Wales

When Talacre became home to war-time evacuees

Black and white photo shows chalets among the sand dunes Image copyright Flintshire council
Image caption Chalets among the sand dunes during the war years at Talacre

A history project is being brought to life to show how a seaside community played its part during the war effort.

Evacuees escaping bombing in Liverpool during World War Two set up home in huts and even rail carriages in the sand dunes at Talacre, Flintshire.

People have been sharing their memories after organisers secured £45,000 to fund a then and now project.

It culminates with war-time displays, as well as re-enactors in costume over the weekend.

Part of the sprawling seafront was used by Spitfire pilots for air-to-air and air-to-ground target practice.

Image copyright Angela Rogers
Image caption Home from home - making the most of Talacre during the war

Red flags warned the then residents when to stay clear and children used to search through the sand afterwards to find the old shell casings, which were sold for scrap.

Among those children was John Keegan who arrived in Talacre with his family after their home was destroyed in Liverpool.

Mr Keegan said his mother decided to relocate to Talacre because she had remembered visiting as a child.

"All we had was the clothes we stood up in," he said, explaining how they initially slept in a farmer's barn before moving into a "shack".

And he recalled a time when his brother, Arthur, had been planning to hide behind the Spitfire targets so he would be first to find the spent casings "to get money for mum" by selling the brass cartridges to the "scrap man".

Thankfully, RAF ground crew had spotted him in time, said Mr Keegan.

Image caption Talacre Lighthouse was used as look-out tower during the war as it looked towards Liverpool

Armed forces personnel also used Talacre lighthouse as a search tower to look out for the enemy.

And pill boxes and rows of larch posts, originally installed to deter any invasion, can still be seen.

Image copyright Margaret Larner
Image caption After the war - the defences on the beach were put to use by holidaymakers
Image copyright Dextra Visual
Image caption Wings over Wales - virtual Spitfires over Talacre have been created as part of the project

There will also displays in the community centre, including old photographs and a film using CGI (computer generated imagery) showing the Spitfires training above the dunes.

There is also an archaeological dig to try to find more shell casings, which are still being found in the sand.

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