FLASHBACK: TWO EX CADETS – BROTHERS IN ARMS AND ADVERSITY – WWII
Excerpt from the 1945 Review
No. 2144 W/C. F. C. CARLING KELLY and No. 2365 W/C. J. G. Stephenson, A.F.C., served together last year in Canada as temporary Group Captains, and flew across the Atlantic together at the end of last year. The former was appointed O/C. the thunderbird squadron, he made a flying trip over Germany and was captured after jumping from his crippled bomber, with a flesh wound in his shoulder.
He was taken first to a civil prison and later a hospital and finally to a Prisoner of War camp in which they nearly froze to death. Food was very bad and they would have been starving but for the Red Cross food parcels. No clothing was provided and for days at a time there were no washing facilities. Before liberation the prisoners were aroused early and forced to march all day, and after a short rest to continue 2 A.M. the next morning. Then Carling-Kelly and six other men were declared unfit for travel, and a day later the American troops arrived. During the wait the German villagers were friendly.
W/C. Stephenson was appointed to succeed W/C Carling-Kelly and flew with his squadron to attack Hanover, and had his plane shot down by enemy fighters. The crew bailed out, but Stephenson’s parachute got tangled on the inside of the hatch, leaving him dangling in the slip stream and banging against the fuselage. An explosion within the plane threw him free, but he injured his leg in landing, was captured, and taken to hospital. The hospital was evacuated on the approach of the Americans, but Stephenson stalled off his removal by bribing a German orderly, and the persuading him to take word to the Americans of the hospital’s location. Two days later he was freed.
When the two Wing Commanders met in London they were dressed in combination American and R.C.A.F summer uniforms. According to the paper they were the first Canadians to return to Britain after being freed from German prison camps. Their times at the College overlapped as W/C Carling-Kelly graduated in 1934 and W/C Stephenson entered the R.M.C in 1933.