1952 King George VI dies

Coffin passes through Letchworth

from "Letchworth Remembered: Memories of the Garden City 1939-1960" edited by Heather Elliott and John Sanderson

When King George VI died (Monday 11th February 1952) the train bearing his coffin passed through Letchworth. Townspeople turned out to pay their respects as it passed.

The special train, pulled by  No. 70000 Britannia,  was made up of nine vehicles, leaving  Wolferton in Norfolk in was 12.05 p.m., and reached Kings Cross  at 2.45, passing through Letchworth shortly before 2pm.  The body of the King was then taken to Westminster Hall to lie in state for three days. 

I remember the day King George VI died and his coffin was brough from Sandringham to London via Cambridge and King’s Cross. We all stood on the bank overlooking the railway libe. We watched it going down the line and it went by we could see guardsmen standing round the coffin.

In 1952 we were allowed to return to school late on afternoon so that we could line along Station Way to see the Royal Train go past Letchworth from Sandringham.

One day the whole school had to walk to the railway embankment at Station Way and Burnell Rise to watch the funeral train of King George pass slowly through on its way to London.

I remember the proclamation of the new reign by the Sheriff of Hertford who came down and stood on the steps of the Council Offices, when the new reign began. I was present when King Edward VIII was proclaimed, when George VI was proclaimed, and when Elizabeth II was proclaimed a day or two after they ascended to the throne.

Going back to the year 1952, I well remember the day when King George VI sadly passed away, I was then working in the accounts department of the K&L Steelfounders and Engineers in Dunham’s Lane, and the news came round the office  at about 11 o’clock in the morning that the King had died. I did not see the funeral train go through Letchworth. I had seen the funeral train of his father King George V (who died on the 11th January 1936) as a schoolboy. I was at Westbury School and went down to see that train.

This page was added on 04/01/2012.

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