Heroes of WWII: Queen Elizabeth II

heroes of WWII -

Heroes of WWII: Queen Elizabeth II

After an incredible 70-year reign, you can see all over the media, the enormity of the legacy and impact that Queen Elizabeth II has left behind in her passing. Her dedication, sense of duty and love of her people as well as noteworthy achievements are countless, so BrickTanks would like to pay homage specifically to Queen Elizabeth II's actions during WWII.

When the war started in September 1939, the future queen was 13 years old and living with her sister and parents, the king and queen, in Buckingham Palace, London. In September 1940, the Nazis started to bomb London, targeting Buckingham Palace. They dropped five bombs and caused damage to The Royal Chapel, inner quadrangle and palace gates where several workmen were injured. The royal family stood strong in solidarity with the people living through the blitz. Despite requests from advisors to seek refuge in Canada, they remained in England with Princesses Elizabeth and Margret moving to Windsor Castle.

On October 13, 1940, Princess Elizabeth gave her first address from the drawing room of Windsor Castle as part of the BBC’s Children’s Hour. In this address Elizabeth spoke to the children who were also experiencing the displacement from their homes and families.

Thousands of you in this country have had to leave your homes and be separated from your fathers and mothers. My sister Margaret Rose and I feel so much for you, as we know from experience what it means to be away from those you love most of all. To you living in new surroundings, we send a message of true sympathy and at the same time we would like to thank the kind people who have welcomed you to their homes in the country.”

As the war continued, and Princess Elizabeth grew up she wanted to help with the war effort as much as possible. In 1943, she was photographed tending to the allotments at Windsor Castle as part of the government’s “Dig for Victory” campaign.

When Princess Elizabeth turned 18 in 1944, she persuaded her father, the King, to allow her to join the Auxiliary Territorial Service (ATS), the women’s branch of the British Army. Her father had initially been against the idea of Elizabeth joining the army and had previously gone on record to say that she should continue her training as a princess and future queen. But the princess prevailed in her wishes. King George ensured that Elizabeth would not receive any special treatment or title when joining the army, so she started as a second subaltern in the ATS and was later promoted to Junior Commander, the equivalent of Captain.

Princess Elizabeth began her training as a mechanic in March 1945, and qualified in April 1945 after undertaking a driving and vehicle maintenance course at Aldershot. The papers dubbed her “Princess Auto Mechanic.” The King and Queen and Princess Margaret visited Princess Elizabeth at the Mechanical Transport Training Section in Camberley, Surrey, and watched her learn about engine maintenance. Princess Elizabeth said of the visit:

“I never knew there was quite so much advance preparation [for a royal visit] ...I’ll know another time.”

On May 8th, 1945, it was announced that the war was over. In London, thousands of people flooded the streets to celebrate, and the Royals made an appearance on the balcony of Buckingham Palace. As the celebrations continued into the night, Princess Elizabeth, dressed in her ATS uniform, slipped out of the palace with her sister Princess Margret in tow to celebrate with the crowds. There are even reports that the princesses joined a conga dance through the Ritz Hotel as they celebrated with the crowds. “I think it was one of the most memorable nights of my life.” she recalled in 1985.

Throughout her life and even into her 90s, Queen Elizabeth was often pictured behind the wheel. She had also been known to diagnose and repair faulty engines just as she was taught to do during her wartime service in the ATS.

Thank you, Ma'am, for your service.
- BrickTanks

1 comment

  • Ian Harrison

    Just read the article on Queen Elizabeth, short and too the point, well done Bricktanks a really nice gesture.

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