Tuesday, April 18, 2006
There has recently been some controversy on this site (The BBC WW2 People's War Archives) regarding the date of the Victory Celebrations in Europe and whether or not there was actually a Victory Parade held in London on VJ Day itself.
Other articles have also suggested that Her Majesty the late Queen Salote of Tonga and various other foreign Royals also took part in the 1946 Victory Parade
Before adding my own views on the subject I would remind myself that Peter Ghiringhelli once unknowingly paid me a compliment by telling me I was a ‘Prime Source’ as far as research on WW2.
Peter, of course, was merely acknowledging the fact that because of my date of birth, 16th August 1923, my many photographs and my Army Records, all of which are easily verifiable, it was evident that I had actually taken part in the events about which I had written on this site. I therefore consider, if only for the purpose of credibility, that I am a fairly safe bet when it comes to giving accurate dates.
On the 15th of August 1945 VJ Day was proclaimed.
At the time I was still serving in Austria and heard on the radio, as I did on VE Day, the celebrations that were taking place back in England. I am more than certain that there was no Parade or March in London on the day, there was certainly no time to organise such an event.
It was a different matter with the Victory Parade.
On the 8th of June 1946 I was on leave from Trieste.
On the day , I got myself up silly early in order to obtain a prime position in Whitehall where I had the pleasure of seeing a fantastic parade of arms which included representatives from my own regiment, the 4th Queen’s Own Hussars.
I have no recollection or any written evidence to suggest that her Majesty Queen Salote of Tonga or indeed any other foreign Royals, took part in the Victory Parade and can only suppose that some folk are confusing this with her attendance at the coronation of HM The Queen on the 2nd June 1953
When I returned to Trieste after my leave I wrote up a page in my Army Album and a photo of that page is now shown above.
Since first writing the above I thought that in the interests of factual accuracy I should ask another party to confirm my memory of the event and I therefore wrote to the Tonga High Commission in London.
My letter, followed by their reply, should put the controversy finally to rest.
17th October 2005
Tonga High Commission
36 Molyneux Street
London W1H 5BQ
May I firstly apologise if this letter is not addressed to the right department and ask you to kindly pass it on to anyone who can be of assistance to the writer.
I am a British WW2 veteran who has written many articles on the BBC WW2 Peoples War Website. This website is shortly to become a very important archive of WW2 history and I, and others, are concerned that items included should be factually correct.
One of the articles concerns her late Majesty, the Queen of Tonga and claims that Her Majesty took part in the 1946 Victory Parade in London.
As someone who actually witnessed the 1946 parade, I have pointed out that this information is incorrect and that the writer is confusing her Majesty’s later and famous participation in the Coronation of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II on the 2nd of June 1953..
(Please see my article on: A4768040)
It would be most appreciated if you could confirm that my memory is not at fault and that Her Majesty Queen Salote did NOT attend the Victory Celebration Parade on 8th June 1946.
With many thanks for your trouble
Reply received by e-mail:
19th October 2005-10-19
Subject: Re-1946 Victory Parade in London
From: (writers name withheld by Ron)
Dear Mr Goldstein,
Thank you for drawing our attention to the article on BBC and we wish to confirm that Her late, Majesty the Queen of Tonga did not attend the Victory Celebration Parade on 8th June 1946.
With best wishes,
Tonga High Commission
Regards to all