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Churchill's Funeral

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Churchill's Funeral

Old 30th Jan 2015, 08:08
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Churchill's Funeral

Proud to see that Halton Apprentices were given the honour of providing close escort to the gun carriage bearing the coffin of Sir Winston.

Any other memories from that day out there? I seem to recall a Lightning flypast at one point.......

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Old 30th Jan 2015, 09:01
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I recall that all officers had to wear black armbands for a specified period, and that as there were insufficient held in stores, we had to provide our own. My then girlfriend scrounged an old black satin underskirt from her mum and made me one on the sewing machine. Got a few comments as it wasn't crepe, but it did the job.

Watched the funeral on TV at my parents' house in my pyjamas and dressing gown (without black armband!). The moment when one of the guardsmen carrying the coffin staggered as they mounted the steps to St Pauls sticks in the mind. Could have been disastrous.

Sixteen Lightnings as I recall. Could we stick 16 FJs in the air now? I somehow doubt it.
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Old 30th Jan 2015, 09:05
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My father was in London on business at the time and joined the crowds.
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Old 30th Jan 2015, 09:13
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Hazy memory, but ISTR that initially it was planned for the 2 senior entries (87 & 88 I guess) at the Towers to route line -certainly 88 was sprung because we were allegedly behind the line on the flying training programme - by the end of the year several of us were off flying for 2 or 3 months because we had completed the course early, and had to go Manby to "refresh" prior to Valley!
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Old 30th Jan 2015, 10:00
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Lots of memories, I, along with about 10 others were at Marham having been Locking Brats until about 6 weeks previously. We were dead ringers as we still had no hair to talk about, our No.1s and greatcoats were in good nick and we were all reasonably adept at slinging an Enfield .303 about.

A few days before he died we were bussed to Bassingbourn were we spent a few days on the square learning the intricacies of route lining, rest on arms reversed and other movements we hadn't used before.

On the announcement of his death we then went to Woolwich Barracks, 72 man rooms, triple bunks with about 18 ins. between them, 2 WCs, 2 washbasins and 1 bath per room. The other thing about it was that it became an 100th. Entry reunion as all the other units had sent their newly passed out apprentices along.

At some ungodly hour on the day we were bussed to various marshalling points on the funeral route from which we were marched to our allocated areas, the Marham contingent were just outside Cannon Row tube station, after about an hour standing in the gutter I heard familiar voices behind me, somehow my mum and younger brother had found me and decided to stay.

The parade itself was incredible, one thing that did stand out was the gun crew, everyone else was in greatcoats but the gun crew just had their normal rigs with gaiters and boots. It made me wonder if the Navy had greatcoats but I later found out that their Lordships had defied everyone and said that they would parade minus coats.

Ref. the flypast, 16 Lightnings flew down the river over the barge carrying Churchill's coffin.

One of the 2 occasions of my 22 years that I will never forget.

Last edited by The Oberon; 1st Feb 2015 at 08:42. Reason: Could't spell Bassingbourn
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Old 30th Jan 2015, 11:41
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ISTR that one of our Flight Commanders was one of the guards(?) at the Lying-in-State in Westminster Hall.

Watched the proceedings in the OM TV room at South Cerney.
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Old 30th Jan 2015, 11:47
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we'd probably have to use almost the whole of the armed forces to repeat that day
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Old 30th Jan 2015, 11:50
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Will there be an RAF flypast as part of today's commemoration on the Thames, I wonder?

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Old 30th Jan 2015, 13:11
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This is a cut & paste of what I posted to the Boy Entrants list short while ago. I was unaware of this thread at the time.

They nearly had me on that!

At Marham the number of selected heads for Churchill's funeral was nominated, and rehearsals were started well before he died.

I was selected!

When I pointed out that WSC might not pop his clogs until after my demob, they took me off the list

So my RAF career was more or less bracketed by being nominated for the Coronation and nominated for WSC's funeral, and not doing either.

The one I regret was the Coronation, I did all the drill, was measured for my T63 and got flu at the last minute and went into Yatesbury SSQ just before everyone went off to Cardington and Hyde Park.

With WSC funeral, I was more interested in starting my civil career and wave goodbye to the RAF. I started my demob leave on 4th Feb, so I could just have squeezed in the funeral.

Half a century ago, come next Wednesday!
Oberon, where were you at Marham? I was coming to the end of my 2nd stint on 214.
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Old 30th Jan 2015, 13:36
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Radar bay, working on Orange Putter.
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Old 30th Jan 2015, 14:15
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Just watched the Paxman programme (a repeat I think). Surprised to be so moved by the whole thing. But then I recall my parents eulogising Churchill, and the Royal Family and their conduct throughout the war.
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Old 30th Jan 2015, 16:11
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Lightnings at Churchills Funeral

Any other memories from that day out there? I seem to recall a Lightning flypast at one point.......
Sqns involved in the flypast mentioned here (post #14):
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Old 30th Jan 2015, 19:15
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Watched the colour footage today, dear God those Guardsmen came close to loosing WSC's lead-lined coffin on the steps of St Paul's. I hope that someone bought those boys a beer afterwards.

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Old 30th Jan 2015, 20:13
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Even if they didn't get a beer, they all got a BEM, the O i/c an MBE
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Old 30th Jan 2015, 22:17
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I was only about 5 when he died but I can remember vague recollections of watching it, though as a bored 5 year old.

A truly great man and a funeral fit for a King, one cannot think of another political leader that will ever see or be honoured with such a send off again from a grateful Nation..
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Old 31st Jan 2015, 02:16
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I shared an office (this was in 2005) with a certain old and bold avuncular Supply Sqn Ldr who used to tell tales of his time in Aden and other parts of the Empire we gave up long ago. It wasn't until we dined him out of the RAF that he told us he had been on route lining duty for Churchill's funeral.
If you join at 15 and leave aged 60 it is evident that you see some notable events!
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Old 31st Jan 2015, 04:26
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MV Havengore entered service with the Port of London Authority on 4 February 1956. As the PLA's hydrographic survey vessel, she was responsible for recording changes to the bed of the River Thames and Thames Estuary.

On 30 January 1965 Havengore carried Sir Winston Churchill on his last journey by water along the River Thames from Tower Pier to Festival Pier during his State Funeral.

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Old 31st Jan 2015, 10:14
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Fighter Command English Electric Lightnings Flypast - In Colour

Fighter Command English Electric Lightnings tear past Tower Bridge over Sir Winston Churchill's funeral barge.
The BBC Coverage
BBC - Archive - Remembering Winston Churchill - The State Funeral of Sir Winston Churchill | Part 4 scroll to 27minutes 30 seconds.

British Pathe News
(Scroll to 7 Minutes 46 seconds, then the flypast arrives at 9 Minutes 11 seconds)
(Shows "Missing Man" formation at 9 Minutes 22 seconds)
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Old 31st Jan 2015, 10:45
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Watched it on my parent's old fuzzy black and white TV.
It was my last week-end at home as I travelled to OCTU Feltwell the next day to join up !!
Memories of SPTA exercises, our Discip WO "Big" Jim Halliday and huge sausage baps from "Greasy Dicks" in the village.
Good old days.....
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Old 31st Jan 2015, 11:17
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Pere Artist's penultimate post was CO HMS Excellent. There was an annual State Funeral rehearsal, but HM Queen Mum was in pretty good health at the time
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