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Sandbag Reminiscences of Mick J. Evans Sandbag
A Local Towyn Boy
Mick did not serve with the AAJLR but was a 'local' from Towyn who wrote to me saying he had enjoyed some time with some of our boys and also those at the Outward Bound School. I replied asking him why Towyn had changed its name and also commenting: "Early in my army career I remember going there one Sunday for 'something to do' and finding the whole village was shut!!!" This is his reply:
Oh come on now - I'm sure there were a few chapels open<g>. I guess since I grew up in Towyn I never noticed that it was so quiet, and by the time I got to college age, I blew the coop and........... went to college, where there was always something going on. I guess it must have been lonely though, I don't remember much about the Tonfanau lads except they hung out in the cafe next to Gray Jones Garage, and you could sure tell they weren't locals, so I'm sure there wasn't much of a friendly reception from the locals.
As far as what happened to the name Towyn - sometime in the 60's, a local councilor suggested changing the name to something that sounded a little more Welsh - Tywyn. So, with very little publicity and minimal polling of public opinion the name got changed. Personally, I think that sucks !! - my father was born in Towyn and tells me that the town name is an abbreviation for "Towyd Wyn" (nor sure of spelling) which means White Sands, and was named after the 4 miles of sandy beach upon which it resides. Anyways, there are still a few old highway signs and mile markers with the old spelling.
Tonfanau has gone through quite a few changes, shortly after the army left it became a resettlement camp for the "Ugandan Asians" kicked out of Uganda by Idi Amin - I suspect that nothing they experienced in Africa prepared them for a nice Towyn winter<g>. If you search for "Tonfanau" on the web these days you'll find its been turned into a motorcycle racing circuit and I think that happened quite a few years ago. The quarry has chewed up quite a bit more of Beacon Hill, and the white beacon has gone.
The Towyn area has remained pretty much unchanged, and some of the smaller roads up the valleys are virtually identical to the way they were 30 years ago. The biggest change is on the Towyn beachfront, where new promenades were constructed both to the north and south of the old one to protect beach front property from the sea.
The old firing range south of Towyn is still kinda there, most of the structures are gone, but the big sand bank is still there. I remember foraging for spent cartridges there when I was a kid.
Well that's all I can remember for now..............
Mick Evans
I would like to thank Mick for this and hope he will keep us up to date on any 'major' changes in the next 50 years… <g>

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