News from the Green Howards
70TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE VISIT OF KING GEORGE AND QUEEN ELIZABETH TO THE DEPOT, RICHMOND
On SATURDAY 28 AUGUST – it was exactly 70 years since the King George and Queen Elizabeth sat on two Robert Thompson chairs that were later carved with their names to commemorate their visit to the Richmond Depot.
The Green Howards Gazette, reporting on the Royal visit, noted the frantic preparations for a visit, but wartime restrictions meant no one could say who was to arrive. One soldier was heard to say that it was the first inspecting General he’d ever known who wanted a red carpet in the air raid shelter.
The royal party arrived at the barracks at 3.55pm – their arrival was delayed a moment because the motor-cycle outriders almost ran down the Commanding Officer. As King George and Queen Elizabeth stepped out of the car the band played and the command ‘Generoyal Salute’ was given.
The King and Queen inspected members of the Green Howards and of the ATS – the Gazette writer noted ‘Our young soldiers were a good sight for an old soldier’s eyes and our ATS Company are a pleasure to look at anywhere.’ They were then taken to see the Sergeants’ mess, where, with the generals and senior offices waiting impatiently outside, the Queen discussed curtain material in the room of one of the Sergeants. The King, not to be outdone, then discussed Bren Guns with Sergeant Batey – the King, it was noted, ‘obviously knew as much about it as the instructor did.’
After presentations the royal party went into the Officers’ Mess for tea, using the two chairs now in the Museum and sitting at the Mousey Thompson tables that are also part of the collection. ‘Her Majesty sat in the chair presented by Sir William Worsley and His Majesty in that presented by Lieutenant-Colonel A E Robinson.’ Both chairs are now inscribed both with the name of their donors and a note of their royal occupants.
The visit ended with Pauline, daughter of Major Clayton, presenting a bouquet to the Queen before the Kings and Queen left for another unknown destination – and the relieved Green Howards and ATS ‘fell on a buffet tea . . . As the last visiting child took the last chocolate sandwich too many, the hands of the clock stood at twenty-five to seven and the great day was over.’