In 1930 RAF Pembroke Dock was established. For almost 30 years the RAF were based at Pembroke Dock. During 1943, when home to the Sunderland Flying Boats, it was the largest operational base for flying boats in the world.
Given its importance as an RAF base, it was no surprise that during World War II Pembroke Dock was targeted by the Nazi German Luftwaffe. On Monday 19 August 1940 a Luftwaffe Junkers Ju 88 bomber flew up the Haven waterway and bombed a series of oil tanks sited at Pennar. The oil fuelled fire that followed raged for 18 days and was recorded as the largest UK conflagration since the Great Fire of London.
Following the war the town enjoyed a degree of prosperity; this, however, changed in 1957 when it was announced that the RAF would be drastically reducing its presence. A few years later the final British Army regiment also left the town.
The town’s prosperity did increase again with the opening of the oil refineries on the Milford waterway and the construction of an oil fired power station, but never to the high levels experienced when the dockyard was fully operational.
Pembroke Dock also has a link to Hollywood - the full-scale Millennium Falcon built for The Empire Strikes Back was created in one of Pembroke Dock’s hangars by Marcon Fabrications in 1979.