Go Back  PPRuNe Forums > Aircrew Forums > Military Aviation
Reload this Page >

Death of King George VI and accession of HM Queen Elizabeth II

Military Aviation A forum for the professionals who fly military hardware. Also for the backroom boys and girls who support the flying and maintain the equipment, and without whom nothing would ever leave the ground. All armies, navies and air forces of the world equally welcome here.

Death of King George VI and accession of HM Queen Elizabeth II

Old 6th Feb 2022, 20:42
  #1 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: South of the M4
Posts: 1,611
Death of King George VI and accession of HM Queen Elizabeth II

I was at RAF Thornhill (5 FTS) in S. Rhodesia when the King died and the present Queen took over and took this photo of the station flag outside SHQ at RAF Thornhill at half-mast on 7th February 1952 70-years ago!


RAF Thornhill - 7th February 1952

Warmtoast is offline  
Old 7th Feb 2022, 00:33
  #2 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Australia
Posts: 784
I remember being told that the king had died, and my main memory is of the flags on the local ferries flying at half mast. Also, I seem to remember some of them flying a black or dark purple mourning flag afterwards. Would that be correct?
Hydromet is offline  
Old 7th Feb 2022, 09:42
  #3 (permalink)  

"Mildly" Eccentric Stardriver
 
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: England
Age: 75
Posts: 3,735
I was only five at the time, but I can remember my father coming home to break the news to my mother. He was almost in tears. Like Kennedy, one of those moment that sticks in the brain.
Herod is offline  
Old 7th Feb 2022, 10:25
  #4 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: uk
Posts: 1,717
I remember coming out of school and planning to go to the cinema to see War of the Worlds. Of course all cinemas were closed.
pulse1 is offline  
Old 7th Feb 2022, 10:58
  #5 (permalink)  
ICM
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Bishops Stortford, UK
Age: 81
Posts: 444
The print version of today's Times includes a 4-page pullout facsimile of part of the 7 February 1952 edition. It includes a fairly detailed outline of the rapid return flight arrangements made by BOAC to bring HM back to the UK, routing Entebbe ("now has the longest runway in Africa") rather than Eastleigh, to El Adem (crew change) and London. A Dakota (presumably RAF) had taken the Royal party to the Lodge at Nanyuki and flew them to Entebbe, to which the BOAC Argonaut had flown from Mombasa. The onset of a pretty ferocious thunderstorm delayed departure from Entebbe by 2 hours. There's even a progress report: "At 1am the aircraft was 315 miles southwest of Khartoum, and had covered 921 miles from Entebbe. Its groundspeed was 238 miles an hour and altitude 16,500 feet. There was no cloud."
ICM is offline  
Old 9th Feb 2022, 13:16
  #6 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: West Sussex
Age: 80
Posts: 4,571
I was 10 and remember hearing only sombre music on the radio, with no normal programming. It was only when I was sent round to the local shop (probably to buy a packet of cigarettes!) and asked the proprietor if their radio was receiving anything different to ours that I was curtly asked, "Didn't you know? The King is dead! ".
Chugalug2 is offline  
Old 9th Feb 2022, 15:05
  #7 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: May 1999
Location: Quite near 'An aerodrome somewhere in England'
Posts: 26,131
Although I was too young to remember the event, my parents told me about the sombre music on the radio. Which led them (and many others) to discover the joys of Radio Luxembourg (at least after dark!).
BEagle is online now  
Old 9th Feb 2022, 15:32
  #8 (permalink)  

"Mildly" Eccentric Stardriver
 
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: England
Age: 75
Posts: 3,735
Radio Luxembourg (at least after dark!).
Years later, a lot of us discovered the joy of the "Great Two Oh Eight"
Herod is offline  
Old 10th Feb 2022, 10:57
  #9 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: River Thames & Surrey
Age: 73
Posts: 9,358
Originally Posted by Herod View Post
Years later, a lot of us discovered the joy of the "Great Two Oh Eight"
....on the medium wave.
chevvron is online now  
Old 10th Feb 2022, 11:05
  #10 (permalink)  

