Naval adventure saw brush with royalty

A  19 year old Tony Turner in his naval uniform EMN-160806-095358001
A 19 year old Tony Turner in his naval uniform EMN-160806-095358001
  • “She has been and still is a wonderful Queen”

As celebrations take place across the nation for the Queen’s 90th birthday, Peter Thompson talks to Caistor’s long-serving county councillor, Tony Turner MBE, who recalls a special royal memory.

Born in Cleethorpes, Coun Turner has a very special memory of the Queen in her formative years.

King George VI and Princess Elizabeth now our Queen, on deck HMS Vanguard looking at HMS St Kitts, the ship on which Coun Turner MBE served at the time. EMN-160806-095343001

King George VI and Princess Elizabeth now our Queen, on deck HMS Vanguard looking at HMS St Kitts, the ship on which Coun Turner MBE served at the time. EMN-160806-095343001

“In 1947, I was in the Royal Navy serving on the battle class Destroyer HMS St Kitts as an Engine Room Artificer.

“We were escorting HMS Vanguard carrying King George VI and the then Queen Elizabeth, later known as the Queen mother. With them were Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret. They were on their way to South Africa for a royal tour.”

From time to time, the two ships came alongside one another and Coun Turner has kept a souvenir picture of the King with our present Queen on deck on Vanguard overlooking HMS St Kitts.

Was it a gust of wind at sea, or was it disinterest – the then Princess Elizabeth, already ‘courting’ Prince Phillip is clearly caught unawares.

Coun Turner recalls another event of the ‘escort’:

“We took on oil at sea and the pipes either parted or leaked, covering one side of our ship. The outcome was we turned HMS Kitts so the clean side faced the royal party when they arrived

“ I suspect it was never noticed for all went well and the King ordered STM – which meant a double ration of rum for us.”

It is a treasured memory from 69 years ago for the veteran councillor.

“Perhaps it was that voyage that contributed, but I have always been a royalist.

“She has been and still is a wonderful Queen.

“She has given magnificent service.”