Rianne Harney finishes the tale of the time Prince Edward of Wales came to the port.
The streets were a blaze of colour, and even the weather favoured the occasion with a glorious summers day, with just the touch of haze to temper the heat of the sun. A literal blaze of triumph.
Between 8am and 10.30am, the Ferry Steamers brought 2,000 people over to Fleetwood from Knott End and Over Wyre.
Almost everyone was out on the streets and waiting, with most businesses having closed for the hours of the Prince’s visit. The crowds were such that some had climbed to the roof of the Railway Station and onto Queens Terrace to gain a better view.
The train arrived right on time, carrying the prince and his entourage. As the prince stepped down onto the station platform, accompanied by Lord Derby and Lord Stanley, it was to a vociferous welcome. The prince could be seen from afar, coming down the platform by the jaunty walk that characterised him.
He was dressed in a light grey check suit, wore a bowler hat and carried a silver mounted walking stick.
The first person who greeted His Royal Highness was a cinema photographer. The camera he operated had an electric attachment to it, which buzzed away causing the prince to jocosely enquire if it was loaded.
Fleetwood dignitaries met the prince next, with Lord Derby introducing Coun W E Simpson, before the councillor then introduced the others. Those presented included Rev G Weston – Vicar of Fleetwood, Rev A Bailey – Chairman of the Higher Educational Committee, James Robertson OBE – President of the Fleetwood Fishing Vessel Owners Association, Mr William Swales – President of the Fleetwood Chamber of Trade and Mr T Oldham – Railway Station Superintendent.
One man singled out of the group for a comparatively long conversation was Commander Baugh, who held the Distinguished Service Order for his role as Marine Superintendent.
Commander Baugh wore a string of decorations across his breast, including his DSO, the 1914 Star, the Victory and General Service Medals, the China medal with two bars, South Africa, Burma, and Somaliland. He also wore the Royal Humane Society medal.
Yet, what had caught the eye of the prince, and interested him so, was a diamond scarf pin which the Commander wore, a pin that bore the Prince of Wales feathers. When the Prince enquired how the gallant Commander became the possessor of such a pin, he was informed it had been received from the prince’s father when he was the Prince of Wales while he had been on a visit to India – where Commander Baugh was residing as Port Officer in Madras. The commander told the prince the personal present was greatly valued.
Once these presentations were concluded, it was first outside the station the Prince had a foretaste of how the Fleetwood people could cheer. When those waiting outside caught sight of the Ambassador of the Empire there was a mighty roar of welcome, which spread along the route all the way to Euston Park.
The Prince was described as responding to the thunderous applause, by raising his hat and was evidently very pleased with the spontaneity of the applause and the enthusiastic reception accorded to him.
As he moved along the line the children laughed and shouted, waving miniature flags and the sun shone – making all the little girls white summer frocks into a lovely picture.
Then, halfway down the line, what the Fleetwood Chronicle called a pretty, unrehearsed incident occurred. A little girl sprung from the line of cheering children, to place a yellow rose buttonhole into the Prince’s hand.
Just as the girl went to dash back into the crowd the prince caught her left hand and shook it. Beaming with smiles, he then at once placed the rose in his buttonhole. This little girl was later photographed for the paper, and named as Miss Eva Tomlinson.
Upon arriving at Euston Park, the prince was nearly overwhelmed by the sea of faces that awaited him there. A group of ladies who witnessed his arrival remarked he was a bonny lad, and one amongst the group thought he was very nice, but looked tired.
Inside the gates to the park, were seated several disabled soldiers – W D Stephens, F Bridge, J Holt, R Ramsey, Mr Braham and Mr Heathfield – they all rose on crutches and sticks to great the prince.
Mr Stephens had the honour of having met the prince twice that week. He had been recuperating in a hospital in Knotty Ash the Prince had visited earlier in the week, and his release on Wednesday had allowed him to again meet the Prince in his home town.
The next person to meet HRH was William Doherty, an 88-year-old Crimean War Veteran. The Prince requested Mr Doherty remained seated as Mr M Curr detailed to the Prince the career of Mr Doherty, whose hearing was poor preventing him from undertaking conversation.
After this, the prince met with the rows of ex-servicemen, and impressed those who watched by taking the time to shake hands with each of them, walking among the group, quite at home with the comrades.
As the prince was walking away from the park towards the motor cars, another little girl wearing medals on her white dress approached him to present a bouquet of roses.
