Emo­tional visit for grand­son of fly­ing ace

Evening Telegraph (First Edition) - - Court Reports -

THE grand­son of a wartime fly­ing ace has paid an emo­tional visit to Mon­trose Air Sta­tion Her­itage Cen­tre.

Dr John Todd was given a tour and viewed progress on the project to re­build a Sop­with Camel — the ma­chine in which his fa­ther scored 18 ae­rial vic­to­ries in 1918.

He de­scribed the tour of the mu­seum by chair­man Ron Mor­ris as “in­cred­i­bly mov­ing, stim­u­lat­ing and nos­tal­gic”.

Dr Todd’s name­sake grand­fa­ther joined the Royal Fly­ing Corps as a cadet and was posted to No. 70 Squadron RFC to fly the Sop­with Camel sin­gle-seat fighter and scored his first vic­tory on Jan­uary 22.

Cap­tain Todd was later posted to Mon­trose as an in­struc­tor af­ter his fi­nal vic­tory in July 1918 and was awarded the Dis­tin­guished Fly­ing Cross fol­lowed by his Mil­i­tary Cross.

Post-war, he be­came a doc­tor and went to Malawi as a med­i­cal mis­sion­ary.

He was later awarded the MBE for his good work. He died in St Cyrus in 1980.

Dr Todd said: “He was an in­cred­i­ble man, hero, pi­o­neer and med­i­cal mis­sion­ary.

“He was ac­tu­ally a very kind man and didn’t revel in the act of ac­cru­ing kills. He hated war.

“He wit­nessed the early death of so many men which he at­trib­uted, in part, to their use of al­co­hol to calm their nerves, while lead­ing a ter­ri­fy­ing ex­is­tence, not of their choice, in those dif­fi­cult times.”

Dr Todd said his grand­fa­ther chose to iso­late him­self in an at­tempt to cope with the fact that many of his air­crew may be killed in ac­tion the next day.

The Mon­trose team is restoring the replica Sop­with Camel to as near to its orig­i­nal spec­i­fi­ca­tion as pos­si­ble, in­clud­ing the build­ing of a new set of wings, a real ro­tary en­gine and even real ma­chine guns.

Main: A pic­ture from the DC Thom­son ar­chive shows fans out­side Dens Park in 1947 at a Dundee v. Celtic Scot­tish Cup tie. Top: Top Gay­field Park, Ar­broath, in 1950; Mid­dle: Sta­tion Park, For­far, For in 1958; Above: Fans out­side Dens Park in the for­ties.

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