Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Prince Philip 90 today

On Prince Philip's 90th birthday, we seem to be affectionately celebrating his famous verbal gaffes, so looking back to a report in The Daily Express of 2 April 1957, let's remind ourselves they're by no means a new trait!

The day before he had attended the London premiere of Yangtse Incident - The Story of HMS Amethyst - a fitting patron, given his sterling service with the Royal Navy during the Second World War on the destroyers HMS Wallace (during the Invasion of Sicily), and HMS Whelp in the Pacific....
    Last Night was blue moon night for Prince Philip.
    He was walking along a line of six petty officer survivors of H.M.S. Amethyst, at the premiere of the film Yangtse Incident in the foyer of the Plaza Theatre.
    Commander Kerans of the Amethyst was making the introductions. Prince Philip said a word here, and a word there.
    Then he stopped squarely in front of the third man, Chief Petty Officer Leonard Williams, who was senior engine room artificer in the Amethyst.
    "And what ship are you serving now?" asked Prince Philip.
    C.P.O. Williams looked surprised. He gulped slightly. "In the royal yacht, Sir. I've been in her three and a half years, Sir."
    Prince Philip looked shocked. Then confused. His face turned pink. He mumbled an apology, and went on down the line.
    A couple of seconds later he was back again in front of C.P.O. Williams, blushing hard.
    "I'm really very sorry; what a blunder I've made... the biggest blunder ever," said Prince Philip.
    C.P.O. Williams, 37, stocky, and reliable, who rose magnificently to the occasion when the Amethyst wanted everything she had from the engine room in the Yangtse, was up to this one too.
    He just smiled quietly and said: "That's all right, Sir - one can't remember everybody."


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Blogger Pinball Karma said...

I knew Len Williams - he was a mate of my grandfather Vic Jelley who was a fellow CPO on the Britannia. When I was a nipper he used to give me 50ps (a lot of money at the time!)
He was a very lovable, jolly fellow and I only learnt later what he'd been through in WWII (PoW with the Japanese for most of WWII and then the Yangtze incident! I'm pretty sure both he and my grandad were given the 'cushy' CPO billet on the Britannia as a reward.) This story is typical of both men in regards tp their affable humility and understated heroism. They never thought twice about making a fuss or blowing their trumpet - to them it was just what you did.

29 May 2015 at 17:02  

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