The Old Abergele Mill

How many of you can remember this old limewashed windmill at the junction of Chapel Street and High Street? These photographs, from Dennis Parr’s collection and reproduced with his  permission, show the old mill before it was demolished.

Abergele Mill. Copyright Dennis Parr.

Abergele Mill. Copyright Dennis Parr.

Abergele Mill. Copyright Dennis Parr.

Abergele Mill. Copyright Dennis Parr.

This is one of  a series of images of Abergele from Dennis Parr’s collection. Mr Parr will be familiar to many who’ve lived in the town since the 1960s. He used to run Parr’s shops in Market St.
We’ll be publishing more images from the Dennis Parr Collection on this site over the coming months.


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1915-2015: Abergele & District Commemorations: Joseph Davies

Private 11069 Joseph Davies, 1st Royal Welsh Fusiliers, 22nd Brigade, 7th Division. Killed in action 16 May 1915, Battle of Festubert, aged 27. No known grave, Panel 13 and 14, Le Touret Memorial, Le Touret Military Cemetery, Pas de Calais, France. Commemorated on Abergele War Memorial, Abergele Town War Memorial and Rhyl War Memorial.

Son of Walter and Alice Davies, of 5, Rhuddlan Rd., Abergele. Born Llanrhaeadr, lived in Abergele, and enlisted in Rhyl. Joseph was a noted long distance runner having won many prizes in competitions before the war. The family had moved to Abergele c.1893. They had 14 children, of whom 11 were still living by 1911. From the 1911 Census they were (with ages of 1911): Walter (25), Joseph (23), Charles (21), John (19), Margaret Elizabeth (17), Eliza Emma (15), Sophia (11), Robert (9), William Edward (6), Ivor (3). The missing name is that of Isaac Morris Davies, a professional soldier who was serving in India in 1911, age unknown, and who lived at 33, Peel Street. Isaac and the 4 oldest boys, Walter, Joseph, Charles and John, all served. Charles and John would both become Prisoners of War, with John becoming famous for escaping from his German prison camp in December 1916 and making it home to a hero’s welcome (the subject of a future article).

Joseph had formerly served as a professional soldier and was called up from the reserve when war broke out. He arrived in France 11 December 1914 as a 1st Battalion reinforcement and was soon followed by three of his brothers, all of whom were serving by January 1915 when Joseph was reported to be temporarily ill in a hospital at Le Havre. Official notification of Joseph’s death was received by his father in the first week of June 1915.

The account below, of the events of the day that Joseph died at Festubert, is written by my friend the Reverend Clive Hughes and reproduced with his kind permission.

The unit mustered 25 Officers 806 men in the trenches that morning, Following a half-hour bombardment the unit attacked just after it ended at 3:16am, going over the top in successive order of the 4 companies, 2 waves of men per company. Their aim (within the larger battle) was to take 2 lines of enemy trenches then hold a defensive position. It met heavy shell and machine-gun fire even as it left the trenches and tried to cross No Mans Land. They got beyond the two enemy lines but came under fire from their left, and part of the battalion (A & part of B companies) was mixed up with the 2nd Scots Guards on that flank. The rear two companies (C & D) also suffered badly in crossing to the German lines. As some men pressed on further they were hit by “friendly” shellfire and halted.

By 1pm contact was made with the Royal Warwicks Regiment on the right and The Queen’s Regiment came up in support. The battalion found itself holding an exposed position facing an orchard, open to enemy sniping from front and rear. At 2pm the enemy began shelling the trench they were in, which offered little cover. Reinforcements from the 7th London regiment came up and attacked the orchard covered by fire from the Royal Welsh Fusiliers (RWF), but had to fall back under machine-gun fire. The shelling meantime wrecked the trench and cut the RWF off from other units. Darkness was approaching as the RWF fell back to a line being held just in front of the former Second German Line; then were ordered to withdraw to trenches being held by The Queen’s, which they accomplished successfully.

