Stuffy, the Stuff of Legends; Answers to Correspondents

Daily Mail (London), October 28, 1997 | Go to article overview

Stuffy, the Stuff of Legends; Answers to Correspondents


HUGH Caswell Tremenheere Dowding, Air Chief Marshal Lord Dowding, GCB, GCVO, CMG, was born in Moffat, near Dumfries, on April 24, 1882, and was the eldest child of local headmaster A. J. C.

Dowding.

After Winchester and the Royal Military Academy at Woolwich, he joined the Royal Artillery.

He served in Gibraltar, Ceylon and Hong Kong before his six years in India, where he acquired his nickname 'Stuffy' because of his aloof manner.

Dowding joined the Royal Flying Corps as a reserve pilot just before World War I and saw action in Belgium and France, once narrowly escaping a forced landing in enemy territory. Returning to Britain in 1916, hero seto brigadier-general.

After the war, Dowding stayed with the newly-formed RAF and in 1936 was picked as commander-in-chief of Fighter Command. He immediately set to work preparing Britain's air defences, the brilliance of his preparatory work being recognised only later.

After the fall of France in 1940, Luftwaffe chief Hermann Goering boasted he would wipe the RAF from the skies to make way for the invasion of Britain, but when the Battle of Britain began, Dowding's planning paid off as one of the major factors in British victory.

Never a man to hold his tongue, Dowding was controversially relieved of his post in November 1940 and sent to the U.S. before being retired in 1942.

He remarried after the war, his first wife having died in 1920, and spent the rest of his life at his home in Kent, pursuing interests which included spiritualism and animal welfare.

Ross Mackay, Perth.

DOWDING was a practising spiritualist medium who bravely ignored the Witchcraft Act to comfort relatives of his dead fliers by suggesting they had survived their earthly deaths. These activities had to be conducted discreetly and limited his ability to socialise, hence the nickname 'Stuffy'.

He wrote two books, Many Mansions and The Lychgate, about his wartime experience as a medium.

Churchill appreciated Dowding's value to the country and backed him during the Battle of Britain.

He was later instrumental in abolishing the Witchcraft Act.

D. Waters, Doncaster, South Yorkshire. What was 'stuffy' about Lord Dowding?

QUESTION:

How much foreign aid does 'third-rate power' Great Britain contribute to India (and Pakistan) every year?

THIS unfortunate comment, subsequently disavowed, by Indian Prime Minister Inder Kumar Gujral during the Queen's visit to the subcontinent, had more to do with his country's internal politics than a genuine belief that Britain is a nonentity in international relations.

He must be aware that the UK is the sixth-largest contributor of international development aid in

QUESTIONS

FURTHER to the earlier answer, the book The President I Almost Was by Yetta Bronstein appeared in 1966, telling the story of a woman from the New York Bronx who decided in 1964 to run for President against Johnson and Goldwater.

She didn't get very far but produced some memorable utterances, including the slogan 'Vote for Yetta and things'll get better' and, when asked about civil rights, replied: 'If everyone would be civil, everything would be all right. …

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