North Wales pilot who won Arnhem VC honoured in home town

The pilot of an RAF aircraft awarded the Victoria Cross for his heroism at Arnhem was honoured with a flypast in his home town in North Wales, 75 years to the day after he died in battle.

Flight Lieutenant David Lord from Wrexham, lost his life while flying supplies in a Dakota transport to ground troops during the Battle of Arnhem as part of Operation Market Garden in the Netherlands in September 1944.

As well as the flypast by an RAF A440M Atlas transport, today’s successor to the Dakota, a graphic panel explaining Flt Lt Lord’s actions was unveiled. The panel is sited outside Wrexham Memorial Hall where an earlier memorial to Flt Lt Lord is housed.

David Lord was part of an operation to drop much-needed supplies to ground troops and even though his Dakota transport aircraft was severely damaged and his plane came under constant and heavy fire, he continued his mission and dropped all the supplies. He then continued to man the controls and ordered his crew to bail-out. Sadly, his aircraft crashed soon after and David and all but one crew member were killed.

The graphic panel installed outside Wrexham Memorial Hall telling of Flt Lt David Lord’s heroism over Arnhem for which he was awarded the Victoria Cross. Image courtesy of Wrexham County Borough Council.

Air Commodore Adrian Williams, the RAF’s most senior officer in Wales, unveiled the panel. He said:

“It is a great privilege to be here in Wrexham to unveil the graphic panel as part of the memorial to Flight Lieutenant David Lord VC. He served both his country and the Royal Air Force with great valour and it is important that his courageous airmanship over Arnhem seventy-five years ago should never be forgotten.

David Lord’s actions remain an inspiration to RAF aircrew to this day. I would also like to say thank you to the people of Wrexham for the way you have helped perpetuate and remember the service and courage of David Lord, which you have done in many ways over many years, including the addition of this graphic panel here today. Thank you Wrexham”.

Leader of Wrexham County Borough Council, Councillor Mark Pritchard, said:

“The heroics of Flight Lieutenant David Lord VC show he was deserving of the highest honour for bravery that this country can bestow.  Not once but twice he flew over the drop zone in Arnhem to ensure critical supplies were dropped for our ground troops. Under such heavy bombardment and at such low altitude he must have known all was lost but he heroically continued his mission. These acts are truly remarkable and humbling and the award of the Victoria Cross posthumously awarded is something we should be proud to commemorate here in Wrexham. We should always remember that then, as now, we owe a huge debt of thanks to our armed forces.”

Top image: The graphic panel telling of Flt Lt David Lord’s heroism over Arnhem with, from left; Air Commodore Adrian Williams, Mayor of Wrexham Cllr and Leader of Wrexham County Borough Council, Cllr Mark Pritchard. Image courtesy of Wrexham County Borough Council.

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