You have no advanced search rows. Add one by clicking the '+ Add Row' button

Beaumaris Flying Boat Station; Saunders Roe Factory

Loading Map
Map ReferenceSH67NW
Grid ReferenceSH6100077500
Unitary (Local) AuthorityIsle of Anglesey
Old CountyAnglesey
A small estate called Friars was purchased by Saunders-Roe to become a base for the works to modify the newly delivered Catalina aircraft from the USA to the standards required for Coastal Command. An area offshore, to the east of the suspension bridge across Menai Straits, was able to provide a sheltered deep water landing zone. Saunders Roe dismantled one of their spare T hangars at Cowes and re-erected on site in August 1941. The Ministry of Aircraft Production built a T2 hangar and workshops on the site in December 1941 and linked to the foreshore by a concrete slipway. Friar's House became part of the factory complex. The slipways and hangars built are still present and in use as industrial units. Many of the hangars have been extended or had annexes added.

Event and Historical Information
Saunders-Roe were based on the Isle of Wight in the centre of air warfare over the English Channel, hence there was a need to find a base elsewhere for the essentially work on the Catalinas. Over 300 planes had armament installed, including .303 Browning machine-guns and British type bomb-racks (to carry up to 12,000lbs), plus radio equipment, Air-to-Surface Vessel radar (ASV) and Leigh Lights. The first Catalina arrived in April 1941. Over 300 Catalinas passed through Saunders Roes new facility for conversion. The company also converted motor torpedo boats. In 1944 and again in 1955, the works carried out trails on the Auster float plane but the concept aircraft was not taken forward into production. After the war, work was wound down. A yacht, called MORAG MOR was built. The workforce also produced crystal radio sets and manufactured coachwork for buses. Eventually Saunders Roe moved all their operations back to Cowes.

Sources include:
Defence of Britain Project
Jones, I, 2008, Airfields and Landing Grounds of Wales: North pg104-113
Phillips, Alan, 2006, Military Airfields Wales, pg25-27
Sloan, Roy, 1991, Wings of War over Gwynedd, pg142-55
Smith, David J, 1982 Action Stations 3: Military Airfields of Wales and the North West, pg43-4

RCAHMW, June 2008.