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Monday, 8 April, 2002, 14:56 GMT 15:56 UK
Chelsea Pensioners pay respects
Chelsea Pensioners file past the coffin in Westminster Hall
The pensioners had a strong affection for her
Chelsea Pensioners have made an emotional visit to Westminster Hall to pay their respects to the Queen Mother.

The 50 war veterans braved the cold and the queues to see her lying-in-state on Monday.

Dressed in their familiar red tunics and black tricorn hats, they expressed a strong affection for the Queen Mother, who they met many times.

The pensioners were regularly seen outside Clarence House for her birthday and on this occasion, some were upset by the sight of the coffin.

We all asked to come here today. She was a great asset to this country

Laurence Stubbs, 82
Ex-Cheshire Regiment

Sam Weekes, 82, who served in the Royal Sussex Regiment, lined the procession route for the funeral of Sir Winston Churchill.

He said the last few days had echoed the tone of 1965, both "much loved people who are sorely missed".

Mr Weekes told BBC News: "She's been a much gracious lady (to us) ever since the war and we thought we would pay our last respects to her.

"The last time we met her, on her 101st birthday, she went by us on her buggy and then she said to her driver 'Stop, stop. Go back. I want to talk to my gentlemen.'"

Bill Cross, 85, a former corporal in the Life Guards, played the trumpet at the Queen's coronation and had fond memories of the Queen Mother.


Westminster Hall
Guards will be replaced by princes for a special vigil
Queen Mother's funeral
  • More than 100,000 have already paid their respects
  • Tuesday's funeral will be attended by 2,100 guests
  • The coffin will move to Westminster Abbey at 1118 BST for an ecumenical service


  • He said: "I've been in Westminster Hall on several different occasions as I was state trumpeter in the Life Guards.

    "It wasn't sad today as I think people were saying what a wonderful person she was.

    "It was like she hadn't died, like she was still with us. I'm very pleased that I came."

    Mr Cross recalled an occasion when he met the Queen Mother in Edinburgh and his horse ate his flowers so he had to present her with the stalks, much to her amusement.

    Bill Moylan, 86, a former corporal in the Royal Enniskillen Fusiliers said: "There was one occasion in particular when I was invited to Clarence House to open the Poppy Appeal in 1999.

    "She was there and took me aside and asked me to come into the garden with her and the corgis.

    "Of course I did, and I was very pleased to do so. She was a wonderful lady."

    Martin McLane, 89, formerly of the Durham Light Infantry, said: "It's very important because she was such a great woman. I have met her several times and she was an honour to the royalty."

    James Peart, 90, who was a corporal in the Household Cavalry and held captive for four years during World War Two, said seeing the Queen Mother lying in state was "very sad indeed".

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