Trooping The Colour 1953
Thursday June 11th 1953, was the Queen’s first Trooping the Colour since her Coronation. She rode to the ceremony from Buckingham Palace mounted on her favourite horse “Winston”. She rode side-saddle.
I was with cameraman Norman Fisher positioned on the Queen Victoria Memorial, facing the Palace. Norman had his camera set up between two Technicolor cameras.
I had the ability to move from the front to the back of the Memorial, so that, with my still Finetta camera, I could take shots down The Mall as well as in front of the Palace. Also facing The Mall was our second camera on the Memorial.
Because it was the same month as the Coronation, there were larger than normal crowds in The Mall and close to the Palace. The Mall was still looking impressive with the Coronation decorations still in place.
I took stills of the various military groups making there way down the Mall towards Horse Guards Parade where the ceremony takes place.
Eventually, the Queen came out of the Palace on “Winston”. She circuited the Memorial so that the crowds all around the Buckingham Palace area could see her. A number of the military participants did the same.
Following on behind was Prince Philip on his horse, a horse that most certainly would not have been his favourite. The horse “played up” and was clearly unhappy about being asked to perform in The Trooping The Colour ceremony. He went sideways and even tried to turn round. Eventually, he made it to the Horse Guards Parade.
We covered the ceremony in time-honoured fashion. We would have shot some close-ups during a full dress rehearsal which was held during the previous week. We had two cameras at ground level, one camera high up in the Horse Guards building and a camera on top of the Admiralty.
This arrangement gave a complete coverage of every manoeuvre that takes place during the ceremony.
I think Trooping The Colour is one of the most impressive displays in the world. The music of the Massed Bands of The Brigade of Guards is enough to make the hair on your head stand up.
The precision marching is not to be equalled anywhere else in the world.
When the ceremony was over, the Queen and the Guards, led by the 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards, whose colour was trooped, The Household Cavalry, the Brigade of Guards Band et al came back up the Mall towards us and then the Queen rode round the Memorial back into the Palace.
Later she came out on the balcony with the rest of the Royal Family to greet the crowds which, outside the palace, had now grown considerably.
I gathered the film from each of the two cameramen and made my way back to Soho Square on foot. There was no other way.
Some twenty-five years later, I made a thirty-minute film of Trooping The Colour and I was able to use all my experiences from my early days in Movietone to achieve it.
© Terence Gallacher and terencegallacher.com, 2010. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Terence Gallacher and terencegallacher.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
For other articles about Movietone click here.