Massed gathering of veterans on Southsea Common to celebrate King's birthday: RETRO

The Kings Birthday Parade on Southsea Common, 1935. Picture: The News archive
The Kings Birthday Parade on Southsea Common, 1935. Picture: The News archive
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I mentioned here last week about the way Portsmouth always did things in a big way. I suppose the city still does if you look back at this year’s D-Day 75 events when President Trump attended the commemorations with the Queen on Southsea Common.

Before the Second World War there was always a large parade on Southsea common to celebrate the King’s birthday.

Twenty-seven stones Teddy Brown promoting a miniature vehicle in 1936.

Twenty-seven stones Teddy Brown promoting a miniature vehicle in 1936.

Thousands of residents attended to witness the magnificent ceremonial parade of the fighting services.

The finale was always a march past which, in 1935, included 400 former servicemen.

As can be seen in this somewhat faded photograph, the men are all of an age. So, apart from First World War veterans there must also be men here who saw action in South Africa during the Boer wars.

With the charity Help the Heroes being such a success perhaps this ceremony could be reintroduced?

The song sung by Portsmouth paraffin salesman James Edward.

The song sung by Portsmouth paraffin salesman James Edward.

I know there are thousands of ex-servicemen and women living in the city and surrounding area and I am sure it would be a well-attended event. 

I know it is some years ago but does anyone recognise the flag being flown?

• In 1936 the United Services Garage in Grove Road South, Southsea, was managed by the legendary Major Douglas Sharp.

Always with a keen eye for promoting his garage, Major Sharp would, at the drop of a hat, engage the services of any visiting personality to publicise his business.

As promised, the final photo of boys from Portsmouth Technical College, 1947. Picture: Jon Cole

As promised, the final photo of boys from Portsmouth Technical College, 1947. Picture: Jon Cole

In 1936 the ample Teddy Brown, a brilliant xylophonist who weighed 27 stones, was used to advertise the Scoota-car.

The photograph comes from Bygone Portsmouth by Peter Rogers and David Francis and I have never heard of this Vauxhall model.

Perhaps the car enthusiasts who supply me with so much material can help?

• As promised, here we see, on the facing page, the right hand side of the group photograph of the boys from Portsmouth Technical College in 1947.

Thanks to all those who got in touch and explained where you were in the group.

• For the amusement of all you piano players I have published this sheet music of a song sung by paraffin salesman James Edward who died in 1933.

Edward rose to fame in Portsea for saving no fewer than 28 lives from fire and flooding.

I suppose being a street walker he would have been on hand whenever something became amiss and he jumped in to assist and save the unfortunate person who was in danger.

I like the last two lines: ‘Any-one can kiss me, while I fill her cans.’ 

I wonder if he was successful...