The RWF claimed to have penetrated the enemy defences to a depth of 1200 yards. For this they paid a heavy price: Officers- 6 killed, 2 died of wounds, 9 wounded, 1 wounded & missing, 1 missing. Total 19 out of 25. Other Ranks- 118 Killed, 271 wounded, 164 missing (many of whom would prove to be dead), 6 wounded and missing. Total 559 out of 806. Some 110 bodies were collected and buried in the old No Mans Land on 18th May, in addition to various officers brought in the previous evening.

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1915-2015: Abergele & District Commemorations: William Henry Hartley Higgin

Private 9031 William Henry Hartley Higgin, 2nd Battalion, Royal Welsh Fusiliers, 19th Brigade, 6th Division. Died of natural causes 11 May 1915, aged 29. Screen Wall. O1. 203, Leicester (Welford Road) Cemetery, United Kingdom. Not commemorated in the Abergele district. Son of Henry and Elizabeth Higgin, of Hey Brook, Rochdale. Born Rochdale, enlisted Abergele, lived Prestatyn. An original member of the 2nd Battalion, William arrived in France on 1 September 1914. The nature of the illness that resulted in his death in May 1915 is unknown.

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Tesco Abergele

Tesco Abergele photo taken through an opening in the trees on Tan-y-Gopa, Abergele, by Sion Jones sometime between 2003-06

Tesco Abergele photo taken through an opening in the trees on Tan-y-Gopa, Abergele, by Sion Jones sometime between 2003-06

Building Tesco Abergele in 2003 on the site of the old Abergele livestock market which closed in 1996 Photo by local photographer Sion Jones

Building Tesco Abergele in 2003 on the site of the old Abergele livestock market which closed in 1996 Photo by local photographer Sion Jones

Building Tesco Abergele before its opening Photo Sion Jones

Photo Sion Jones

For Tesco Abergele opening hours see this page.

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Time for a street party Abergele! Save the date: 7 June 2015

Does anyone else remember the fun of the Jubilee street parties? Well a friend of mine, Gwion Thorpe, is the Wales organiser for The Big Lunch, run by the Eden Project and funded by the Big Lottery. Since starting in 2009, thousands of Big Lunches have taken place across Wales and the rest of the UK. The date for this year’s event is Sunday 7th June 2015.

This June millions of people will come together for The Big Lunch, the UK’s annual get together for neighbours. It’s a simple idea to get as many people as possible across the UK to come together in their shared spaces in a simple act of community, friendship and fun.

You’re invited by  Gwion to hold one in your street or area in Abergele and surrounds and bring your local community together: “If everyone brings a dish or some decorations and activities, you have yourself a Big Lunch! ”

To find out more, to get a Big Lunch Pack or to register your interest, go to or call 0845 850 8181.

Gwion Thorpe, The Big Lunch
Tel: 07801227288
Website: (or for Welsh)

Big Lunch 2015 cut out

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1915-2015: Abergele & District Commemorations: Francis Rubenstein Linekar

Rifleman 1914 Francis (Frank) Rubenstein Linekar, A Company, 1/6th Battalion (Rifles), King’s (Liverpool) Regiment, 15th Brigade, 5th Division. Killed in action 5 May 1915, aged 20. No known grave, Panel 4 and 6, Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial, Ypres, Belgium. Not commemorated in the Abergele district, but commemorated on the Abergele County School War Memorial, Colwyn Bay War Memorial and Hoylake and West Kirby Memorial.

Born Colwyn Bay. A former pupil at Abergele County School. Son of Lucy Mary Linekar, of Waverley House, Hoylake, Birkenhead, and the late Thomas J. Linekar (died 1918), of Bryn Deryn, Colwyn Bay and of Colwyn Bay Council. Enlistment address given as Hoylake, Cheshire. Enlisted Liverpool.

Francis Linekar, better known as Frank, was born in Colwyn Bay in 1895. His father, Thomas Joseph Linekar, was a Professor of Music and was providing his services as a Music teacher. His mother, Lucy, was also a teacher prior to marriage. Francis had one older brother, John Clarence Linekar, who also served before being discharged with a Silver War Badge. In 1901 the family were living at Sea Forth, Colwyn Bay. By 1911 the family had moved to Bryn Deryn, Queens Park, Colwyn Bay. Thomas was no longer teaching music and was employed as an accountant for the gas department of the Abergele Urban District Council. John had left home and Francis was aged 16 and attending Abergele County School.

