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Fort Belan, Dinas Dinlle

At the time of the Napoleonic wars in the late 18th Century, life was turbulent and in Wales there was the threat of coastal invasion by the French. This was a time of hostility between America and the U.K. It is strange for us today to imagine unfriendly American ships in our waters but the reality of the threat became obvious when privateers operating at sea captured several of our ships, notably two post office ships which operated between Holyhead and Dublin.
Thomas Wynn, who at the time was Constable of Caernarfon, was aware of the threat and decided to take the initiative make a bold military decision to build a fort on the tip of the Dinlle Peninsula. He realized the vulnerability and strategic importance of this point as it overlooks the narrow entrance to the Menai Strait which runs between the mainland and the Isle of Anglesey. It is the access point to the North Wales coast and the City of Liverpool which even then was a port of international importance. This fort, now known as Belan Fort, is notable for being the only purpose built fortress of the American Revolution on this side of the Atlantic ocean.
Initially the fort was garrisoned by Wynn’s own troops and his actions and loyalty were rewarded with a peerage. The fort became part of the chain of defences against the threat of French invasion.
A century and a half later, during the Second World War Belan was occupied by all three services. The Royal Air Force dominated the scene as it took over what is now called Caernarfon Airport just two miles to the south.
(This history and more can be seen on the Fort's website with much more information - visit www.fortbelan.co.uk).

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