Martello-Tower Pembroke – West Wales

During World War II Pembroke Dock became one of the most important stations in waging the Battle of the Atlantic and the ceaseless war against the German U-Boat. At one time in 1943 no less than 99 flying boats – Sunderland’s and Catalinas – were at Pembroke Dock, making this the largest operational station in the world. From Pembroke Dock many RAF and Allied squadrons operated at various times. Men of many nations flew from the Haven, their patrols taking them far out into the Atlantic, deep into the Bay of Biscay, above the Western Approaches and, as part of the D-Day operations, protecting the sea lanes leading to the Normandy Invasion beachheads
Known simply as ‘PD’ to all involved with flying-boats, the Pembroke Dock community took the airmen to their hearts and a second posting to the air station was always welcomed. Backing up the ‘front line’ activity of the squadrons was a substantial maintenance base, a large Marine Craft Section with many and varied craft and a sizeable WAAF contingent, the first of which arrived at the end of 1939. Post-war, ‘PD’ continued as an RAF station (201 and 230 Squadrons) until the Sunderland’s were retired from home waters in 1957. Today, the two unique flying-boat hangars still dominate the former RAF station but the slipway used to bring flying boats ashore was demolished to make way for the new port facilities. The fine 1930s-style Officers’ Mess was knocked down in the 1980s but the former Sergeants’ Mess – located just inside the main gate – was converted into a hotel