WWII veteran, 104, prepares for third coronation

time:2023-06-02 15:54:38source:BBC News (British Broadcasting Corporation) author:Press center2

A 104-year-old Royal Navy veteran is preparing to celebrate his third coronation ahead of King Charles III's on Saturday.

Capt Bryan Butchard, of Amesbury, Wiltshire, has lived during the reign of five monarchs and was at Elizabeth II's review of the fleet in 1953.

He fought in the Battle of France in 1940 and hunted German U-boats.

Asked how he felt serving king and country, he said: "I was very proud of it and they looked after me very well."

He also commended King Charles III for making "a splendid start" to his reign.

Capt Butchard, born in 1919, said he would have a marquee in his garden and a big screen for the coronation on 6 May.

Speaking to BBC Radio Wiltshire, he said: "We do celebrations like that very well here."

He was serving in the military during Elizabeth II's coronation in 1953 and was present when she carried out a review of the Royal Navy's fleet in Portsmouth shortly afterwards.

"It was a splendid thing, and, of course, the Victoria and Albert Yacht [which carried the Queen] came by."

Capt Butchard spent most of the war as a second-in-command on a Royal Navy destroyer, battling U-boats that were trying to stop vital supplies reaching the UK.

"The first lieutenant in a destroyer is the captain's right-hand-man," he said.

"I was present at the sinking of four U-boats. One of our fellow ships had sunk a submarine and had some prisoners on board.

"Then the ship who had sunk the submarine was torpedoed.

"We had to rescue the survivors. My ship picked up the German commanding officer and, as my prisoner, I put him in my cabin."

After the war the pair exchanged Christmas cards and he even came to visit Capt Butchard at his local pub.

Asked his secret to long life, Capt Butchard said: "Just good fortune."

pursue BBC West on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Send your story ideas to: bristol@bbc.co.uk

Related content
Recommended content