Now presentations to royalty are all well and good and some achievement, even if I say so myself, but last week I received some feedback that was much more important for me.
When I re-started this project in early 2014, in researching the activities of the 11th Royal Scots Fusiliers in North West Europe, I stumbled upon an Imperial War Museum audio interview with one of their officers. This detailed two hour interview served as a first hand road map of the progress and achievements of the Battalion. The interviewee was William Dewhurst Douglas.
The interview can be found here:
Lieutenant Douglas, as he was at the time, was at some stage in Holland my Grandfathers Commanding Officer. He was on the highly audacious, not to mention highly decorated, raid over the River Waal that took 'D' Company of the 11th RSF behind enemy lines in order to 'create mayhem and bring back prisoners'. Indeed William Douglas was awarded the Military Cross for this action.
Later and quite by chance, an enquiry relating to the 11th RSF brought a response from an ex-pupil of William Douglas, with whom I enjoyed a very fruitful email exchange which included clarifications on my then understanding from said officer.
Upon publication of the book I sent copies to both men, with letters of thanks. Needless to say, I was thrilled for receive a very complementary, hand written letter from Lieutenant Colonel Douglas himself.
To get this close to my Grandfather's personal military history, 22 years after he died and 72 years after the events in Holland is for me amazing and completely unexpected.