Lockdown Story - Chelsea Pensioner William Fraser BEM

2nd July 2020

William Fraser BEM
“This is a doddle compared to six months sleeping under a tent in the desert”

Pensioner William Fraser BEM is taking lockdown in his stride and enjoying a relaxed routine – although he misses a drink in the Club with his friends.

“Being a soldier, you just carry on”

“The first we knew about lockdown was on 17 March when the Regimental Sergeant Major came in and said, ‘As from 6 o’clock tonight, we’re all on lockdown.’ We locked down a week before the rest of London. Being a soldier, you just carry on and follow orders. We can’t get out, but otherwise the routine has stayed the same really. The only things that have changed is we can’t get out and we’re two metres apart in places like the dining room. They’re trying to keep us from getting it. We follow the system and it seems to be working."

“The staff here are brilliant. We’ve been looked after well.”

"I think the Royal Hospital has responded well. I have no complaints. They tested everybody. I had the nose and throat test and they were negative. Then I had the blood test for antibodies and that was positive. I didn’t even know I had it! And if you don’t know you don’t worry. I felt a bit rough for a couple of days, as if I had a cold. The doctor who did the blood test explained that you can get the disease, but it doesn’t get into your lungs.

The staff here are brilliant. We’ve been looked after well. I was in the desert for six months in 1966 sleeping under a tent in Aden. I was in South Africa too at the beginning of ’66. We were supposed to do nine months and we ended up doing 15 or 16. This is a doddle, compared to that! We can walk around the gardens and do what we want to a certain extent."

“I take things day by day. There’s no sense in worrying”

"A few of us come down in the morning and have tea on the patio in the sun and a natter. Then we come down in the afternoon for the same and after tea we watch telly or have a couple of drinks. I miss going to the Club, but otherwise it’s OK. If you let it get to you, that’s when the trouble starts.

I have three daughters who are all involved in medical things and I talk to them and the grandkids on FaceTime. The second daughter is a paramedic and she keeps me up to date.

I’m the sort of bloke who takes things day by day. If you worry, you die and if you don’t worry you still die, so there’s no sense in worrying!"

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View the archive

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