Pembroke and area Military History

Pre First World War in South Pembrokeshire


Very early South Pembrokeshire history such as the Welsh attacks on the early Norman Castle; the building of the stone castle and walls to make Pembroke safe against attack; and Oliver Cromwell’s siege of the town is covered elsewhere on this website.

Please click here to watch a video on Pembrokeshire's defences throughout history. (The video is eleven minutes and twenty seconds long.) We wish to thank Pembrokeshire Years and Showboat TV for permission to use this video.

The Pembroke Yeomanry - founded in 1794 in Lord Milford's house in London

The history of the Castlemartin Yeomanry - later called the Pembroke Yeomanry - is fascinating. Local people fought at Fishguard against the French invaders and later went on to fight in the Boer Wars. The following links give valuable information, dates, images and details of uniforms:

South West Gun Tower, Fort Road, Pembroke Dock

South West Gun Tower

Royal Dockyard, Pater – now known as Pembroke Dock.

In response to the British wars against America and France, plans were made in 1815 to defend the Royal Navy’s new ship-building facility in the fortified parish of nearby Paterchurch (now Pembroke Dock).

Construction finally commenced in 1848 and was completed three years later. The state of the art roof gun platform was equipped with one 32lb smooth bore cannon, with four 12lb howitzers below on the upper floor. The War Department anticipated a 90% kill rate against enemy marines attempting to land on this beach.

Quickly outdated, the tower was soon reduced to an observation post and at the end of the century was used to house families of the Royal Artillery, who acted as caretakers.

During the Second World War the tower was fitted with four .303 Lewis machine guns to provide anti-aircraft cover and train the gunners of the RAF Sunderland flying boats. In 1940 it opened fire on a German bomber - becoming the only fortress on the Haven to fire in anger.

In the 1950s the tower became the base for the local Sea Scouts prior to becoming used as a navigational marker for ships operating on the Haven.

In 2000 the gun tower was sold by the Local Authority and is now a family residence undergoing renovation.

The tower is closed to the public.

Another Tower, the Northwest Guntower, has most recently been a museum and is currently closed.