Daughter describes her last words to Wing Commander Wallis

PUBLISHED: 09:43 04 September 2013 | UPDATED: 12:26 04 September 2013

Wing Commander Ken Wallis, who died at the age of 97.

Wing Commander Ken Wallis, who died at the age of 97.


Wing Commander Wallis’s eldest daughter, Vicky, held her father’s hand in his last few moments and whispered “we are all safe, Skipper”.

Her father, the man she knew best as serious, passionate and always in his workshop, relaxed his body knowing he could go.

Ms Wallis, an artist who lives just seconds away from her former family home, shut her father’s eyes, just as she did with her mother, Peggy Mary, 10 years ago, and said goodbye.

“He had great long and successful life”, she said of her father, the man with a passion for planes and whom she called Pa.

“But if you wanted to know him then you had to be in his workshop.”

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For Ms Wallis, the earliest books she can remember looking at were her father’s log-books from the RAF.

An unforgettable childhood memory is a trap her father set-up in his workshop to trick burglars – which every time backfired as he walked in to it himself, creating a crash.

And she described the joy she felt when her father finally, this year, received his over-due bomber command award – 71 years after the mission.

With much of his life dedicated to the air force – a place where he met his wife and fostered a passion for flying – Ms Wallis says the RAF motto best summarises her father’s legacy.

“Per ardua ad astra” – meaning “through hardship to the stars”.

• From the archives:

Film charts life of Norfolk’s flying James Bond

Wing Cdr Ken Wallis, 97, finally gets his Bomber Command medal

Norfolk’s Ken Wallis aims for autogyro speed record

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