Author Topic: Great Orme Gunsite Memoirs  (Read 39404 times)

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jacko

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Re: Great Orme Gunsite Memoirs
« Reply #150 on: December 04, 2012, 12:08:38 PM »
hello, just been to site IMPERIAL WAR MUSEUMhttp://www.iwm.org.uk/, I put in  Llandudno and shows coastal artillery school photo, have done a quick search didn't find anything covering this photo if I missed it then sorry,

SteveH

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Re: Great Orme Gunsite Memoirs U-boat rendezvous 1915, Great Orme
« Reply #151 on: June 16, 2015, 11:45:38 AM »
U-boat rendezvous 1915, Great Orme

Close to this point, on three consecutive nights in August 1915, a submarine waited to collect three German prisoners of war who had escaped from a camp for German officers in an old mansion in Llansannan, near Abergele.

On the evening of 13 August 1915, Lieut-Comm Hermann Tholens, Capt Heinrich von Hennig and Capt Hans von Heldorf forced their way through the barred windows of the 18th-century mansion and walked the 32km (20 miles) to Llandudno. Confident they wouldn’t be missed until the camp’s morning roll call, they enjoyed a meal in a café before hiding for the day on the Great Orme.

At dusk, they left their hideout and tried to scramble down the cliffs below the Great Orme lighthouse. In the waters below, a submarine moved towards them, waiting for a signal which never came as the officers failed to find their way down to the beach.  All was not lost for the three, however, as the plan was for the U-boat to rendezvous at the same position for three consecutive nights.

The following night the three made it to the foot of the cliffs but failed to make contact with the submarine and assumed, wrongly, that it was not coming. It was just a few hundred yards away, but their view of each other was blocked by a limestone buttress.

Dejected, cold and hungry, the Germans decided to walk into Llandudno, split up, and try to take a train to London. Tholens was arrested by a local policeman as he left a café in Mostyn Street after drinking a cup of coffee. That evening, von Hennig and von Heldorf flagged down a taxi near the pier and asked to be taken “to the colonel”. The driver took them to the headquarters of the London Welsh battalion billeted in Llandudno during the war.

The following day all three were returned to the camp in Llansannan by a London Welsh ambulance. Each served three months in Chelmsford jail for the attempted escape.

With thanks to Adrian Hughes, of the Home Front museum

Stateside

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Re: Great Orme Gunsite Memoirs
« Reply #152 on: April 27, 2016, 11:47:28 AM »
My grandad was Frank Morton and he worked for mostyn estates in the 60s and 70s and had a key to the main gate on the gun site. We would drive up and go and shoot at cans with some 22s (when you could do that sort of thing) and explore the site's remains including then the base of the guns still there. I remember a massive amount of sheep and rabbit droppings in the bunkers.

I also do remember him deciding to dump his old zephyr on the site as it was cheaper than scrapping it. When we came back in his new car there was a massive boulder on the old one! I have no idea how they got it on there!

I haven't been to llandudno since his passing in1994 and that was just for the funeral so I have no idea what's left of the site. Fascinating to read about it once more

Neil

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Re: Great Orme Gunsite Memoirs
« Reply #153 on: April 27, 2016, 03:09:30 PM »
The submarine part of this story sounds very doubtful to me, how could they have possibly contacted the German navy to arrange a pick up?

SteveH

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Re: Great Orme Gunsite Memoirs
« Reply #154 on: April 27, 2016, 04:45:14 PM »
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The submarine part of this story sounds very doubtful to me, how could they have possibly contacted the German navy to arrange a pick up?

This is quite well documented as I just found out.
A bit more info ......You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login

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Jack

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Re: Great Orme Gunsite Memoirs
« Reply #155 on: April 27, 2016, 05:59:53 PM »
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The submarine part of this story sounds very doubtful to me, how could they have possibly contacted the German navy to arrange a pick up?

Through secret messages in Christmas cards sent to relatives in Germany.

Cambrian

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Re: Great Orme Gunsite Memoirs
« Reply #156 on: April 27, 2016, 06:45:51 PM »
The plan was hatched at Dyffryn Aled and conveyed back to Germany by an interned civilian who was being repatriated.  For those interested a fuller, detailed and well-researched account is in "U-Boat rendezvous at Llandudno" written and published by the historian and journalist, Ivor Wynne Jones, in 1978.



Neil

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Re: Great Orme Gunsite Memoirs
« Reply #157 on: April 27, 2016, 09:27:50 PM »
Thanks for all the info , it's an amazing story.

hollins

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Re: Great Orme Gunsite Memoirs
« Reply #158 on: May 05, 2016, 04:59:51 PM »
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The plan was hatched at Dyffryn Aled and conveyed back to Germany by an interned civilian who was being repatriated.  For those interested a fuller, detailed and well-researched account is in "U-Boat rendezvous at Llandudno" written and published by the historian and journalist, Ivor Wynne Jones, in 1978.

Many thanks to Cambrian for recommending this book. I managed to buy a copy and was amused to read that the author accuses the Germans of fibbing just a little bit in their account.
A very interesting read anyway and thanks again.

Cambrian

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Re: Great Orme Gunsite Memoirs
« Reply #159 on: May 28, 2016, 10:10:44 AM »
I see there is a an article in today's Daily Post regarding the "Iron Cross" said to belong to one of the escapees, Lt Cdr Herman Tholens.

However, some basic research would have shown the "medal" is actually a British First World War propaganda medal - apparently one of a series of joke Iron Crosses.  The guys who promoted this must be having a good laugh that all these years later one medal is still causing confusion!

Full details of the propaganda medal are in the Imperial War Museum website - just google:  Iron Cross - Antwerp Dinant Ghent
The picture in an earlier Daily Post edition shows the medal as being no different to that depicted on the IWM website.

SteveH

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Re: Great Orme Gunsite Memoirs
« Reply #160 on: June 12, 2016, 11:48:11 AM »
New pictures show German World War I POWs in custody in Denbigh.

PHOTO by Steve Rogers (Lt Cmdr Hermann Tholens, wearing a flat cap being led under military escort to Denbigh Gaol in 1915)

Photographs of the recapture of a German naval officer and his two colleagues in World War One who made a daring escape from a Conwy POW camp have emerged.

Lieutenant Commander Hermann Tholens and his comrades Captain Heinrich von Hennig and Capt Wolff-Dietrich Baron von Helldorf escaped from Dyffryn Aled in Llansannan - dubbed the Colditz of North Wales - in a bid to rendezvous with a German submarine, located off the Great Orme in 1915.

The trio were at large for three days but failed to hook up with the submarine and were seized in Llandudno’s Mostyn Street.
They were taken to Denbigh Gaol and held there before they were sent to spend three months in Chelmsford Prison.
Lt Cmd Tholens went on to become a senior member of the Nazi Party.

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