Bridleway 6 (Tempsford)
Distance: c.1000m. Direction: E –W
King and Queen Visit RAF Station
When a short train drew into a quiet little countryside station in Bedfordshire on Tuesday afternoon few people in the neighbourhood knew that two of the passengers were the King and Queen, who had arrived to pay an unofficial visit to an RAF station near by. The news of this Royal visit, however, had spread among some of the villagers, and a small group of onlookers, mostly women and children, had waited patiently at the level-crossing gates in order to catch a glimpse of Their Majesties. There was excited chatter among the spectators when they heard the approach of the Royal train, and heads were eagerly craned as it slowly came to a standstill alongside the platform.
While senior officers from the RAF and officials, including the Deputy Chief Constable of the County, stood smartly to attention, the RAF Station Commander was the first to greet Their Majesties as they stepped on to the platform. The King was wearing the uniform of Air Marshal, and the Queen was charmingly attired in an Air Force blue ensemble and fur.
Wing-Commander J.E. Pelly-Fry, D.S.O., the bomber ‘ace’ recently appointed temporary equerry to the King and Lady Delia Peel accompanied Their Majesties.
The station bridge obscured the view of the people at the level-crossing gate, but after a few moments the King and Queen came into sight, and children who were returning home from school stood spellbound upon recognizing the smiling visitors. Spontaneously the small crowd burst into cheer and waved. A mother picked up her little daughter, and the Queen had an especially sweet smile for the child.
At the end of the platform Their Majesties, who looked the picture of health and who were obviously in cheerful spirits, were introduced to the Station Commander’s wife and little child, and they chatted for a minute or two. Afterwards the Queen, with characteristic grace and charm, waved an acknowledgement to a group of women and children, and then Their Majesties walked over the railway crossing to a saloon car that was waiting to take them to their destination.
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