TODAY is Battle of Britain Day, marking the 80th anniversary of a key part of the Second World War and the day - September 15 1940 -on which the fight for control of the skies over Britain turned decisively in Britain's favour.

A massive aerial assault was launched by the German Luftwaffe in an attempt to finally crush the resistance mounted by Fighter Command over the previous few weeks.

On a long day of aerial fighting, the Luftwaffe suffered its biggest losses for a month and failed to win the supremacy in the air that was needed for an invasion of Britain to be mounted.

This was the first decisive battle in history to be fought entirely in the air - and airmen in Gwent made a significant and gallant contribution to eventual victory.

In this fight for survival, 67 Welsh aircrew served with distinction, a number of whom won gallantry awards for bravery and for the destruction of enemy aircraft.

Among those aircrew were a number from Gwent.

We take a look here, at three of those Gwent pilots involved in the battle over the skies of Britain in 1940.

John Bedford Kendal

Born in Chepstow in 1920, John Bedford Kendal was just 19 when he fought in the Battle of Britain.

The son of Ernest and Doris Lily Kendal, he joined the RAF in 1939 and began flying Spitfires operationally in September 1940.

He claimed a Me109 destroyed on October 2 but was himself shot down on the 5th in combat with Me109 fighters over Tenterden. He forced-landed and was injured.

On October 29 he destroyed an Me109 fighter. He later volunteered to serve flying fighters protecting Arctic convoys to supply Russia.

In April 1942 he shot down an enemy bomber but had to bail out and sadly died of injuries he sustained when hitting the water.

South Wales Argus:

Edward Graham

Squadron Leader Edward Graham from Ebbw Vale flew fighters with No. 72 Squadron during the Battle of Britain.

On July 1 he helped destroy a German seaplane over the English Channel. On August 31, his squadron moved to Biggin Hill just as it was devastated by several major raids by the Germans.

On the same day Graham damaged two Dornier 17 bombers. The next day he damaged two Me109 fighters.

Two days later he damaged a Me110 fighter but his Spitfire was damaged by return fire and he made a forced-landing at Lympne.

On September 11 he damaged an Me109 fighter. His squadron returned to Biggin Hill the next day and shortly afterwards he took command.

South Wales Argus:

Ernest Waite Wooten

Pilot Officer Ernest Waite Wootten of Aberbeeg joined the RAF in 1938 and converted to fly Spitfires in September 1940.

On October 9 he shared in destroying a Ju88 bomber, had another confirmed on November 25 and destroyed a Do17 bomber on 19 December.

He was later awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross.

The pilot often flew with his bull terrier on his lap and he was chosen to fly some aerobatic sequences for the film ‘The First of the Few’.

South Wales Argus:

As well as aircrew, Gwent was home to an RAF base during the war.

The entire site of Chepstow racecourse became designated as RAF Chepstow, an outpost of RAF St Athan, No. 32 Maintenance Unit RAF and No. 19 Maintenance Unit RAF.

A grass runway ran through the centre of the course and bombers were also housed at Oakgrove on the opposite side of the road.

South Wales Argus:

Air Commodore Adrian Williams, Wales’ most senior RAF Officer, said: “In this 80th year commemoration of the Battle, we remember the “Welsh Few”, 67 men from all corners of Wales, who served with distinction in the air and made a significant and gallant contribution to the Battle of Britain.

"They were part of the 2,947 aircrew from Britain, the Commonwealth and many other countries who fought in the battle. We remember too, the vital part played by RAF bases in Wales in supplying pilots and aircraft in that desperate struggle during the long hot Summer of 1940.

South Wales Argus:

“That role played by the RAF in Wales in protecting the skies above Britain continues today.

"The crews of our Typhoon jets which defend our skies 24/7 are all trained at RAF Valley on Anglesey and St Athan still performs a vital role for the RAF today in training engineering technicians for the RAF’s front line.”