The long farewell to Queen Elizabeth II is a reminder of a truth that spread across Britain with little fanfare. The nation is saying goodbye to the men and women who fought the national battle during World War II.
A mechanic and truck driver in the final months of the war, the Queen served 384,000 service personnel and 70,000 British civilians.
But like the Queen, even the youngest veteran is approaching his 100th birthday. “Isn’t it unusual that the sense of time passing is so acute now? “The Queen was the personification of that generation…and her passing is a reminder of the sense that time is in constant motion.” It felt wider in the UK than in the country. Because Britain’s very existence was threatened during the war: cities from London to Belfast were bombed, women were drafted into the war, and wartime rations did not end until her 1954. I did.
Famous for saving up her ration coupons to make a wedding dress in 1947, Elizabeth hosted a ceremony each year on the anniversary of the end of World War I to honor all the war dead in the country.
“Is she the epitome of that service-mindedness and stoic contribution?” Byrne said. “And it’s more valued than ever.” We don’t know exactly how many World War I veterans are left because there weren’t any. These numbers are expected to be released next month.
The Royal Air Force says it knows only one Battle of Britain pilot who survived. Winston Churchill is immortalized as “the few” who helped turn the tide of war. Group his captain John Hemingway celebrated his 103rd birthday in July.
However, the number of survivors is dwindling. Among those who died this year was Henriette Hannott, who shot down an Allied pilot returning home across the French border. Harry Billinge, who was only 18 years old at the time, and Douglas Newham, who survived 60 bombings as a Royal Air Force navigator.
It was a time of shared sacrifice. Princess Elizabeth at the time, like many of her teenagers, had to convince her father to allow her to join the military in 1945. When Elizabeth turned 18, King George VI exempted her from mandatory military service, stating that her training as heir to the throne was a priority. Shortage of manpower during wartime. But the princess began her war work at the age of 14, broadcasting to her displaced children, and later she tended a vegetable garden as part of the government’s “digging for victory” program. Did.
She enlisted in the Auxiliary Territorial Service in February 1945 and trained to become a military truck driver and mechanic. The ATS was the largest auxiliary service, assigning women to non-combat roles such as clerks, drivers and dispatch riders, and men to frontline duties.
The first female member of the royal family to serve in the military, Elizabeth was promoted to a brevet junior commander, equivalent to an army captain, after completing five months of training. However, the war ended before she was assigned to active duty.
“We cheered for the King and Queen on our balconies and walked for miles down the street,” she later recalled. She remembers “strangers walking arm in arm down Whitehall, all of us riding a wave of happiness and relief.” is gone.
Among them is Royal Marine Frank Boe, who helped guide the landing craft to Sword Beach on June 6, 1944, during the D-Day landings. He later appealed for the construction of a monument to commemorate his 22,442 men and women who died in action under British command at the Battle of Normandy.
A few months before he died in June at the age of 98, Beau toured the English Normandy Memorial overlooking the beach where he fought.
“I’d like to see my children come back all the time?” he said. because there is.”
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