IT’S been the cause of some angry noise complaints across North Wales over the years – but RAF Valley’s whining ‘howler’ Texan T1 pilot training aircraft delighted shoppers and visitors when it performed a low-pass over Bangor cathedral, on Saturday (September 16).
It was greeted with claps and smiles as it flew over the city as part of the Royal Air Force Valley’s annual service remembering the sacrifices made by those who served during the Battle of Britain.
During the 1940 battle the RAF was pitched against the might of the large and formidable German Luftwaffe. It was after the prolonged air-battle that wartime Prime Minister Winston Churchill broadcast the historic quotation:
“Never in the field of human conflict was so much owned by so many to so few.”
The Bangor Battle of Britain Day service was part of efforts to help keep alive the memory of the ‘Few’ which included 67 Welsh pilots among its number.
At the event, the names of all North Wales airmen who perished in the fierce three month aerial battle were read out by RAF Valley chaplain the Rev Sqd Ldr Michael Hall and the Station Commander Gp Capt Matt Hoare RAF also read the lesson.
Also taking part was the Lord Lieutenant of Gwynedd, Edmund Seymour-Bailey Esq and Sub-Dean of Saint Deintiol’s Cathedral , Canon Sion Rhys Evans.
A number of dignitries attended including the Ynys Mon MP Virginia Crosbie and the chairman of Gwynedd Council County Chairman Councillor Medwyn Hughes.
A number of mayors from Anglesey and Gwynedd towns were led by Bangor City Councillor Mark Roberts, standing in for Mayor Cllr Elin Walker-Jones.
An RAF Valley spokesman said: “Battle of Britain Day is clearly a most important date in the RAF calendar and it was a privilege to be able to share this with the people of Bangor who turned out to support us – as well as enjoy the surroundings of the magnificent St Deiniol’s Cathedral and its sublime choir. In particular, Valley strives to keep alive the memory of the 67 Welsh pilots who are numbered amongst Churchill’s “Few”.
“We have named aircraft and also some of our facilities in honour of these Welsh heroes; such as Sgt Glyn Griffiths of Llandudno and Sub Lt Jack Carpenter from Ynys Mon – who was killed in the battle.”
He added “Little wonder it was a good flypast, as it was flown by Flt Lt Jonny Dowen, now a Texan T Mk1 instructor, but formerly the RAF’s Typhoon Display Pilot.”
Cllr Mark Roberts who represented Bangor City Council said: “After 83 years it’s perhaps easy for us to forget just how close Britain came to being ruled by a monstrous Nazi Reich, and for all its noise complaints.
‘Howler’ training aircraft plays a critical part in producing the next generation of ‘the Few’. God forbid that they will be called sacrifice their lives too.”
MP Virginia Crosbie added “What a special service honouring those brave pilots, ground crew, air raid wardens, firefighters and plotters who were the first to stop the Nazi war machine in its tracks over the skies of Britain 83 years ago. Many thanks to the Cathedral Clergy and support staff, the quite magnificent choir, as well as the Air Cadets for a tremendous service to salute all those who fought and died for the freedoms we enjoy today.”