Former Artillery Battery Great Orme – North Wales

Royal Artillery Coastal School

During the Second World War Llandudno played host to the Royal Artillery’s Coast Artillery School, which was transferred from its historic site at Shoeburyness to the Great Orme’s Head. In the dark days of 1940 the need to expand the Artillery School coupled with regular air raids and the threat of invasion, lead to the decision to move. Many sites on the west coast of Britain were carefully examined before the decision as taken to opt for the area of land at the end of Llys Helig Drive on the west shore of the Great Orme. The land required little alteration – there was suitable anchorage for the target vessels and good conditions for radio direction finding, these were important factors, which led to the choice of site. The layout of the site was planed in true military fashion, taking only one day and using, as site marked, toy balloons purchased from a local shop. The school transferred in September 1940 and was operational from the 24th of that month. In addition to a gunnery wing, wireless and searchlight wings were established in October and December 1940 respectively. The staff of the Coast Artillery School took part in many sporting activities in the town and staged several amateur variety shows at local venues. They also participated in joint exercises with the Llandudno Home Guard and the R.A.F. who had a radar installation at the Great Orme Summit Hotel. The local Home Guard must have made a good impression, as in 1942 they formed a Battery Company training on 6” guns, 12 pounders and searchlights. In July 1943 they were officially named the Coast Artillery Battery, Home Guard. At the end of the war the armament and equipment were removed and in 1946 the land was returned to the Mostyn family. The buildings became derelict and most were demolished in the mid 1950’s under a reclamation scheme. Nowadays it is a popular spot for an afternoon stroll. Few people realise the significance of the remains through which they walk.