Continuing on from my last post, the big day had now arrived. Friday, my good lady and I boarded the 10:13 from Leicester – destination London. We had a good journey and arrived at the Hotel near the Royal Albert hall at just after midday. We met up with my elder sister and her son, had a drink and then headed off to get ready to be at the Albert hall for 18:30 sharp where we were to be met by representatives of the Royal Marines Charity who we had been in contact with over the past few months.
We were ushered into a side room where refreshments were laid on, and this was to be the room we would frequent throughout the evening whilst having the presentation and again during the intermission for the concert, as well as for after concert drinks.
About 18:45 we were asked if we were ready for the presentation, with our agreement the presentation began. The medals and citations were presented in a very emotional ceremony by Major General Matt Holmes – CBE,DSO Commandant general Royal Marines.
After the presentation and some recollection of memories of Uncle David, we then took our seats in the auditorium for the Mountbatten festival of music, a fantastic show highlighting the talents of the the Royal Marines musicians, raising much needed funds for the Royal Marines charity supporting veterans as well as serving personnel and their families and dependents.
The performance ended about 21:45 and we headed back to our room for drinks and snacks, the Major Generals wife looked after us and again we all exchanged stories of Uncle David, the Marines, past and present and about things in general. The whole evening was wonderful and we were made to feel so welcome, we were treated like celebrities, it was a shame things had to end. Well…..things didn’t end there as most of the band and serving officers were also staying at our hotel, so we had their company for a good few hours more. It was a late night…..or should I say an early morning.
My family would like to thank Les Smith of the Cyprus Veterans site, without his help and intervention this whole event would not have occurred, the Royal Marines charity, the Major general, his wife and staff for there immense hospitality, humility and appreciation shown towards my Uncle David and the family. We were told we were part of the Marine family, we are so proud to have put this missing piece in the family jigsaw.
“Once a Marine, always a Marine“Sgt David Baldwin 45 Commando RM – b:1928-d:1958