Road works in Pembroke Dock have been halted after members of the public complained that there may be bodies from the Second World War buried in the ground.

Pembrokeshire County Council was carrying out improvement work on Tremeyrick Street, Pembroke Dock, when they received the complaints.

One Pembroke Dock resident, who asked not to be named, said she felt the council was "desecrating" the graves of war dead.

"We have always been told all our lives that there were bodies there from when the Pier Hotel was bombed during the war," she said.

"I felt sad seeing the working going on, I just hope they will put it back to how it should be.

"I wanted to get out of my car the car to lay down in the road to stop it when I saw it."

Local historian John Evans from the Pembroke Dock Heritage centre said it had been speculated that the area contained remains from the blitz.

Western Telegraph: The Pier Hotel. Picture: Pembroke Dock Heritage CentreThe Pier Hotel. Picture: Pembroke Dock Heritage Centre

"The Pier Hotel, a prominent landmark on the corner of Tremeyrick Street and London Road, was destroyed in the German Air Force (Luftwaffe) ‘blitz’ on Pembroke Dock on the night of May 11/12, 1941," he said.

"The Criterion Hotel opposite was also demolished as a land mine – one of an estimated 15 dropped under parachutes along with other high explosives and incendiaries – fell on the town.

"In a night of terror, 30 townspeople were killed, along with two servicemen. Four other civilians were missing and a large number injured.

Adding: "Over the years there has been speculation that, with some still listed as having no known grave, it is possible that the area behind what had been the Pier Hotel may contain remains.

Pembrokeshire County Council said worked was "halted immediately" once they were told about the site's history.

Western Telegraph: the Tremeyrick Street/London Road area the morning after the blitz bombing. Picture: Pembroke Dock Heritage Centrethe Tremeyrick Street/London Road area the morning after the blitz bombing. Picture: Pembroke Dock Heritage Centre

A spokesperson for the council said: "Pembrokeshire County Council apologises for any distress caused by this matter.

"We thank the members of the public who have contacted us, as knowledge of the historical status of the ground was not held by Pembrokeshire County Council before work began.

"In order to investigate further we have contacted the Diocese to confirm the status of the land and in the meantime we will reinstate the grassed area at the lower section to the site and will return the footway to the edge of the carriageway, limiting the intrusion into the grassed area.

"The work at the site was part of improvements to improve active travel / sustainable connectivity and wellbeing which have been or are being completed in Pembroke Dock."

The resident who complained to the council about the work said she felt it would be better if a plaque to commemorate those that died was placed at the site instead.

Mr Evans, of the heritage centre, pointed out that next May would be the 80th anniversary of the raid, and might be an appropriate time to remember those that died at the Pier Hotel and across Pembroke Dock in 1941.

Mr Evans listed some of those known to have lost their lives during the bombing of Pier Hotel.

"Casualties at the Pier Hotel included the proprietor, Rhys Morris, originally from Solva, and his 15-year-old daughter," he said.

"Research by the late Owen Vaughan, of Pembroke, identified others killed in the Pier Hotel, among them: Ellen Frances Saunders, daughter of Mr F. T. Nicholson, of 4 Tremeyrick Street, whose husband, Leslie, was serving in the Forces; Elizabeth Williams, the 32-year-old daughter of Daniel Williams of Llanview, Llanycefn – her burial place was not established – and an Australian, Stanley Herman Buxton, a platoon commander in the Pembroke Home Guard."

"The town was to endure one more heavy raid – on the night of June 11th 1941. Some claimed it was even worse than that of May 11th/12th but the death toll was much lower."