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Unveiling of the new R101 Memorial Plaque at St Stephens Hall, Palace of Westminster

On 27th November 2014, Baroness Smith of Basildon and AHT Members, unveil a memorial plaque to the R101 in St Stephens Hall, Plalace of Westminster. After 84 years, a memorial is finally put in place which will be seen by millions of people.  
Speaker the Rt. Hon, John Bercow
The Rt. Hon. Baroness Smith and her Husband, AHT member Nigel Smith
The plaque
Positioned at the entrance of the front of the hall, the visitors will see the history of the ship, and the significance of the plaque
Detail of the presentation display
As it was, the 48 passengers and crew, lying in state, 10th October 1930
Every year around one milloin people visit Parliament at the palace of Westminster, either as a tourist or as a visitor, for meetings or events. Thousands of tourists are conducted through one of the most fascinating and polular places in the magnificent Westminster Hall, commissioned by Richard II in 1393. Many unique and historic events have been held here, from Nelson Mandela speaking here in 1996, Aung San Suu Ky addresses both Houses of Parliament in 2012, and the Queen celebrated her Diamond Jubilee in the same hall. It is also the place where US President Obama addressed both Houses of Parliament.

Within the hall are several brass plaques to commemorate these great events, including the Lying in State or Kings and Queens, and of Prime Ministers, William Gladston, and Sir Winston Churchill.

One event drew almost 90,000 visitors on a working day is unrecognised and rarely remembered. On the 10th October 1930, following the crash of HM R101, the 48 crew and passengers who died in the tragedy, also lay in state in the hall, side by side in two long rows of flag draped coffins.

On 11th October 1930, it was noted by the Daily Mirror Newpaper that there were plaques dedicated to other events, and so the asked if one could be laid for the solomn event of 10th October 1930. There was an expectation for this, and yet no plaque was ever put in place. It was until 2012 when the Baronnes Smith of Basildon, and her husband, Nigel Smith, who has been a long standing member of the Airship Heritage Trust, brought this matter up with the Chairman of Committess at the Palace. The committee commented that "It was seen that this event was a "different" event" compared to those of a member of the Royal Family or former Prime Ministers. However Barnoness Smith continued to persue this matter and got in contact with the Airship Heritage Trust.

A proposal was formulated and put forward by the Baroness, and agreed by both Houses of Parliament, that such a plaque can be put in place. This was agreed, and on the evening of 27th November, 2014 the plaque was unveilled at a ceremony of dedication. The Speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow attended to explain the significance of this event, and that Her Magesty the Queen had been consulted, and given her permission to allow the plaque to be laid.

After the ceremony, a reception for 75 guests was held for the families and relatives of the R101 crew members whom had been invited to this special and historic unveilling.

It is hoped that with the million visitors whom go past this hall each year, will now see the plaque and remember the R101 passengers and crew.

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