Posts Tagged ‘Prince’

Prince Harry poses with Battle of Britain veteran on 2015 Christmas card

December 23rd, 2015

During the event, a total of 33 Spitfires, Hurricanes and Bristol Blenheim bombers flew from Goodwood Aerodrome in West Sussex before dispersing across wartime airfields over the South of England.

A Kensington Palace spokesman said: “Prince Harry has chosen this photograph with Battle of Britain veteran Tom Neil for his Christmas card.

“He considered it a great honour to meet Tom during the Battle of Britain flypast in September. It was one of his most memorable moments of 2015.”

The picture was taken by the Press Association’s veteran royal photographer John Stillwell.

Harry gave up his seat to ensure veteran Tom ‘Ginger’ Neil and two wounded servicemen could still take part in the biggest gathering of Battle of Britain aircraft since the Second World War.

Around 40 Spitfires, Hurricanes and Bristol Blenheim bombers are flying in formation from Goodwood Aerodrome in West Sussex before dispersing across wartime airfields over the South of England.

The Prince was due to have a seat in one of four two-seater Spitfires taking part in the flypast. But when one of the vintage aircraft developed mechanical problems, he decided to step aside to ensure the event’s special guests would still get to fly.

His spokesman said he wanted to make sure that Mr Neil would still be able to take part. And he wanted to ensure that a former para and an RAF corporal who won places on a Spitfire scholarship training programme were also still able to take part in the display.

Tom Neil - the man Prince Harry gave his seat up for in the Battle of Britain tribute

Last week, Kensington Palace released a touching family photo of Prince William and Kate and their two children George and Princess Charlotte.

In the image they are crouching down and Kate balances her daughter on her knee while her son stands next to her – and all four smile for the photographer.

Merry Christmas from The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince George and Princess Charlotte

The photograph of the Duke and Duchess and their children will be used on their official Christmas card.

The card will be sent to organisations and individuals the royal couple are associated with.

31 things you didn’t know about Prince Harry
The best and worst politician Christmas cards of 2015


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Prince Harry and Duke of Edinburgh visit Field of Remembrance

November 6th, 2015

The Duke of Edinburgh and Prince Harry have paid tribute to Britain’s fallen soldiers by opening Westminster Abbey’s Field of Remembrance.

Both Philip and Harry laid their crosses of remembrance in front of two wooden crosses from the graves of unknown British soldiers from the First and Second World Wars.

Prince Harry meets members of the armed forces and veterans during a Service in the Field of Remembrance at Westminster Abbey (Getty)

The Last Post was played before a two-minute silence. The prince and his grandfather then walked around plots containing more than 100,000 crosses and chatted to veterans and families of those who had lost loved ones.

The Duke wore his Royal Navy day ceremonial uniform and an overcoat, while Harry wore his Blues and Royals frock coat.


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Prince Harry meets veterans and pays tribute to bomb disposal experts during service at St Pauls

October 26th, 2015

In a poignant address, Mr Kirkpatrick told the congregation: “It is extremely difficult to put into words what Jamie’s loss has meant to us, his family and his many friends.

Prince Harry arrives at St.Pauls (AP)

“We recall many family celebrations and events that would, under normal circumstances, be a source of happiness, but which are now inevitably a source of sadness too.

“We continue to reflect on all the ongoing events that he is now not around to witness and therefore seem somehow incomplete.”

Cpl Kirkpatrick was born in Edinburgh and lived in Llanelli in South Wales. Harry spoke to his family, including his young daughter Polly, at the end of the service.

Wearing a blue civilian suit with three medals pinned to his chest, Harry also spoke to former servicemen badly injured while serving in the forces.

They included Sappers Clive Smith, 30, from Walsall in the West Midlands, and Jack Cummings, 27, from Didcot in Oxfordshire. Both men lost their legs on a tour of duty in Afghanistan.

Mr Smith said he chatted with Harry about the Prince’s Invictus Games for injured servicemen, having taken part last year in the handcycling events.

“He is always very approachable and interested in what you have to say,” Mr Smith said.

Harry meets former bomb-disposal personnell at St.Pauls (Getty)

Discussing the service, he said: “It was quite emotional. It brings back memories of events you would rather forget but it was a very good service.”

Serving and retired members of the EOD community will deliver accounts of the conflicts and the part played by EOD units.

