An Aberystwyth man has thanked the National Library of Wales for their support of his lifelong ambition, a role in the Armed Forces.
Daniel Owen Field spends his days as their Head of Software Development and in his extra time, the 41-year-old family man is satisfying a long-term interest in a very different field – well, in the sky, to be exact.
For the past three and a half years, Daniel has added a new dimension to his life by becoming a reservist with 614 (County of Glamorgan) Squadron, the only Royal Air Force (RAF) reserve unit in Wales.
“The modern forces are a long way from some people’s assumptions,” said Daniel, who has received specialist ICT training from the RAF.
“Life at home can be hectic with a young family and two careers but I am lucky that my family and employers support my efforts. It eases the strain and I’m incredibly thankful.”
Today, thousands of part-time service personnel are celebrating Reserves Day. There are over 2,200 reservists in Wales who dedicate at least 27 days of their year to units in the Royal Navy, Army and RAF. Their reasons for joining are often varied, though Daniel hopes to encourage others to follow.
He said: “Having been an air cadet as a 13-year-old, I had originally wanted to join as a regular in the 1990s but life took a series of different turns. It wasn’t until recently in my late 30s that I looked in to scratching that itch.
“I’ve always respected the RAF and the reserves gave me an opportunity to do this as well as being able to bring my professional skill set to the service. I’ve brought my technical skills and experience from my day job in to my RAF trade.
“It’s encouraged me to look for more ways to make the whole relationship mutually benefit for the RAF and my employer. Hopefully, I can show other people that you can balance both responsibilities.”
The National Library of Wales, a Welsh Government sponsored body, is the largest of its kind in the country and holds more than six million books, with further extensive collections of archives, portraits and photos.
A respect of history is particularly poignant for the RAF in 2018 as it marks its 100th birthday by commemorating and celebrating its achievements. The world’s first independent air force, which was set up by Wales’ only ever Prime Minister David Lloyd George, is hosting events across the country, including aircraft displays and concerts.
Grateful to be involved in the events, Daniel said: “I was very proud to be able to attend the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain memorial service in Westminster Abbey. It was attended by many of the remaining few pilots who flew in the battle.
“I thoroughly enjoy the camaraderie of the RAF and the vast mix of backgrounds of the people I work with. There are many activities to get involved with away from the trade related work, like adventurous training and ceremonial duties.
“The biggest change I’ve noticed is my personal belief and my confidence has improved markedly. The sense of belonging is very high. I can call so many people I’ve met through the reserves friends for life and I know there is someone on the end of the phone, whatever my issue.”
This week, a series of nationwide events will culminate with the national Armed Forces Day at Llandudno on Saturday 30 June. Use #SaluteOurForces to join in the online activities.