Edward Peter Soye
The historic and monetary value of a vintage aircraft is largely determined by how much of the original
artifact remains undisturbed. Modern restorations aim to conserve as much original material as possible. As a result
of such conservation it is possible to discover minute details regarding the original construction of an aircraft.
During the 1960s, it was common for large portions of original material to be removed in the course of a
restoration, even those intended for static display. In 1963, the RCAF Historical Section worked with No. 6 Repair
Depot (6RD) in Trenton to partially restore an original Fokker D.VII held by the Brome County Historical Society
(BCHS) of Knowlton, Quebec. Wing Commander Ralph Manning largely coordinated these efforts. Under his
direction, the RCAF took a minimalist approach to the restoration and it largely ascribed to the modern approach
described above. Manning and the staff of 6RD demonstrated foresight and leadership in the field of aircraft
conservation. Despite the pioneering efforts of Canadians in the restoration of Fok D.VII (Alb) 6810/18, they
received little recognition from either from the Air Force or from museums abroad.
Despite the lack of support, this example of Manning and the ‘Knowlton Fokker’ illustrates the degree to
which an individual can make a difference, even in a non-operational role. Perhaps more importantly, it also
demonstrates that with the passage of time pioneering efforts can ultimately receive the recognition they deserve.