Ric Hall: It’s Funny How You Remember People

Photograph of Constable Howard Lakey Shannon (Reg.#14564).

 

 

 

Thinking back to arriving at Peace River S/D (Sub-Divisions remember them?) right out of training, one of the characters, those of us that were there in the mid-1960s, we would remember was the S/D Admin NCO S/Sgt. Howie Shannon (Reg.#14564).

 

 

 

Fairly robust in stature, cigarette dangling from his mouth and ashes on his brown serge.   As a young guy starting off that is how I remember him. Was he ever young? Apparently so.

I was just going through a 1953 Scarlet and Gold magazine (if you are not familiar with it….it was published by the Veterans’ Association for years) which was pretty much dedicated to the Coronation Contingent that went to London for QEII’s Coronation. And there was a story about a young Cst. Shannon attending the coronation as one of six members picked from Alberta to go to London. As a young guy, and there were many like me, who probably had no clue of Howie’s participation in the coronation. Another story to be told.

The article is included below for your reading pleasure and I have included photographs of the events described by Howard Lakey Shannon.

Mountie Praises Hospitality Of Britons At Coronation

Const. H.L. Shannon, 29, returned to Edmonton Tuesday full of praise for the ‘wonderful hospitality’ shown by the British people to the R.C.M.P. mounted contingent which rode in the Coronation parade in London June 2.

‘It was a thrilling experience and the people were wonderful to us,” said Const. Shannon, who is stationed at Leduc.  He was one of six R.C.M.P. members selected from Alberta detachments to join the special coronation contingent.  Included were two officers and 44 other ranks.

Hard work and training preceded the trip to Britain.  The men reported to Rockcliffe barracks, Ottawa, on January 11 and trained diligently until April 25.  At Rockcliffe, Const. Shannon, who has been in the force 10 years, took an intensive refresher course in horsemanship, and he and his fellow Mounties learned the intricacies of the famed musical ride.

The contingent arrived at Southampton May 4 and sailed from the same port more than two months later, on July 9.   While in London the men were billeted at the Union Jack Club and their horses were stabled in Hyde Park.

1953 - Photograph of the RCMP Musical Ride participating in the Queen Elizabeth II's Coronation (Source of photo - RCMP Historical Collections Unit - "Depot" Division).

1953 – Photograph of the RCMP Musical Ride participating in the Queen Elizabeth II’s Coronation (Source of photo – RCMP Historical Collections Unit – “Depot” Division).

Const. Shannon said that participating in the glittering pageantry of the Coronation procession was a never-to-be-forgotten experience.  He stated the Mounties were greeted all along the route with enthusiastic cheers.  No rider had trouble with his horse.

The Mounties’ musical ride was performed at two post-Coronation celebrations, once at the Royal Tournament at Earl’s Court, London, and again at a Scottish gathering near Edinburgh.

1953 - Queen Elizabeth II's Coronation ini London England with the RCMP Musical Ride (Source of photo - RCMP Historical Collections Unit - "Depot" Division).

1953 – Queen Elizabeth II’s Coronation ini London England with the RCMP Musical Ride (Source of photo – RCMP Historical Collections Unit – “Depot” Division).

Const. Shannon said the R.C.M.P. group paraded at Buckingham palace before the Queen on two occasions.  The day following the Coronation, the Mounties paraded with other Commonwealth contingents and received the special Coronation ribbon.

1953 London England - Queen Elizabeth and Royal Family inspect the members of the RCMP Musical Ride (Source of photo - RCMP Historical Collections Unit - "Depot" Division)

1953 London England – Queen Elizabeth and Royal Family inspect the members of the RCMP Musical Ride (Source of photo – RCMP Historical Collections Unit – “Depot” Division)

Shortly before the scarlet-coated riders left for home they are inspected by Queen Elizabeth, who was accompanied by the Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Charles and Princess Anne.  The constable stood by their horses and the Queen had a word with each.

Const. Shannon said Her Majesty ws very gracious and charming, and was interested to know the Mounties’ impression of their trip and of Britain.

On February 21, 1969, Staff Sergeant Howard Lakey Shannon (Reg.#14564) retired from the Force and passed away on October 28, 1998 at Edmonton Alberta.  His son Barry Shannon also joined the Force – following in his father’s footsteps.

image of Ric Hall closing block for his Photo Corner webpage

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