Glynn RAF 100 mural unveiled

RAF veterans at the opening of the Glynn RAF100 mural: Harry Steele, Frank Toone, Colin Murphy, Billy Boyce, David Moffat, Kevin McRandle and Wg Cdr Noel Williams.
RAF veterans at the opening of the Glynn RAF100 mural: Harry Steele, Frank Toone, Colin Murphy, Billy Boyce, David Moffat, Kevin McRandle and Wg Cdr Noel Williams.

RAF veterans have attended the unveiling ceremony in Glynn of a mural commemorating the centenary of the Royal Air Force.

Wing Commander Noel Williams conducted the proceedings, with Joe Corr parading the RAF Association standard during the event on Saturday, August 18.

Parade Piper, RAF Association Standard Bearer Joe Corr and members of the Ulster Aviation Society at the head of the parade in Glynn.

Parade Piper, RAF Association Standard Bearer Joe Corr and members of the Ulster Aviation Society at the head of the parade in Glynn.

Veterans present were Harry Steele, Frank Toon, Colin Murphy, Billy Boyce, David Moffatt and Kevin McRandle.

Wreaths were laid by the RAF, the Friends of the Somme, Ulster Aviation Society and the Army Cadets, who were on parade.

Wg Cdr Williams said he was very pleased that the RAF would be remembered with such a fine mural and expressed his delight at conducting the unveiling ceremony, supported by his veteran colleagues.

He added: “This is indeed a special occasion as it marks and recognises the 100 years of service of the RAF to our country, and indeed to many other countries, in its peace-keeping role.

"From the earliest planes, such as the Sopwith Camel, built of canvas, wire and even a wooden propeller, through to the iconic Spitfire, Hurricane and the Wellington and Lancaster bombers of the Second World War, right up to the present time with its new F35 Lightning 2, which will also operate from the new aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth.

“Had it not been for the prowess and bravery of the young men who flew those awesome weapons during WWII, and even for the skill of the young women who delivered them to the front line, coupled with the talented technicians who maintained the aircraft, the outcome may have been entirely different.

“Marshal of the RAF Sir Arthur ‘Bomber’ Harris graces this fine mural. Following the Battle of Britain, when it was deemed necessary to begin the bombing campaign, it was he who afforded the leadership to do so.

“I also see that Sir Winston Churchill adorns the mural. Who can forget what he said after the Battle of Britain speaking of the aircrew: never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few.

“That same courage was in evidence in every area of Bomber Command. In total 55,000 men, some as young as 18, paid the ultimate sacrifice. The average life expectancy of its aircrew was just five missions. Anyone surviving 30 missions was deemed to have gone far above the call of duty and was stood down."

Referring to Warrant Officer David Moffatt (95), who laid the RAF wreath at the ceremony assisted by 98-year-old Billy Boyce, Wg Cdr Williams added: "We have here today a Lancaster Rear Gunner who flew 33 missions, and thankfully he has lived to tell the tale, albeit what it is a terrible recollection for him at times.

“I thank the Friends of the Somme for marking this occasion so proudly and, like my RAF veteran colleagues, I am honoured to be present and to officially unveil the mural and lay a wreath to remember the ‘Few’.”