Wigan war veteran meets Prince William at remembrance event

Wigan submariner Harry Melling meets Prince William in London
Wigan submariner Harry Melling meets Prince William in London

A Wigan World War Two veteran enjoyed a meeting with royalty as he got to speak to Prince William at a special remembrance service.

Harry Melling, a 98-year-old submariner from Newtown, met the Prince of Wales and second in line to the throne at the London event thanking those who have served the country beneath the waves.

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The prince asked to speak to Mr Melling after the Submariners’ Remembrance Service at Middle Temple Gardens and heard about his service during the 1939-45 conflict in the Mediterranean sea.

Mr Melling was invited to attend the important event and enjoyed once again meeting his fellow servicemen and said the encounter with royalty was the icing on the cake.

He said: “Meeting Prince William was a very special experience, an honour and a pleasure.

“He was a gentleman and it was nice to meet, chat to him and talk about what it was like during the war.”

Mr Melling has been invited to numerous events celebrating the select group who protect the country underwater in the past couple of years.

The military community was made aware of Mr Melling’s service last year when he was callously robbed in his own home and he has since travelled the country on Royal Navy engagements.

The Submariners’ Remembrance Service is always an important occasion in the calendar and hundreds of serving and veteran personnel attended in the capital city.

The service was the culmination of two days of events recognising submariners.

It began with the dedication of a poppy field in the grounds of Westminster Abbey and there was a wreath-laying ceremony at the combined services memorial.

At the solemn service the following day the names of fallen submariners were read aloud and there was then a parade to nearby Victoria Embankment for more wreaths to be laid at the National Submarine War Memorial.

The event took on extra significance as it came the weekend before the centenary Armistice commemorations, with those attending reminded of the often-unsung part submariners played in the 1914-18 conflict.

Rear Admiral John Weale OBE said: “The bravery and sacrifice shown by submariners means that it is right they are honoured with their own Remembrance event.”