Thanks to Rhyl historian Stuart Jones for bringing this little gem to my attention…
Among Rhyl’s many claims to fame is the fact that it is the site of the world’s first commercial hovercraft operation – Rhyl to Wallasey which was started in 1962.
The operation caused quite a stir, not least for the noise and sand kicked up by its operation! The service fell foul of the fact that not that many people wanted to travel between Rhyl and Wallasey so it became a novelty service rather than a valued transport connection.
The service was also plagued by technical problems with regular unservicability.
Although the service would probably have folded before too long, high seas and an adverse wind meant that the hovercraft drifted out to sea in a storm and had to be rescued by the Rhyl Lifeboat. Among the crew was my cousin, Gerald Hughes, read more about him in an earlier post. The hovercraft was damaged beyond economic repair and thus ended the world’s first commercial hovercraft service.
See the video here