From GDP/59 – CW
CW (1903-1989) was in the Royal Navy during the Second World War. We also hold the diaries of his parents, ref. GDP/57 and GDP/58 respectively. W later wrote a memoir of his wartime experiences, a part of which, dealing with the presentation of a medal, is reproduced here.
On my return I found I had been awarded a BEM for services on the Hermione and was sent to Buckingham Palace to receive it from King George VI. I had rather an embarrassing experience, as I arrived at the gates with my wife and young son, a lady dropped a young child in my arms and asked me to take it in to the investiture, as she just found out it could have gone in with its father, who had already gone in. I said no, I will ask him to come out and fetch the child, if you tell me his name? She said he was flying officer so & so. I asked the secretary who was ticking us off if he had anyone of that name on his list, and he said no. So I was nearly conned into taking an unknown child into Buckingham Palace. I was surprised at the King’s memory, as I was about the 50th on the list, and the King hadn’t spoken to anyone all the time he was on the dais, but when he gave me my BEM he said you have received another decoration before this, what was it, and what ship? so I had to tell him it was being mentioned in despatches while serving on HMS Curlew.