The following is a speech given by my brother-in-law, Wayne Morris (also in the RAF) at Dad's funeral. I wanted to add this in as it gives such a great summary of Dad and his life.
"I am very pleased to have been given the opportunity to say a few words about the life of my father-in-law. Ken’s was a very busy life and he packed a lot of living into his 78 years. Dogged determination was a recurring feature of his life and I will return to this theme later but this determination was first evident in his youth when his efforts secured him a scholarship to St Peter’s School in York against stiff competition.
Ken made the most of his time at St Peter’s and left school an accomplished sportsman and scholar. Unfortunately, whilst his intelligence has been passed down the generations, the succession of his cricketing skills is less evident – mind you there’s many a Yorkshireman who bemoans that! Although Ken had the necessary intellect for higher education, it was his wish to start work to make a contribution to the household income and so Ken started employment with the York County Savings Bank in 1939. I have to say I would never have guessed that Banking was his first career choice; lion-taming or crocodile wrestling possibly but not banking (apologies to any bankers in the congregation). So, it was hardly surprising to me that Ken left the bank to join the RAF and undergo basic flying training in South Africa, in 1941. A natural flyer, he went solo after just 4 hrs and won his wings and a posting to Bomber Command in 1942.
Ken’s flying log books make fascinating reading and include numerous active operations over enemy territory, including raids on Dresden, which it must be said he was not particularly comfortable about as he was certain the war was won by then. Ken also took part in a raid on The Eagle’s Lair, Hitler’s mountain refuge in Berchtesgarten. Unlike so many of his colleagues, Ken survived the war relatively unscathed but his own mortality was brought home to him after a horrific traffic accident in Southern Italy whilst on detached service there in 1945. Ken was very seriously injured in the crash which he couldn’t remember much about save that it may have happened after some squadron revelry – such was the custom in those days. Ken’s injuries were such that he was hospitalised for over a year and the damage to his leg was due to plague him later in life. Once Ken had completed his lengthy convalescence, he left the RAF to rejoin the Bank. It was at that time that he met and subsequently married Jean. Whilst married life was very agreeable, life at the bank was less so and Ken decided that peacetime service in the RAF was preferable to banking.
Ken’s second stint in the RAF saw him become a qualified flying instructor and his career took him around the world, including a further spell of active service in the far east during the Borneo uprising. Although Ken was able to reflect on a full, varied and accomplished service career, in my opinion he was the kind of man who was best suited to the cut and thrust of war-time service. By that I mean that Ken’s honesty and plain speaking were not necessarily the skill-set needed for advancement in a peacetime airforce.
Ken left the Air Force in 1977 to work for Leonard Laing in the Building Plant business and stayed with them until 1983 when he took retirement. As canny Yorkshire folk, Jean and Ken recognised that it was time to return to the fold and as most of you will know, they upped-sticks from Surrey and settled here in Strensall in 1984. Village life thoroughly suited Ken and he happily filled his days pursuing his many hobbies and interests. A conscientious and generous parishioner, Ken was actively involved in the life of the community, including a long stint as Church treasurer.
In fact Ken’s retirement was full of activity right up to the last 2 to 3 years when his old injuries began to catch up with him. However, the same singular determination that won him that scholarship to St Peter’s remained with him and Ken’s mind and wit remained razor sharp right through to the end as witnessed by his ability to humble me when it came to general knowledge and cryptic crossword clues. As to his humour, only last week when the Nursing Home opposite’s copy of the Sun newspaper was mistakenly delivered to the Sidings, Ken’s parting shot to Jean, on her way to re-deliver, was “check if they’ve got any vacancies”!Ken was a dutiful husband, brother and father, and the success of his 3 daughters was a source of much pleasure to him. He was also an inspirational father-in-law and gave me much sound advice down the years. And he was a very kind and concerned grandparent with a gift for easy communication with the young. He will be sorely missed by us all and we were privileged to have shared his company."