From delivering post, to guiding visitors around our historic site, the Chelsea Pensioners can choose to take on a number of different jobs while living at the Royal Hospital. One of the more unusual roles previously adopted by Pensioners was as a member of the Chelsea Patrol; a London garrison stationed between the Royal Hospital and St James’ Palace to deter against criminal activity and protect the city against the growing threat posed by the Jacobite movement.

75 years has passed since the Japanese surrendered and World War II finally ended. Today we acknowledge the crucial part those soldiers in the Far East played in winning us the freedoms we enjoy today.

2020 marks the 75th anniversary of Victory over Japan, or VJ, Day. On 15 August 1945, Imperial Japan surrendered, effectively bringing the conflict to an end. To commemorate this significant year in the legacy of the Second World War, we have explored our collections and the stories behind some of the artefacts that relate to war with Japan.

The Royal Hospital was honoured to receive a visit from Her Royal Highness, The Duchess of Cornwall last week. Her Royal Highness was originally due to visit on Founder's Day as the Reviewing Officer, but was not able to attend due to Coronavirus restrictions.

On Tuesday 23rd June, Chelsea Pensioners – at a distance – were treated to the sunshine and spectacle of the King’s Royal Hussars on parade at the Royal Hospital Chelsea.

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.

On a day when the Chelsea Pensioners would traditionally be on parade with over 1,000 service men and women in Salisbury to celebrate Armed Forces Day, this year has seen a very different celebration of this important event.

Celebrated singer, Peter Straker, Friend to Freddie Mercury, David Bowie -and the Chelsea Pensioners records The White Cliffs of Dover to raise funds for the Royal Hospital.

 

Colin was 20 years old when he was deployed –the youngest in the observation post Party he served in. He still suffers from the frostbite he got while cut off by the Chinese.

Gerry Farmer, 1951 Royal Fusiliers, lost his friend Cpl Derby in the conflict. He was left with shrapnel in his spine and lifelong claustrophobia, after being trapped in a Jeep at the bottom of a river while trying to escape Chinese mortars.

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HRH, The Prince Philip - Duke of Edinburgh Painting
Chelsea Pensioners share recollections of HRH The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh

The Royal Hospital Chelsea community continues to send our thoughts and condolences to the Royal Family at this difficult time. Many of our Chelsea Pensioners were fortunate enough to meet HRH The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh at the Royal Hospital’s Founder’s Day celebrations or through his other official duties.

Infirmary Bombing
Remembering the Soane Infirmary bombing

Today marks 80 years following the bombing of the Royal Hospital’s Infirmary during the Second World War. The magnificent Infirmary, which once stood on the current site of the National Army Museum, was hit by a parachute bomb on 16 April 1941 – destroying most of the building and tragically ending the lives of 13 people.

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