Officially formed in October 1940, the original Royal Engineers bomb disposal unit played an important role in the Second World War, dealing with tens of thousands of unexploded bombs in the UK and overseas.

Since then, bomb disposal has expanded from the Royal Engineers to function across the armed forces.

Mr Holland, best known for his long-running BBC Two music programme, has been honorary Colonel of the 101 Engineer Regiment since 2012.

Prince Harry leaves St.Pauls (PA)

He told the congregation that from its origins in the Second World War “this story of human courage is set in such contrast to the evil of indiscriminate destruction; and of the danger of unexploded ordnance, improvised explosive devices, and mines that remain such a threat to life and limb.”

He added: “The story of the men and women who have worked in explosive ordnance disposal is the story of teamwork and bravery, and often of great personal cost and the ultimate sacrifice.”

He also said it was important to remember we had once been “on the other side” and offer remembrance for German civilians who “still live with the legacy of our own weapons dropped in towns and cities that we once targeted for destruction in the battle against tyranny.”


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Prince Harry gives up Battle of Britain flypast Spitfire seat for RAF veteran

September 19th, 2015

Tom Neil - the man Prince Harry gave his seat up for in the Battle of Britain tribute

His spokesman said he wanted to make sure that 95-year-old Mr Neil, an ex-wing commander and Battle of Britain Hurricane and Spitfire pilot, would still be able to take part.

And he wanted to ensure that a former para and an RAF corporal who won places on a Spitfire scholarship training programme were also still able to take part in the display.

Security officials tell Prince to stand back and not cross runway at Goodwood Aerodrome as he inspects planes taking part in 75th anniversary flypast

Nathan Forster, a former private in the Parachute Regiment, from South Shields, Tyne and Wear, suffered severe damage to his left leg in an IED blast while on patrol in Helmand Province, Afghanistan, in 2011. And Corporal Alan Robinson, an RAF aircraft technician, from Market Rasen, Lincolnshire, lost a leg in a motorbike accident.

Earlier, Harry – sporting a rugged beard – was pictured with a full beard as he set off on foot to inspect the aircraft lined up by the grass runway – and was admonished within minutes.

But, as his group began to cross the runway, a security vehicle came speeding up and stopped the Prince and his group in their tracks.

He could be seen being told to stand back and not cross the runway and a few minutes later a small aircraft came in to land.

Prince Harry (second right) walks with (from left) Cpl. Alan Robinson, Nathan Forster and Matt Jones director of the Boultbee Flight Academy, past Battle of Britain aircraft at Goodwood Aerodrome

Harry was then cleared to cross and continue his inspection as rain poured down on the airfield.

The Prince was due to fly in the Spitfire PV202 piloted by John Romain, managing director of the Aircraft Restoration Company at Duxford, Cambridgeshire.

But he will no longer be flying in the display as one of the four two-seater Spitfires has suffered mechanical problems.

The aerial display will be a tribute to the Second World War pilots famously dubbed “The Few” by wartime prime minister Winston Churchill for their efforts in defeating the Luftwaffe.

The Battle of Britain, as it happened on September 15, 1940

During the summer and autumn of 1940, 544 personnel from Fighter Command died as the RAF fought in the skies above southern England to force back the threat of any invasion by Hitler.

The 75th anniversary is likely to be the last major anniversary at which the surviving members of the pivotal conflict – who are now all well into their 90s – will be fit to take part.

Mr Neil, 95, an ex-wing commander and Battle of Britain Hurricane and Spitfire pilot, will lead the formation from the rear of a two-seater Spitfire – the symbol of Britain’s fight against Nazi forces.

The event has been organised by the Boultbee Flight Academy, based in Chichester, and two of the aircraft – a Spitfire and a Hurricane – fought in the famous battle.

Prince Harry sported a birthday beard at the Battle of Britain fleet inspection

The Prince had ditched the razor during his summer working on conservation projects in Africa. And he kept his new look on his return to the UK, showing off a rugged ginger beard on Tuesday morning.

It is not the first time the fifth in line to the throne has grown a beard. Most recently he sported facial hair after his trek to the South Pole with wounded servicemen in December 2013.

Harry had shaved it off by the time he appeared at a press conference to discuss the event in January 2014, amid reports the Queen did not approve of her grandson’s “Windsor whiskers”.

The Queen did not mind royal men growing beards while they were away with the armed forces, but she expected them to be clean-shaven when they were home, it was reported.