The prince asked about the medals she wore and was told she was Jane Ann Moore of 86 Poulton Road, the medals were her father’s – who had been killed in the war, and her mother had since died and left her all alone. This encounter was described as appearing to go straight to the heart of the prince, and causing a shadow of sadness to pass over this face.
Just as the prince got into the motor vehicle, the Chairman of the Council Mr W E Simpson called for “Three cheers for our Nobel Prince.”
Hearing the cheers, the Prince stood to acknowledge them, raising his hat.
At this moment, a member of the crowd who stood inside the walls of the park threw some roses over to the prince. They came over his face, and in dodging them he fell backwards into his seat. Seeing the funny side, the prince laughed, picked up the roses and offered one as a buttonhole to Lord Derby.
As the prince made his motor car journey to Rossall School, he did so through densely packed thoroughfares, cheering multitudes and flattering decorations, while a joyous crowd of an estimated 30,000 people voiced their admiration for this pillar of the peoples hope.
Rossall School was honoured by the visit, the first in their annals from royalty. A large assembly of past and present Rossallians and their relatives turned out. The Prince arrived at 11.35am, and was first presented to Headmaster Rev EJW Houghton DD, and the Rev Cannon Hill, rector of Bury and Chairman of the Rossall Council.
The 418 rank and file members of the exceptionally smart Officers Training Corp, who were drawn up on line formation on the cricket field under the command of Major Trist DSO MC.
The corp presented arms, as the band played the Royal salute beneath the Union Jack, as it flew from the main flagstaff.
The prince spoke as he gave out the two Robertson Memorial Awards, saying it was a great pleasure to have the opportunity to visit the school and inspect their parade.
“The only advice I want to give you today,” the prince said, “is to follow the Old Boys of the School who fought and won in the Great War. If you do as well as they did, you will do very well indeed.”
The prince ended his speech to vociferous cheers, as he announced he had asked the Headmaster to give them all an extension for summer holidays in remembrance of his visit there.
In Cleveleys, people were just as excited about the arrival of the prince as Fleetwood and Rossall, for hours before, the little town was said to be thronged with locals and sightseers anxious for a glimpse. The crowd congregated on Victoria Road, and even the rooftops were used for gaining a better vantage point.
A beautiful floral arch spanned the road, which was entwined with fragrant flowers and ferns. A large welcome sign was written in gold across the top of the arch, with a gilt crown upon each of its supporting legs. Ribbons of red, white and blue flew joyously in every direction and the road was hung with bunting all the way to the beach.
School children, members of the St John’s Ambulance, the Boy Scouts and Girl Guides and 120 discharged soldiers, marched in procession prior to the prince’s arrival. The crowd processed from Thornton into Cleveleys led by the Thornton Subscription Band. The children wore blue, white and red rosettes, and waved flags in a frenzy of delight.
Cries of: “He’s here!” rose up from all sides when the royal convoy was spotted approaching.
The prince was introduced to both ex-servicemen and the leaders of the Boy Scouts and Girl Guides. He was interested in speaking with the Girl Guide Leader Captain (Miss) Hoyle. The Prince wished Captain Hoyle every success and spoke of his sister Princess Mary, who was greatly involved in the work of the girl guides and their recent re-establishment.
Another interesting incident occurred when little Miss Margaret Cartmell stepped out of the crowd and presented the Prince with a lovely bunch of pink sweet peas. The little girl was the daughter of the late Mr Cartmell of Thornton, who after serving throughout the war, died in Germany soon after the signing of the Armistice.
After this, the Prince walked back to his car, while the crowd threw red and white roses into the road, and with a hurricane of cheers the band played God Save The King, as the prince made his departure by the Blackpool road – to meet with many a crowd member awaiting him there.
It was reported more than 250,000 people had come out to view the prince, as he made his way along the 25 mile journey between the Wyre and the Ribble that day. Those also included a large number of camera men who had a busy time. The prince, used to such attention, even seemed to enjoy their constant snapping.
There was much talk of how to commemorate such a Royal visit, with suggestions made ranging from changing the name of the roads recently amalgamated into Lord Street to Princes Street, to rename the Euston Park: Princes Park and to change the name of Dock Street to Princes Parade.
In the end, the lasting memory for most will undoubtedly have been the excitement of the crowds and perhaps a dance under the stars, to the comrade’s band which played at Warrenhurst Park until late into the evening.