In the Mostyn art gallery building, the American soldiers established the “Donut Dugout”, for rest and relaxation.

Photo of Sgt Harry BakerThe American soldiers were held in high esteem in the town. The only man made an honorary member of Llandudno’s Home Guard sergeants’ mess was Sgt Harry Baker (shown on the left) of 184th General Hospital, whose membership card noted that he was a “real good guy”.  He was given a commemoration cake when US troops left Llandudno.

With thanks to Adrian Hughes, of the Home Front museum

Where is this HiPoint?

Postcode: LL30 2DE

Other MILITARY HiPoints in this area:
Former Home Guard base - complete with pigeon loft
Former home of the man who designed the RAF insignia

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