The image above shows King George V at West Marina Gardens when he visited on 30th August 1918. He was reviewingÂ Royal Air Force Cadets who were stationed at Bexhill, St Leonards and Hastings. After arriving by train at the West Marina station, the King was treated to a full parade in Filsham Valley, before moving to West Marina Gardens for a march past with general salute. The event features in this 18 minute filmÂ via the Imperial War Museum. The picture is a bit muddy, but worth a watch. If you don’t have 18 minutes to spare there are shorter Pathe news videos here and here.
King George V is the short, bearded man in the centre. I tried to find out who the men with him are, but struggled. The chap on the King’s right is possibly Sir John Maitland Salmond who was Officer Commanding the RAF at the time.
Whatever they wereÂ looking at seems to have caused some amusement. I initially thought thatÂ the King and his entourage could only be lookingÂ at the sculpture of Edith finding Harold on the battlefield of Hastings by C.A.W. Wilke. I imagined themÂ saying, like most people that see it, “it looks like Edith is strangling Harold”. It seemsÂ howeverÂ that the sculpture was moved to its current location in 1953 from the Brassey Institute, so it can’t be that!
The original photo was found on Flickr here. The image of the same scene today is below that. The composite image at the top can be viewed full size by clicking on it.