Belfast Telegraph

Home Life Features

Pic of the week: A regal collection of military medals

By Kerry McKittrick

Resplendent in a fuchsia coat, with a matching hat sporting a crimson feather, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth gazes at a case of medals on display at the Ministry of Defence.

The Queen visited several military premises this week, including the headquarters of Nato's allied reaction corps and the MoD's joint casualty and compassion centre at Innsworth in Gloucester.

While visiting the base, the Queen paid tribute to MoD investigators for their role in discovering the final resting place of her uncle, Captain Fergus Bowes-Lyon, who was killed while fighting in northern France in 1915 aged just 26.

He was commanding 100 men in an attack at Hohenzollern Redoubt when they came under heavy fire. He lost a leg to German artillery and was then shot in the chest and shoulder. He died an hour later.

Until recently, the whereabouts of his remains were unknown, but his name was carved into the Loos Memorial for those who died at the battle but whose final resting place was unknown.

His sister, Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, later Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, laid her bouquet on the Tomb to the Unknown Soldier at Westminster Abbey at her wedding to Albert, then Duke of York and later King George V.

It wasn't until 2011 that James Voicey-Cecil, Fergus Bowes-Lyon's grandson, tracked down the mass grave where his grandfather was buried - the Quarry Cemetery in Vermelles. A headstone with the words 'Buried Near This Spot' has now been erected in Captain Bowes-Lyon's honour. At the MoD's medal office on Thursday, the Queen was introduced to the staff who create and engrave medals ready to be distributed to their recipients worldwide. Medals issued by the MoD are official medals authorised by the Queen and only these are allowed to be worn on a service uniform.

On her visit, the Queen was presented with a card detailing the Defence and War Medal she received at the end of the Second World War for her service in the Women's Auxiliary Territorial Service.

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph