The glorious Lord Wigram
I am fortunate to belong to the Royal Air Force Club in Piccadilly, London only because my father Maurice Cuthbert Raban was in the RAF. My dad was a Wing Commander, he flew Sunderlands, gigantic flying boats – What a hero he was. Bless dad, he’s up in heaven now with many other wonderful men and women who fought in the War in the 1940’s.
So, I was walking out of the RAF Club and I saw a truly wonderful scene, a gentleman with two walking sticks, slowly walking on the pavement. The reason why it was so magical was he was dressed in Top Hat and tails. Right then I saw a black and white Victorian scene from 100 years ago. I remembered that in the Press Association Archive there is one of my favorite pictures of an almost identical older gentleman, walking next to a horse and carriage and the gentleman in front of me looked like a mirror image of that 100 year old photograph.
(Picture comes by courtesy of the Press Association picture archives).
I had an immediate “Duncan urge” to capture this moment, however he was struggling to walk so I asked if I could help. A gentle voice said ‘Oh, you are so kind. Would you mind helping me to the roadside? I need a taxi, if you please.’
As I helped him, my mind was whirling around with thoughts like ‘Who is this gentleman? If I get him a taxi, I will miss this picture.’
So, I said ‘May I ask your age, sir?’
‘Well, my friend, I was born in 1915 – does that give you a clue?’
‘WOW!’ I said. ‘You must be 98. And may I ask you your name?’
‘Yes, I am Lord Wigram of Gloucestershire.’
In the space of asking these questions and hailing him a taxi, I grabbed 16 frames and a magical snap as he raised his hand, just like in the Victorian times. I then opened the taxi door and helped him up into the cab.
‘Where are you going, Lord Wigram?’
‘Oh, please tell the driver Buckingham Palace.’
‘Yes, Sir!’ I said.
‘May I ask what you are doing there, Lord Wigram?’
‘Yes, I am having tea with my old friend, the Queen of England.’
‘Crikey!’ I thought. This 30 seconds of helping an older gentleman made me feel so humble.
‘Lord Wigram, can I post you a few photographs?’
And in his ever so quiet gentile voice, he said ‘Hold on, driver. Please hold your horses. If you would send me a picture, I would be so delighted.’
‘What’s your address?’
‘Lord Wigram, Gloucestershire will do.’
How perfect was that, I thought.