The Death of King George VI

I was on the troop ship 'Empire Orwell' returning to the UK from Hong Kong, where I had served for 20 months in the Army National Service. I was due for demob on 28 February 1952.

On 6 February we were in the Indian Ocean heading for the Red Sea when there was an announcement over the tannoy that we were to gather at our muster stations for an important announcement in 15 minutes.

In those minutes we all feared to worst, either that we were routed around the Cape of Good Hope because of trouble in the Suez Canal - taking one week longer, or that we were to be disembarked in the Middle East to strengthen the army presence there.

Both of these were dreaded by most of us and so, despite being patriotic, it came as a huge relief when the announcement was made of the King’s death. You could almost hear a general sigh of relief from the 1000 troops on board.

Michael Yockney