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Saunders-Roe Factory, Beaumaris, Anglesey

After leaving the Grammar School Tecwyn began an Engineering Apprenticeship with Saunders-Roe, at Fryars Point, Beaumaris, Anglesey (some eight miles from Llanddaniel).

During World War two, Saunders-Roe opened a factory at Fryars in Llanfaes, near Beaumaris on Anglesey, converting and maintaining Catalina flying boats.

At the outbreak of World War two, Saunders-Roe flying boats had seemingly caught up with the times with the Lerwick aircraft. Sadly, it handled badly both on the water and in the air.

To take the intended role of the Lerwick, the British Government ordered Catalina aircraft from the USA. On arrival from America they had to be equipped and modified to meet constantly changing service requirements. The task was given to Saunders-Roe who bought the Burton’s Fryars estate near Beaumaris. The Menai Straits provided excellent water for flying boat operations.

For three years there were flying boats stretching from the Gazelle down to Fryars Bay. In all, 399 Catalinas came through the Beaumaris site. Substantial work was done, including installation of air to surface vessel radar, work carried out in strict secrecy.

It was an RAF Catalina which passed through Fryars that found the Bismarck after it had escaped in bad weather. A painting of the exploit hung proudly in the works canteen.

The Saunders Roe design development had also moved to Beaumaris, as work at Cowes was being constantly interrupted by air raids. Two of the company sites at East Cowes were totally destroyed in one air raid in May 1942.

The flying boats were hauled out on the slipway which remains on the foreshore in front of Fryars. Most of the wartime hangars remain on the site although some have been substantially altered.
Saunders Roe Beaumaris - showing 'Dark' class boat under construction
Saunders Roe Beaumaris as it was when Tecwyn worked there
Catalina flying boats
Saunders Roe Factory Llanfaes near Beaumaris Anglesey
Saunders Roe today - click here for larger photo
The Saunders-Roe factory has long since closed. This photo courtesy of Andrew Marland and www.theviewfromthenorth.org
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