Birthday Celebrations for 100 Year old Edith Kupp (nee Heap) and 18 year old Flight Sergeant (FS) Elisabeth King.
On Saturday 24th November 2018 the Royal Air Force (RAF), Royal Air Force Air Cadets (RAFAC) and the Royal Air Force Association (RAFA) all joined forces to celebrate the 100th birthday of a truly remarkable woman.
Cadets and staff from 2431 (Keighley) Squadron of the RAFAC joined Edith Kupp and her family, in celebrating her 100th birthday. This was made even more special as it was also the birthday of one of the attending cadets, FS King who turned 18 on the same day.
Edith was joined by her Daughter Bryony Fuller 67 and her Grandson George Fuller, 33.
Edith served in Fighter Command Ops rooms in the Battle of Britain and was the fiancée of a Battle of Britain pilot Denis Wissler of 17 Hurricane Squadron, who was killed November 11th 1940.
Edith also served as an Intelligence Officer on Bomber Stations in later war years and has featured in many documentaries, TV interviews, books, magazine and newspaper articles from 1985 to date. According to RAF historian Paul Davis she is, perhaps, the last WAAF still with us who served in 1940 in ops rooms and certainly the last famous WAAF.
Edith currently resides at The Raikes retirement home in Silsden and was more than happy to share some of her experiences with the cadets, staff and visitors she had for the day.
Edith’s daughter Bryony recalls how her mum used to tell her bedtime stories about her time in the RAF and one of them being how Edith hid under a table during a bombing. She went on to say how proud she is of her mum and she was the inspiration for her joining the RAF as an air traffic controller.
Two of the guests were WO Donna Trenholme, from 90 Signals unit at RAF Leeming and Flight Sergeant Karen Swinney, who is retired from regular service and is now a full time reservist.
WO Trenholme commented:
“Edith is an amazing lady and we’d like to thank her for her service and everything she done for her country, it’s been a pleasure celebrating her 100th birthday”
After chatting with her visitors, Edith was brought outside with the thought that she was being taken out for a special birthday lunch. However, outside she was greeted with a horse drawn carriage which paraded her around Silsden to an audience of well-wishers.
Upon her return to the care home another guest, WO Andy Beattie, Station Warrant Officer at RAF Leeming, said:
“Myself and my colleagues are honoured to be here today. it was a pleasure to come down and as soon as we got the invitation, we didn’t have to think too long about it so we promptly put a team together to visit”
The care home activity coordinator Lynne said:
“This event was stressful to arrange, but I wouldn’t change a thing. I’d do it again in a heartbeat as Edith is a remarkable lady with a remarkable past, we just had to celebrate it like this for her.”
The cadet also celebrating her birthday FS Elisabeth King, is currently studying a Level 3 BTEC in sport fitness and is looking to go to Sheffield university. She also hopes to join the RAF as a Medic.
FS King said:
“Today was a very humbling experience for her and it was amazing to be celebrating my 18th birthday the same day Edith turns 100, in the 100th year of the Royal Air Force”
Overall, a wonderful day celebrated by many. Happy Birthday Edith!
We must however add that this day would not have been possible if it had not been for the hard work and dedication of Paul Davies, an RAF Historian who has followed Edith’s story for a long time. He arranged for these special celebrations to take place and arranged for the RAF, RAFAC and BBC to be present on this special day.
He arranged for a Certificate from Air Marshal Sir Baz North along with a nice letter to presented to her
CI Paula Honeyball
North Region Media Team.