Site of evacuees’ village, Talacre

button-theme-evacbutton-theme-crimeSite of evacuees’ village, Talacre

The coast between Talacre and Gronant, known as the Warren, housed many evacuees in the Second World War.

Previously the wealthy Mostyn family bred rabbits here. In 1810 Sir Pyers Mostyn shot a white-tailed eagle while on his rabbit warren. Gamekeepers kept watch over the rabbits and often caught local men poaching.

One night in 1906, three sailors from a steamship docked at Point of Ayr set more than 60 snares at the Warren. One of Sir William Pyers Mostyn’s keepers arranged an ambush, and the men were caught at dawn with 13 dead rabbits. In court later, it was said that seamen often took what they could from the Warren before sailing away!

After the First World War, holiday accommodation was provided at the Warren in the form of chalets, caravans and old buses and railway carriages. The Warren became a “registered camp” in the Second World War, despite lacking electricity and running tap water.

Some evacuees complained of high rents. The rent was 30 shillings weekly (over £75 in today’s money) for a bungalow advertised in the Liverpool Echo in May 1941. The property was furnished, had two bedrooms and a kitchen and was “bone dry” all year. Another selling point was its construction of wood and asbestos!

After an influx of evacuees in the first half of 1941, buses between Talacre and Prestatyn were often overwhelmed. One local resident thought the bus stops resembled Liverpool tram stops in rush hour!

In October 1944 councillors visited the camp after parents living in “temporary structures” were interviewed over children’s non-attendance at school. The living conditions were said to be too crowded for a proper night’s sleep, leaving children unfit for school in the mornings. Some evacuees told the council they were satisfied with the living conditions.

In daytime, the peace was shattered by the RAF using the dunes for target practice! Pilots flying planes such as Spitfires fired at wooden targets near the beach, later graduating to aerial targets towed by “tug” aircraft.

The Home Guard manned a string of coastal “pillboxes” (huts of thick concrete with horizontal slits for gunfire) in case of German invasion. Remnants of two pillboxes are still visible at Talacre beach.

In 1940 a Home Guard member reported Lily Smith, of Crumpsall, Manchester, for failing to black out the windows of her Talacre holiday bungalow. She was fined £2.

Some former evacuees returned to Talacre in 2019 and shared their memories during a project to celebrate the community’s WW2 history.

Postcode: CH8 9RP    View Location Map