Evocative sounds of wartime days echoed around the former RAF St Davids Airfield on Friday September 15 when a memorial was unveiled in the 80th anniversary year of the airfield’s opening.
A flypast by a wartime era Avro Anson was the finale of an impressive ceremony which commemorated those who died while serving at the airfield and remembered all military and civilian personnel who had served there, in war and peace.
The ceremony was arranged by a local team headed by Malcolm Gray – who created the three slate plaques which form the memorial – Ian Panton and John James and followed up on an initiative begun by the late Alun James of Carnhedryn, a passionate local historian.
The memorial – on a section of wall from a wartime building – was unveiled by the Mayor of St Davids, Councillor Emma Evans, and the Deputy Mayor, Councillor Bira Sehmi.
Chief guest was the RAF’s Air Officer Wales, Air Commodore Adrian Williams, who laid a wreath at the memorial, which was dedicated by the Rev Wiliam Owen of Caerfachell. The Last Post and Reveille were played by Morgan Price and Standards paraded represented the Solva and St Davids Branches of the Royal British Legion and the RAFA and Air Cadets of 948 (Haverfordwest and City of St David’s) Squadron.
A reflection on the airfield’s 50 years of active history from 1943 was given by John Evans of the Pembrokeshire Aviation Group.
Among the large gathering were several people with special family connections with RAF St Davids, including Mr Bryan John of Solva who after RAF service worked for the Airwork company at St Davids and later Brawdy bases.
Also present from Cawdor Barracks were Captain Shane Murphy and Warrant Officer (RAF) Greg Moodie.
Following the commemoration guests enjoyed refreshments at St Davids RAFA Club and were welcomed by chairman Malcolm Clift. On the day the RAF Ensign was flown at Cross Square, St Davids.
The twin engined Anson, flown in from Shropshire by owner Glenn James, used Haverfordwest Airport as its local base and later Air Commodore Williams met up with the Anson team at Withybush.