"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 .
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
"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.