I was there!

Jimmy Walker from Sorbie took part in the Queen's Coronation when doing his national service in 1953.
Jimmy Walker from Sorbie took part in the Queen's Coronation when doing his national service in 1953.

Two people living locally have fond memories of the Queen’s Coronation which took place 60 years ago last Sunday.

One because he took park in the actual ceremony and another because she wrote a poem about it for her school magazine!

Seventy-nine-year old Jimmy Walker from The Siding, Sorbie was doing his National Service in the Air Force at the time.

He was one of two members of his unit, based near Aberdeen, selected to march with the armed forces from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Abbey and back on the big day - June 2, 1953.

As a fresh-faced farm boy from rural Wigtownshire, Jimmy took the day in his stride and his clearest memory was seeing his auntie Jean standing on a pavement on the route shouting “Jimmy, Jimmy!” at the top of her voice.

He recalls: “What I remember about the day was we were wet, then dry, then wet again and by the time we were finished we were dry again! But we never saw the Queen, as she left the Palace after us and she was back there before us!

“We travelled down to Earl’s Court the night before and stayed there the night of the Coronation too. We had lots of drill practice to do beforehand to get it right.

“On the day the noise in the streets of London was terrific and we had to march to two or three bands all playing different tunes but we all managed to keep the same time thankfully!

“When the Queen visited Scotland after the Coronation I was involved again. We escorted her through the streets of Glasgow and Edinburgh. We had to line the route on the Royal Mile and as the procession went past, I remember looking down as the huge feet of the horses were missing our toes by millimetres!”

Meanwhile, back in Newton Stewart Douglas Ewart High School pupil Lucy Muir (now Owen) was so inspired by witnessing the pomp and grandeur of the Coronation she composed the following poem for the school magazine:

The Second of June

“We’ve waited for more than a year,

The time has dragged slowly past,

But now all the folks give a cheer

The great day has come at last.

The palace gates are pulled open,

Slowly the coach moves through,

Just cheers not word is spoken,

As our Young Queen comes to view.

Smiling and happy she sits there

Sometimes giving a wave,

As she passes the people who love her,

The woman so lovely and brave.

After the long, tiring service,

Which we all wish we had seen,

She returns past the crowds on the terrace,

Amid shouts of “God Save the Queen”.