WWII

Veterans Share War Experiences With Soldiers At Wellington Barracks

William Earl is 104-years-old and Jeff Haward recently turned 100.

Veterans from the Second World War have paid a visit to personnel in London. 

One hundred and four-year-old William Earl and Jeff Haward, who recently turned 100, were invited to Wellington Barracks to watch the Changing of the Guard and to pay tribute to members of the Grenadier Guards who fought in Italy during the war. 

Much has changed since they were in uniform, but the Changing of the Guard has remained the same.

The Coldstream Guards performed their daily duties, but this time, watched by two men who have seen so much.

Jeff served in the Middlesex Regiment in Dunkirk, El Alamein, Libya and North Africa.

William Earl pays tribute to his fallen comrades.

William served in 214 Field Ambulance and worked alongside the Grenadier Guards in Italy for one of the battalion’s deadliest battles – the battle for Monte Camino in 1943.

More than half the battalion was killed in the battle, as allied forces tried to break through German lines to reach Rome.

"Monte Camino was very very savage," he said.

"We eventually called it 'murder mountain'.

"I think there were 600 or 800 of them in the brigade, and only 180 came back."

William Earl (third from left) in Macerata, Italy, November 1944 (Picture: William Earl).

Visiting The Guards' Chapel gave William a chance to pay tribute to those he could not save on the battlefield.

"I consider it an honour that I am able to come to the chapel and pay tribute to my fallen comrades - comrades who, never came back," he said.

It was a moment for memories to flood back, and for the battalion past and present to pay thanks.

The generations unite to remember the fallen.

Guardsman Robert Spilling, The Grenadier Guards, said: "Their legacy is the reason we're here today, especially as soldiers.

"It's something that, for us, is certainly important because we have to carry it on, and we have to do right by them."

Jeff said, "I hope they don't have to put in action what they practice, I hope the present day are a bit more sensible than our generation.

"Instead of rushing about trying to kill each other, sit down and talk."

The visit provided an opportunity to pay respects side by side, and remember once more.