Site of PoW and army camps, Tywyn

button-theme-powDRAFTSite of PoW and army camps, Neptune Hall, Tywyn

Overlooking the seafront here is Neptune Hall. Sometimes known as Minymor, it was a well-appointed boarding house in the 1860s. Regular visitors at that time included landowner and Conservative politician Sir Watkin Williams-Wynn and his wife.

A temporary camp was set up at Neptune Hall towards the end of the First World War, to accommodate German prisoners of war who worked on local farms. In August 1919, prisoner Alfred Slowig was hailed a hero for trying to save the life of a Birmingham girl who got into difficulty while bathing in the sea. Madelene Bailey, aged 13, and her older sister were swamped by a large wave. Alfred ran fully clothed into the water and successfully brought Madelene ashore. She died, despite resuscitation attempts by two local doctors. At her inquest, her father warmly thanked the German for attempting to save her life.

Another German prisoner died of pneumonia while labouring on drainage improvements near Tywyn.

A fierce winter storm in 1929 revealed an old milestone on the seashore near Neptune Hall. It had not been seen for 40 years and was evidence that in half a century the coast had eroded by more than 40 yards.

During the Second World War the area around Neptune Hall was used by the Royal Army Service Corps as a training camp, specifically to train men in the use of amphibious vehicles that were used in the D-Day landings at Normandy in June 1944. The camp’s huts became a holiday camp after the war.

The Royal Marines also had many camps in this area including at Ynysmaengwyn, Tywyn, which was known as Camp Matapan. Troops used the favourable sea conditions to practice disembarking on the beaches from landing craft.

In 1959, children playing on the beach at Neptune Hall caravan site unearthed 600 beer, whisky and champagne bottles. The bottles contained no liquor but a flammable cocktail of petrol and oil. It is believed they were improvised devices made by troops at the nearby army camp to be used against any German force attempting to invade.

In the sand dunes south of Neptune Hall are the remains of a rifle range. Known as Penllyn, it was developed for militias (volunteer soldiers) in Victorian times and continued to be utilised during both world wars.

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

Postcode: LL36 0DL    View Location Map