THE start of the Second World War 80 years ago triggered a mass relocation of people and organisations to Wales.

Now, evacuation stories are being revealed on the sites where they happened

Residents and visitors can discover fascinating wartime facts by using their mobile phones.

The HistoryPoints project has installed special QR codes at 40 locations across Wales.

The codes can be scanned by a smartphone revealing a web page explaining the wartime history of each place.

At Bangor station, nearly 2,000 children and their teachers arrived in a few days in September 1939. Bangor’s library was also used by the WVS to receive and medically check the children.

But it wasn’t just children that were evacuated, whole Government departments were moved including the Inland Revenue to Llandudno and Ministry of Food to Colwyn Bay, along with companies doing important war work.

Military establishments were also relocated and ships of the displaced Dutch navy operated out of Holyhead.

Priceless artworks from London and Merseyside were moved for safekeeping in Bangor, Aberystwyth, Blaenau Ffestiniog and Conwy. The BBC also aired popular radio shows from Bangor.

Each webpage has an ‘Evacuation to Wales Second World War’ badge to click.

All of the information is mapped and can be viewed on the website.

Rhodri Clark editor of said: “Our project began to highlight the surprising evacuation histories of familiar places back in 2012. We have featured many more since then.

“We hope our coverage, compiled with the help of many contributing historians, helps today’s residents and visitors to appreciate the role Wales played as a shelter for so many people, objects and establishments.”

Among the contributors is Adrian Hughes, of the Home Front Museum in Llandudno.

He said: “Many people associate wartime evacuation with children being relocated, and there were certainly many thousands of child evacuees in Wales in the early years of the war. Not so many people realise that the Inland Revenue operated from some of Llandudno’s most iconic hotels, or that Belgian and Dutch diamond polishers in Colwyn Bay and Bangor helped Britain pay for vital imports.”

The collection also highlights education of evacuated children and young people. Entire schools were relocated from England to Wales. Thousands of evacuees were taught in local schools and chapels, and University College London set up science labs in a Bangor shop for some of its displaced students.

QR codes in Llandudno and Llanrwst reveal the locations of secret wartime safe houses where MI5 would have evacuated double agents had the Nazis invaded Britain.

The evacuation stories are listed at:

The list includes:


Bangor University - PJ Hall was adapted to store National Gallery paintings

Bangor - the BBC’s popular comedy series It’s That Man Again was broadcast from Penrhyn Hall

Conwy - paintings moved to Bodlondeb and Guildhall from Williamson Gallery, Birkenhead

Llandudno - the BBC Theatre Organ was moved to the Grand Theatre and played for hours to fill up radio airtime

Rhyl - romantic novelist Roberta Leigh began writing by torchlight under the bedclothes while an evacuee

Blaenau Ffestiniog - some paintings stored in Manod quarry needed extra-low railway wagons to return to London in 1945

Aberystwyth - items evacuated from London to the National Library of Wales included originals by Shakespeare and da Vinci


Bangor - University College London has wartime science labs in a shop in High Street

Pen-y-Gwryd Hotel, near Caernarfon - Lake House School of Sussex occupied the hotel from 1940 to 1943

Conwy - St Mary’s Convent School relocated from Lowestoft to a house in the Morfa area

Conwy - evacuees were taught in Tabernacl Chapel as local schools were overwhelmed

Betws-y-coed - the Royal Oak Hotel was the wartime base of Dulwich Prep School

Betws-y-coed - stables buildings were classrooms for Dulwich pupils during the war

Llandudno Junction - seven evacuees from across England passed the 11+ here in 1942


Llandudno Junction - the Minister of Food often stayed at the Station Hotel while his ministry was in Colwyn Bay

Llandudno - the Imperial Hotel was the Inland Revenue’s wartime HQ, with office for future PM Jim Callaghan

Colwyn Bay - Britain’s wartime food supply, including rationing, was controlled from the town

Rhyl - wartime home of the mechanical traction section of the Royal College of Military Science


Beaumaris - aero firm Saunders-Roe, ex-Isle of Wight, employed Tecwyn Roberts, later of NASA’s manned flight project

Bangor - Belgian and Dutch diamond polishers moved in to a tailor’s shop in 1940

Bangor - Daimler relocated aero-parts manufacture to Bangor, including in the Crosville bus depot

Y Felinheli - Dow-Mac moved engineers from Suffolk to assemble tugs for vital war operations in the Persian Gulf

Caernarfon - NECACO made parts for many of the RAF’s most famous aeroplanes

Colwyn Bay - Belgian and Dutch diamond polishers moved from southern England to a hardware shop


Holyhead - Dutch Navy vessels which had escaped the Nazis’ clutches operated from the port

Bangor - the naval training ship HMS Conway moved from the Mersey to the Menai Strait in 1941

Conwy - Royal Netherlands Army soldiers were billeted at the Morfa after escaping their homeland’s occupation

Llandudno – Royal Artillery’s Coast Gunnery School moved from Essex to the Great Orme


Beaumaris - Charles Henry Bean, evacuated from Liverpool, joined the army and died aged 19 in 1945

Bangor station - nearly 2,000 evacuated children and their teachers arrived in a few days in September 1939

Bangor library - where the WVS received and medically checked evacuated children

Llanfairfechan - Prof David Thoday and his wife housed six refugee families at Llys Owain

Conwy - isolation hospital created for skin-disease treatment after influx of child evacuees

Conwy - Belgian tailor and family returned to where they’d been refugees in the First World War

Safe houses:

Llandudno - Evans’ Hotel was earmarked by MI5 to hide double agents if the Nazis invaded

Colwyn Bay - a secret BBC studio was established at Penrhyn Buildings to continue broadcasts after an invasion

Llanrwst - the Eagles Hotel was earmarked by MI5 to hide double agents if the Nazis invaded.