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Dinas Powys RAF pilots in Cardiff Battle of Britain exhibition

THE courage of Welsh pilots will be told as part of an exhibition on the Battle of Britain next weekend. It will feature a Dinas Powys-born, Barry-educated pilot among many others.

The exhibition is going to be held at City Hall in Cardiff on September 16 and 17, marking the 81st anniversary of the event.

It was originally meant to be held in 2020 to mark the 80th anniversary but was postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The exhibition will tell the story of fighter aces and commanders from Wales who defended Britain from the Nazi attacks and the Welsh airfields that trained fighter pilots.

It will begin at 11.30am on Thursday, September 16, with a parade and flypast outside City Hall and this will be attended by Air Chief Marshall Sir Mike Wigston, chief of the air staff; secretary of state for Wales Simon Hart MP; Hannah Blythyn MS, deputy minister for social partnership; Cllr Rod McKerlich, Lord Mayor of Cardiff; Air Officer Wales, Air Commodore Adrian Williams and the deputy Lord Lieutenant of South Glamorgan, Gareth Chapman.

One of the pilots being featured in the exhibition is Robert Reid MacPherson. Born in Dinas Powys in January 1914, he was educated at Barry County Secondary School.

Penarth Times: Flt Lt Robert Reid MacPhersonFlt Lt Robert Reid MacPherson

He joined the RAF as an aircraft apprentice in 1930, passing out in September 1932.

He served from 1937 with 65 Squadron after training to be a pilot.

He was involved in destroying a Dornier 17 bomber over Dunkirk on May 27, 1940. He continued his streak on August 12, destroying an Me109 fighter and sharing the spoils of another two days later. He then destroyed another of the same plane on the 20th of the month.

He was given commission in November 1940 and was killed in combat over France on October 13, 1941. At the time of his death, he was 27 and had been promoted to Flight Lieutenant, serving with 129 Squadron.

Another Dinas Powys airman to be featured is Flight Lieutenant Norman Merrett from Michaelston-le-Pit. He served with the only RAF Reserve unit from Wales, No 614 (County of Glamorgan) Squadron. The squadron consisted of part-time airmen from south Wales who began serving full time at the outbreak of the war.

Flt Lt Merrett and the squadron flew Lysander light bombers on anti-invasion patrols in Scotland during the Battle of Britain.

He died on August 10, 1940, after his aircraft crashed while on exercise.

Penarth Times: The Spitfire in memory of Flt Lt Norman MerrettThe Spitfire in memory of Flt Lt Norman Merrett

His father, Mr HH Merrett, joined the nationwide Spitfire appeal after Flt Lt Merrett’s death and with him, 100 villagers raised £5,000 which paid for a Spitfire. It was named after Flt Lt Merrett. There is also a stained-glass window tribute in St Michael’s Church where he is buried.

Following the exhibition at City Hall, the exhibition will be toured across Wales. Dates will be published in due course.

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