King was greeted like modern pop star, without the security – NOSTALGIA

Last Thursday I published a photograph of King Edward VIII being driven along Albert Road, Southsea, during a visit to Portsmouth to inspect his navy.

Wednesday, 24th April 2019, 10:33 am
King Edward VIII at King George V playing fields, Cosham, 1936. Picture: Michael Harris collection.

Michael Harris has sent me three photographs of the King when he mingled with the people of Portsmouth including at Cosham where thousands of children were given the day off school to glimpse him.

What it must have meant to Portsmouth people I cannot say, but by the look on the faces of the boys on the left he appears to have been greeted like a modern day pop star.

The King, in his dress coat as admiral of the fleet, was escorted by officers and civic dignitaries around King George V playing fields.

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Some of the schoolgirls at Cosham in June 1936 to greet King Edward VIII.

In those days there was little if any danger of royalty being touched and there was no security tape to keep spectators back.

I often wondered what my parents meant when they talked about how wonderful this man was and how devastated they were when he gave it all up just six months later amid the abdication crisis.

I will publish another of Michael’s photographs tomorrow.

The picture on the facing page shows many of the girls who were given the day off school in June 1936 to greet Edward VIII at the recreation ground.

The letter received by Captain Gordon Walwyn after arrival in Colombo, in what was then called Ceylon.

These girls would be in their mid-nineties now, but if there are any survivors I’d love to hear from them .

• There was a time when many of the countries and states ruled by some president, king or despot were called ‘tin pot countries’.

They were ruled by some army general, perhaps by the skin of their teeth before being overthrown and another took over for as long as it lasted.

These people thought they were ruling some landed country whom our Queen would like to have for tea and a chat one day.

1960s' entertainment at the Sunshine, Hayling Island when Scene 67 entertained the holiday crowds.

When HMS Falmouth was on a tour of the Middle East in 1972 Captain Walwyn received a request from the 'King of Life’ when the ship docked at Colombo, in what was then called Ceylon, now Sri Lanka.

The King was quite abrupt as to what he needed, even thinking he wa s going to be a passenger on Falmouth back to Portsmouth. More than that, he addressed the letter to the SS Falmouth. He was of course, given short shrift and no more was heard from the King of Life. The letter is reproduced here.

• The trio from the 1960s were called Scene 67 and were part of the evening entertainment at the Sunshine Holiday camp on Hayling Island.

From left to right we have Michael Giles, George Callow and David Giles. Did this threesome go on to greater things I wonder?