Prince Harry pictured with a beard

The Duke of Cambridge grew a beard when he joined the Special Boat Service on a mission to Barbados in 2008. He kept it over the Christmas period and gave the public their first glimpse after a festive church service at Sandringham, Norfolk.

William and Harry followed in the footsteps of their father, the Prince of Wales, who was pictured sporting a beard at the Badminton Horse Trials in 1976.

The Duke of Edinburgh was also photographed with a well-groomed beard while on active service in the Royal Navy during the Second World War.


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A flypast worthy of ‘The Few’ – even if the Prince stayed grounded

September 16th, 2015

Yet even for those watching from the ground, the flypast made quite some spectacle. Around 40 Spitfires, Hurricanes and a Bristol Blenheim bomber soared up from the aerodrome before dispersing and flying in formation across wartime airfields dotted all over the south of the country.

The fighter planes flew in groups of four, the unmistakeable snub-nosed Spitfires and sleek Hurricanes banking over Cambridgeshire, Norfolk and the waters of the Solent.

For the few dozen surviving pilots of the 3,000 heroes of the Battle of Britain, the battle for national survival which raged above England in the summer and autumn of 1940, there was an acceptance that yesterday’s scenes will be the last major anniversary they will be able to take part in.

Even the most stoic among them are getting on, and Wing Commander Neil, who during the dogfights 75 years ago brought down 14 enemy planes, admitted that when he approached the Spitfire cockpit he did have some reservations about actually getting in.

“I’m not a young man anymore and not very good at bending in the middle, so I didn’t think I was going to do it,” he said. “But after a couple of minutes or so inside it felt absolutely normal, if a bit lumpy.

“I kept a careful eye on the instruments and made sure they didn’t get out of control. I also kept looking among the clouds for any Germans.”

Tom Neil - the man Prince Harry gave his seat up for in the Battle of Britain tribute

Wing Commander Neil, who flew a Hurricane during the Battle of Britain but has also flown 22 different marks of Spitfire, claims during wartime the pilots rarely experienced any issues with their planes. “Of course back then we were dealing with brand new engines,” he said.

As for the Prince’s willingness to offer up his seat, he says he deserves a medal.

“He is a lovely boy. I don’t think he ever expected me to come back alive but when we landed he gave me my stick back and congratulated me. I said, ‘there is nothing to congratulate me about’.”

Security officials tell Prince to stand back and not cross runway at Goodwood Aerodrome as he inspects planes taking part in 75th anniversary flypast

At the beginning of the Battle of Britain, just 640 RAF Fighter Command planes were pitched into battle against 2,600 of their Luftwaffe counterparts. September 15 is seen as the pivotal day of the war within a war, when the Germans launched their largest and most concentrated assault on London, and British Spitfires and Hurricanes repelled waves of attacks.

In total between July and October, 544 personnel from Fighter Command were killed. Their heroic efforts were enough to prompt Hitler to abandon Operation Sealion, his plan to invade Britain.

On the day itself 75 years ago, the planes zipped through blue skies, but yesterday’s looming cloud banks led to the flypast being delayed for two hours.

The poor weather, and the grounded Spitfire, were not the only hitches. Prior to the display, Prince Harry was also stopped by a security vehicle as he attempted to cross the runway because of an incoming small aircraft. Security staff at the airfield raced up to the Prince and asked him and his group to stop. He duly moved aside and waited for the plane, which landed a couple of minutes later.

The Prince, however, grinned his way through such minor tribulations, meeting numerous veterans who had attended. A Royal spokesman yesterday described him as being “incredibly honoured” to be part of the event, not least because it coincided with his birthday.

The other two veterans invited to take part in the flypast had both won places on a Spitfire scholarship programme which trains wounded servicemen to fly vintage aircraft.

The scholarship was established by the Boultbee Flight Academy and is supported by the Royal Foundation of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry’s Endeavour Fund – which donates money and offers practical help to sporting and adventure challenges for wounded ex-service personnel.

Nathan Forster, a former private in the Parachute Regiment, from South Shields, Tyne and Wear, who suffered severe damage to his left leg in an IED blast while on patrol in Helmand Province in 2011, won a place on the scheme alongside Corporal Alan Robinson, an RAF aircraft technician from Market Rasen, Lincolnshire, who lost a leg in a motorbike accident that same year.