Frank enlisted in Liverpool shortly after the outbreak of war into the 6th King’s (Liverpool) Regiment, known as the Rifles. He volunteered to serve overseas and therefore became part of the original 1/6th battalion that landed at Le Havre 25 February 1915.
Frank would probably have seen action at the Second Battle of Ypres, the Battle of Gravenstafel fought 22-23 April, and the Battle of St Julien fought between 24 April and 5 May 1915. It was here that Frank was probably killed.

A memorial plaque in Holy Trinity Church, Hoylake reads:
To the dear memory of Francis Lancelot Farnall and of his cousin and comrade Francis R Linekar who gave their lives for their country in the Great War. This window is dedicated by their parents.

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Gwrych Castle 9-10 May Open Weekend

The Gwrych Trust’s Jake Basford has been in touch with news of an Open Weekend  at the castle on 9-10 May 2015.

With children’s entertainers, costumed characters from Disney’s Frozen, and fire eaters alongside traditional Morris dancing, a bouncy castle and guided tours, the biggest amount of entertainment yet will be available throughout the weekend.

The opening hours are between 12 noon and  4pm on both the Saturday and Sunday. Entry is £5 for adults and parents can pay what they like for children under 12.

Medieval outfits are welcome. Here’s a list of everyone who’ll be there:

Harley the Clown
Kids Ghost Stories with Lucy
Bouncy Castle
Children’s Drawing Activities
Stilt Walkers
Organised Fire Eaters (battlements)
Ukelele Band
Morris Dancers
Martial Arts Display
Self-Guided Walks and History Guided Walks
Visits from ‘Frozen’ Characters in Costume


Photo by David Hughes

Photo by David Hughes

Late News: Here’s an update from the Trust on the advice of the Police:
‘Parking will be available on the day at Manorafon Farm, available through the archway at the corner of Tan-y-Gopa Road and Abergele Road, for a small fee on the day; behind Abergele Library; Water Street, near the Bowling Green; or, Pensarn Beach. Cones and ‘No Parking’ signs will be in place around Tan-y-Gopa Road, Llanddulas Road and the Main Castle Entrance to help local residents. No immediate street parking will be available on the day, so please plan parking in advance.’

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1915-2015: Abergele & District Commemorations: John Davies

Private 9094, John Davies, 2nd Battalion, Cheshire Regiment, 84th Brigade, 28th Division. Died of wounds 2 May 1915, Second Battle of Ypres, aged 24. Buried plot II. L. 6., Poperinghe Old Military Cemetery, Belgium. Commemorated on Abergele War Memorial, Abergele Town War Memorial, Rhyl War Memorial.

Son of John and Alice Davies, of 1, Fronhyfrd, Groes Lwyd, Abergele. Born at Rhyl, enlisted Chester. Brother of Allen Davies (killed in action 30 October 1914, though it may be recalled that when news arrived in Abergele of John’s death in May 1915 his younger brother Allen was still listed as missing – see below).

John Davies was a professional soldier, having enlisted in 1908. He arrived in France as an original member of the 2nd Cheshire’s on 16 January 1915. According to a casualty report he bled to death within ten minutes of his wounding, a detail that his father found by accident whilst looking at casualty lists printed in a newspaper.


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1915-2015: Abergele & District Commemorations: Harry Oswald Amos

Private 1056 Harry Oswald Amos, 11th Battalion (B Company) 3rd Brigade, 1st Division, Australian Imperial Force. Died of wounds 26/04/1915 (though this officially, and incorrectly, recorded as 29/04/1915). Harry has no known grave (he was buried at sea) and he is commemorated on Panel 33, Lone Pine Memorial, Gallipoli, Turkey. He is not commemorated in the Abergele district., but is commemorated on the Rhyl War Memorial.

