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Chelsea Pensioners Founders Day Parade, 6 June

The Master was very privileged to be invited to the Chelsea Pensioners Founders Day Parade on 6th June. The Founder's Day parade, which is also known as Oak Apple Day (to remember the tree Charles II hid in to escape) is a celebration of the Royal Hospital's inauguration in 1692 and is attended by most Chelsea Pensioners, except for those who this year were attending the celebrations of the 75th Anniversary of D Day on the Normandy beaches in France. There are twelve veterans who fought on D Day, resident at the Hospital. The parade is always held on a date close to 29th May – the birthday of Charles II and the date of his restoration as King in 1660.

A member of the Royal Family attends the parade each year and reviews Veterans from The Royal Hospital, who now number almost 300. This year the Reviewing Officer was Prince Harry, the Duke of Sussex, who also made time before the parade to tour the Margaret Thatcher Infirmary, which is home to some of the Hospital's less able Veterans. During his speech Prince Harry said:

"I am honoured to be at the Royal Hospital today as your Reviewing Officer once again, on this the 75th Anniversary of D-Day. Not only is today a prominent historical occasion, it is also a special day in the Royal Hospital calendar - bringing together families, old friends and the chance to make new ones."

The Master met two members of the antecedent regiments of the Mercians and photographs are attached. The Master, resplendent in his Oak branch, is welcomed by Sgt Jim Fellows, seen with his family visiting from the USA and WO2 John Byrne who has been at the Hospital for about a year now.

As always, I was honoured to be invited and share in such a special day.

Ian Spring
June 2019

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