Holyhead at War

Both World Wars had a significant impact on Holyhead and its inhabitants. As a seafaring town set in a largely rural environment it is understandable that its men and women would serve both at sea and on land. Many were called upon to do their duty with some making the supreme sacrifice. Holyhead has honoured its lost heroes by recording their names on the Town Cenotaph. The Great War claimed more than 288 lives and the Second World War more than 140 of the town's inhabitants..

The museum has sought to honour the town's involvement in both these conflicts, and those of more recent times. This has been achieved through a permanent exhibition, "Holyhead at War", situated in an actual WW2 air raid shelter adjacent to the main museum building. Visitors can view much memorabilia from these times including medals for both service and gallantry, unique photographs, war souvenirs, uniforms, equipment and armaments. We also have an authentic air raid siren that visitors can test out!

There are numerous accounts of bravery and sacrifice. Find out how William Williams won his VC. Learn about what happened to the surviving crew of HMS Tara held in captivity deep in the north African desert for over four months during the Great War and how they were rescued. Find out about the tragedy of the US Airforce plane "Jigs Up" and about how one Holyhead seaman earned the DSM during Operation Pedestal to relieve the besieged island of Malta during WW2.

The recently restored painting shown here is part of the museum's exhibit describing the loss of the City of Dublin Steam Packet Company's ship, RMS Leinster. She was torpedoed in 1918, a few weeks before the end of the Great War, with the loss of approximately 530 lives, including many seamen from the town of Holyhead.

Thanks to a Heritiage Lottery Grant, the Museum's exhibition describing 'Holyhead and the Great War' will continue in the main gallery. This complements the permanent exhibition in the Air Raid Shelter and will be updated each year to reflect events that impacted on the town 100 years previously. See Photo Gallery.


For details of all those from the town lost during the Great War please follow this link -  Holyhead War Memorial