Harry Amos was born in Rhyl, the son of Samuel John & Ann Amos of 7, Bath Street, Rhyl (7, Belle Vue Terrace, Rhyl, after the war) and he attended Abergele County School. He was living in Western Australia at the outbreak of war and he was possibly one of a number of local men who, together, set out to create a new life in Western Australia.

About four years ago a large party of Welsh Patagonians, natives of the Abergele district, were entertained by an Abergele resident, and accorded a public reception in that town on their visit thereto, en route for Western Australia, where they intended to found a new Welsh colony in the Moora District. This move from continent to continent was in the nature of an experiment. For forty years and over the Cymry have peopled the extensive territories of the Gaiman, and have become sick of the oppressive rule of the Argentinian authorities. It was, therefore, decided to seek a new home under British rule, and Western Australia was chosen for experimental purposes.

[Welsh Coast Pioneer, 29 October 1914. One of the leaders of the group was Tom Owen of Abergele. One of his sons joined the Australian Army and he was in Abergele in October 1916, on leave following a wounding. In total nine men from Abergele and the district served in Australian forces having settled there prior to the outbreak of war in 1914, and four of them would give their lives: Harry Oswald Amos died of wounds (26/04/1915), Edward (Ted) Davies, David Saxon Evans, Herbert Wynne Walton Evans (killed in action 16/07/1918), Albert Alex Gilchrist (died 08/05/1916), Edward Evans Parry, Richard William Rowlands, Ernest George Hewlett Stacey (died, 15/05/1916)]

Harry enlisted into the Australian Army on 14 September 1914 at Blackboy Hill, Western Australia, a military training camp used to train and house large numbers of Australian Imperial Force (AIF) troops. He was 24 years old, 5′ 8″ tall, weighing 9 and a 1/2 stones, with dark hair and blue eyes, a Methodist, unmarried and a Draper. He listed his mother, Anne, of Rhyl, as his next of kin.

By late 1914 the war on the Western Front had become a stalemate. Some Allied politicians and commanders were hopeful that the Russians on the Eastern Front could do more, thus attracting German soldiers from the Western Front and providing an opportunity for a breakthrough. However Russian efforts to date had been largely disastrous and its army was clearly under equipped. If Russia were to mount a successful series of offensives it would need supplies from their western allies, Britain and France. However overland trade routes were blocked leaving supply by sea as the only viable option. Numerous sea routes existed, but by far the best was the entrance to the Black Sea through the Dardanelles. This was controlled by the Ottoman Empire which the Allies had declared war against in November 1914. Therefore the straits had been closed and in November the Turks began to mine the waterway. It was then that Winston Churchill, First Lord of the Admiralty, proposed a naval attack on the Dardanelles. Unwilling to redirect modern warships and the much feted ‘Dreadnoughts’ from the North Sea area, Churchill opted to use a large number of the more obsolete battleships that would be a match for anything the Turks could muster against them. The proposal was strengthened on 2 January 1915 when Grand Duke Nicholas of Russia appealed to Britain for assistance against the Ottomans, who were conducting an offensive in the Caucasus. In mid-February 1915 naval attacks on the Dardanelles began when a strong Anglo-French task force began bombarding Ottoman gun positions along the coast. By 25 February the outer forts had been destroyed and the entrance to the straits cleared of mines. However, the Turks had many mobile gun batteries which easily evaded the Allied bombardments and threatened the minesweepers sent in to clear the straits. On 18 March 1915, the main attack to force the straits was launched with a fleet of 18 battleships with numerous cruisers and destroyers. The French battleship Bouvet was sunk by a mine and two more French battleships were damaged. HMS Irresistible and HMS Inflexible were critically damaged by mines. HMS Ocean, sent to rescue the Irresistible, was also damaged, and both ships eventually sank. The attack had run into a recently laid belt of mines and failed. It was now accepted that a naval campaign alone could not force the straits. The land either side would need to be taken to clear it of enemy artillery and allow the minesweepers in. Thus, planning for a land campaign began.

