RAF St Athan Celebrates 75 Years in South Wales
Published 13 June 2014
On Monday 23 June 2014, RAF Personnel from MOD St Athan will parade through Barry to commemorate 75 years of the Royal Air Force in South Wales.
The parade will also mark the beginning of Armed Forces Week, which will see a number of ceremonies and events taking place across the UK, culminating in Armed Forces Day on Saturday 28 June.
The RAF based at St Athan have a long association with Barry and were granted the freedom of the town in May 1959 and more recently, they were made Honorary Freemen of the Vale of Glamorgan in 1974.
Originally opened in 1938 RAF St Athan was both a training and a maintenance base, and at the time, chosen because it was believed to be out of range of the German Luftwaffe.
However two years later an air attack on RAF St Athan brought the war to Wales for the very first time.
In recent years the Vale of Glamorgan airbase has also become home to the Army as well as accommodating a progressive Regional Rehabilitation Unit for injured Servicemen and women living in Wales.
RAF Service personnel from No 4 School of Technical Training will be led by Flight Lieutenant Dominic Warren who will be carrying the Wilkinson Sword of Peace. The sword is of special significance as it was presented by RAF St Athan to the Vale of Glamorgan in the 1970s. This forthcoming Freedom Parade provides a rare opportunity for the sword used in such a public ceremony.
The parade will ‘step off’ from King’s Square at 10.30 am and proceed through the town to the Civic Offices, Holton Road, where MOD St. Athan Commanding Officer, Wing Commander Robert Balls and newly-appointed Mayor of The Vale of Glamorgan, Cllr Howard Hamilton, will take the salute followed by a short ceremony at which the Armed Forces Day flag will be raised.
The RAF at St Athan are celebrating their 75th anniversary in South Wales, and are honouring past servicemen and women, many of whom have made the Vale of Glamorgan their home.
Vale residents are being encouraged to join as one community and line the streets to show their support and commemorate the last 75 years of RAF history.