Navy Memoir – a poor welcome from Pwllheli.
My Dad’s Navy memoir hightlights a poor welcome from the residents of Pwllheli for the sailors doing their training in the town.
Local leave was granted at Glendower on the basis that you could go into Pwllheli from 7pm to 10pm every third night. If the third day fell on a Saturday or a Sunday, leave was granted from 1pm to 10pm.
Pwllheli was staunchly Methodist Welsh and it was made perfectly clear by the local population that us rough sailors were definitely not welcome.
There were very few pubs, beer was scarce and there was one small cinema. Leave during the week was just not encouraged by the camp’s officers and in any case was not generally taken by the sailors.
Weekends were not much better. There was a small hall in the town centre run by the Chapel who dispensed tea and biscuits for a small charge. Otherwise you could explore the town which took about 15 minutes but all house doors were firmly shut and it was rare to see the inhabitants about. On Sunday, all pubs in Wales remained firmly closed.
I suppose if you didn’t enjoy being in the Navy as I did (but a lot didn’t because they had been conscripted into it) the working time at Glendower could be hateful and leisure time just boring then life could be pretty unpleasant. As it was I found it exciting and was looking forward to whatever came next. There was still a war to be fought and won in the Far East.