The Gallipoli land campaign is too great a story to recount here. However, in short, Australian troops en-route to the Western Front were earmarked for the assault along with several British and French Divisions. Amongst the AIF forces was 1st Division and Harry Amos. Harry had left Australia aboard H.M.A.T Ascanius from Freemantle on 2 November 1914. His 1st Division had arrived in Egypt by February 1915 and in March Harry’s 3rd Brigade was stationed in Lemnos. On 1 April 1915 orders to prepare an amphibious assault on Gallipoli were received. Training for the attack began. 3rd Brigade, containing 11th Battalion and Harry Amos, would be in the spearhead.

The ANZAC’s (Australia and New Zealand Army Corps) would land near Gaba Tepe on the Aegean coast, from where they could advance across the peninsula, cutting off the Ottoman troops, in what was a secondary attack to back up the main landings at Cape Helles. The small area in and around which they would land has became known as “Anzac Cove”. Following a postponement due to weather, the ANZAC’s came ashore on 25 April 1915.

Two Divisions of the ANZAC Corps landed over 1 kilometre north of their planned objective and in the darkness and confusion of the early morning faced rugged and difficult country. Units mixed up on their arrival rushed inland and became separated from the main force, which came under growing fire from the Turkish defenders. While Turkish reinforcements arrived, the Anzac position became increasingly precarious as the assaulting force failed to secure their initial objectives. Falling back on improvised and shallow entrenchments the Anzacs held on for a crucial first night. By that first evening 16,000 men had been landed; of those over 2,000 Australians had been killed or wounded.

[‘The Landing at Anzac Cove’, Australian War Memorial, ]

Harry was one of the wounded. Immediately he was evacuated to one of the boats acting as floating hospitals, H.M.T.S City of Benares, where he was diagnosed by a Doctor of the 1st Field Ambulance as having “a penetrating wound to the abdomen“. There is some confusion as to exactly when he died. In light of the vicious and somewhat chaotic atmosphere of the landings, and the huge number of casualties, this is perhaps understandable. In his service records held at the Australian archives there are records that state that the date of death was unknown but placed it between 25 April and 1 May. In a later (and erroneous), letter to his mother, the Australian authorities stated 9 April, some two weeks before the ANZAC landings had taken place. A date of 29 April was eventually settled upon for official purposes, this being the day when he was buried at sea from on board H.M.T. Seang Choo. However, the single document to have survived from 1st Field Ambulance on board H.M.T.S City of Benares, states clearly that he died the next day, 26 April, at 1.30 p.m. One can only assume that his body was removed to H.M.T. Seang Choo at some later point, from which he was offered to the Mediterranean on 29 April, the date that became accepted as the date of death.

His personal possessions returned home to his mother in Rhyl in February 1916 amounted to nothing more than a purse containing 3 coins, his identity disc, an ash tray and some letters.

The Gallipoli campaign is deeply embedded in the Australian psyche. Each year commemorations of a nature similar to our Remembrance Day are held on 25 April: ANZAC Day. The campaign, which ultimately failed in its objective of opening the Dardanelles to allied shipping, was closed down in December 1915. By the end it had cost Australia 26,111 casualties, of whom 8,141 died.

Very many of Abergele’s territorial soldiers would also experience the Gallipoli campaign and it would provide the town and district with its darkest day of the war, 10th August 1915, and these events will be described in full in time for the centenary.

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Former TV Gladiator ‘Jet’ to open new part of Abergele’s Spire

A former TV Gladiator is taking on a new challenge in Abergele. Diane Youdale, best known for her role as Jet in the hit television series Gladiators, will officially open the new Cosmetic Suite of Spire North Wales private hospital in Abergele on Saturday, 18 April 2015.

The expansion will enable Spire to introduce a number of new services, including non-surgical cosmetic and beauty treatments, acupuncture, sports massage, pilates, yoga and chiropody.

After Diane left Gladiators, she qualified as a psychotherapist and Pilates instructor. She said: “I’m so looking forward to working with patients and particularly helping tackle childhood obesity. It’s all about introducing exercise and improving the health and well-being of young people.”

Psychotherapist Diane Youdale (Jet) R  with Manager Andrea Carri L

Psychotherapist Diane Youdale (Jet) R with Manager Andrea Carri L

Source: Ceidiog PR.

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