IT WAS one of the biggest celebrations the nation had ever witnessed.

In scenes reminiscent of VE Day eight years earlier, three million people packed the streets of London for the Queen's coronation on June 2, 1953.

Vic Sevier, 90, of Ashurst, was among more than 20,000 military personnel who marched behind the monarch's coach.

Vic was doing his national service in the RAF when he found himself taking part in the huge procession from Westminster Abbey to Buckingham Palace.

Daily Echo: Victor Sevier, second right, as a young man.Victor Sevier, second right, as a young man.

The parade was designed to take as long as possible, ensuring that as many people as possible saw the newly-crowned Queen.

It was part of a long, exhausting day that included miles of marching, plus plenty of standing around, but Vic has warm memories of the historic occasion.

The 20-year-old was surrounded by a huge number of cheering, flag-waving well-wishers as the national day of celebration unfolded.

Vic said: "We were taken to London by lorry the day before the coronation and stayed overnight at Earl's Court. On the day itself, we were up at 6am and went on an inspection parade to make sure we were extra smart.

Daily Echo: The procession making its way through central London.The procession making its way through central London.

"We started marching from Earl's Court to near Westminster Abbey at about 11.30am and had to wait until it was time to join the march.

"There were so many other marchers in front of us that we didn't actually see the Queen.

"After marching to Buckingham Palace we marched back to Earl's Court and were dismissed at around 4pm. We decided to go back to the Palace by underground and saw the Queen come out onto the balcony, but we were a long way back."

Vic's parents, Robert and Dorothy, who lived at Woodlands Road, Netley Marsh, watched the event on television.

They were among an estimated 27 million people - one in 36 of the population - who spent the day glued to their set.

Vic's daughter Heidi Rehman, of Marchwood, said: "Neighbours and members of the family piled in to see if they could see him, but he was never spotted."

Vic, a retired carpenter, added: "We were absolutely shattered, but it was a marvellous experience."

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