Arrest that man! 

"Arrest that man !" snapped the security policeman, and within seconds of the order being given - I found myself being lifted bodily and thrown through a window. Only minutes before I had been preparing to film my father being presented to His Majesty King George VI .

Workers HonouredIt was on 8th March 1945 that the King and Queen made a visit to Burnley. They arrived by the Royal train at Manchester Road station. The Chief Constable had invited me to film the event for my local historical records. My father, James Hanna, was a check-weighman at Bank Hall Colliery, and the local president of the Miners' Union. He was to be presented to Their Majesties in recognition of his long and distinguished service to the care and welfare of the miners. 

Little did he know, as he stood there in the crowd, that he was to be called to meet the King and Queen, nor did he realise that as the train steamed into the station, his son, Sam, was about to be arrested ! 

 I had arrived in good time to make sure all was well. Pinned to my jacket was the official permit allowing me to film on this railway station during wartime. I had set up my second camera on a tripod on the roof of my car with a policeman guarding it and on the station platform, PC Picking had been detailed, when I was ready, to help me climb through an open sash window frame. "Smash it !" suddenly my camera was snatched from my hands. "Put him down," shouted the Chief Constable, " he's our man.'' 

By this time I was regaining my feet , feeling rather shaken but keen to get to my second camera and continue with the filming. I picked myself up off the waiting-room floor. "Are you all right ?" asked PC Picking. After all, having just helped me to get through the window on to the platform, he did not expect my immediate return. "Where s my camera ?" I asked in desperation, feeling angry, hurt and confused all at the same time. "Don't worry Mr Hanna, I have it here." said PC Picking reassuringly. 

I did not feel so athletic on my second exit through the waiting room window, my shins felt bruised and elbows grazed, but somehow, with the help of the policeman, I crawled out on to the platform and once back on my feet moved towards my next vantage point. Friendly hands helped me on to the roof of my car. I was just in time to film the Chief Constable and Alderman Alf Sampson calling my father on to the presentation platform. 

My unfortunate incident with the security police had happened so quickly, few had noticed it. The attention of the crowd was centred on Their Majesties. The King was wearing RAF uniform, the Queen - a light blue suit with hat to match and around her shoulder she wore a large fur. A maple leaf brooch, on her lapel, sparkled in the soft sunlight of that spring morning. Black overcoated gentlemen were in close attendance. A policeman came nervously to attention and saluted. Their Majesties were introduced to local people who had done their bit to help in the war effort, the mayor - Alderman T.P. Taylor made the introductions, the King and Queen spoke to each in turn, shook hands and moved over to sign the Distinguished Visitors' Book.

 

The local dignitaries stepped back and gathered round the table. Spread over the table was a blue velvet cover; a vase of white spring flowers stood on one corner. The King stepped forward, removed one of his gloves, sat at the table and signed the book. The Queen chatted to the VIPs behind the table .

 

She seemed to be admiring the distant view of Pendle hill. As the Queen sat down to add her signature to the book, the mayoress - Mrs Taylor, moved nearer to the table to look over the queen's shoulder. The Queen dipped the pen into the ink pot, signed the book and dried it with the blotter. 

My father, by now, had almost reached the platform. A soldier, a survivor from Arnhem, was presented to their Majesties and then my father. I felt a great deal of pride as I saw him, tall and bald-headed, wearing his long light coloured raincoat. The King and Queen shook hands with him, the Queen seemed to doing most of the talking. 

The King spoke to my father - "I'm told you have worked at the pit all your life. It doesn't seem to have done you any harm." 

"Well Sir," dad paused and looked at him," it hasn't done me any good !" he replied, in a burst of spontaneous honesty.

Shortly afterwards their Majesties turned and waved to the crowd. The crowd cheered, flags were waved and the King and Queen climbed into a large Daimler saloon car and drove away. The crowd dispersed, most of the people went back to work, I returned to Abel Street School to continue my work in the classroom.