The day Ron fired the guns to mark Queen’s Coronation

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A FORMER soldier from Bulwell, who was involved in a prestigious 21-gun salute to mark the Queen’s Coronation, is searching for others who took part.

Ron Hickling (79) was among serving members of the South Notts Hussars who fired the guns from Nottingham Castle as part of the city’s Coronation events on June 2 1953.

Now, to coincide with the Queen’s upcoming Diamond Jubilee, he wants to hear from fellow soldiers who were involved in the landmark occasion, so he can rekindle old friendships as part of the celebrations.

Ron, who is vice-chairman of the Bulwell branch of the Royal British Legion, is also keen to get involved in Jubilee events being planned for the city.

“I remember it was a cold, rainy day,” said Ron. “But I was very proud to be taking part.

“It would be nice if some of us could meet up again. Perhaps the city might want us to be involved in celebrations it is holding.”

Ron was aged just 20 when, as a National Serviceman, he was part of the salute performed by a trio of batteries from the Hussars.

The group were under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Peter Birkin.

To the untrained eye and thousands of residents who heard the guns fired from the castle, the salute appeared to go off without a hitch.

But the soldiers were hit by problems because one of the six heavy tanks used in the ceremony lost its grip on the slippery surface and crashed into a van!

Another of the guns broke down.

It meant a hasty re-organisation, with the 21 shells, to be fired at one-minute intervals, shared between the remaining five tanks.

Despite the hitches, the event was a highlight of the day of Coronation celebrations as dignitaries and military leaders looked on.

Anyone who was part of the 21-gun salute can get in touch with Ron through the Dispatch by calling in at our office on 1 Yorke Street, Hucknall, ringing 0115 9536552 or e-mailing newsdesk@hucknall-dispatch.co.uk.

n OUR PHOTO shows Ron (left) at a Bulwell Royal British Legion roadshow earlier this year, with branch chairman John Prichard — DISPIC NHUD12-0359-1.