Gentleman Aviator
 
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: Teetering Towers - somewhere in the Shires
Age: 73
Posts: 3,576
....on the medium wave
... or 49.26 metres short wave!
teeteringhead is online now  
Old 10th Feb 2022, 17:08
  #11 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Often in Jersey, but mainly in the past.
Age: 77
Posts: 6,960
I have a vague childhood (8 yo) recollection of viewing a procession from my Mother's osteopath's facility overlooking Marble Arch on the corner of Park Lane and Oxford Street.. Was that on the route?
MPN11 is offline  
Old 10th Feb 2022, 18:19
  #12 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Great South East, tired and retired
Posts: 3,788
I recall standing on Sydney's South Head to watch the Gothic sail into the harbour with the newly-crowned Betty Britain on her first official visit Dunnunda. The boat, to my 4-y.o. eyes, looked like a toy.
Ascend Charlie is offline  
Old 10th Feb 2022, 19:09
  #13 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Often in Jersey, but mainly in the past.
Age: 77
Posts: 6,960
Originally Posted by Ascend Charlie View Post
I recall standing on Sydney's South Head to watch the Gothic sail into the harbour with the newly-crowned Betty Britain on her first official visit Dunnunda. The boat, to my 4-y.o. eyes, looked like a toy.
Small, but beautifully formed!
MPN11 is offline  
Old 10th Feb 2022, 22:35
  #14 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Location: Location!
Posts: 2,155
Originally Posted by MPN11 View Post
Small, but beautifully formed!
HM The Queen, the GOTHIC, or both?

Not surprised Ascend Charlie thought the ship looks like a toy from nearly 300 feet up, and in any case was only about 16000 tons.

Jack
Union Jack is offline  
Old 12th Feb 2022, 09:23
  #15 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: UK
Posts: 1,523
I joined the RAF the next year and there was still a mix of King's and Queen's badges.
Cornish Jack is offline  
Old 12th Feb 2022, 09:46
  #16 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Australia
Posts: 784
My cousin, a few years older than me, had a collection of 'souvenirs' from the royal visit to Australia that didn't happen, as HM returned to England immediately on the death of her father. Guess they'd be worth a quid or two if his kids still have them.
Hydromet is offline  
Old 12th Feb 2022, 11:59
  #17 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: West London
Posts: 360
A slight tangent to the message about 'souvenirs of a tour that didn't happen' ...

The car-crash in Paris that caused the death of Princess Diana occurred late on a Saturday evening. Possibly the worst time for a major story for anyone in the printed press. On Saturday evening all the newspapers are finalised, being printed and bundled, and being sent out to wholesalers and shops up an down the country. The very last thing you need is for a major story to break which needs to be on th front-page, and for the story to rapidly evolve overnight.
Back then, a friend's father was a keen angler. Every Sunday he and a few mates would head-off to a river-bank somewhere and spend the day attempting to outwit the fish. Friends fathers job was to buy some milk and newspapers each Sunday morning so that they could have a brew and read throughout the day.
On this particular Sunday morning (he'd not had the radio on, so hadn't heard the news) he went into his local corner-shop to find that there were no papers on display. He asked the shopkeeper, who told him the news, and that all the newpapers had to go back to the wholesalers so that their front-page/cover could be replaced with a reprinted version. Thinking quickly, he asked the shopkeeper for something which he knew was stored out the back of the shop; while shoppie was away he quickly snaffled a few copies of the newspapers and stuffed them in his bag.
Later that morning all the newspapers came out with page 1 headlines saying 'Diana killed' or similar ... he's got one that says 'Diana injured in car crash'!
Geezers of Nazareth is offline  
Old 12th Feb 2022, 15:31
  #18 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: South of the M4
Posts: 1,611
Originally Posted by Geezers of Nazareth View Post
A slight tangent to the message about 'souvenirs of a tour that didn't happen' ...

