I was keen for the Wales and the Battle of Britain historical exhibition to come to Parliament as I was extremely impressed when I first visited the exhibition in Rhyl Town Hall.
The exhibition was created by the RAF’s Air Historical Branch (Dr Lynsey Shaw), together with Air Commodore Williams, to commemorate Wales’ contribution to victory in the Battle of Britain.
It was originally planned to be launched in 2020 but had to be postponed many times due to the pandemic. The Exhibition was taken on a tour around Wales with the aim to visit all 22 Local Authority Areas and it has been seen by over 15,000 people.
It detailed a previously untold story, highlighting the contribution of RAF Aircrew from Wales, together with the Welsh people and communities, in one of the most important periods of our history.
The exhibition at Parliament was open for two hours and MPs and Lords came to view it during this time, including Baroness Annabel Goldie, Minister of State for Defence; Secretary of State for Wales, David TC Davies; and MPs from across Wales.
At the event I spoke to the Air Commodore about a key former pilot, Harold Bird-Wilson from Prestatyn, who joined the RAF in 1937, fought in the Battle of Britain and went on to give distinguished service during the remainder of the Second World War, being awarded a number of awards for gallantry, including a Distinguished Flying Cross and Bar, together with a Distinguished Service Order.
After the war, he had a long and very successful RAF career, achieving Air Vice-Marshal rank and being awarded the Air Force Cross and Bar and a CBE. He retired from the RAF in 1974 and died in 2000. His medals are on display at the RAF Museum in London.
I am delighted that the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Britain and Harold's contribution from our community to the Royal Air Force has been commemorated in such a significant way.