Spotlight on Carmarthen

Spotlight on Carmarthen


Croeso i Cangen Caerfyrddin o Gymdeithas Hanes Teuluol Dyfed.

Welcome to the Carmarthen Branch of the Dyfed Family History Society.


The Chairman is Eric Davies

The Secretary is Janet Slate

The Treasurer is Janice Powers


We meet at 7.30 pm on the last Wednesday of the month in the Spilman Hotel, Spilman Street, Carmarthen, with a varied programme of invited speakers, research evenings, visits to places of local interest and recording Monumental Inscriptions in local Churches and Chapels.

These events are free to everyone and we encourage non-members to come to our meetings.


We had a very interesting talk by Mr Mike Clements on October 30th entitled Save our Sands. It described how the local community fought against the proposal made 50 years ago in May 1969 by the Ministry of Defence to relocate the Shoeburyness experimental gunnery range to Pembrey.

The proposal was made without any local consultation and the MOD was going to buy up all the land, properties and farms between Pembrey and Kidwelly and all the land south of the railway track including the picturesque Cefn Sidan beach and sand dunes, a total of 15,000 acres. As far as the MOD was concerned it was a fait accompli – there was nothing anyone could do. 1500 jobs would be created during its construction and 1000 jobs when in operation. As it was an experimental gunnery range the missiles would be fired into Carmarthen Bay with massive noise pollution. See the MOD Plan. 

The proposal was unanimously opposed by the residents of Pembrey, Burry Port and Kidwelly and residents of the surrounding area. There were meetings to publicise the opposition, fund raising events to enable protesters to go to the Welsh Office in Cardiff to hand in a petition containing 27,000 names and to protest in Parliament.

When the MOD began to bulldoze paths through the forestry and erect red and white posts to mark out roads for the guns, a guerrilla raid led by men of Pembrey pulled up all of the posts one night. This resulted in surveillance including phone tapping and demonstrators being photographed.

In April 1970 residents heard that 1500 troops would be arriving in Cefn Sidan and the troops were surprised to see women laying down on the road to prevent their access.

It eventually came to a Public Inquiry and the Inspector criticised the MOD for not concerning itself with the impact the gunnery range would have on the surrounding area. The Inquiry ruled against the MOD and this was the first time that the MOD had lost a Public Inquiry.

Today the site is the Pembrey Country Park with 500 acres of woodland and Cefn Sidan’s eight miles of golden sand.


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