On Monday 4 August at 11am a reconstruction of the ‘Giving of the King’s Shilling’ took place using two platforms. The ‘King’s Shilling’ is an old armed forces tradition dating back as far as the eighteenth century. Civilians were given a shilling from the King’s purse to join either the British Army or the Royal Navy to serve their country. The tradition is no longer official as it came to an end in 1879. However, it is still used informally even nowadays, except it would be known as the ‘Queen’s Shilling’. Although a shilling which is equivalent to five pence, it would have had a considerable more worth in those past times.Advertisement
The proceedings started on the now rarely used platform 7 with the the Railway Chaplain, Rev Richard Cook, welcoming all present and following a short explanation of the ‘Giving of the King’s Shilling’ tradition, the Rev Richard lead everyone into the first hymn ‘I vow to thee my country’. The re-enactment then took place.
Scott Knowles, who is with the Great War Society, was dressed in full 1914 soldiers uniform and played the part of giving the King’s Shilling to a civilian, played by John Smith. The pair can be seen in the image immediately above, re-enacting this ancient tradition.
Following the re-enactment, there was a fine rendition of ‘The Last Post’ played on the bugle by a member of the band which was followed by a brief silence to honour those brave soldiers who gave their lives in World War One.
Everyone then processed over to the Preston Pals War Memorial on platform 4 to witness the second part of the occasion where wreaths were laid in memory of the fallen and a book of honour dedicated to all the railwaymen of Preston who fell during the Great War, was presented to the deputy Lord Lieutenant Mayor and a representative of Virgin Trains.
Were you at this event and have you seen the Book of Honour? Let us know in the comments below.