October 11, 2013

Royal visit

FRIDAY 12th SEPTEMBER 1941

King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, along with the King’s brother, the Duke of Gloucester and the Commander-in-Chief of the Home Forces General Sir Alan Brooke visited Brandon. They arrived at Brandon railway station with their entourage and were greeted by the ‘top brass’ and local dignitaries.

On their agenda was a visit to Weeting to inspect ranks of Gurkhas and Indian troops, some of these were laid out on stretchers and accompanied by their nurses. The King took time to talk to them.

Afterwards the Royal party went on to visit what was billed in the local Bury Free Press as “the greatest concentration of armoured land forces that has ever been witnessed in Britain”. Apparently, according to the paper, “there were hundreds of tanks, Bren gun carriers, artillery, mobile anti-tank and anti-aircraft guns (that) roared past the saluting base. Clinging to the hand-rail in an armoured troop carrier, flying the Royal Standard, the King kept moving for nearly an hour and a half up and down the lines.” These troops belonged to the 6th Armoured Division with Valentine tanks lined up as far as the eye could see.

The Royal entourage left the train on the Weeting side of the station and greets military personnel, thus providing more evidence that this visit was not for the people of Brandon but for local military morale instead. In the foreground is the Queen (more recently to be know as the Queen mother), behind her is her husband King George VI and peering over his shoulder is Home Forces General Sir Alan Brooke. I assume that the three servicemen on the left represent locally based servicemen, two Army officials and one RAF. The gentleman in the middle of the photo looks like Arthur Greenwood, Deputy Leader of Clement Atlee’s Labour Party.

The Royal entourage left the train on the Weeting side of the station and greeted various dignitaries and military personnel, thus providing evidence that this visit was not for the people of Brandon but for local military morale instead. In the foreground is the Queen, behind her is her husband King George VI and peering over his shoulder is Home Forces General Sir Alan Brooke. I assume that the three servicemen on the left represent locally based servicemen, two Army officials and one RAF.  The gentleman in the middle of the photo looks like Arthur Greenwood, Deputy Leader of Clement Atlee’s Labour Party.

THEN AND NOW …