THE start of the Second World War 80 years ago triggered a mass relocation of people and organisations to Wales.

Now, fascinating wartime evacuation facts are being revealed on the sites where they actually happened. 

The HistoryPoints project has installed special ‘QR codes’ at 40 locations across Wales. When accessed by a mobile phone the codes bring up evacuation history web pages.

They reveal that it wasn’t just children that were evacuated during the Second World War, entire Government departments were moved.

Companies doing important war work and military establishments were also relocated.

Priceless artworks were moved from London and Merseyside for safekeeping in Conwy Bangor, Aberystwyth, Blaenau Ffestiniog and the BBC also aired popular radio shows from Bangor.

Rhodri Clark editor of said: “Our project began to highlight the surprising evacuation histories of familiar places back in 2012. 

“We hope our coverage, compiled with the help of contributing historians, helps today’s residents and visitors appreciate the role Wales played as a shelter for so many people, objects and establishments.”

One contributor, Adrian Hughes, of the Home Front Museum , Llandudno, said: “Many people associate wartime evacuation with children, and there were certainly many thousands of child evacuees in Wales. 

“Not so many realise the Inland Revenue operated from some of Llandudno’s most iconic hotels, or that Belgian and Dutch diamond polishers in Colwyn Bay and Bangor helped Britain pay for vital imports.”

Entire schools were relocated from England to Wales and thousands of evacuees were taught in schools and chapels. The list includes:

At Llandudno and Llanrwst  there were secret wartime safe houses where MI5  could evacuate double agents if the Nazis invaded Britain.

At Conwy, paintings were moved to Bodlondeb and the Guildhall from Williamson Gallery, Birkenhead.

At Llandudno, the BBC Theatre Organ was moved to the Grand Theatre and played for hours to fill up radio airtime.

At Conwy, the St Mary’s Convent School relocated from Lowestoft to a house in the Morfa area. Evacuees were also taught in Conwy’s Tabernacl Chapel. 

At Llandudno Junction, seven evacuees from across England passed the 11+  in 1942.

At Llandudno Junction, the Minister of Food often stayed at the Station Hotel while his ministry was in Colwyn Bay. Llandudno’s Imperial Hotel was the Inland Revenue’s wartime HQ, with an office for future PM Jim Callaghan.

Britain’s wartime food supply, including rationing, was controlled from Colwyn Bay. Also in the town, Belgian and Dutch diamond polishers moved from southern England to a hardware shop. 

At Conwy the Royal Netherlands Army soldiers were billeted at Morfa after escaping their homeland’s occupation. 

The Royal Artillery’s Coast Gunnery School moved from Essex to the Great Orme.  Prof David Thoday and his wife housed six refugee families at Llys Owain, Llanfairfechan.

At Conwy, an isolation hospital was created for skin-disease treatment after influx of child evacuees.

At Llandudno, the Evans’ Hotel was earmarked by MI5 to hide double agents if the Nazis invaded.

At Colwyn Bay, a secret BBC studio was established at Penrhyn Buildings to continue broadcasts after an invasion.

At Llanrwst the Eagles Hotel was earmarked by MI5 to hide double agents if the Nazis invaded.

To see the full list see: