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Soldier's memories of the day the Queen came to the throne

Soldier's memories of the day the Queen came to the throne

Francis Batt

Soldier's memories of the day the Queen came to the throne
The happy couple pictured in 1949 on their wedding day.

 

A 'diamond' Windsor couple have their own memories of the Queen's accession to the throne, which happened 60 years ago on Monday.

Robin and Doris Russell, 84 and 87, of Jacob Close, celebrated their diamond wedding three years ago - two years after the Queen and Prince Philip.

Grandfather Robin was a serving member of the First Battalion Grenadier Guards based at Windsor's Victoria Barracks on February 6, 1952 -  the day King George VI died.

As a married man he was not living in the barracks but arrived as usual for morning parade.

He said: "I found the whole of my platoon moaning because the communal wireless was only playing dirge like music. Then someone looked out of the window and saw the flag at the castle flying at half mast.

"We still did not know who had died.

"We all went out for morning parade at 8.30am and were called to attention and told it was the king."

The official announcement from Sandringham was made more than two hours later.

The Guards were immediately sent out on special duties as funeral arrangements were made.

But someone was needed to guard the barracks.

Robin was told he was the man and missed all the activity.

He said: "I was put on guard duty all week outside the barracks. It was two hours on four hours off and I could not go home or anywhere else during that time. My wife Doris could only see me by coming to the barracks gate."

The battalion had a special relationship with the new Queen, who was its colonel.

Robin said: "I had been inspected by her and my wife had met her when we were in Tripoli. I was in the guard of honour at her wedding."

The couple married at Windsor Parish Church in 1949 and have five grandchildren. Robin left the army in 1953 - the year the Queen celebrated her coronation - and went to work for Mars on Slough Trading Estate.

He was a chocolate technologist and helped create the famous Galaxy bar.

 

Mr and Mrs Russell pictured three years ago during their diamond wedding celebrations.

 

Visit our diamond jubilee page for the latest diamond jubilee news.

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