The National Library of Wales is to host the Wales and the Battle of Britain Touring Exhibition to celebrate the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Britain.
A special event will take place tomorrow (April 20) when Pedr ap Llwyd, chief executive and librarian and Air Commodore Adrian Williams, Air Officer Wales, will open the exhibition in the company of Lord-Lieutenant of Dyfed, Miss Sara Edwards and Second World War veterans.
The exhibition, which will be open free of charge until May 11, has been created by Dr Lynsey Shaw, from the RAF’s Air Historical Branch, together with Air Commodore Williams and his team.
Due to the pandemic, the exhibition has been delayed until 82nd anniversary year of the Battle of Britain. Comprising a series of prepared panels of photos and text, the exhibition tells this important story for the first time.
Mr ap Llwyd said: “I’m pleased to welcome the exhibition to the library, which will remind our readers and visitors of the extreme violence, aggression and destruction of war, both in terms of human, cultural and material loss.
“It will also remind us of the bravery and sacrifices of those who defended our shores in the Battle of Britain against the most reviled individual and ideology in human history.”
Air Commodore Williams added: “The Battle of Britain, the largest air battle ever recorded, was one of the most pivotal and iconic moments in the history of this country. It marked a turning point of the Second World War when Britain stood alone against Hitler’s seemingly unstoppable military power.
“The exhibition tells a story that will enable Welsh people of all ages to come along and find out more about what happened in the skies and on the ground during wartime.
“It exceptionally details the Welsh aircrew who fought, telling their stories and heroism to a modern Welsh audience.
“By visiting the exhibition, individuals will also have the opportunity to pay their respects to the Welsh fallen and to those who eventually returned home to their loved ones and to celebrate the many different ways Welsh people and their communities’ contributed to the war effort during the Battle of Britain.”
Harvey Jones, Age Cymru Dyfed chair, said the organisation is delighted to be helping to co-ordinate the exhibition at the national library whilst also supporting older veterans throughout Dyfed and the unique West Wales Veterans Archive (WWVA) housed on the People’s Collection Wales (PCW) website.
“In recent years, it has been our absolute honour to meet, support and build up friendships with many who served during WW2 and who have contributed so much to our freedom since then,” he added.
Squadron Leader John Dunn is taking the exhibition around the country to all 22 of the single-tier principal areas of Wales. He said the response has been overwhelming.
“I have a very busy schedule over the next few months until we finish the tour in Cardiff in October,” he added. “I am particularly pleased that the exhibition is coming to the National Library of Wales in Aberystwyth. It is an excellent location to showcase the Battle of Britain from a Welsh perspective.”
The PCW has supported the WWVA by providing core services which help this and other similar projects to achieve their various objectives.
PCW was offers free training opportunities to WWVA staff and volunteers, outlining an established format for community archiving projects and offering a framework for collecting, digitising and publishing community content.
Despite pandemic restrictions on community engagement, the WWVA has continued to establish an incredible archive of material on the PCW website - https://www.peoplescollection.wales/users/44171 - with dozens of veterans' stories being celebrated and shared with a wider audience.
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