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Royal Visit – Great Day for Darfield – Wombwell Gets a Glimpse

June 1939

Mexborough & Swinton Times, June 30, 1939

Great Day for Darfield

Child Guard of Honour, For Royal Visit

Talk To “Colonists”

Children of Darfield, numbering something like a thousand, waved an enthusiastic welcome to the Duke of Kent from a natural “gallery” on the edge of a field of waving corn on the hill of “Inkerman.” The Royal visitor, unavoidably delayed at the outset of his tour, was more than half an hour late in arriving, but the children were very good and very patient.

There were several false alarms and cries of “He’s here,” long before he had passed through Wombwell on his journey from Hoyland. A curious silence fell on the crowd when the Duke actually arrived, everybody concentrating on getting a good “eyeful.”

Without indulging in any flattery it may be said quite confidently that the Duke came well up to expectations. Nearly everybody remarked how youthful, how athletic, and how—yes, how handsome he looked. It was also remarked that His Royal Highness looked very, very tired, as he assuredly must have been at the end of a day full of introductory hand-shakings and questionings. Mixed with admiration for the Duke and appreciation of his interest in work designed to restore downcast people to good heart and fettle, was just a tinge of sympathy. Like the village blacksmith, he had well and truly earned a night’s repose by the time he got to Darfield. But there was more work for him to do after that.

Wombwell Gets a Glimpse.

On his way to Darfield the Duke passed through Wombwell. He did not call there, but large crowds gathered in Hough Lane, Church Street and Station Road in the hope of getting a glimpse of him as he passed in his car. They were not disappointed.

A few flags were exhibited on the intermediate route, and there was a gay show at Darfield, nothwithstanding the clear intimation that it was a purely informal visit and no “fuss” was desired or called for.

Passing along Stonyford Road the Duke might have noticed a strange flag on St. Michael’s R.C. Schools. It was a flag of stars with a Union Jack in the corner. Curiosity prompted our reporter to enquire as to its identity. It was a compliment to the Duke’s recent appointment as Governor of Australia. The school was ransacked for an appropriate flag, but there was not one to be found. This was a flag of New Zealand and they had used it as “the next best thing.” The headmaster, Mr. P. Corrigan, marched the children up the hill to join the others at Inkerman.

School children from Darfield and Great Houghton under their respective teachers formed a guard of honour for the Duke along the pathway leading from Barnsley Road to the Land Settlement Scheme, where smallholders and officials awaited him. Down a colourful avenue of waving flags he walked at a leisurely pace, accompanied by the Chairman of Darfield U.D.C., Mr. J. W. Camplejohn, Councillors h. Bly, S. Blackwell and R. Randerson, Mr. N. Goodyear (clerk), and other Council officials. the Rev. H. Drown (Rector of Darfield), and a few other representative people.

Awaiting him at the communal hut on the Land Settlement were Sir Percy Jackson, LID., Chairman of the Land Settlement Association, who had arrived earlier, Coun. H. Clarney, chairman of the local Advisory Committee, Mr. P. F. Green, hon. administrator for the Yorkshire area, and Mr. R. B. Comely, organiser for the area. Mr. Camplejohn was able to enlighten His Royal Highness as to the general conditions at Darfield and the relationship between the local authority and the scheme.