The RAF in Wales

button-theme-raf-hubThe RAF in Wales

Use the list below to find our featured stories about the Royal Air Force in Wales and its predecessors – the Royal Flying Corps and Royal Naval Air Service.

Among the stories are formative events in the history of the RAF/RFC such as Arthur Soames’ participation in Britain’s first deployment of military planes overseas (in August 1914), the creation of the RAF’s logo, testing of the pioneering Martin Baker ejector seat, and the establishment of the first RAF mountain rescue base at Llandwrog, Gwynedd.

The need for a rescue service arose because so many RAF planes were crashing in Wales during the Second World War. You can find our QR codes at the various crash sites listed below.

We have also selected some of our web pages in memory of remarkable airmen, including recipients of Victoria Cross and George Cross medals.

Among the RAF-related sites you can discover is the disused quarry in Gwynedd where bombs were stored until needed for air raids.

You can also read about some of the airmen from other countries – including Canada, the USA, Australia, Poland and Norway – who died while aiding the RAF or RFC.

Details of hundreds of airmen are available in our coverage of local war memorials. Click here for a list of featured memorials.

North-east Wales

Wrexham town - AHL Soames flew in UK’s first warplane deployment, 1914. Killed by experimental bomb
Wrexham town – David Lord awarded posthumous VC for his valour at Arnhem in 1944
Bwlchgwyn - eight airmen died when their Whitley heavy bomber crashed onto a hill in 1943

Rhyl - Patrick Turner is honoured by residents of the French village where his plane crashed and he's buried
Prestatyn - in 1942 Albert Marten was guarding a crashed RAF plane when ordnance on board exploded
Ruthin - Godfrey Laws was a fighter pilot, despite being too tall for Spitfires


North-west Wales

Abergele - Arthur Banks was awarded posthumous George Cross for his bravery under Fascist torture
Llysfaen - Norman Owen DFC sometimes flew over his home farm to say hello
Old Colwyn - Canadian Ewell Daniel, an RFC instructor, married a Welsh woman before his death in 1916
Penrhynside - After surviving the SWW, Ernest Hansom died in a Wellington bomber crash in 1950
Llandudno Junction - five airmen died after an Avro Anson plane suffered structural failure in 1944
Llandudno - former home of Charles Pepper, who designed the RAF’s logo
Llandudno - a RNAS airship was tethered to the prom for repairs in 1918, drawing an excited crowd
Llandudno - navigator WE Williams used the stars to guide a crippled bomber home from Italy
Llandudno - Battle of Britain ace Glyn Griffiths downed at least six enemy aircraft
Llandudno - Guy Everingham of the RFC was the 39th victim of the “Red Baron”
Penmaenbach - an RAF plane crashed into the sea, killing three airmen, after swerving to avoid the headland in 1937
Penmaenmawr - an American bomber crashed in 1944, killing five airmen, after leaving RAF Valley
Llanfairfechan - Val Baker MC DFC survived RFC service. Died as test pilot of Martin Baker Aircraft Co
Dolgarrog - JN Mahler was awarded the DFC after saving his crew from their burning bomber
Llansannan church - stained glass window includes photo of airman David Lees-Jones who died in 1945
Capel Curig – landscape painter kept a propeller in his studio in memory of son who died in RFC service in 1917

Caernarfon – Lionel Rees got the VC for engaging enemy bombers above the Battle of the Somme
Llanberis - site of a huge wartime bomb store which supplied high explosives to the RAF on demand
Y Felinheli - SM Hughes died in 2010 on his way home from Afghanistan. He served with RAF Regiment
Dinas Dinlle - the RAF’s first mountain rescue service began here in response to wartime crashes
Hell’s Mouth - trainee aircrews did live-weapons training here in the Second World War
Llanbedrog - giant concrete arrow in field is a relic of training flights from nearby RAF Penrhos
Blaenau Ffestiniog - memorial to RAF airmen who died in four crashes in the area in 1941-42
Talysarn - former RAF pilot Idwal Jones flew with Cobham’s Flying Circus in the 1930s
Llanbedr - surviving airfield was built for Irish Sea patrols, later used for training American fighter pilots
Tywyn - airfield provided targets for firing practice. A ‘Flying Fortress’ crash-landed in 1944
Pennal - memorial to six airmen killed in Wellington bomber crash at Ffridd Rhosfarch in 1941

Llanfaes - slipway where Saunders-Roe launched flying boats for RAF into the Menai Strait
Beaumaris - AT Williams was shot down a month after a lucky escape in an RFC plane in 1917
Malltraeth - pilotless biplanes flew from RAF Bodorgan in 1940s
Rhosneigr - 11 rescuers and 3 airmen died after a plane crashed into the sea in summer gales in 1941
Rhosneigr - club once run by Ken Rees, who took part in the ‘Great Escape’ at Stalag Luft III
Holyhead - memorial to crew of an American bomber which ran out of fuel in 1944

Mid and West Wales

Builth Wells - Cyril Robinson joined RFC in 1917, promoted to 2nd Lieutenant aged 18, died 1918
Builth Wells - David James was lost at sea during a nocturnal exercise over southern England in 1944
Builth Wells - Ronald Turner never saw his baby daughter, as he was killed during an air raid on Berlin
Hay-on-Wye - grieving mother’s Icarus sculpture for the grave of her RAF pilot son, whose fatal crash she saw

Cenarth - site of Wellington bomber crash-landing which killed four airmen in 1944

Fishguard - remnants of low-level radar station near Strumble Head are scheduled monuments
Solva - some workers at RAF St Davids airfield never left the area. One married a miller’s daughter
Milford Haven - memorial to six airmen (five Australian) killed in 1942 bomber crash
Pembroke Dock - remains of a Sunderland Flying Boat which sank in 1940
Tenby - RAF Marine Branch air-sea rescue base used fast boats to aid airmen during SWW



South Wales


Cardiff - planes were dismantled for shipping in wartime at RAF Pengam Moors, Tremorfa
Rhoose - RAF Rhoose (now Cardiff Airport) opened in 1942 to train fighter pilots
Llantwit Major - site of RAF Llandow, used for training pilots and aircraft storage in 1940s
- memorial to young Canadian pilot whose Spitfire crashed onto the mountain in 1941
Newport - Arthur Fitzgerald took part in bombing raids on the Nazis’ V2 rocket research area