Here we remember HM Queen Elizabeth II (21st April 1926 – 8th September 2022). Queen Elizabeth II’s historic 70 year reign marks the end of Great Britain’s longest ever reigning monarch and a truly remarkable life of service.
We take this opportunity to remember Queen Elizabeth II’s five state visits to Barbados:
- 1st February 1966 the Queen and Prince Philip arrived by air on a BOAC VC10 via a refuelling stop at Gander, Newfoundland, Canada. They were welcomed at Seawell Airport by Premier of Barbados, the Honourable Errol W. Barrow. From Seawell the Queen and Prince Philip went to Bridgetown where they transferred to HMY Britannia. The 1966 Royal Tour of the Caribbean started a few days later in: British Guiana on 4th February 1966. The Queen and Prince Philip then visited: Trinidad, Tobago, Grenada, St. Vincent, Barbados, St. Lucia, Dominica, Montserrat, Antigua, St. Kitts, Nevis, British Virgin Islands (Tortola, Beef Island, Virgin Gorda), Turks and Caicos Islands (Grand Turk, South Caicos), The Bahamas (Nassau) and finished in: Jamaica on 6th March 1966.
14th – 15th February 1966 the Queen and the Prince Philip, toured Barbados, opening Farley Hill National Park in Saint Peter and the East Coast Road amongst other events.
- 18th – 20th February 1975. During her 1975 visit, the Queen knighted Barbadian cricketer Garfield Sobers in an open-air investiture before a crowd of 50,000 in Bridgetown.
- 31st October – 2nd November 1977. The Queen returned for her Silver Jubilee in 1977, after addressing the new session of parliament, she departed on the Concorde, which was the Queen’s first supersonic flight.
- 28th – 29th October 1985. In October 1985 the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh visited Barbados as part of a tour of the Caribbean.
- 8th – 11th March 1989. The Queen returned to Barbados in 1989, to mark the 350th anniversary of the establishment of the Barbados parliament.
Editor’s note: Backstory to the iconic photograph of the British Airways Concorde fly past of the Royal Yacht Britannia 15 miles off Barbados during the Silver Jubilee Tour on 31st October 1977.
On 18th March 2023 I was sitting in A&E at Epsom Hospital. An old man came into reception using a zimmer frame. He had had a hip replacement about 6 weeks prior, he had tripped and fallen head first on his door step and had a nasty gash on his head. He was sitting behind me. As part of the triage, a nurse came and took some blood for testing for blood clots. She was asking him his name and he said “Capt. Brian Walpole”. While she was taking his blood she engaged Capt. Walpole in conversation and he mentioned that he had been a British Airways Concorde Captain. I had already learn that as a boy he had gone to Epsom College.
His name rang a bell and I quickly pulled up this post and Craig Burleigh’s photographs of the Queen. I worked out he was probably Capt. Brian Walpole. When the nurse had finished I turned around to him and said – “Capt. Walpole did you fly the Queen” and showed him this BajanThings post and Craig Burleigh’s photographs. He beamed with pride and looked at the photographs and then for the next 30 minutes or so he told me a range of flying stories.
He told me how as fleet Captain for the BOAC 707 aircraft how he had first flown the Queen from Honolulu to Fiji and then onwards on one of the sections of the Royal Tour to the Far East in 1975. In 1976 Capt. Walpole transferred to the Concorde Fleet.
He then told me the back story about the Concorde flypast of the Royal Yacht Britannia while she was about 15 miles off Barbados on 31st October 1977. Sitting behind Capt. Brian Walpole in the Concorde cockpit was Captain of the Queens Flight – Air Commodore Archie Winskill. Winskill suggested they call up Britannia on a special radio frequency and get her lat/long position and do a fly past. That’s exactly what they did. They descended from 60,000 ft through heavy cloud and when they came out of the cloud the Royal Yacht Britannia was exactly where her navigators had said she would be. They then did a couple of fly pasts. The iconic picture of the Queen waving to Concorde then appeared on the front pages of the British newspapers the next day.
Capt. Walpole revealed that the photograph of the fly past prompted the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to contact British Airways, and the head of British Airways Flight Operations then called him the next morning in his hotel room to seek an explanation as the CAA was looking to ground him for reckless low-level flying too close to the Royal Yacht Britannia. Capt. Walpole says he immediately went to see Air Commodore Winskill, who had the Queen send a message congratulating Capt. Walpole on his low-level flypast of the Royal Yacht Britannia to the head of the CAA. After that, nothing more was mentioned about the incident and the Queens flight Concorde departed from Seawell Barbados on 2nd November 1977.
