PERSONNEL from MOD St Athan will parade through Barry to commemorate 75 years of the Royal Air Force in South Wales on Monday, June 23.

The parade will mark the beginning of Armed Forces Week, which will see a number of ceremonies and events taking place across the UK, culminating in Armed Forces Day on Saturday, June 28.

The RAF, based at St Athan, were granted the freedom of Barry in May 1959 and more recently, they were made Honorary Freemen of the Vale in 1974.

RAF St Athan, which opened in 1938, was both a training and a maintenance base, and at the time, chosen because it was believed to be out of range of the German Luftwaffe.

An air attack on RAF St Athan, two years later, brought the war to Wales for the very first time.

The Vale of Glamorgan airbase has also become home to the Army as well as accommodating a progressive Regional Rehabilitation Unit for injured servicemen and women living in Wales.

RAF service personnel from No 4 School of Technical Training will be led by Flight Lieutenant Dominic Warren who will be carrying the Wilkinson Sword of Peace.

The sword was presented by RAF St Athan to the town of Barry in the 1970s and the Freedom Parade provides a rare opportunity for the sword used in such a public ceremony.

The parade will ‘step off’ from King Square at 10.30am and proceed through the town to the Civic Offices, Holton Road, where MOD St Athan commanding officer, wing commander Robert Balls and Vale mayor, Cllr Howard Hamilton, will take the salute followed by a short ceremony at which the Armed Forces Day flag will be raised.

The RAF at St Athan are celebrating their 75th anniversary in South Wales, and are honouring past servicemen and women, many of whom have made the Vale their home.

Vale residents are welcome to line the streets to show support and commemorate 75 years of RAF history.