Portrait Photography - The Taxi Charity for Military Veterans
Even more so was witnessing French Colonel Xavier Rival, who surprised 100-year-old David Morgan by presenting him with the highest French order of merit – The Legion d’Honneur!
About the Taxi Charity for Military Veterans
The Taxi Charity is run by volunteer London black taxi drivers and has been supporting thousands of veterans since 1948. It is the only Forces charity that focuses on providing fun and entertainment and arranges free trips (for veterans from all conflicts) to the Netherlands and France for acts of commemoration and days out to museums, concerts, or social events across the UK.
The charity received the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service in 2021 and celebrated its 75th anniversary in 2023, a remarkable milestone for a small, niche charity peopled by enthusiastic volunteers.
To fund and facilitate their work, the charity is wholly reliant on donations, grants and sponsorship.
Bill joined the Royal Armoured Corps and volunteered for airborne duties, and formed part of the 6th airborne reconnaissance regiment that took part in the Normandy landings.
Bill landed in Ranville on D-Day and took part in the initial contact to start the liberation of France. On the 19th of June, Bill was resting in an orchard when a Panzer tank broke through the lines and fired into the orchard. Bill was injured, seriously injuring his leg. He was taken to the Queen Victoria Hospital in East Grinstead, the only non-RAF patient.
With the skill of the renowned ‘guinea pig surgeon Archibald Mcindoe, Bill’s leg was saved; Bill spent nearly three years in hospital.
During WWII, the underground headquarters of UGHQ, the communications “nerve centre” for Operation Overlord D Day, was in a secret network of tunnels in Portsmouth under Fort Southwick.
In 1944, seventeen-year-old Marie worked on the switchboard in Fort Southwick and transmitted messages to and from the beaches.
The switchboard was 100 ft (30 m) underneath Fort Southwick, well out of reach of any bombs of the era. The call sign of this base was ‘MIN’.
Working on newly installed VHF sets that Marie was trained on ahead of D-Day, she would transmit messages. One of her most vivid memories is that when she picked up the receiver to messages from the beaches, she could hear the gunfire, shouts and the full horror of war.
Ken fought in Normandy as a Private in the 43rd Essex Regiment for just a few days before being captured by the Nazis. Ken was captured by the 12th SS Panzer Division, was sent to Poland and put to work in a coal mine.
During the final months of the war, as the Allies closed in on Nazi-held territories, Ken was forced to march through the winter snow by his captors.
On January 23, 1945, Ken was involved in the Long March to Freedom, in which 80,000 prisoners from Nazi camps were forced to walk over 1,000 miles.
During WWII, Mildred was part of Special Operations Executive (SOE), a secret British organisation that conducted espionage, sabotage, and reconnaissance in occupied Europe.
Mildred made several trips to Monopoli in Italy from the SOE base in Baker Street, London.
David Morgan, Warrant Officer II, served with the Royal Signals and landed on Utah on D-Day +5, tasked with establishing a wireless link back to the War Office in London.
Elizabeth joined the WRAF in 1944 and initially served in the stores at Kirkham, Farnborough and then Salisbury before being discharged as disabled after 2 years in service. When her health improved she joined the Red Cross.
Dorothea served with the WRNS between 1942-45 and taught signalling to the troops ahead of D-Day.
During WWII Robbie was one of the plotters based with Bomber Command at High Wycombe. To preserve secrecy, the station was known as “Southdown”.
As a young girl, Arlette lived at the family-run Café Gondree adjacent to the Caen Canal in Normandy. On D-Day, Arlette, who was 5, remembers the paras coming over the bridge.
The café was run by Georges and Thérèse Gondrée, who were involved in the French Resistance and had passed on information about the defences around the bridge to British intelligence through the French underground. The successful taking of the bridge played an important role in limiting the effectiveness of a German counter-attack in the days and weeks following the Normandy invasion. With the passing of the Gondrées, ownership was taken over by their daughter, Arlette Gondrée; a determined, fiery woman, she is famously referred to simply as “Madame”
In WWII Bob Gravells was in the Royal Navy as a D.E.M.S Gunner
Henry ‘Harry’ Rice served with the Royal Navy in WWII
David did his national service in the RAF and later joined the Merseyside Police.
Stan Moore served with the Royal Artillery at the end of WWII
Chelsea Pensioner Terry Conlon served with the Royal Engineers.
As a Private, Jan worked initially as a Clerk, then moved into the Army Welfare world, where she became an Army Welfare Assistant working with military families. (Private to W01 1970 – 1982)
Jan was commissioned in 1984 and resigned as a Major in 1993 as Officer Commanding B Company, HQ Rheindahlen Garrison in Germany.
Serving for a total of 12 years in Germany during the Cold War.
Alan served as a Control Systems Engineer in the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers from 1972 until 1995. I served for 12 years in Germany, British Army on the Rhine during the Cold War. He also served in Berlin, where some of his responsibilities included maintaining rolling stock on the British Military Train, which travelled from West Berlin to Braunschweig in West Germany every day except for Christmas Day.
Alan was awarded the British Empire Medal from Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth in the New Year’s Honours in 1986 for his team’s efforts in Berlin.
French Colonel Xavier Rival surprises 100-year-old veteran David Morgan with The Legion d’Honneur at the Taxi Charity Christmas Lunch
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