Llandudno residents had an unexpected treat when the Red Arrows flew over the town. Their fly past was to acknowledge local hero Flight Lieutenant Glyn Griffiths DFM, who had fought as a Hurricane pilot in the Battle of Britain.
Glyn was born in 1918 in Llandudno and attended John Bright County School. He worked at Llandudno Urban District Council’s gas department before joining the RAF just before the war. A Sergeant during the Battle of Britain, flying with 17 Squadron, Glyn was awarded the Distinguished Flying Medal (DFM). The London Gazette of 26 November 1940 announced the award of his DFM and stated ‘This airman has shown splendid courage and initiative in his attacks against the enemy. He has destroyed at least six of their aircraft, two of which were shot down in one day’.
The Commanding Officer of the Red Arrows, Wing Commander David Montenegro, said:
“Today, we were privileged to fly over Llandudno in aerial salute of Battle of Britain pilot Flight Lieutenant Glyn Griffiths DFM. The bravery and achievements of our Battle of Britain pilots remains an inspiration to all those who serve in the RAF today. It is hugely important that we continue to reflect on their incredible sacrifice, values and service. We will remember them.”
In early 1941 Griffiths was posted away from 17 Squadron to become an instructor. Commissioned from Warrant Officer in April 1942, he later went to Canada to instruct RAF pilots. After his return to the UK he flew operationally with 4 Squadron, flying the Mustang aeroplane.
Air Cdre Adrian Williams, the RAF’s Air Officer for Wales said:
“In this 80th year commemoration of the Battle of Britain, we remember the RAF pilots who brought us victory in 1940, a time when our very survival as a nation was at stake”
“Welshman Glyn Griffiths was one of this special group of pilots, who Churchill famously called “The Few”, with Griffiths contributing to the destruction of 10 enemy aircraft during the Battle of Britain. Today’s flypast by the RAF’s Aerobatic Team is a fitting tribute to the bravery and skill of Glyn Griffiths all those years ago.”
On 16th October 1943 Griffiths was returning from a sortie over France in his Mustang fighter when his wingman, Flying Officer J Ingham, collided with him over their base at RAF Odiham. Griffiths baled out but not before he had suffered severe burns, Ingham was killed.
The Mayor of Llandudno, Councillor Miss Angie O’Grady said: “We were thrilled and honoured to see the Red Arrows in the skies above Llandudno today. Battle of Britain pilot Flight Lieutenant Glyn Griffiths is one of the town’s most famous sons and it was very poignant for us to see the fighter pilots of today’s RAF fly over the town to remember one of their own. We are very grateful to the RAF for arranging this very special flypast. “
Flight Lieutenant Griffiths had not recovered from his injuries before the war ended. He retired from the RAF in 1946 as a Flight Lieutenant and died in 1983.