Retired Section Swansea Docks


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                       HM Customs & Excise at Swansea Docks

Probably the least loved members of the dock fraternity were the staff of HM Customs and Excise who occupied premises at the Pier Head, Kings Dock, Swansea. Prior to 1975 the building was solely occupied by the uniformed members of the service (Waterguard). However, diminishing and changing trade patterns and the UK's entry into the European Union coupled with departmental re-organisation brought about the demise of other local offices and the transfer of their functions to the Pier Head Office at Swansea. Over the years, offices that closed included Burry Port Harbour; Llanelli North Dock; Custom House, Station Road, Llanelli; Swansea West Pier; Swansea Custom House, Cambrian Place; Landing & Shipping Office (opposite 'B' shed Kings Dock); Custom House, Eagle Street, Port Talbot, and the Waterguard Office, Pier Head, Port Talbot.

Staff undertook a variety of tasks, both physical and documentary; their primary functions being the collection and protection of revenue and the control of the import and export of prohibited and restricted goods. Their area of responsibility stretched from Carmarthen Quay to Nash Point, including Swansea Airport, together with inland excise control. From time to time officers were required to serve in other locations throughout the United Kingdom.

In addition, agency work was undertaken on behalf of other government departments and public bodies, e.g: Registry of British ships and fishing vessels; Receiver of Wreck; collection of light dues for Trinity House; collection of statistics for balance of trade purposes; CAP (common agricultural policy) monetary payments and refunds relating to the import and export of foodstuffs; issue of  'Pratique' (Public Health Ships Regulations), and the issue of writs on behalf of the Admiralty Marshall.

In 2005 HM Customs & Excise amalgamated with the Inland Revenue to form HM Revenue & Customs and, although the newly formed department adopted the revenue aspects of the work carried out at the dock, other functions were transferred to the Border Agency, SOCA (Serious & Organised Crime Agency) and MCA (Maritime & Coastguard Agency).

The Pier Head Office of HM Customs & Excise finally closed its doors in February 2010

The above article and the photos below were kindly provided by former HM Customs & Excise Officer Peter Hopkins


Grades & date unknown

 Grades & Date unknown

APO / CPO pre 1953
Laurel leaves & crown in gold wire

APO / CPO post 1953
Laurel leaves & crown in gold wire

APO / CPO post 1953
Economy badge in cheap metal

APO / CPO circa 1965
Laurel leaves & crown in gold wire

APOs-Rummage Crew circa 1967
Embroidered laurel leaves & crown

HM Customs & Excise Office, Pierhead Swansea. The ship entering the lock is the Royal Yacht Britannia'

Waterguard Staff outside the Pierhead Office in 1959. Left to right standing:- Trevor Jenkins, Alan Douglas,
 Eric Davies and Haydn Edwards. In front are (left) Dick Bartlett and (right) Peter Hopkins

Waterguard Officers Ben Howell (left) and Jim Williamson (right) at Kings Dock Lock in 1959.
 The ship in the lock is the Federal Steam Navigation Company’s m/t ‘Lincoln’
The photo above was taken outside the old Water Guard Office South Dock. It was sent in to us by the son of
Frank Davies front row left, front row centre Cyril Davies, front row right Stan Bewen, Back row left Mike Jones
It is an unusual It photo some one may know who the rest are

 HMC&E Waterguard dinner dance. at the Mackworth Hotel on 7th December 1959.

L - R back row :-  Len Hall, Graham Enoch, Alan Douglas, Rev Jasper Swansea Flying Angel, Malcolm Booth, Dick Bartlett, Wyn Symmons, Roley Bickley, Captain J Teunissen skipper of the mv 'Pieter S' ( probably one of Swansea's most regular ships in the 50's & 60's and a vessel renowned for it's smuggling activities), Ted oliver & Norman Taylor.

L - R front row :-  Bill Sutton, Fred Hill and Mr Ambrose of Ambrose Davies & Matthews famous Swansea ship owners and brokers of yore.  All the faces named are members of the Waterguard in the South Wales ports except those otherwise described. We are unable to name the ladies?

HM Customs & Excise Dinner Dance at the Mackworth Hotel, Swansea, on the 24th November 1961

Back row, left to right:- Graham Enoch, Paul Whitmore, Unknown, Frank Davies, Rev. Jasper (Missions to Seamen), Roley Bickley, Alec Miller (Burgess & Co.), Bill Sutton and George Morrison.
Front row, left to right:- Dick Jones, R S Hayes (Fultons wine merchants), A W Rolfe and George Shaddick (Burgess & Co.)

Unfortunately the ladies cannot be identified

Les Jones on his wedding day at St. Thomas church c. 1972 - a group of colleagues get him to the church on time
Pictured left to right are:- Fred Bewen, Bryn Jones, Les Jones, Mike Luxton, Frank Davies and Len Scales

The above photograph was taken at the Custom House during the mid 1980's
left to right:-  Yvonne Jenkins, Nicola Matthews, Pauline Bruce,
Cheryl Cart, Joanne Gwynne, Kim Landry and Elaine Farrer.


9th September 2003  -  The last members of Swansea Anti-Smuggling Team and honoured ex-members

Back row from left : Dorian Elias, Simon Williams, Ron Woodland, Stuart Delfosse, Graham Reynolds, Kelvin Jones
Front row from left : Stuart Fenton, Phil Thorne, Kim Fenton (nee Landry), Sarah Plumb, Les Jones, Huw Walters

 This particular trophy was given to Mike Luxton who
 was the first Customs Officer in Swansea to board the
MV Connacht on her maiden voyage to Swansea. 

The caricature was given to us by Maureen Luxton, one of our ex
 colleagues, it depicts her late husband Mike in a relaxing posture