of the new R101 Memorial Plaque at St Stephens Hall, Palace of Westminster
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.
the Rt. Hon, John Bercow
Rt. Hon. Baroness Smith and her Husband, AHT member Nigel Smith
at the entrance of the front of the hall, the visitors will see
the history of the ship, and the significance of the plaque
of the presentation display
it was, the 48 passengers and crew, lying in state, 10th October
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
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