Dowding and the Fairies! October 21, 2012Posted by Beachcombing in : Contemporary , trackback
Hugh Dowding (1970 obit) is a British hero. It was his expert shepherding of Fighter Command in the summer of 1940 that allowed British victory against the Luftwaffe, or at least a convincing draw that could be passed off as a victory. He stands with Slim and Cunningham as one of Britain’s three great 1939-1945 war leaders. But Dowding had a secret that has always sat rather uneasily with his heroic stature. He was fascinated by almost every area of the ‘hidden world’ and, what is perhaps most impressive, he was not afraid to say so in private, in public and in the press and on the radio. Indeed, he once terrified a British minister by stating, at a Battle of Britain memorial service no less, that he could ‘feel’ the spirits of his dead ‘boys’ (the fighter pilots) around him. The present author, as a rule, hasn’t much time for spiritualism and spiritualists. But he confesses an interest when they stray into the world of faery and Dowding was evidently a believer in the winged folk too: indeed, he was a member of the Fairy Investigation Society. Enjoy this short section from a long forgotten interview with Dowding:
As well as accepting the testimonies which say that men from other worlds travel at fabulous speeds across aeons of space to land upon our globe, Lord Dowding is convinced of the existence on earth of little people so small that, for the most part, human beings overlook them. Again on the basis of his examination of the evidence; he is satisfied that elemental sprites carry out basic functions in the development of flowers, the movement of water and like duties. Here, he has the constant encouragement of a first-hand witness in the person of his charming wife [pictured], who clearly recalls her meetings with fairies in child-hood days. Her youthful stories of these encounters so alarmed the adults of her household that they endeavoured to stop her ‘imaginings’ by warning her that, if she did not turn her attention elsewhere, she would be stamped upon her forehead and posted to Sir James Barrie, who knew how to deal with little girls who saw fairies. The effect of this threat was surprising but logical. After it, she diligently collected pieces of bread and cake at mealtimes and, at suitable opportunities, thrust these offerings into pillar-boxes as sustenance for all the friends of fairies she thought must be waiting within, en route to the creator of Peter Pan. It was through Spiritualism that Lord Dowding met his delightful, auburn-haired lady. They were introduced by a mutual friend, healer Dorothy Kerin, two years after Lady Dowding, then the widow of a Bomber Command pilot killed on active service, experienced a precognitive dream in which she saw her future husband and involuntarily called his first name. She was puzzled about the identity of the stranger who had invaded her sleep, until her mother gave her a copy of ‘Many Mansions’. In it, she saw a photograph of the author, the man in her dream. Convinced reincarnationists, the Dowdings believe that their marriage, in 1951, was the beginning of another partnership to follow many they have shared in earlier lives. Even those who argue against rebirth will grant that, with such a companion awaiting him, no man could have had better reason for seeking repeated earthly personifications.
It was lucky that the war cabinet knew little about this side of Dowding when they allowed him to direct several hundred spitfires and hurricanes in battle.
Dowding also wrote two prefaces for another fairy believer, Daphne Charters. The first of these appeared in a small pamphlet entitled The Origin, Life and Evolution of Fairies (1951): Beach has failed to track this down. The second was entitled, A True Fairy Tale (1956). The quality of Dowding’s second preface is sometimes rather shocking. Take, for example, this passage:
The thing that has puzzled me more than any other is the obvious Latin origin of the names given for the different types of Fairy and for most of their personal names. Most of the roots are Latin, as also are the singular and plural forms ending in -is and -es respectively. In my original foreword I raised the query as to whether Chinese Fairies (for instance) had similar Latin-type names or names of Chinese form. I have just had an answer to this query. Mrs Charters has recently made the acquaintance of two Chinese Fairies and their names are Perima and Sulic. Perima has a distinct Latin tang about it. Perhaps the fact may be, not that Fairies have Latin names, but that the Romans had Fairy-names.
Any other examples of Dowding being away with the fairies? drbeachcombing AT yahoo DOT com