Generations of Pembroke Dock residents have grown up with the Memorial Park as a special feature in their community.

‘Memorial’ is the key word in the creation of this extensive, well laid out park – as a memorial to the servicemen from the town who made the supreme sacrifice in the Great War.

In the aftermath of the war, which ended in November 1918, so many communities planned such memorials and it took until May 1925 – 95 years ago – for Pembroke Dock to open the park to honour its war dead.

The location chosen was on the town’s eastern side, the new park backing onto Upper Gwyther Street – a press report noting that this street contained the homes of the largest number of men who fell in the war.

“Thousands pay homage to the ‘Glorious Dead’” was a heading above the Pembrokeshire Telegraph’s report of the proceedings on May 2nd 1925. Lady Meyrick, wife of General Sir F. C. Meyrick, of Bush, formally opened the park using a silver key presented by the Mayor of Pembroke Borough, Councillor W. G. Lloyd. Apparently, it was the largest gathering of people seen in the town in over 100 years.

Addressing the crowd the Mayor said that when completed the park would include a bowling green, two hard and six grass tennis courts, skittle alley, two quoiting pitches, croquet court, shelter and two large pavilions.

“The work was carried out by scores of men, down and out, too proud to beg, to honest to steal, unwilling to accept poor law relief to keep the wolf from the door, without working for it,” a newspaper report added.

The civic party, guests and the throng entered the park and moved to the new bowling green where the Mayor was presented with the silver jack by Councillor G. E. Manning, chairman of the parks committee, and invited to open the green. Today that same silver jack is used to open each bowling season

In celebration that evening dancing took place on the hard tennis courts under the direction of Ben Morgan and W. Russan. Pembroke Dock Town Band, directed by Fred Rees, performed a ‘select programme’.

Pictures from the Pembroke Dock Heritage Centre archive with acknowledgement to the Ken Edwards Collection.