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Incidentally, this is the only 'pub' I have ever been in where 'Time, gentlemen, please' appeared to be a time-honoured custom not to be taken too seriously. Eventually we returned across the road to bed, about 11.30.

We breakfasted next morning at 8.30 and then followed a Parade when we were given the once-over to see that everyone was correctly dressed and then we drew lots for tickets for the show at the Albert Hall; there being only about sixty tickets available amongst approximately 100 of the 24th Company. Luck was with the 32nd S.S. and we all drew tickets. After the Parade was dismissed for an early lunch at 11.30, many tickets changed hands at prices ranging from five to thirty shillings each (25p to £1.50). It was rather regrettable that all could not have been accommodated.

By 2 p.m. we were back in London and as our transport carried us round the outer circle of Hyde Park we could see that large crowds of people were already assembling at Hyde Park Corner, with numerous mounted police looking very fine on their most beautifully groomed horses, and columns of less fortunate Home Guards who were marching to their positions. As we passed Stanhope Gate (the saluting base), workmen were still busy with the pale blue draping which formed the canopy over the platform making one wag in our midst yell : "Hey, chum, our do's to-day, not tomorrow, so get cracking."

Eventually we were in our appointed positions, nearly at the end of the long columns, 7,000 strong, standing six abreast and waiting for the great moment. Soon the columns ahead began to move and, after one or two false starts and stops, we got into marching step. As we came closer to the base a Grenadier N.C.O. gave us the correct step (we were all wrong) and almost immediately we could see the Saluting Base way off on our left. Then, with buttons, boots and faces shining as they had probably never shone before, we, as the representatives of all the Home Guards in the country marched more proudly than we had ever marched before, past the King and Queen and the two Princesses, to the rousing strains of Colonel Bogey played by the band of the Irish Guards. There were few among us, if any, whose hearts did not beat a little faster at this great moment.

We marched away to Hyde Park Corner and down Piccadilly, along Regent Street and back along Oxford Street to Marble Arch, between crowds of onlookers so numerous that we wondered from whence they could all come. On the whole, the crowds were quiet, except for occasional outbursts of clapping. No doubt they were conscious, as we were, that this was no victory parade, the War was not yet won and much blood, sweat and tears were likely to flow before full-throated cheers were the order of the day.

It was a stirring experience, marching through these London streets, and my only regret was that my friends of the 32nd S.S. were not there to share the thrill.