Content can be downloaded for non-commercial purposes, such as for personal use or in educational resources.
For commercial purposes please contact the copyright holder directly.
Read more about the The Creative Archive Licence.


This is an image of the use of DUKW amphibious vehicles in the Dyfi Estuary, as part of the activities that occurred during the Military occupation of Ynyslas Rocket Range.

Ynyslas not only tested rocketry but was used as a training ground for the drivers and passengers of amphibious military vehicles called DUKW’s or Buffalo's. The Tonnfanau military camp at Towyn was the base for an RASC Amphibious Training Unit. Personnel were sent here for training in advance of the Normandy landings in 1944 and the school continued after the end of the war into the 1960s.

DUKW’s are 6 ton military trucks converted with steel carcass and a propeller allowing the vehicle a smooth transition between land and water.

The importance of DUKW’s during the Second World War was their contribution to landing operations, their design allowed for easy transportation of goods and service men between large military ships and shallow shorelines. DUKW were cleverly built and were the first military vehicle that allowed the driver to change tire pressure whilst moving in order to compensate for hard or soft surface landings.

The image above shows a line of DUKW’s in different stages of entering the Dyfi estuary - the moment of entering the water caught on camera.

These military vehicles were very versatile and their performance on land was almost as impressive as their performance off land oral histories noting to the fact that there were six wheeled-vehicles "that could climb at incredible angles"

In Margaret Herterich's oral testimony recalling her time in the Auxiliary Territorial Army (ATS) as an Experimental Gunnery Assistant, she refers to using a 'duck' to go out onto the estuary. MOS EE AA Ynyslas personnel would use the vehicles to recover test missiles and to survey missile landing zones to plot the distances travelled.

Nothing remains of the DUKW’s that were used at Ynyslas today, except this photo and vibrant oral histories pertaining to its use along the Estuary.

One report suggests that one broken-down DUKW remained in what is now Ynyslas Boat Yard long after the Ministry of Supply left Ynyslas. Locals recall, when they were children, playing on the disused DUKW, which remained in the boat yard into the late fifties and early sixties.

Comments (2)

Tony Fox's profile picture
In fact one DUKW lasted longer than the 1960s. We lived in Bargates and Ty Mawr in the mid 1970s and David Williams who lived in the old house by the Leri road bridge (and which still stands on the left side of the entrance to the Ynyslas Boatyard) used to own still one then. I remember going for a short drive in it, it was not in good heart mechanically and certainly not seaworthy at that time, but was still just about functional. It was parked outside the house for many years afterwards.
Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales's profile picture
Thank you so much telling us about the DUKW that remained at Ynyslas after the war. Would you or anyone you know have a photograph? Aerial photographs in our collections have captured the moment shown above, yet we suspect that it was a common training exercise. Another view shows a singe DUKW stationary on a sandbank. We were very lucky to come across the oral testimony of Margaret Herterich ( in which she also mentions going out onto the 'Dovey in her duck' monitoring shell firing. It is still a wonder to us that so much military activity went in this beautiful place. Thanking you again for contributing your knowledge and memories.

You must be logged in to leave a comment