Photographs from the Queen.
Throughout the U.K. in almost every club or branch where ex-servicemen meet you will see a photograph of Her Majesty the Queen and HRH. The Duke of Edinburgh, but how many have actually been signed by them personally?
Three years after her Coronation on 2nd June 1953, the Royal Artillery Club in Glasgow decided to try and obtain a photograph of Her Majesty and The Duke of Edinburgh, as the club already had signed photographs of the Queen Mother and her late husband George V1, the club President Mr. D.M.Sutherland suggested that the club should make every effort to try and get photographs, not copies or prints, but specially signed ones to match those of the late King and Queen.
Mr. Sutherland thought the first step would be to get the support of the R.A.A. Scottish Region, unfortunately Captain P.Ellis, Secretary of Region was unable to give any assistance and advised that the club should make a direct approach to London.
Although the President’s task was described as mission impossible, he was determined to pursue the matter and promptly sent off a letter to the Palace. He received a reply on 8th January 1957. It explained that Her Majesty would only sign photographs for special occasions, such as official openings or in the case of Associations, one for the Regiment after which copies or prints could be made and distributed to the various units. It also advised where copies could be obtained from various sources.
On hearing about the letter, the Brigadier R.A. Edinburgh General Sir Cameron Nicholson requested a copy be sent to his office , he promised that in view of the work the club had carried out during the difficult times relating to the R.A.A. re-organisation, he would try to put forward the club’s request.
On the 5th March 1957 the Secretary of the Scottish Region sent a letter informing the club that the Brigadier R.A. had been appointed Master Gunner, and said that during the coming year he intended to visit the Memorial Houses in Mosspark, and that hopefully he would be able to call in on his visit. On Sunday 17th November the Master Gunner accompanied by Brigadier C.F.Livingstone kept his word and came to meet the members of the club.
During the Club’s A.G.M. on 10th December 1957, the President notified the members that the Queen had politely refused their request for signed photographs; however the Master Gunner had intimated that he would visit the club early in 1958 and would have one last try at persuading the Palace. He returned on the 19th January. accompanied by the B.R.A. and C.R.A. also in the party was Captain P. Ellis, after his visit the Master Gunner sent a letter thanking the club for the hospitality, also that he was to have an audience with the Queen and would keep in mind the question of signed photographs.
Brigadier Teacher, the club Hon. President, paid a visit to Baron Studios on 16th July 1959 and chose the latest photograph of H.M. the Queen wearing the Order of the Garter and one of the Duke of Edinburgh in blue Army No 1 Dress. The photographs are 30”x 22” and hopefully will be signed at Balmoral when the Queen returns from her tour of Canada. The Queen’s Private Secretary, Colonel Martin Charteris and the Master Gunner, General Sir Cameron Nicholson added their support and were hopeful the club would eventually acquire the signed photographs.
At the club’s AGM Brigadier Teacher was pleased to inform the members that at long last, our Captain General Her Majesty The Queen had consented to autograph for the club, a photograph. HRH the Duke of Edinburgh would do likewise. This was confirmed by a letter from the Queens Secretary. Barron Studios would send the photographs to the Palace for signatures.
The photographs and letter of confirmation were framed and placed in a prominent place in the club rooms where they remained until the club closed in 1991, it was agreed that for reasons of security the photographs, along with other items relevant to the R.A.A. should be sent to Artillery House, Crow Road, Glasgow, the resident home of the Glasgow Branch.
Having served as Secretary of the Club from 1965 up until the Club closed in 1991, I was responsible for ensuring that certain items were to be handed over to the Branch for safe keeping, the full list was as follows:
1 x Model 25 Pounder
1 x Model Siege Gun
2 x Photos by Baron of HRH The Queen and Prince Philip
Certificate from Queen’s Private Secretary Colonel Martin Charteris confirming the photographs had been personally signed.
2 x Signed photographs of Queen Mother and King George.
1 x Photograph of Major W. Ritchie, Club and Branch Chairman (1930-1945)
1 x Framed Royal Artillery Charter, 10 Battery R.A.
2 x Large Mirrors with engraved R.A. Badge.
All Minute books and Ledgers from the conception of the Club and Branch formed in 1928 until 1985.
At the time of writing the minute books are in the possession of the Branch Chairman Mr.D.R.Kelly, the Guns were returned to the family of the member who presented them to the Club, and the Charter was handed into 10 Battery.
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