Proud memories of high-flying Dawley lad who featured in Coronation celebration

He was a local lad who took to the skies to celebrate the Queen's Coronation.

Ken in his "whites" while serving with the RAF in Aden.
Ken in his "whites" while serving with the RAF in Aden.

And Ken Duddell's younger sister has some treasured cuttings which reflect the family pride in the part he played in the great occasion all those years ago.

Flight Sergeant Duddell, a Bomber Command veteran of the Second World War, was chosen to take part in the flypast during the RAF Coronation Review in 1953.

"To me it was quite something that he did," says Mrs Yvonne Paine, of Wellington, although being much younger than Ken, and only just being in her teens at the time, what she knows about his part that day is mostly gleaned from a newspaper cutting. She does not know why he was chosen to take part.

One of Mrs Paine's cherished cuttings telling of her brother's role.

The family home was in Attwood Terrace in Dawley and the cutting tells how Flight Sergeant engineer Kenneth Ivan Duddell would be taking part in the RAF flypast as a member of the crew of a Neptune aircraft.

Although the report says the flypast was taking place on Coronation Day, which was June 2, 1953, it seems more likely it was actually at an event held on July 15 at RAF Odiham in Hampshire to celebrate the Queen's Coronation a few weeks beforehand which was the biggest display of military air power that the UK has ever seen, and did feature Neptunes as part of the flypast.

The royal car gets a close look at some of the line-up at the huge RAF review held to celebrate the Queen's Coronation in 1953.

"Well known in the Dawley district, Flight-Sergt. Duddell has now completed 12 years' service with the Royal Air Force. During the war, as the engineer of a Lancaster bomber, he did a tour of operations over Germany, including 18 raids on Berlin."

Ken in his "whites" while serving with the RAF in Aden.

Mrs Paine, who turns 85 on May 29 this year, said: "I'm the youngest of seven, and my four eldest brothers were all in the Second World War. Ken was the third brother. Unfortunately he died 12 months last February. He would have been 97 on March 1, and died on the Friday previous to that."

Eldest brother Joe served with the RAF in Malta, Howard was a Private in the King's Shropshire Light Infantry, then came Ken in the RAF, and Doug, a stoker in the Royal Navy.

Ken, who went on to serve in the RAF for 23 years, seems not to have talked about his wartime service, although it clearly affected him as Yvonne's mother Edith, known as Winnie or Win, told her that when he came home after his last trip over Berlin he had a facial twitch.

As for Mrs Paine's own memories of the Coronation, she says: "My mum was a cook, eventually becoming the cook at Horsehay Works canteen, cooking for 140 men.

"We had trestle tables right down in front of our house at 43 Attwood Terrace. The air raid shelter was opposite us.

"Everybody was bringing jellies in different shapes and things like that and we kept them in our bath because we didn't have fridges in those days.

"There were cakes and sandwiches, and I acted as a sort of waitress."

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