Families remember wartime tragedy at Pembroke Dock

Tuesday 10th May 2022 7:35 am
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Families of soldiers who died in the tragic 1942 bomb disposal course explosion visiting the Defensible Barracks, Pembroke Dock
(Pic. Martin Cavaney Photography )

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A forgotten wartime tragedy at Pembroke Dock, in which 19 soldiers died, has been remembered by the town’s Heritage Centre team.

The soldiers were taking part in a bomb disposal course at the town’s Defensible Barracks when a massive explosion occurred in April 1942.

To mark the 80th anniversary the Heritage Centre invited relatives and various organisations to join in a local commemoration. Ten years earlier a plaque to the soldiers was dedicated and this is now on view at the Heritage Centre.

Direct descendants of two of the casualties – Corporal George Crompton and Corporal Dennis Whittingham – travelled from Lancashire and Dorset to attend, joining others with connections with military units and organisations.

Three of the soldiers were of the Jewish faith who had escaped from Nazi Germany before the war began.

After visiting the Defensible Barracks the guests went to Wales’ only Military Cemetery, at Llanion Pembroke Dock, where many of the soldiers lie. Later at the Heritage Centre, Volunteer Ian Macrae, who has extensively studied the accident, gave a talk on his researches.

The Heritage Centre, in the Royal Dockyard Chapel, displays panels recording the explosion and photographs of 12 of the 19 soldiers which have, to date, been traced. Centre volunteers continue their researches into one of the worst non-combat wartime accidents in the UK.

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