Sunday, October 28, 2012

Air Commodore the Duke of Kent Visits Uplands July 31, 1941

Operations went ahead as usual at Uplands when the Duke of Kent arrived to inspect the establishment. The royal visit brought no interruption in training and other operations. Harvard training planes took off and landed from the sun-scorched paved runways, mechanics tuned up motors, student pilots attended lectures and pored over their notebooks. Starting his tour of air establishments in Canada which had taken him across the country and back. His Royal Highness arrived at 11.15 a.m. from Government house in nearby Ottawa in an open car, wearing his air force summer service uniform and carrying sun glasses in his hand. The King's brother was met at the gate by Vice-Marshal L. S. Breadner, chief of the air staff, and other senior officers. According to newspaper reports, he spent the entire morning inspecting the residential section of the station, going through quarters and he hospital. His Royal Highness and the official party had lunch in the officers' mess and then proceeded across to the hangars. The Duke interviewed aircraftmen working on planes, went into shops and up into the control tower. The previous evening, in proposing a toast to Canada at a state dinner the Duke said the British people are "fully conscious of the great value of Canada's contributions to our joint cause in having thought out, and put into operation the air training plan. I hope that. I may be able to contribute something to the success of the scheme. I hope also that I shall have many opportunities of seeing other activities of Canada's war effort. I look forward to telling the King and Queen and the people of Britain how much more Canada is doing than can ever be published.”
H.R.H. the Duke of Kent inspects the guard of honor at No. 2 SFTS on the morning of July 31, 1941. As he passed through the lines the band played 'The Thin Red Line'. His sympathy went out to members of the guard of honor who were clad in the heavy blue regulation uniforms. He paused by AC J.E.R. Nadon and asked, "Are those uniforms hot?" Nadon is reported to have replied, "Not too bad sir."
Photo: Duke of Kent interrogates LAC's Earl Ruppel of Waterloo and Joseph Roger Owen of Windsor. At left is Group Captain W.A. Curtis. Ruppel admitted he was a "little shaky" on being questioned by the Royal visitor. Owen stated, "He asked our names, how long we had been in the service, how we liked it, and asked us a bit about night flying." Ruppel was killed in action in 1943. Owen was awarded the DFC for service with No. 680 Squadron.

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