THE SECRETS of a war-time mortuary hidden at Wrexham Cemetery have been revealed for the first time in 75 years.

Artefacts of the MOD facility through which the casualties of war were transported on route to burial or cremation for four years have been captured on film by a local history and preservation group during two invited visits.

A mortuary slab complete with drains, a sink and a metal pan with a grim purpose as well as a mass of 1930s electrical equipment have been found as they were left, save the dust and the spiders now covering them, when the mortuary was boarded up at the end of World War II.

While open its two rooms served as an overflow mortuary and among those passing through were German airmen shot down during air raids over Wrexham as well as the victims of a RAF bomber crash near Bwlchgwyn in January 1943.

Now members of Friends of Wrexham Cemetery want to reopen the mortuary for visitors after health and safety issues are ironed out.

Graham Lloyd, from the group, said: "This mortuary is likely to be the only one of its kind that was built still surviving in North Wales.

"It adds to the historic significance of the cemetery and when we are allowed to we want to show people around.

"We'd like to find out more information about the mortuary such as who built it and at what cost, but it is proving difficult to find documents."

But researchers from the group have been able to piece together the names of casualties on a cemetery register, including the victims of German plane crashes at Cefn Park and Pulford as well as civilian casualties from the bombing of Plas Ucha, a hillside farm, in Penycae in August 1940 and Osborne Street in Rhos in the same month.

The facility was opened to take the pressure off the mortuary at the old Wrexham War Memorial Hospital and while some of its history makes for grim telling, Graham says there should be plenty of interest to justify running a guided tour.

"There would have been a horrendous mess in there because of the nature of the casualties that were being brought in," added Graham, who works as an attendant at the cemetery.

"But it is a real historical setting and as we (Friends of Wrexham Cemetery) are trying to do more and more cemetery tours we believe there will be a lot of interest in this.

"However, we have been inside with the council's health and safety staff and there is a lot that needs to be complied with before they allow visitors in. There is 60 years of vegetation growth outside which needs to be cleared as it is a trip hazard."

The war-time mortuary closed in 1943, but the group hopes to soon be adding this hidden gem to its list of cemetery tours, which include one detailing the life stories of exiled Poles (May 11) and an exploration of graves of Wrexham's Victorian mayors (in June/July).

In 2015 Wrexham Council received a £1.2m windfall from the Heritage Lottery Fund for conservation and historic work at the cemetery which includes staging guided tours.

See Friends of Wrexham Cemetery at