The Queen Consort has recalled her father’s experiences as a prisoner of war in a New Year message praising the work of the British Forces Broadcasting Service in keeping servicemen and women in touch with home.
Her Majesty marked the 80th anniversary of the BFBS by highlighting its goal of keeping “our military, families and veterans in touch with home and with each other; and to overcome the separation of deployment, posting and detachment. “
Camilla said: “The first-ever BFBS programme was ‘Home Mail’, in which family and friends sent requests for musical messages for their loved ones to be played over the airwaves. At that time, my father was a prisoner of war in Germany.
“He and his fellow prisoners were heavily reliant on an illicit, slightly ramshackle, radio they had managed to put together and from which they received the comfort of maintaining a link with home. 80 years on, BFBS remains just as crucial to sustaining morale throughout the Armed Forces.”
The Queen Consort’s father, Bruce Shand, was taken to Germany as a prisoner of war after being captured in November 1942, during the battle for North Africa.
Camilla: Accomplishments deeply impressive
He was held at Oflag IX A in Spangenberg Castle, near Spangenberg, for the duration of the war.
Shand had already been evacuated from Dunkirk as part of the British Expeditionary Force, for which he was awarded an MC for his actions.
In her message Camilla, who is patron of the BFBS, goes on to say that the services’ list of accomplishments since its first broadcast from Algiers in 1943 is “deeply impressive”.
She said: “From installing the first television channel in the Falklands, to broadcasters on the front line entertaining our troops on operations, to reaching every corner of the Earth – you have done a huge amount to foster a true and profound sense of community amongst all those connected with the military family.
“For 80 years, you have lived up to your inspiring motto ‘serving those who serve’ and for this – thank you. Allow me also to take advantage of your global reach to thank our Armed Forces for their work over the past year, both in this country and overseas, through which they have, as ever, displayed exemplary courage and adaptability.“