Queen Elizabeth II honoured Walpole in 1988 on the advice of the government by making him an officer of the Order of the British Empire and at that investiture he says the Queen recounted the flypast incident.Notes from chat with: Capt. Brian Walpole.
Some magnificent and historic photographs of Queen Elizabeth II’s visits to Barbados in 1975 and 1977 can be seen seen on Craig Burleigh’s website: Barbados Island Life.
Below is a feed from Barbados Island Life showcasing Queen Elizabeth II’s visits to Barbados in 1975 and 1977 where Craig Burleigh was one of the official press photographers. Scroll down within the feed to see Craig’s photographs of Queen Elizabeth II:
Craig Burleigh is an American born, Bajan bred, San Francisco Bay Area based professional photographer. He grew up on Rockley Beach and at Lamming’s St. Joseph and later on at Edgecliff, St. John. Craig was honoured to photograph Queen Elizabeth II during her visits to Barbados in 1975 and during her Silver Jubilee tour in 1977 when she returned to England on her first flight on Concorde. He has been scanning his back-catalogue of Barbados photographs from the 1970s and is sharing them on his website: Barbados Island Life.
Below is the British Pathe News travelogue of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Phillip’s Royal Tour of the Caribbean in February 1966. This rich and detailed Technicolor travelogue was the only film authorised by Buckingham Palace. The destinations on this five week long tour included: British Guiana; Trinidad and Tobago; Grenada; St. Vincent; Barbados; St. Lucia; Dominica; Montserrat; Antigua; St. Kitts-Nevis-Anguilla; Tortola (Virgin Islands); the Bahamas; Jamaica. 1966 Crown ©
Below is a recently converted home movie reel from Shaun English that was made by his grandfather Dennis Clifton. “Reel 12 – Royal visits to Barbados” has historical footage of Royal visits to Barbados from 1964 to 1970. Dennis Clifton was a Lieutenant in the British Navy where he met his Bajan wife – Cynthia Goddard before moving to Barbados with her after retiring from service.
Heather Percy (Emtage) shared a home movie made by her father Charles Emtage of Concorde G-BOAE in 1977. This home movie was only discovered a week or so before Queen Elizabeth II died and has not yet been digitally converted, so it is a film of a film recorded on an iPhone from the family’s old movie projector. You may want to mute your sound when watching this video.
Charles Emtage was the owner of Emtage Electric and NASSCO. He was a friend of Errol Barrow, a member of the Barbados Flying Club and the Barbados Defence Force. This home movie was filmed from the tarmac of Grantley Adams International Airport. It shows Concorde G-BOAE landing at the Grantley Adams International Airport on 31st October 1977 and departing as the Royal Flight on 2nd November 1977 with Queen Elizabeth II on board at the end of her Silver Jubilee Tour to the Caribbean.
Additional photographs of arrival of Concorde G-BOAE on 31st October 1977 and departure as the Royal Flight on 2nd November 1977 can be seen above and on photographer Craig Burleigh’s website Barbados Island Life.
Rest in peace:
HM Queen Elizabeth II (21st April 1926 – 8th September 2022)
and HRH Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh (10th June 1921 – 9th April 2021).
Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip are buried in the 200-year-old Royal Vault underneath the King George VI Memorial Chapel which sits within the walls of St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle. The Royal Vault houses some 25 coffins, that include: King George III, King George VI (the Queen’s father), Princess Margaret, The Queen Mother, Prince Philip and Queen Elizabeth II.
3 thoughts on “Remembering EIIR 1926 – 2022”
I met her Majesty in February 1975 when she formally opened the now demolished National Insurance Building. I was there as the temporary head of an entity that had been designated as one of the occupants. As I was introduced Prince Philip said something that I did not immediately understand. I was moved quickly along, but I realised that he had asked : “Have they moved you out of some old building in the sticks?” I belatedly smiled and said : “yes”.
I subsequently met many Kings, Queens and persons of indeterminate gender. I also got to know a few Presidents, Prime Minister, and high officials and attained varying degrees of familiarity with them.
I had an interesting career.
George Reid, Jr., PhD’ CBE
Very lovely post. Such memories.
Her contribution to the empowerment of women in her reign is immeasurable.
Hail the Queen.
Long last her memory and Honi Soit qui Mal y Pense!!
[Added by editor: “Honi Soit qui Mal y Pense” is the motto of the British chivalric Order of the Garter. It is usually translated as “shame on anyone who thinks evil of it”]