Inspection at Hylands Park, Chelmsford

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Black and white photograph showing members of the Junior Red Cross at an event at Hylands Park, Chelmsford. This is possibly the visit of Princess Mary, Countess of Harewood, who came to review medical staff from the Royal Army Medical Corps, the Red Cross and St Johns Ambulance.

[from the Chelmsford Chronicle, Friday 8th June 1934]


Her Royal Highness the Princess Royal, Commandant in Chief of the British Red Cross Society, honoured the Essex branch of the Society and Order of St John of Jerusalem on Saturday by her presence at the annual county rally and fete at Hylands, Chelmsford, the residence of Mrs J M Hanbury, RRC, vice chairman of the county committee. Glorious sunshine favoured the Royal visit, and the charming grounds and gardens of Hylands provided a perfect setting for the proceedings. The Princess Royal received a great welcome from the nurses and members of the men’s detachments, the county and military representatives, and the large attendance of the general public. Her Royal Highness was obviously much impressed by the fine reception, and by all she saw of the efficiency and excellent turn-out of one of the best parades of voluntary aid detachments that has ever been organised in the county.

The Princess Royal, wearing her uniform as Commandant in Chief, and accompanied by a lady-in-waiting, also in uniform, journeyed from London to Hylands by motor car, arriving shortly before 4 p.m. The car was preceded through Essex by two police cycle patrols. Upon the tunic of the Princess were two rows of ribbon decorations, and two medals, including the Royal Red Cross.

On the steps of the mansion were the Lord Lieutenant of Essex, Brigadier-General R B Colvin, Lady Gwendoline Colvin, CBE, president of the Essex Red Cross Society and chairman of the Rally Committee; the High Sheriff of Essex, Lieutenant Colonel E N Buxton, MC; Mrs J M Hanbury; Mr J C M Hanbury; and other dignitaries.

Proceeding to the drawing room, Her Royal Highness was presented to more members of the distinguished gathering. The Princess, accompanied by Lady Gwendoline Colvin, Mrs Hanbury, the Lord Lieutenant, and other visitors, proceeded to make a tour of the grounds and gardens, looking at their best in the June sunshine. As the Royal lady stepped upon the terrace the band of the 10th [Essex Yeomanry] Brigade, R.I. played the national anthem, and all stood to attention. It was a colourful and impressive scene. HRH often paused to express her admiration and her first remark on returning to the mansion was “Essex is really a lovely county.” All the time scores of amateur photographers took snapshots of the Princess.


While Her Royal Highness and the principal guests were having tea, all the detachments formed up in front of the terrace for inspection. The whole parade looked spic and span. All came to attention as the Princess, now wearing dark glasses, approached the lines. She inspected each detachment and shook hands with its commandant. She asked Lady Colvin to convey to all present her congratulations upon the splendid turn-out, and the excellent work that had been done. Her Royal Highness then distributed the cups and other awards. The Lord Lieutenant gave a speech recalling a previous visit to Colchester and thanking Mrs Hanbury and the judges, then called for three hearty cheers for Her Royal Highness. The Princess acknowledged with a gracious bow and then stepped forward for the march past of all the detachments. The national anthem was played, and a few minutes later the Princess drove off through lines of cheering people on the return journey to London.


There were numerous attractions at the fete, including stalls, an old English fair and dancing. During the afternoon and evening the band of the 10th [Essex Yeomanry] Brigade rendered selections.
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