Farewell to Bill Speakman VC
The funeral of Bill Speakman VC took place yesterday afternoon in the beautiful setting of the Wren Chapel at The Royal Hospital, Chelsea. His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales, our President, and Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall were represented by Major General Tim Toyne Sewell DL, who had served with Bill and was former Commanding Officer of the First Battalion, The Kings Own Scottish Borderers. The First Battalion, The Royal Regiment of Scotland, currently based in Northern Ireland, provided a bearer party made up of soldiers who had served in the KOSB. The Reverend Steven Brookes, Chaplain at the Royal Hospital, presided. Reflections on Bill's life as a father, a soldier and a friend were given by his daughters, Jane and Susie, and by Captain of Invalids, Lt Col Jonny Lowe MBE. On the conclusion of the service which, with beautiful music from the choir, was a fitting tribute to a wonderfully colourful character, a bugler played the last post and then Bill was led off by a lone piper and followed out of sight by members of his regiment. Our thanks go in particular to Captain Pearse Lally, Sgt Major at the Royal Hospital, for his meticulous organisation of the day and for being such a key carer for Bill over the past few years. We also thank General Sir Reddy Watt KCB KCVO CBE DL, as Governor of The Royal Hospital Chelsea, and Col Simon Bate MBE who, when Adjutant there, helped Bill to settle in so happily.