The move is part of the British Army’s new policy of integration which helps soldiers to work more closely together, fostering understanding of each other’s roles and duties. As well as enjoying the variety of new tasks, the Royal Artillery will be helping to deliver a vital service for the nation for two weeks in March.
They’ve been rehearsing the hundreds of complex ceremonial moves and orders of command since Christmas, aided by those ceremonial icons of the Palace Forecourts, Number 7 Company Coldstream Guards. But the Woolwich Gunners won’t be allowed to take on the challenge until they have passed a rigorous inspection by senior staff of the Household Division including the Brigade Major, Lieutenant Colonel Guy Stone. Only then can they be declared “fit for role” and ready to take up their duties as the Queen’s Guard.
It is a major change of responsibilities but huge honour for the unit more used to delivering ceremonial Gun Salutes for Royal Anniversaries and State events as their Commanding Officer Major Victoria Flood explained: “We are extremely privileged and honoured to have this opportunity of providing the Guard for Windsor Castle. This not being the soldiers’ primary job, they have worked incredibly hard preparing themselves for this public duty whilst still training for their normal equestrian ceremonial role.”
Ceremonial and public duties are held in high regard by the British Army and instil the men and women charged with undertaking them the discipline necessary to excel when they return to their operational roles.
Gunners have been involved in almost every battle and operation the Army has fought since 1716 and are active across the globe protecting our rights, freedoms and working with our allies for a more stable, peaceful world. The Royal Artillery is no longer granted battle honours, instead it has the motto ‘Unique’ which means “everywhere” and their Colours are their Guns. The King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery will be supported throughout their duties in Windsor with music by the Bands of the Household Division.