Fryars Bay beach near Beaumaris
Fryars Bay beach is a small beach, comprising of shingle and small stones. At low water the tide goes out to a muddy shore. This beach is quite easy to pass as it is partially hidden by a sea wall.
At high tide on a sunny day this beach is great beach for a picnic with stunning views of the Snowdonia mountain range.
Fryars bay beach is located on the B5109, just after leaving Beaumaris, on the road to Penmon Priory. This beautiful beach is ideal for a family picnic at high water or a walk along the beach to Lleiniog beach.
Fryars bay and the RAF Catalinas at Saunders-Roe
Many people pass this beach and are unaware of its history and what it was used for during the second World War.
During the early 1940’s Saunders - Roe Ltd were relocated to here from the Isle of Wight, after an air raid on the factory in East Cowes by the Luftwaffe, during September 1940. The former workshops are visible on the left hand side behind the beach, travelling in the direction of Penmon.
As further modification work was taken on, and with the inclusion of additional types of aircraft, workspace was soon in short supply and various other sites in nearby Beaumaris were pressed into military service including garages, stables and even Beaumaris Pier Pavilion
The bulk of the work at Saunders - Roe was the modification to the PBY-5 Catalina seaplanes, and other flying boats to be used by Coastal Command by the RAF on anti-submarine duties.
The Catalinas were flown from Goose Bay in Canada by civilian pilots to their moorings on the Menai Strait. They were then hauled up the slip way tail first, as it was easier to manoeuvre, then across the B5109 road and into the factory.
After being washed down with fresh water, all the loose equipment and radio sets were removed, some of the airframes needed modifications to the hull to allow the extra armaments and storage of RAF equipment. The American bomb racks were removed to make way for the ability to carry the heavier 1,500 pound British bombs.
New wireless sets, aerials and instruments were fitted. Last but not least was the all new type of ASV (Air to Surface Vessel) radar sets to be fitted by some of the staff from RAF Farnborough. A few aircraft were also fitted with the underwing Leigh light, an extremely bright floodlight used to find submarines at night.
In total 399 Catalina’s were modified at Saunders-Roe, near Beaumaris. Air to surface radar was fitted to the Catalina’s in secrecy. During the three year period of modification to the Catalina’s they were moored from the Gazelle down towards Fryars bay.
It was one of the RAF Catalina’s that was modified at Beaumaris that found the German battleship Bismarck, after it escaped during bad weather.
Beaumaris lifeboat station at Fryars Bay
For many years the Beaumaris lifeboat was stationed at Fryars Bay. There was a long steel gantry that stretched out across Fryars Bay to the Lifeboat station.