On Saturday, 9th November, a group of a dozen of us made our way from the Welsh village of Trefil to a mountain-top in the Brecon Beacons. We went to hold a Remembrance Service at the site of an RAF bomber that crashed in 1940. Six of the aircrew died in the crash – on their way back from a successful air-raid on the Nazi submarine bases in France.

Remembrance service above Trefil

Rain and sleet were in our faces and frost under foot. The youngest child with us burst into tears – it was freezing cold.

At the site we held a simple memorial service, laid a wreath and had a moment’s silence. To remember those who died for our freedoms.

Those who lost their lives in that fateful crash were:

  • Pilot Officer Albert Tindall (21 years)
  • Sergeant David Mills: Pilot (21 years)
  • Sergeant Hylton Daniel Ellis: Observer/Nose Gunner (26 years)
  • Sergeant Stanley Gordon Howard: Air Gunner
  • Sergeant Reginald Brown: Air Gunner (22 years)
  • Sergeant David Ernest Wallace: Air Gunner

Reginald Brown was from New Zealand; Albert Tindall from Sydney, Australia.

Remembrance service above Trefil

I sent the photographs to the Royal New Zealand Airforce, who replied, thanking us for what we had done (see below). “We are very thankful that you have acknowledged their sacrifice and thankful also that people like you do so.”

Remembrance service above Trefil

It was a lovely email and a reminder of the links that bind Britain and the Commonwealth – in good times and bad.


Remembrance service above Trefil 4


Good morning Martin,
A belated acknowledgement and thank you for your email which was passed to Air Staff recently.  I believe my colleague in public affairs had already responded however, my sincere apologies for the delay from Air Staff; in part due to my planning and coordination of the visit by  His Royal Highness, The Prince of Wales and Her Royal Highness, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall.
On behalf of Air Vice-Marshal Andrew Clark, Chief of Air Force, and the officers and airmen of the Royal New Zealand Air Force, our thanks to you and those who held a service of remembrance to those who died in a crash above Trefil on 9 December 1940.   I am personally aware of Trefil, having been to Tredegar and the Brecon Beacons on a number of occasions during my military training (and indeed at RAF Marham) and, of course it is the highest village in Wales!   I can well image the harsh weather.   We are very thankful that you have acknowledged their sacrifice and thankful also that people like you do so.  I will ensure that your photographs of the service are passed to the RNZAF Museum for our records.
Again, our sincere thanks,

David Wyles-Jones BSc., BA, PGDipBusAdmin (HR), PGDipGEnv., PGCertBus. CMHRINZ, FCIS
Assistant Director Corporate Support (Ceremonial and Protocol) (Training & Support), Air Staff
Royal New Zealand Air Force
Defence House
34 Bowen Street
Cell:   021 913 167