Retired naval officer puts on uniform ‘one last time’ for the Queen

·2-min read
(Isobel Frodsham/PA
(Isobel Frodsham/PA

A retired Royal Navy officer put on his uniform “one last time” to see the procession of the Queen’s coffin.

John Elliott, who was a chief radio supervisor and served for 35 years, travelled from his home in Dundee to Edinburgh to watch the procession from the Palace of Holyroodhouse to St Giles’ Cathedral.

Mr Elliott, 83, was at the back of a queue to see the procession on the Royal Mile, and a member of the public encouraged police to let him through to watch it.

It’s a special occasion. She was my boss, it’s what we used to call her affectionately in the Navy

John Elliott

Once the officers let him through, the crowd behind him broke out into rapturous applause.

Mr Elliott, who is originally from Hull, said the moment was a “really nice gesture”.

He told the PA news agency: “I was a sea cadet, then joined the Naval Reserve in 1956, then got called up to do national service in 57-59, came back out to the Naval Reserve and served in it for 35 years in total, mostly at Dundee.

“I have my uniform. Obviously I’m retired now but I still have it so I thought I would wear it for one last time.

“It’s a special occasion. She was my boss, it’s what we used to call her affectionately in the Navy.

“My sense of service to the Royal Navy made me want to come here today and see her. It’s my first love, apart from my wife.

John Elliott in Edinburgh (Isobel Frodsham/PA)
John Elliott in Edinburgh (Isobel Frodsham/PA)

“I wanted to show respect for Her Majesty’s service. I just thought it was the right thing to do.”

Asked if he felt emotional, he said “it is, it does” as tears filled his eyes.

“I was really sad (when he heard the Queen died). It’s inevitable at her age, it’s going to happen to us all. No one has got a free pass forever.

“I just appreciate her being a great Queen, a caring and helpful person.”

He added he felt that the King would do a “good job” in his new role.

“He’s had a long apprenticeship,” Mr Elliott said. “He’s the right guy for the job.”