HRH PRINCE PHILIP – THE DUKE OF EDINBURGH

REFLECTIONS OF AN EX – SERVICEMAN

Prince Philip took the salute at my Passing out Parade- The Sovereign’s Parade- at the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst in July 1969, and it seems like yesterday. He wore the full dress uniform of a Colonel of the Grenadier Guards , gave a magnificent speech, inspiring us all onwards in our army lives, and spoke to most of us on the parade – a special moment. He asked me what Regiment I would be joining, and when I told him the King’s Own Scottish Borderers….

“Ah, yes” he said “one of the few Regimental ties I can recognise, with its dicing motif.”

Our paths were to cross a few times over the years, most memorably at Balmoral, where I was a member of HM Royal Guard for 4 incredible months. He was a crack shot on the hill, always joking with and teasing the Jocks, who loved it, a dab hand chef on the Barbie, a fiercely competitive party games man after dinners, and just generally great company.

A Royal visit by Prince Philip was really looked forward to with great pleasure, because you knew you’d be in for some fun, some laughs and good humour, BUT you had to be on your game – he could spot a bluffer a mile away! He was closely involved with many UK and Commonwealth Units and Regiments –just some follow –but all of whom he took a very close interest in and visited them regularly:

 Royal Navy

Admiral of the Fleet, Captain General of the Royal Marines,

Army

Colonel in Chief of the Grenadier Guards, the Intelligence Corps,  The Rifles, Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers , Army Cadet Force, Queen’s Royal Hussars , The Highlanders, 4th Battalion, The Royal Regiment of Scotland, University of Edinburgh and Heriot-Watt Officer Training Corps, Welsh Guards, Duke of Edinburgh’s Royal Regiment (Berkshire and Wiltshire)

Royal Air Force

Marshal of the Royal Air Force, Air Commodore-in-Chief of the Air Training Corps, Honorary Air Commodore of RAF Kinloss.

Chief of Defence Staff- General Sir Nicholas Carter said:

“His Royal Highness has been a great friend, inspiration and role model for the Armed Forces, and he will be sorely missed. The Duke of Edinburgh served among us during the Second World War, and he remained devoted to the Royal Navy and the Armed Forces as a whole. His candour and his humour made many a serviceman and servicewoman chuckle on the countless visits that he made. He cared deeply about the values, standards and sense of service embodied in the military ethos. He was an immensely popular figure, and he was hugely respected by us all.”

My Royal Navy friends admired his professionalism, his active service inWW2, his dedication and interest in them. He passed out top at the Naval College, Dartmouth, was decorated for gallantry in the Med , and Captained  his own ship in the early 50s, until all that had to stop, when King George VI died . He would undoubtedly have gone on to high rank on his own ability.

The Royal Navy have a lovely expression when one of their shipmates dies:

CROSSING THE BAR 

Sunset and evening star,

      And one clear call for me!

And may there be no moaning of the bar,

      When I put out to sea,

 

   But such a tide as moving seems asleep,

      Too full for sound and foam,

When that which drew from out the boundless deep

      Turns again home.

 

   Twilight and evening bell,

      And after that the dark!

And may there be no sadness of farewell,

      When I embark;

 

   For tho’ from out our bourne of Time and Place

      The flood may bear me far,

I hope to see my Pilot face to face

      When I have crost the bar.

                                    ALFRED, LORD TENNYSON

 

All veterans and serving men and women in uniform express collective sadness at the passing of fellow serviceman HRH Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh and offer their condolences to Her Majesty, The Queen.

 

RIP PRINCE PHILIP, SIR

ANDY MIDDLEMISS BEM DL

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