Tuesday, 28 January 1941

Royal visit to RAF Stradishall

The King and Queen visit RAF Stradishall. Part of the visit’s purpose is to award decorations. One of the recipients of a DFC is to be Sqn Ldr Douglas Bader, who has already earned a DSO for his leadership during the Battle of Britain. A principal organiser of the visit is the King’s pilot and equerry, Wing Commander E.H. Fielden, MVO: in two years’ time ‘Mouse’ Fielden will start to play his leading part in clandestine operations, initially as No. 161 Squadron’s first Commanding Officer, and later as Tempsford’s Station Commander.

The Royal party is scheduled to arrive at midday. The Royal Party is first scheduled to visit Station HQ and the Ops Room. There the King will meet, among others, F/Lt Keast as OC 419 Flight. The King is to be told about the Flight’s activities, and Keast is also instructed to ‘describe Farley’s show’; presumably his unplanned trip to Oban. F/O Jack Oettle is to be awarded the DFC for his earlier bombing operations with No. 51 Squadron.

After an informal lunch there is a parade at 1400 in 419 Flight’s hangar, but with representative personnel from all units based at Stradishall. At 1445 the Royal party is to leave the Station:

‘Road and gateway to be lined with those available, including Army. Spontaneous cheers.’