A brief history of Pembroke Dock


Pembroke Dock is a community and a town in Pembrokeshire, South West Wales, situated  north of Pembroke on the River Cleddau. It was originally a small fishing village known as Paterchurch, with the nearly settlements mainly farmland. The village’s natural harbour provides shelter from the prevailing south westerly winds and has probably been used for many thousands of years for exactly the same reason.

However the first evidence of settlement comes from Ordnance Survey maps and that is Carr Rocks – derived from the Norse-language Skare for rock; it is believed that Vikings used the Milford Haven estuary as a shelter during inclement weather.


Naval shipbuilding in Milford Haven takes its origins from the private shipyard of Jacobs, although bear in mind that no such place as Milford existed at this time, it was just the village of Hubberston. In November 1757 the Admiralty sent a delegate to examine the haven and they prepared a report recommending that Parliament construct a dock yard, calling it Milford. Due to a variety of reasons mainly access to ship building supplies and a lack of requisite skilled workers the Jacobs operation went bankrupt and the Navy took over the shipyard lease. In 1809 a Royal Navy dockyard at Milford Haven was formally established.


The dockyard proudly launched it’s first two ships, HMS Valorous and Ariadne on 10 February 1816 and continued to launch over the next 112 years: five royal yachts and 263 other Royal Navy vessels. They launched their last ship, Royal Fleet Auxiliary tanker Oleander on 26 April 1922. The dockyard itself was closed in 1926 however the Royal Air Force arrived in 1931 with Southhampton II flying boats and they remained in situ for almost 30 years. It earned the accolade in 1943 as being the largest operational base for flying boats in the world.