The training programme the pair followed was similar to that of their WWII predecessors, undertaking their first flights in a Tiger Moth and Harvard, before finally getting into the cockpit of a Spitfire itself

The Spitfire PV202 that Forster took Prince Harry’s place in was piloted by John Romain, managing director of the Aircraft Restoration Company at Duxford, Cambridgeshire. It has carried out 20 operational sorties with 10 pilots during the Second World War.

Back in April, Forster said that flying a Spitfire through the programme would be the culmination of a dream come true.


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Prince Charles and Camilla join ‘The Few’ remembering the Battle of Britain

September 21st, 2014

The annual service remembered the bravery shown by the pilots who overcame almost insurmountable odds to claim victory against the German Luftwaffe and 544 RAF pilots and aircrew who died.

British pilots were joined by others from the world, with men from Australia, Belgium, Canada, France and more taking part in the battle which raged from July to October 1940.

Having thwarted the German invasion, the fighters inspired Winston Churchill’s famous claim that “never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few.”

Those who fought in the battle became known as “The Few”.

Jonathan Chaffey, RAF chaplain-in-chief, told the congregation the battle was a daily routine of “adrenaline and fear,” and “camaraderie and loss” but said it highlighted the strength of the human spirit.

He said: “(There was) the sacrifice of ‘The Few’ but also the industry and determination of the many, a whole force in a great cause.

“The Battle of Britain deserves a special place in our corporate minds.”

After the service Spitfire pilot Ken Wilkinson, 96, who served with inspirational Second World War flying ace Sir Douglas Bader, said of the Battle of Britain: “It was a damn close thing.

“We were lucky that Hitler decided to invade Russia. He knew that he would get beaten here so he sloped off.”

Mr Wilkinson, of Solihull, stood near Prince Charles during the flypast and said later: “My eyesight is not too good but I heard them, and that brings back memories.”

Those who served in the battle did not feel like heroes, he said, adding: “We knew that the war was coming, only someone with half a mind could not have thought that the war was coming.

“I joined the RAF volunteer reserve to get some flying in because I knew it was needed.

“The lady in my life at the time who I thought I was going to marry objected because she thought she would not see me but I thought it was my duty to get the flying hours in.”

As the number of remaining veterans gets ever smaller, Mr Wilkinson hopes there will be a renewed emphasis on teaching youngsters about the Battle of Britain and Second World War.

“There needs to be some method so that the memories are not lost,” he said.

Other RAF veterans watched in wonder yesterday as the last two airworthy Lancaster bombers in the world flew over the reservoir where they trained for the famous Dambusters raid.

The Lancasters passed Derwent Dam in Derbyshire three times in tribute to the Dambusters crews and those killed in World War Two.

They have been united for a series of events in the UK this year with one, Thumper, is based in Lincolnshire, while the other, Vera, has been shipped over from Canada.

Crew members who flew on the Dambusters raid included 29 Canadians, adding to the significance of the flypast.

Retired Sqn Ldr Stuart Reid, who has flown the RAF’s Battle of Britain Memorial Flight (BBMF) Lancaster, said: “It was very much a British and Foreign and Commonwealth attack against the dams, as was much of the bombing campaign fought against Germany during the Second World War.”

Meanwhile across the English Channel another major milestone of the Second World War was being remembered.

In Holland, veterans were joined by schoolchildren who lay wreaths in Oosterbeek War Cemetery to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Arnhem, in which allied forces were dropped behind German lines near Arnhem and defeated after days of fighting.

The battle, in which thousands of lives were lost, was the inspiration for the film A Bridge Too Far.

Private Steve Morgan who fought in the Battle of Arnhem with 2nd Battalion The Parachute Regiment, and was said to be the last man off the bridge, attended the service alongside other veterans including Colonel John Waddy.


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Prince Harry remembers New Zealand’s war dead at Monte Cassino

May 19th, 2014

During the memorial, Maori service personnel from the New Zealand armed forces performed a ceremonial chant, marching together with Prince Harry and other participants.

The battle, one of the bloodiest of World War II, over the ancient monastery was waged for four months. Victory was decided on the May 18, 1944 when Allied bombers reduced Monte Cassino to rubble.

The Allies are thought to have sustained 55,000 casualties during the struggle to push German troops from the crest of the towering hill some 130 km (85 miles) south of Rome.

An estimated 20,000 Germans were killed or wounded in the battle.

Source: RTV


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