The death of Prince Philip marks the passing of a truly remarkable man who lived a life of dedicated service to Queen and his country. The thoughts and prayers of everybody at Help for Heroes is with the Queen and the Royal Family as they lay The Duke of Edinburgh to rest today.
Since 1952 he attended 22,219 solo engagements and 637 overseas tours but he was nevertheless a true military hero.
Prince Philip became a cadet at the Royal Naval College in Dartmouth before making his way up the ranks in the Royal Navy. It was in 1939 that he joined the Navy, although his uncle, Lord Mountbatten, played a part in that choice. The Duke said in 1970 that he would have "without a doubt" joined the Royal Air Force, had he made the decision alone, however later, in 1995, he stated: "I think, left to my own devices I think I probably would've signed up for the Navy. I was eventually persuaded by my uncle, Lord Mountbatten, that it might be more sensible to go into the Navy."
Graduating as the best cadet in his class, Philip was appointed a midshipman in January 1940 and formally began his active service career. He spent several months on the battleship HMS Ramillies, before being transferred to HMS Kent and HMS Shropshire, in the Indian Ocean. But after Italy's invasion of Greece, Philip was transferred to the battleship HMS Valiant, in the Mediterranean. Here he was involved in the Battle of Crete and mentioned in dispatches for his role operating searchlights in the Battle of Cape Matapan, in 1941
In 1942, he became first lieutenant of HMS Wallace, and at 21-years-old was one of the youngest first lieutenants in the Royal Navy. In 1945, he was on HMS Whelp when the vessel escorted the USS Missouri into Tokyo Bay for the signing of the Japanese surrender, which he saw first-hand. Following the end of the Second World War, Philip became an instructor at HMS Royal Arthur in Wiltshire.
Mark Elliott, of Help for Heroes, said: “Prince Philip was a Serviceman through and through and a proud veteran. Like our Charity, Prince Philip dedicated of his life to helping those in Service and those who retired and became Veterans. He was one of us.
“Despite giving up his military career in the Royal Navy to serve his wife and the crown with a selfless devotion, he remains a genuine military hero. He was somebody myself and other veterans will continue to hold in high regard for his outstanding leadership as an officer and the deep sense of commitment he demonstrated to serving others.
He leaves behind an enormous legacy and the thoughts and condolences of everybody at Help for Heroes is with the Queen and the Royal Family.”