On Thursday 3rd October 2019 4 Blue Knights travelled to the UK to pay their respects at the National Memorial Arboretum in Alrewas in Staffordshire, after the usual and unusual delays with Condor we arrived in Poole at about 04.00am, heads hitting the pillows in the hotel at 04.30am, at this time Jayne O’Connor would have been just getting up for her 05.30am taxi to Guernsey Airport!!!!
We arranged to leave Poole at about 09.15hrs which at least gave us some sleep, knowing we had to get to the Village Hotel Spa Nottingham that day with pick ups at Southampton Airport for Jayne and Oxford train Station for Lucy Le Page who had requested a lift as her steed was broken, we covered the 295 miles in fairly good weather apart from the 25-30 minutes of rain between Southampton and Oxford.
Friday night was spent with members of Blue Knights England 6, the evening was kindly arranged by Graham Buxton, it was nice to meet up with him and the lovely Jacqui along with Tom “BlackAdder” Elliot and the lovely Maureen Elliott and other members of the chapter, a good pub meal was had in the CornMill just 5 minutes from our hotel.
Graham pick us up at 09.30am on Saturday to guide us to Tesco to meet up with the Forces Bike Shed, Tesco kindly put on free Tea, Coffee and freshly baked pastries before our departure to Burton Services to pick up other members of the Blue Knights from various chapters.
The ride was frantic and the flags mounted on the bikes only just survived, long delays getting into the arboretum meant overheating bikes and burning clutches were common, the bonus was that we were parked merely yards from the front door of the NMA in the main tarmac carpark.
As is usual with this event I was in awe of those around me, generations of all regiments meeting up and paying respects to their fallen comrades, the service was its normal emotional rollercoaster with new content, I think the phrase “Dim Witted Drivers” found its way into the Lords Prayer this year but the meaning of the service is still the same, Seeing the families of the fallen laying their wreaths brought tears to the eyes and no one could escape the emotion from what had to be nearly 10,000 people.
Roll on next year.
Andy “Jacko” Jackson