Sgt. Alan Ware BEM, former personal guard to Sir Winston Churchill and current resident of MHA Connell Court care home, will march through Southport this Armistice Day to mark the sacrifice made by fellow military personnel.

Armed only with a smile and his giant 6ft 5 frame, in the spring months of 1942 Alan was close to missing out on his opportunity to become a Royal Marine due to his colour blindness. However, it was thanks to the trust of a farsighted Sergeant that Alan was set to embark on his dream role. Here’s his extraordinary wartime story…

Joining the British Army as a Regular in the 412 Kings Squadron in Plymouth, Alan quickly surpassed his training regime and was taken to the company office to learn where he was to be stationed. ‘Party Med’ was the location, but no one knew what it meant.

Later, after being instructed to board the battlecruiser HMS Queen Mary on voyage to Halifax in Canada, to Alan’s surprise he was selected among 19 others to guard the Prime Minister and his family on their travels to the Second Quebec Conference at the stunning Château Frontenac. It was at this high-level meeting that the Sir Winston Churchill would discuss plans to demilitarise Germany with American President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Sir Winston Churchill meets with President Roosevelt at the Quebec Conference. Image courtesy of Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library.

Reminiscing on his insightful encounters with the former PM, Alan said: “Churchill would snooze in the afternoon and work late into the evening. He was a very hardworking man. One night at about 2.30am Mr Churchill came to the door that I was guarding and asked me to get the Air Chief Marshall. ‘I want to see him immediately’, he said.

“Recognising the urgency, I rushed to find the Air Chief Marshall – who was clearly not too pleased to see me at that unearthly hour – and summoned him to see Mr Churchill.”

Trusting Alan with a number of highly confidential documents, as part of their visit to Canada, Churchill ordered him to board a flight and deliver the paperwork to the Commandant’s Office Senior in New York.

Returning to England in the legendary battleship HMS Renown, Alan was on duty outside the Admiral’s Cabin when the ship’s X turret swung round and, with no warning, fired one round. Only 35 feet from the barrel, Alan was blown against the wall causing temporary hearing loss.

This was not to be Alan’s only adventure guarding the PM. Months later he would be sent to accompany Churchill on route to Gibraltar where he was ashore for just a few hours before sailing to Libya to meet President Joseph Stalin.

Alan would go on to become a highly decorated soldier, receiving many medals and recognitions including the British Empire Medal, as part of the Royal Navy’s Trincomalee of Fleet during intensified military operations in the Far East.

MHA would like to thank you for your remarkable service, Alan. Best wishes for your Armistice Day parade!

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