From wars with France to the Cold War, Pembrokeshire has played a key role in helping to defend our country over the centuries.
The strength of the area’s military and maritime history is evident from the sheer scale of the battlefields, castles and remnants of defensive systems scattered across Pembrokeshire.
Following the Defence of the Realm route will allow you to discover how Pembrokeshire helped keep Britain safe from invasion.
What? A 30m long tapestry
Where? Fishguard Town Hall, Pembrokeshire
This remarkable work of art depicts what happened when the British mainland was last invaded, back in February 1797.
A closer look at the design will reveal how the women of Pembrokeshire forced the invading force to surrender. The tapestry is complemented by artefacts and interpretation boards, as well as an audio visual presentation showing its making.
Did you know..? The tapestry features local heroine Jemima Nicholas, who, alone and armed with only a pitchfork, arrested 12 French soldiers.
What? Scheduled Ancient Monument and Grade II listed military coast artillery fort
Where? Angle, Pembrokeshire
Chapel Bay Fort is one of the earliest known of its type in the world. Completed in 1891, it could hold 96 men in its barracks, but was often garrisoned by much smaller numbers.
During World War I, ships suspected of carrying contraband would be moored and examined here, while the guns of the Fort were trained on them!
Did you know..? During the Second World War, Chapel Bay Fort actually controlled some of the anti-aircraft guns that defended the coastline.
Chapel Bay Fort and Museum
What? Small coastal town on the River Cleddau
Over the centuries Pembroke Dock has been a key player on Britain’s frontline. The Pembroke Dock Heritage Centre, Royal Dockyard Chapel and Flying Boat Workshop are all open for visitors wishing to explore the maritime heritage of one of Britain’s most westerly towns.
Nearby, the Garrison Chapel, Defensible Barracks and the Dockyard Walls and Gun Towers all provide further clues to the history of this special town and its links to Her Majesty’s Navy.
Did you know..? Pembroke Dock has built and launched no fewer than five Royal Yachts.
Admission charged to some sites
What? Local cemetery dating back to 19th century
Where? Pembroke Dock, Pembrokeshire
Llanion Cemetery is situated on the north side of the A477 trunk road at the entrance to the town. Owned by the county council, the cemetery opened in 1869.
It is home to a number of war graves – 24 from World War I, situated in the western part of the cemetery, and 54 from World War II, including 19 sailors from the bombed HMS Puckridge. The remaining graves are of airmen connected with the RAF Flying-Boat base at Pembroke Dock.
Did you know..? A number of post-war graves can also be found inside, one being of a Polish pilot, Z Bartosuk, who was killed in August 1952 while making a forced landing at the nearby disused airfield at Carew Cheriton.
What? Former RAF airfield
Where? Carew, Pembrokeshire
During the Second World War numerous squadrons were based at Carew, all tasked with guarding Britain’s western approaches. The airfield was also used during World War I by airships patrolling the Atlantic shipping lanes. The control tower, also known as the watch office, has been restored by the Carew Cheriton Control Tower Group and is open to the public.
A unique World War II RAF watch office forms the core of this site, but guests can also discover a restored air raid shelter and an original Avro Anson aircraft as part of their visit.
Did you know..? The origins of this site’s design are rather mysterious – the control tower was not built to an approved Air Ministry design and no one knows why!
Carew Cheriton Control Tower