Kensington & ChelseaNews

Little troopers spend the day with Chelsea veterans

The Chelsea Pensioners welcomed 15 children, whose parents all currently serve in the British Armed Forces, to a special event on Friday to celebrate the Month of the Military Child.

Royal Hospital, Chelsea – a retirement home for veterans of the British Army in West Road, Chelsea – partnered with the military children’s charity, Little Troopers, to organise the event.

One of the little troupers, six-year-old Bea Ansell-Locking, said: “One of the Pensioners talked about how being brave is doing something even though you’re a bit scared, like when we had to move and I had to start my new school. That was me being brave.”

Little Troopers at the Royal Hospital, Chelsea (Picture: Little Troopers)

About 300 Army veterans live at the Royal Hospital, including those who have served in Korea, the Falkland Islands, Cyprus, Northern Ireland and during the Second World War.

Funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund as part of the Hospital’s Soane Stable Yard Project to open up the heritage of the Grade II listed site, the children and Pensioners exchanged stories about their own experiences with military life.

Another little trouper, Keavie Peel, aged seven, said: “I had a wonderful time with the Chelsea Pensioners and especially loved talking to John! 

Pensioner John with Keavie and Pensioner Tony (Picture: Little Troopers)

“He was so nice to me and told me lots of interesting things about his life. He had been to places my daddy has been to!”

The Pensioners took the children around the hospital grounds and explained the centuries of history behind the building, which first opened in 1692.

The group also decorated miniature Pensioners’ Tricorne hats with dandelions – the official flower of the military child.

Marshall meets a Chelsea Pensioner (Picture: Little Troopers)

The day was one of several events that the charity Little Troopers has organised to celebrate the Month of the Military Child.

Louise Fetigan, founder of the charity, Little Troopers, said: “There are tens of thousands of children in the UK whose parents serve in the British Armed Forces and the Month of the Military Child is about recognising the unique experiences these children go through as they grow up in the forces community. 

“This was a wonderful opportunity to connect military children with some of the iconic Chelsea Pensioners and understand just how much these two generations have in common.”

 Pictured top: Bea Ansell-Locking with Chelsea Pensioner Tony at Royal Hospital, Chelsea (Picture: Little Troopers)

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