Great granddaughter of FAA VC holder visits FAA museum
A chancee meeting led to relatives of a highly decorated Fleet Air Arm pilot visiting Royal Naval Air Station Yeovilton to find out more about their distinguished forebear.
Mrs Emma Wightman, of Stockbridge, Hampshire is the great granddaughter of Vice Admiral (VAdm) Richard Bell-Davies VC CB DSO AFC, who commanded 3 Squadron during the First World War.
Already the holder of a Distinguished Service Order for raids on submarine bases, Vice Admiral (VAdm) Bell-Davies was awarded the Victoria Cross in 1916 for a daring mission during which, behind enemy lines and under enemy fire, he landed his single-seat aircraft to rescue a fellow pilot who had been shot down.
His citation noted that this was “a feat of airmanship that can seldom have been equalled for skill and gallantry”.
Emma Wightman recently met the Commanding Officer of RNAS Yeovilton, Commodore Jock Alexander OBE, at a function and he was delighted to be able to offer the family a chance to visit the Air Station to view Vice Admiral Bell-Davies’ medal collection which is held at the Fleet Air Arm (FAA) museum.
This was of particular interest to VAdm Bell-Davies Great Great Grandson George (12). As part of a school project George has been tasked to research and write about a member of his family that had a role during in the WW1. George said “I’ve learnt so much today especially about my Great Great Grandfather and his amazing achievements. Following a debate with his Sister and a recount he added, “he got 16 medals you know!”
During the day Emma Wightman, her husband Rob Wightman and their three children George 12 , Tilly 10 and Jemima 7 also learnt about the modern-day Fleet Air Arm by visiting 815 Naval Air Squadron, home of the Maritime Attack Lynx, and even tried their hand at flying the aircraft in the ultra-modern Lynx Simulator. The day was rounded off with a visit to the Royal Naval Historic Flight where the family were able to see historic aircraft being painstakingly restored and maintained by a highly skilled team.
Emma Wightman said “this has been a very special time .for me and my family. It has really opened up conversations about our family history and in particular my Mother about her Grandfather. It has been wonderful to bring it alive with the children and pass on their family history; it has been a fabulous day.”