With many of the Foot Guards Battalions busy overseas on operations or training for future contingencies, the Royal Navy will take over their ceremonial duties as Palace Guards from Monday.
Sailors representing three of the five fighting arms, the Surface Fleet, Submarine Service and Fleet Air Arm, have just completed weeks of ceremonial training, culminating in a Fit For Role parade judged by the guardians of State Ceremonial, the officers of the Army’s Household Division.
The Fit For Role parade in London’s Wellington Barracks is the final inspection to ensure the Royal Navy’s readiness to take the place of the famous Foot Guards regiments.
Pronouncing their success, Brigade Major of the Household Division Lieutenant Colonel Guy Stone said:
The sailors were outstanding and had clearly put a huge amount into their preparation Lt Col Stone
assisted by the Company Sergeant Major of Number 7 Company, Coldstream Guards and his team. They were well turned out, confident of all guard change formats and clearly enjoying the experience“.
Public Duties for the 104 officers and ratings will now start this Monday at Buckingham Palace when, at 11am, they will Change the Guard with 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards. The Royal Navy will mount guard at each of the Royal Palaces and The Tower of London until 19 December, when they will hand back duties once more exclusively to the Army.
Palace duties also means the Royal Navy and Royal Marines musicians will be in demand for the next month, with one of the Senior Service bands providing musical support whenever the Navy is mounting or dismounting the guard.
Officer commanding the Royal Navy contingent, Lieutenant Commander Richard Dobson, said: “This will be an intense and memorable experience for all of us at the end of several weeks of ceremonial duties training, just eight or nine days of it specifically on palace guarding.
“The instructors from the Coldstream Guards could not have been better, for those eight or nine days they really put us through our paces and prepared us thoroughly for our Fit For Role parade.”