About This Blog

This blog was originally started as a thread on the forum pages of an animal rescue site. Now it's here!

The articles you find in here are purely for entertainment (yours and mine) and (with one or two exceptions) are all tongue-in-cheek chronicles of the World (my bit, anyway) as I see it.
No disrespect is intended towards anyone unless I make a mistake and make it too obvious.

I hope you enjoy my offerings. Feedback and comments of any kind are welcome.

Wednesday, 30 June 2010

A Brush with Royalty

I have been idle and have neglected my blog for a day or two now.  My reader (whoever he/she is) must be getting desperate for something to read.

As most of you will be aware, Prince Charles & Camilla were in Cardiff for the Forces Day parade, etc..
Although I didn't attend (I was working), I was reminded about the one and only time that I have met Prince Charles.

If you were to ask him about it, he wouldn't recall it, and I can only remember it because of the huge bollocking I got after he had passed.

It was the summer of '76 which is remembered for the heat, smoke and flames of the woodland fires around southern England and in particular Surrey.

I had finished my basic military training at this point and my trade training was about to begin when the fire brigade called an emergency for the areas around Sandhurst military academy.  All training was postponed and I, along with a couple of hundred other 'brand new' soldiers, were deployed around Sandhurst with shovels.

One thought constantly whizzed all alone through my mind at that time ... you don't see the fire brigade racing towards flames with shovels in their hands, so what the hell do they expect of us?

Well, the answer was easy, as it happens.  They wanted us to shovel one half of Surrey's sandy woodland floor on  top of the other half in order to smother the flames.  Back breaking work which we did for nearly two weeks.  For about three or four days the work around Sandhurst was pretty frantic as we tried to ensure that the officer cadets were not disturbed in any way or allowed to get too hot.  We never saw any of them fighting the fires!

One one of those three days a rather snotty chap in uniform with a Captain's rank came alone on a horse and got very close to where we were working.  There was lots of shouting for him to get the horse away from the flames, which he eventually did, after a hearty "Good show chaps!  Keep it up!"

One of our sergeants uttered a few expletives that some us seventeen year old's still had to learn the meaning of and told us that he thought that the officer on the horse had been Captain Mark Phillips, husband of  Princess Anne.  I was never actually sure if he was correct, but I have disliked Mark Phillips ever since.

Anyway, I digress.  Prince Charles ....

When the 'emergency' was over we were granted a weeks leave before starting our trade training so I packed my bags* and got myself down to the bus stop opposite the main gates of Deepcut Barracks (yes! That infamous place).

It was mid morning, about 10 am, and as I waited for the bus I could hear the clip-clop of horses approaching from my right.  As I looked, I could see three horses coming into view, one after the other.
The first horse and rider passed me without a word.  The second rider, as he came up to where I was standing said "Good morning!"
"Morning" I answered. "Nice horse!"
"Thank you" the rider answered and passed by.

The third rider stopped, and after looking at my army suitcase, proceeded to give me a bollocking for not standing up straight and for not recognising Prince Charles.
He then cantered off to re-join the two in front, leaving me red faced and somewhat embarrassed.

In my defence though, he did have one of those jockey style hats on with the chin strap which messed up his appearance little bit.

That was it!  My one and only meeting with Prince Charles and I didn't even realise it!

*  Army suitcases and kit bags were very easy to recognise with name, rank and number stencilled on them     at that time and the army preferred, and indeed instructed us, not to use civilian luggage when going on leave.  This always worried me as '76 was a time when the IRA was starting to become very active in mainland Britain.  One one hand they were telling us to be ever vigilant but on the other, telling us to advertise who and what we were.  It could have been a cunning ploy of the military, but I doubt it.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Any and all comments are welcome ...