Site of Bronaber army and PoW camp, Trawsfynydd


Site of Bronaber army and PoW camp, Trawsfynydd

Trawsfynydd Holiday Village occupies part of a large army camp of the 20th century. Prisoners of war were kept here in both world wars, and the site was later used for power station constructors.

The War Office bought land in this area in the first decade of the 20th century and established a camp, mainly for artillery training by regular and territorial soldiers. Facilities were installed at Trawsfynydd railway station for the army’s heavy equipment, supplies and troops.

The camp, known as Bronaber after a nearby farm, had separate ranges for firing live and blank shells. Locals were informed of new military bylaws in May 1906. Before firing, the army would hoist a red flag or red light at three places and post lookouts around the “danger area”.

Initially soldiers camped in tents but huts were installed after the First World War. An officers’ mess was created in Rhiw Goch house (a little higher up from the holiday village), which was built in 1610 and damaged by fire in 2018.

In the later years of the First World War, German prisoners of war (PoWs) stayed at the camp while working on local farms. German submarines had reduced imports, so Britain needed to increase food production but many farmworkers had left to join the armed forces.

Unusually, the same camp was used to house PoWs again in the Second World War. This time the prisoners were Italian. They worked six and a half days a week for one penny per hour. Jobs varied with the type of farm and the season, but generally the most onerous went to PoWs. Prisoners also toiled on road maintenance and in quarries.

The army camp closed in the 1950s and was rebuilt to house more than 1,000 workers engaged in building Trawsfynydd nuclear power station. Each of the new centrally-heated dormitories had 48 double cubicles, providing each worker with a bed and wardrobe.Double-decker buses transported workers to and from the construction site, c.8km away.

Films, dancing and badminton were provided in the army camp’s refurbished cinema building. The former army canteen was a “working men’s club” with bars and games such as table tennis and darts. After the power station opened in 1965, the site was re-used for holiday accommodation.

Postcode: LL41 4YB    View Location Map

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