Heartbreaking tale of Portsmouth children who met the King: RETRO
In 1945 three young girls were taken to Buckingham Palace to meet King George VI and be presented with medals, pictured above, posthumously awarded to the late fathers.
On the left is Jennifer Gott, aged three, who along with her six-year-old sister Eileen went to the palace with their mother to collect medals awarded to Lieutenant-General William Gott killed in action in the Middle East.
‘The King told me he was sorry he never met my husband’, said Mrs Gott. ‘He asked me about my daughters and I told him my husband had never met Jennifer. I was expecting her when he went away and he never returned to see her’.
Centre is Janet Walker who collected the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) posthumously awarded to her father, Frederick Walker, Coastal Command Pilot.
He sank seven enemy supply ships in 10 days off Norway.
On the right is Maureen Simmonds who travelled to London from Gosport to collect her late father’s Distinguished Service Medal.
He was Leading Seaman Rex Simmonds who was lost along with all hands when the submarine HMS Upholder was believed to have been sunk by depth charge north-east of Tripoli.
These are just three children from thousands who had to grow up without ever knowing their father. I wonder if any of the three still survive.
Roger Young, for 40 years a Portsmouth Parks Department employee, was looking through a skip some years ago and came across 30 photographs of Southsea that had been dumped.
He has loaned them to me for your enjoyment over the coming weeks.
The scene, right, is looking across South Parade to Canoe Lake towards the Royal Marines barracks at Eastney.
One very important item missing from the photograph is the D-Day Memorial. It was unveiled by Field Marshal Montgomery of Alamein on June 6, 1948.
It was all done in haste apparently and the year 1945 was put and not 1944. This unveiling helps us to date the photograph to between 1945 and 1948.
The non-polluting trolleybuses are running around, unfortunately they are long-gone.
I was walking in West Street, Havant recently and came across what I believe to be an old fuse box from the days when Portsmouth had it own electricity company, below left.
The box is against a wall on the junction with Brockhampton Lane.
As can be seen, there is the city coat of arms with lettering above stating, ‘City of Portsmouth Electricity’.
Can anyone enlighten me as to how old this box might be?
Royal Navy boxing contests were always well attended by servicemen and the general public alike. News photographer Roy West was on the scene to record these punches. Does anyone know the boxers or the referee?