What’s what with Wormhout?
We’ve all seen the great sign as we enter the town of Llandudno; ‘Llandudno – twinned with Wormhout, France’. But we’ve never looked any further beyond this fact. So today we ask the question; What is this place in a foreign country which shares such a tight bond with our beloved seaside town?
The basis of this article is to inform you all about Wormhout, which is twinned with Llandudno, one of the most famous locations in Wales and its largest resort. The twinning has been in place since 1988, and ever since, annual cultural visits and exchanges between the two communities have taken place. Llandudno and the town of Wormhout strive to lend to each other’s continual success, and be strong friends, and this of course actively involves interested members of the public. But first let’s find out more about Wormhout.
All about Wormhout
Wormhout (Wormhoudt) is a commune in the ‘Nord’ section of the north of France. The town is extremely close to the Dutch border, and as a result some of the population speak Flemish, a dialect of Dutch which is also spoken in Belgium.
Moulin de Wormhout – Classic french windmill
A major tourist sight is this classic french windmill ‘Moulin de Wormhout’ which is a fantastic example of timeless agricultural architecture of the area.
Church of the Parish of Saint Winoc et Saint Folquim
There is also a wondrous aged church named ‘Paroisse Saint Winoc et Saint Folquin’. This is another favorite place for visitors to admire the special characteristic Norman architecture, as well as a house of worship for church-goers. Truly a lovely sight to behold.
In Remembrance: The Wormhout Massacre
A darker yet unignorable significant part of the town’s history was during World War 2. In May 1940 when during the invasion of France and the lead-up to the Dunkirk Evacuation, SS soldiers captured 80 British soldiers after they surrendered peacefully. They were then forced into a small shed and tossed five grenades inside the shed, with the intention to kill everyone. However, two soldiers by the names of Sergeant Moore and CSM Jennings heroically dived on the grenades to muffle the explosion.
Following this, the SS troop strafed the shed with machine-gun fire aiming to kill any survivors. There was then a frantic rush for escape, where 15 people managed to get clear of the area. Injuries were so bad that all but 6 of them perished. 5 of these survivors then survived the war. This is considered one of the worst atrocities committed on POW in modern history.
The Wormhoudt Massacre is commemorated by a plaque. Upon visiting the area, someone saw that this memorial had fallen into ruin, a British lottery winner stumbled across the plaque, and personally arranged to have it repaired and cleaned.
There is now a small museum there, and you can learn all about this in detail, remember and pay respect to these soldiers.
Twinning Exchange Activities
Wormhout to Llandudno trip
In fact, just over 50 people from Wormhout travel to Llandudno for a weekend of hospitality every year, with many of Llandudno’s volunteer host families over the course of their short visit. This trip usually takes place during April, with many visits to various locations in and around the Llandudno area, arranged over the course of the weekend.
Just this year, a group of majorettes, came over to Llandudno for the first time, as well as a dancing group, who came over with their families from the Linzi Grace School of Dance. They have made the most of what the lovely town must offer, including sights such as the Great Orme via the Victorian Tramway, and a little excursion to Chester.
The Mayor of Wormhout, has on one occasion laid a wreath at the Llandudno cenotaph for those who lost their lives during the first and second world wars.
Another activity is that every year, 20 boys from local schools are invited to compete in the annual Wormhout International Football Tournament.
Llandudno to Wormhout trip
Every July, a visit to Wormhout is arranged, which coincides with the town’s carnival and music festival, with a group as large as 55 people from Llandudno making the journey. Those on the trip can enjoy the music and festivities, as well as learn about the history of the town, and pay respects to those who lost their lives there during WW2.
How can you get involved with the twinning programme?
Anyone who wants to be involved with the town twinning programme in any aspect, you can get in touch with the town council who encourage and welcome support from the local community.