The Proclamation – Friday 8th February 1952 followed by tragedy

John Riches

Ian Standen Roberts (right) and John Riches with French customs officers
John Riches

It must have been Thursday 7th February 1952 when Mr Cheney our Head Master at Bromley County Grammar School for Boys told us that the King had died and that Elizabeth his daughter was to be proclaimed Queen.

We had a lot of affection for King George VI as he had led our country during the recent World War when so many of our local people; including school friends; had been killed. My best school mate Ian Roberts and I decided that the following day we would skip our Lower Sixth lessons and go to the Proclamation of our new Queen at St James’ Palace in London.

We arrived at St James’ Palace where there was a large crowd waiting. I can’t remember much about the ceremony but we travelled back home pleased that we had witnessed such an historic occasion. That was the beginning of  our Queen’s historic reign. Sadly just over two years later my friend Ian was killed whilst we were both serving with the Royal Artillery.

The photograph was taken on 21st August 1953 at Neuf Brisach when Ian Roberts and I were hitch hiking and about to enter Germany for the first time. The French customs officers enjoyed our height (Ian is on the right.)  Read more about John’s story

This page was added on 06/05/2022.

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