The car-crash in Paris that caused the death of Princess Diana occurred late on a Saturday evening. Possibly the worst time for a major story for anyone in the printed press. On Saturday evening all the newspapers are finalised, being printed and bundled, and being sent out to wholesalers and shops up an down the country. The very last thing you need is for a major story to break which needs to be on th front-page, and for the story to rapidly evolve overnight.
Back then, a friend's father was a keen angler. Every Sunday he and a few mates would head-off to a river-bank somewhere and spend the day attempting to outwit the fish. Friends fathers job was to buy some milk and newspapers each Sunday morning so that they could have a brew and read throughout the day.
On this particular Sunday morning (he'd not had the radio on, so hadn't heard the news) he went into his local corner-shop to find that there were no papers on display. He asked the shopkeeper, who told him the news, and that all the newpapers had to go back to the wholesalers so that their front-page/cover could be replaced with a reprinted version. Thinking quickly, he asked the shopkeeper for something which he knew was stored out the back of the shop; while shoppie was away he quickly snaffled a few copies of the newspapers and stuffed them in his bag.
Later that morning all the newspapers came out with page 1 headlines saying 'Diana killed' or similar ... he's got one that says 'Diana injured in car crash'!
We were due to go to a car boot sale to sell some things that Sunday morning and wanted to know what the weather would be like, but BBC had replaced all their regular broadcasts such as weather forecasts with a continuous dirge about the death of Diana so we never got the expected forecast, but went anyway.
ISTR BBC programs were similarly affected when Prince Philip died last year, but the public complaints were noted and BBC apologised and said they had taken note - we will see.
Warmtoast is offline  
Old 13th Feb 2022, 15:27
  #19 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: London UK
Posts: 7,075
Originally Posted by ICM View Post
the rapid return flight arrangements made by BOAC to bring HM back to the UK, routing Entebbe ("now has the longest runway in Africa") rather than Eastleigh, to El Adem (crew change) and London. A Dakota (presumably RAF) had taken the Royal party to the Lodge at Nanyuki and flew them to Entebbe, to which the BOAC Argonaut had flown from Mombasa. The onset of a pretty ferocious thunderstorm delayed departure from Entebbe by 2 hours.
The Dakota was actually from the regular East African Airways fleet. It was midday when it was suddenly requisitioned, it was captained (by chance) by an expat former RAF Squadron Leader now flying for EAAC. No chance to get best uniforms out or whatever. Aircraft VP-KHK. Nanyuki was not on the regular EAAC schedule, just a grass strip. Subsequently the Dakota was sold off to the French Air Force, reg 14654 (also its Douglas construction number, which the French AF use for civilian types) who ran it, and a substantial Dak fleet, for many years. In 1969 it was sent by them to Scottish Aviation at Prestwick for an overhaul, while parked there on the ramp it was overturned by a sudden squall and damaged beyond repair. Later it was broken up, seemingly not recognising the part it had been played in providing the first ever air flight for the Queen.

The royal party had set off from Heathrow for an extended official visit to Africa and Australia, for which the Argonaut had been chartered from BOAC for the whole trip. King George VI had come to Heathrow to see them off. He was a considerable onetime flyer himself; he actually saw active piloting service in WW1, and in the 1930s shared and flew with his brother (fleetingly King Edward VIII) a personally-owned Airspeed Envoy twin. I bet he was looking forward to inspecting the Argonaut and having a chat with the crew. Is said he picked up a cold walking round the apron at Heathrow, which he succumbed to a few days later. The Argonaut was stood down in East Africa for a couple of days, when events happened and they had to return pronto, overnight. The Cabinet, with Churchill as PM, met the party at Heathrow on their return.

That shared Airspeed Envoy was reg G-AEXX, just whatever came up as next in sequence in the 1930s. In commemoration, all the royal helicopters in recent years now with a civvy reg started as G-XXEA, and are up to G-XXED at present.

Last edited by WHBM; 13th Feb 2022 at 16:09.
WHBM is online now  
Old 13th Feb 2022, 15:46
  #20 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: South of the M4
Posts: 1,611
King George VI had come to Heathrow to see them off. He was a considerable onetime flyer himself; he actually saw active piloting service in WW1, and in the 1930s shared and flew with his brother (fleetingly King Edward VIII) a personally-owned Airspeed Envoy twin
FWIW Here's picture of three Kings with wings (two earned, one for show).

Warmtoast is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information -

Copyright 2021 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.