'Unforgettable' day 16-year-old snuck in camera to record Queen's visit to Wolverhampton

Sixty years ago, the Queen visited Wolverhampton as part of a tour of the Midlands.

Dave with the camera he used to capture Her Majesty The Queen in 1962
Dave with the camera he used to capture Her Majesty The Queen in 1962

On May 24, 1962, Her Majesty was at the home of Wolves to present colours to military units, and later made her way to the Civic Hall.

With the streets lined with people waving flags, the Queen arrived in the back of her car before making her way into the stadium.

A then 16-year-old David Williams was in attendance on the day and managed to film royal footage on a camera he had snuck into the Civic Hall.

Escorted by three regimental colonels holding drawn swords, the Queen inspects members of the 5/6th Battalion, The North Staffordshire Regiment, at the Molineux ground, Wolverhampton

Unlike in today’s world of mobile phones, the ability to capture moving images of a big event was a rare thing granted to a few top professionals.

David, now aged 75 and living in Stourbridge, was a trainee at the Wolverhampton camera company Warner and Sons where his duties included sweeping the floor and making the tea.

"We had a department that did industrial photography and films," he said.

"The company I worked for had one cameraman and a couple of assistants.

"They managed to get the commission from the council to make a film titled ‘a day to remember'.

"Many cameramen were recruited because it was such a big day, it was a military operation so to speak."

David was given the task of carrying the heavy reels of 16mm film for the top cameramen employed by his company.

Just as the Queen left Molineux, down came the rain. But no one worried much. After all, they'd waited a long time for this moment

Although dreaming of becoming a professional photographer, he was considered too inexperienced to handle a camera for such a royal occasion.

A crowd had already gathered when he arrived at the Civic Hall and despite having no ID, David managed to push his way to the front explaining his job as a runner to a policeman.

The officer never looked in his case, but inside it, David had smuggled his own 8mm camera.

Recalling his big moment, David said: "When The Queen arrived, I had my first experience of a press scrum with everyone jostling for the best position.

"During the lunch, I was ordered to keep well out of the way and told where to stand, which turned out to be a prime position for filming when Her Majesty appeared at the door of the Civic Hall.

"I can remember it clear as day, she was absolutely radiant and there was a huge adoring crowd there to see her.

"For a period of time in the build-up many of the lampposts had banners from them with the royal emblem on, probably from 10 days before.

"It was an absolutely huge crowd outside the Civic Hall and Molineux.

"She arrived in the glass top car and the noise was incredible.

"She waved to everyone and met some dignitaries on the day, it was unforgettable."

The film which David shot now belongs to the Media Archive of Central England, which provided him with a digital copy, giving him a lasting reminder of the special day.

"As a young boy coming from a working-class family, I felt honoured and very lucky to have been so close to the Queen," said David.

David went on to achieve his ambition of becoming a press photographer, working for numerous local newspapers and then in industry, publicity and marketing, before setting up his own photographic business.

He collected numerous awards on the way, including the BIPP National Wedding Photography Award 1983.

Now retired, he combines his hobby of Youtube video production with a passion shared with the late Duke of Edinburgh for cooking on the barbecue. He has his own channel - The Barbecue Walk of Flame.

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