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Bryan Dunford MBE

by | Aug 5, 2022 | People, Decorated Villagers, Featured Articles

In this, the Platinum Jubilee year of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second, Bishopsteignton Heritage has prepared a series of articles featuring members of the village community who have, at times, been honoured by Her Majesty for services to the nation or the community.

The fifth of our series features Bryan Dunford, MBE Mlly (Military). Honoured 1989 for his service in the RAF.

Bryan Dunford received an MBE, Member of the British Empire, in 1989, as part of the Queen’s Birthday Honours list, for his service in the RAF as a helicopter Engineering Authority. Bryan began his career as an RAF Apprentice at Halton in 1957. After initial training and postings to RAF Abingdon and Aden as an aircraft electrical technician, he was commissioned in 1967 as an Electrical Engineering Officer. Following further training at RAF College Cranwell he served in a wide variety of RAF Station and Command Staff posts, at home and abroad.

 

When he received the honour, he was serving as a Squadron Leader but later was promoted to Wing Commander and served two years as Station Commander at RAF Cardington and a final three years at HQ No 1 Group as the Tornado and Harrier engineering specialist, before retirement in 1995.

As with all of those who receive honours from Her Majesty, it is important that the recipient is informed some time before the press announcement and is sworn to secrecy until the announcement. In Bryan’s case, he was so busy and moving around the country for meetings, the powers that be found it hard to track him down to give him the information. He remembers getting home late one evening and going straight out again to practice with the choir he was a member of in Thame. Whilst he was out his wife Jenny received a telephone call from his senior officer, the Air Vice Marshall, who was desperate to get hold of him before the details of the Honours list was announced in the press but couldn’t tell his wife why it was so urgent. When he got home and Jenny told him of the phone call, he naturally thought he’d done something wrong! There was a late phone call, considerable surprise and delight, and relief all round.

 The press announcement was in the newspaper the next day and his choirmates soon knew about it. They staged a rehearsal for a performance at a garden party at the Vicarage. Bryan was told he must get there early. When he arrived, there was a throne in the middle of the lawn. They had written a song about it and made Bryan sit on the throne.

He has wonderful memories of the ceremony itself. He was invited to Buckingham Palace, together with his wife, Jenny, and daughter, Susan, where he received the Honour from Her Majesty the Queen. He remembers driving through the arch and parking in the quadrangle. From there they were taken into the palace where he was put through his paces in a very strict rigmarole of instructions and guests were taken directly to the Throne Room.

The whole ceremony was timed precisely. There were many different honours being awarded that day, including knighthoods. The staircase was lined with Coldstream Guards bearing their swords. When it was his turn to approach Her Majesty, he was taught to bow, exchange a few words, shake her hand in a certain way so as not to bruise her hand. Her Majesty has an aide beside her briefing her on who you are; Bryan explained that he worked in helicopters and primarily in Northern Ireland at that time.

He has wonderful memories of the ceremony itself. He was invited to Buckingham Palace, together with his wife, Jenny, and daughter, Susan, where he received the Honour from Her Majesty the Queen. He remembers driving through the arch and parking in the quadrangle. From there they were taken into the palace where he was put through his paces in a very strict rigmarole of instructions and guests were taken directly to the Throne Room.

The whole ceremony was timed precisely. There were many different honours being awarded that day, including knighthoods. The staircase was lined with Coldstream Guards bearing their swords. When it was his turn to approach Her Majesty, he was taught to bow, exchange a few words, shake her hand in a certain way so as not to bruise her hand. Her Majesty has an aide beside her briefing her on who you are; Bryan explained that he worked in helicopters and primarily in Northern Ireland at that time.

Bryan recalls:

You know when it’s finished because the chap nods, then you step back, bow, and you walk backwards away from HM. Then you march off, get round the corner and someone clobbers you, and takes the medal away! They put it on its proper clip then into its box.

Along with the medal comes a Statute in formal language, signed, in Bryan’s case, by Prince Philip, along with instructions on when and how you can wear the medal and when it is appropriate to use the letters after your name in correspondence. The Honour also comes with certain entitlements including permission for you and your family to hold weddings in a certain private area of St Paul’s Cathedral.

Bryan recalls:

You know when it’s finished because the chap nods, then you step back, bow, and you walk backwards away from HM. Then you march off, get round the corner and someone clobbers you, and takes the medal away! They put it on its proper clip then into its box.

Along with the medal comes a Statute in formal language, signed, in Bryan’s case, by Prince Philip, along with instructions on when and how you can wear the medal and when it is appropriate to use the letters after your name in correspondence. The Honour also comes with certain entitlements including permission for you and your family to hold weddings in a certain private area of St Paul’s Cathedral.

References