The Wales and the Battle of Britain Exhibition finished its tour off in style with a visit to the Houses of Parliament on 11th January 2023.
Hosted by Dr James Davies, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Wales, the exhibition was officially opened by Baroness Goldie, Minster of State for Defence and Wales MPs.
Highlighting that this was the 200th day the exhibition had been on display, Air Commodore Williams, Air Officer Wales, welcomed a number of distinguished guests to the exhibition, these included Lord Hain of Neath, Lord Davies of Gower, Simon Baynes MP, Mark Tami MP, Dame Nia Griffith MP, David Davies (Secretary of State for Wales), Sarah Atherton and Jo Stevens MP to name a few.
The Wales and the Battle of Britain tour of Wales had started back on 16th September 2021 with the Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Sir Mike Wigston and the Welsh Government Minister Hannah Blythyn MS opening the event at the City Hall in Cardiff. The exhibition then embarked on a tour around Wales visiting 27 different locations around the 22 Local Area Authorities of Wales and being seen by over 15,000 people.
With the exhibition tour now complete, there will be a number of things happening to ensure this unique story remains available for other people to access in the future, along with new plans to recognise RAF Battle of Britain Pilots from Wales. The RAF Museum will be taking the Wales and the Battle of Britain online, which will enable those that could not see the exhibition in person to view it over the internet.
At RAF Valley, 72 Squadron, which flew Spitfires in the Battle of Britain, and was commanded by Welsh Pilot Squadron Leader Edward Graham from Ebbw Vale, have named their Headquarters building the 'Graham Building.' RAF Valley have also named a number of their current 72 Squadron Texan aircraft, which now train the next generation of fighter pilots, after Welsh Battle of Britain pilots.
Following the visit of the exhibition to Llandudno, the Town Council are planning to name one of their streets after Llandudno born Sergeant Glyn Griffiths, who became an 'ace' during the Battle of Britain, contributing to the destruction of 10 enemy aircraft. At Cardiff University the RAF have created an RAF Fellowship Programme, which sponsors RAF personnel to do postgraduate degrees in science subjects. The RAF was delighted to recently announce with Cardiff University the creation of the Rosier Fellowship, named after Wrexham born Air Chief Marshal Sir Frederick Rosier, another Welsh hero from the Battle of Britain.
Overall, a very successful tour. The Wales and the Battle of Britain Exhibition was not only a commemoration of the Battle of Britain, remembering the 3,000 aircrew that fought in the Battle, of which 544 lost their lives. It also had an important Welsh perspective. It detailed a previously untold story, highlighting the contribution of RAF Aircrew from Wales, together with the Welsh people and its communities, in one of the most important periods of our history.