Tag Archives: World War Two

Sea mines on North Wales beaches

30 Jan

Having failed to close the port of Liverpool by bombing the Germans changed their tactics in January 1943. In the first week of the month they resorted to laying sea mines by submarine in the approach channel between Point Lynas, Anglesey and the mouth of the River Mersey.

On the evening of the 2nd a sea mine exploded on the foreshore at Penmaenhead near Colwyn Bay, damaging the windows of two properties but causing no casualties. The following morning saw a number of mines washed up on the Denbighshire coast.  Just before six in the morning people living close to Pensarn railway station got an early wake-up call when a German sea mine exploded, damaging 87 houses while a second device did not detonate and 15 people were evacuated from their homes while it was rendered safe.  Elsewhere that morning further mines were washed up opposite Sunnyvale Camp, Towyn and another on the beach at Sandbank Road, Towyn. In this instance over 250 people were evacuated to rest centres while the Royal Navy defused the bomb. Later that day a mine was found in Foryd Harbour, Rhyl and 40 people were evacuated from Kinmel Bay while that was defused.

On the 4th of January further sea mines were washed ashore.  In Colwyn Bay, 400 people were evacuated from their homes and 1600 civil servants working at the Ministry of Food were moved from their offices when a sea mine washed ashore by the Rothesay Hotel. The police closed the promenade and surrounding roads while the, now overworked, Royal Navy bomb disposal team got to work.  A further two mines were spotted in the sea off Colwyn Bay pier and to minimise the risk to life from these devices the Chief Constable of Denbighshire made an order under the Public Entertainments (Restrictions) Order to close the Victoria Pier in Colwyn Bay during the hours of darkness.

Kay Cavendish

4 Jul

Kay Cavendish was a BBC artiste who was billeted in Llanfairfechan for a couple of years during WW2 while the BBC’s Variety Department broadcast from nearby Bangor.

One of the most popular radio programmes of the war years, It’s That Man Again (ITMA), was broadcast from Penrhyn Hall, Bangor.  It starred Tommy Handley and featured Kay Cavendish.  It regularly drew audiences of over 16 million people and was a comedy series full of topical jokes and catchphrases that became well known nationally, such as Mrs Mopp’s T.T.F.N. (Ta Ta For Now!).

Born Kathleen Dorothy Cavendish Murray in Hong Kong she was a classically trained pianist (she won a gold medal at the Royal Academy of Music) who delivered many classical performances.  In 1930 she became part of a close harmony trio, The Cavendish Three, which toured Britain and performed on the radio shortly after the war began.  She is best remembered for “Kay on the Keys”, a programme of piano and vocal solos, mixing classical, jazz and popular music which ran to over 400 weekly broadcasts.

In July 1943 Miss Cavendish was summoned to appear at Llandudno Court for the misuse of petrol.  During the Second World War petrol was rationed and the wasting of this precious resource was a criminal offence.  When her car needed a service it should have been taken to the nearest garage but instead she took it to a garage in Penmaenmawr, three miles from Llanfairfechan where she lived.  The case against Kay Cavendish was dismissed as it was the BBC’s Transport Officer who instructed her to take the vehicle to the distant garage.  It is unclear if he was then prosecuted.