BBC HomeExplore the BBC
This page has been archived and is no longer updated. Find out more about page archiving.

15 October 2014
WW2 - People's War

BBC Homepage
BBC History
WW2 People's War Homepage Archive List Timeline About This Site

Contact Us

Shaking Hands with the Queen

by Neal Wreford

Contributed by 
Neal Wreford
People in story: 
Michael Henry Foster
Location of story: 
Background to story: 
Civilian Force
Article ID: 
Contributed on: 
24 September 2004

I was born just before WW1 in January 1914. By January 1940, I was too old to volunteer and was exempt anyway as I was a farmer. Instead, I joined the Home Guard, being appointed Lieutenant in charge of the Gravenhurst platoon. My younger brother was an engineer apprentice and joined the Navy Anti Submarine Unit, and my sister became a nurse. My father, who had been an ambulance driver in France during WW1 helped ferry small boats around our coast in WW2.

On the farm I had at successive times three Italian Prisoners followed by three Germans. I remember on a foggy day a German bomber flying low overhead to drop a string of bombs which just missed RAF Henlow. Later in the war, RAF Wellingtons flew low over in droves to bomb Germany.

My Home Guard Battalion commander was Lt Col. Michael Bowes Lyon, elder brother of the Queen Elizabeth, who paid a special visit to inspect the Battalion at Biggleswade. As an officer, I was privileged to shake hands with her.

© Copyright of content contributed to this Archive rests with the author. Find out how you can use this.

Archive List

This story has been placed in the following categories.

Home Guard Category
Prisoners of War Category
Bedfordshire Category
icon for Story with photoStory with photo

Most of the content on this site is created by our users, who are members of the public. The views expressed are theirs and unless specifically stated are not those of the BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of any external sites referenced. In the event that you consider anything on this page to be in breach of the site's House Rules, please click here. For any other comments, please Contact Us.

About the BBC | Help | Terms of Use | Privacy & Cookies Policy