Who’s that with the King?

King George VI talking to a man wearing a uniform of unknown origin while on a tour of Portsmouth Dockyard on November 16, 1944
King George VI talking to a man wearing a uniform of unknown origin while on a tour of Portsmouth Dockyard on November 16, 1944
Two clerks on duty in James Taylors offices in Old Portsmouth. 			 (Robert James collection)

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Here’s a poser for you. Any idea who the chap in the picture on the right might be?

No, not the King, but the man to whom the King is speaking.

The photograph, along with those in our picture package, comes from the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, where Bob Todd is cataloguing a large collection of glass plate negatives.

He wonders if readers recognise anyone.

They were all taken in Portsmouth Dockyard and the one of George VI was taken on November 16, 1944.

He is talking to a man wearing a uniform of unknown origin.

He is accompanied by the Admiral Superintendent of the Dockyard, Vice-Admiral Marshal Llewelyn Clarke.

The King and the Vice-Admiral are wearing greatcoats.

A line of naval ratings and junior officers are in the background and dockyard employees are crowding every vantage point.

Bob says: ‘It is one of 15 taken on the day and is the only one where the King is talking to an individual.

‘The others show him boarding Victory, on board the Indefatigable in D Lock inspecting divisions, and walking through the yard.

‘Unfortunately I have been unable to identify this individual or even to identify his uniform.

‘He may be a member of one of the allied navies or he may be a uniformed civilian.’

Bob is also hoping readers will be able to put names to the faces in the remaining three pictures.

Below (left) four women are sorting salvage on a conveyor belt in a Dockyard workshop.

The belt contains wood, paper, rags and other items. There are four storage bins by the belt, one is for rags and one for metal.

The labels for the remaining two are not visible.

On the opposite page is a picture taken on August 10, 1943, showing the Canadian Mobile Kitchen parked outside the Porter’s Lodge in College Road.

The kitchen was presented by Keele Street Public School, Keele Street, Toronto, Canada to the yard ‘for the use of officers and men and women of the yard’.

If you can shed some light on the Dockyard Royal visit picture, or if you have nostalgic pictures you would like to see published here, write to Chris Owen at The News Centre, Hilsea, Portsmouth PO2 9SX or email him at chris.owen@thenews.co.uk