Nine Wells   -  Pembrokeshire, Wales
 
www.Nine-Wells.org.uk

 

War Years


The Airfield
The on set of war in 1939 brought with it many changes to the area. This western part of the UK was ideal for stationing aircraft engaged in the Battle of the Atlantic - the protection of Britain's maritime trade. The St Davids Airfield was built just north of Nine Wells between Vachelich and Whitchurch and opened in the autumn of 1943 under Royal Air Force Coastal Command. Unfortunately the building of the airfield resulted in the destruction of the two hamlets Llechell and Trelodan.

Originally it was intended to operate US Navy Liberator bombers, but a change of plan led to RAF squadrons moving in. Just after the war ended a Liberator plane and its four-man crew crashed near Emlych Farm, on the Whitesands road. The site is now marked by a slate memorial, unveiled in July 1995 on the 50th anniversary of the accident, the commemoration organised by the Pembrokeshire Aviation Group.

Unlike most of the other Pembrokeshire airfields, St Davids airfield remained in use after the war and was operated by the Airwork company in a fleet support role for the Royal Navy and in particular the air directional school at HMS Harrier on the Dale peninsula. This ended in 1960 after which as the RAF operated its Tactical Weapons Unit at RAF Brawdy (1974 - 1992), the runway was used as a  relief landing area. When this came to an end in 1992, the land was sold off to local farmers and businesses.


 The St Davids Airfield with the mile long runway in 1990
 The St Davids Airfield with the mile long runway in 1990
  

War time Installations
Along with an airfield came all the other necessary war time installations:

A Hospital needed a flat field which is not easy to find in the area but was sited in the field opposite the entrance to Pen Pant.
A Prisoner of War camp sited in the field opposite the entrance to Llanruidion.
Barracks were located in various places throughout Nine Wells in particular above the east valley side of Porth-y-Rhaw. Soldiers undertook target practice across the valley floor.
A Sewage works was located just up from Porth-y-Rhaw.
An underground command centre located between the POW camp and the airfield.

On the way down to Porth-y-Rhaw, a pipe mounted on pillars crosses the valley and there are several manhole covers on the track. This was all taking waste water from the installations down to the sewage works at Porth-y-Rhaw.

To cope with drainage from the airfield, drainage pipes were laid across the fields of Croftufty and Pen Pant Farm which piped the water down to Porth-y-Rhaw.

At the end of the war, most installations were pulled down.

Some foundations remain from a war camp at Nine Wells.
Some foundations remain from a war time camp at Nine Wells.

 


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