TO MARK the arrival of the Welsh Battle of Britain commemorative exhibition into North Wales, RAF Valley hosted an event today to remember Wales’ very own Battle of Britain heroes.

As part of this, a number of RAF Valley’s Texan TMk1 training aircraft will be named in honour of Welsh-born Battle of Britain pilots who distinguished themselves in the conflict.

Their names, such as those of Flight Lieutenant Paul John (PJ) Davies-Cooke from Mold, will be emblazoned on the side of the aircraft, an area where fighter pilots traditionally mark their own name.

This will ensure that, each time a young trainee fighter pilots straps into one of the Texan aircraft, they will be reminded of the legacy of the heroic Welsh pilots from the Battle of Britain.

Group Captain Andy Turk, Station Commander RAF Valley, who hosted the event, said: Today we are positively linking our shared pride in the Welsh heroes who saved our nation in one of the darkest periods of our history.

“We can think of no better way of honouring their memory and inspiring our fighter pilots of the future, who are training in Wales today, than wearing their name on their cockpit in recognition of their sacrifice and bravery.”

RAF Valley also named the Headquarters of 72 (Fighter) Squadron, itself a Squadron that participated in the Battle, after another Welsh hero: Squadron Leader Edward ‘Ted’ Graham from Ebbw Vale.

Mr Graham flew with, and ultimately commanded, 72(Fighter) Squadron when it was equipped with Spitfires.

A trophy was also be awarded by the Deputy Mayor of Llandudno to the best fighter pilot of each pilot course in honour of another Battle of Britain Welsh Ace; namely, Sergeant Glyn Griffiths from Llandudno.

Student Flying Instructor, Flight Lieutenant James Bagnall said: “We are immensely proud of these Welsh warriors, many of whom gave their lives for the freedoms we take for granted today.

“At RAF Valley we are also proud of our Welsh links and we hope that those that see our aircraft will appreciate us honouring the memory of our forebears who grew up in and around North Wales.”

A number of surviving relatives of the Battle of Britain pilots were also present at RAF Valley to participate in the naming ceremony and short memorial service.

The first of these Battle of Britain pilots to be honoured with their names on an aircraft were:

Sub-Lieutenant Jack Conway-Carpenter Royal Navy, from Ynys Mon, killed-in-action during the Battle of Britain while flying Hurricanes.

Flying Officer Harold Arthur Cooper Bird-Wilson CBE, DSO, DFC, AFC from Prestatyn (who eventually left the Air Force as an Air Vice Marshal having founded the Red Arrows).

During the Battle he was credited with the destruction of several Luftwaffe Aircraft and survived being shot down himself by German Ace Adolf Galland.

The trophy for best Fighter Pilot was also named in honour of Sergeant Glyn Griffiths DFM from Llandudno, who was responsible for the destruction of ten enemy aircraft during the Battle.

1,500 Service personnel, civil servants and contractors work at RAF Valley, located in Anglesey.