Chelsea Pensioner Frank Mouque
(Photo: Charlie Surbey)

Frank Mouqué

“We approached Sword Beach [in Normandy] in a landing craft; we had all of our gear on our backs and a rubber ring around our stomach to help keep us afloat. Let’s face it the landing was very gory. You didn’t have time to think, survival instinct kicked in. After reaching the beach, I ran up towards a parapet, and searched for mines. After 12 hours of being on the go we were exhausted and then had to dig a fox hole to sleep in. We had to dig six foot down and two foot wide."

"I slept outside for the next year or so, we had no protection from the elements we had an oversized gas cape to go over our clothes and all of our gear. We rarely slept lying down. One time we slept in a barn we were ravaged by fleas – so even that was no good!” It was a different time. I wasn’t brave, I wasn’t a hero I was a little cog in a big wheel. When you add all those little cogs together – then we became important. We all worked together towards peace."

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Chelsea Pensioner pictured Dairy UK Chair Paul Vernon, the Governor of the Royal Hospital and the ceremonial cheese
Chelsea Pensioners and Dairy UK take part in the annual Ceremony of the Christmas Cheeses

A festive tradition dating back to the opening of the Royal Hospital in 1692 – today Dairy UK donated over 270kg of British cheeses to the Chelsea Pensioners to tide them over the festive period.

Christmas Pudding
Festivities begin with the stirring of the Christmas Pudding

The Christmas period officially got underway today at the Royal Hospital, as the Chelsea Pensioners took part in the tradition of stirring in the ingredients for the Christmas pudding.

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