A Coldstream Guards Officer who will be on parade in splendid ceremonial in Windsor Castle for Her Majesty’s Official Birthday Parade has been recognised for a very different role in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List.
Colonel Jeremy Bagshaw, 53, from Heathfield, East Sussex, is Chief of Staff at Army Headquarters London District. He has been awarded the CBE for exceptional performance in this demanding dual role in the Army in London.
Colonel Bagshaw has one of the most enviable offices in the Army, being based in the historic Horse Guards building in Whitehall, but his working brief is gargantuan.
He manages the firm base of all troops in London, oversees ceremonial delivery of the Household Division’s duties for the Royal Household, oversees Defence engagement and diplomacy using the soft power of ceremonial on behalf of the nation and wider Government, and, as Chief of Staff Joint Military Command for London, has managed the tri-service response in support of the NHS and local Government for the nation’s capital during the COVID-19 Pandemic.
It’s a big job but on arrival in post, this highly experienced Army officer who has served on operations in Northern Ireland, Bosnia, the Falkland Islands, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Nigeria, immediately recognised improvements could be made. He noted that although London’s UK operations capability was passable, it lacked the depth and robustness required for long term resilience. Over his first seven months in post, he personally set in train, and drove hard, a programme to make immediate improvements.
His vision paid dividends and has been the greatest single factor behind effective enduring military support to the nation’s capital during the COVID-19 Pandemic - London’s most significant and enduring operation since World War 2.
As it transpired, getting it right had personal ramifications. His wife is a community physiotherapist working for the NHS in Westminster and has worked in the community throughout the pandemic.
On hearing of his award, Jeremy said: “I was genuinely speechless, and very surprised. I feel very honoured to receive such an important award but frankly none of this would have been possible without an awful lot of very good people doing an awful lot of brilliant work. If you’ve got a good team around you, it’s going to work, and I’m very proud and pleased that it did.”
The greatest challenge of his career may well have been COVID but the greatest honour was taking part in the funeral of HRH the Duke of Edinburgh in his ceremonial role as Chief Marshall. On Saturday he is back in the Windsor Castle Quadrangle but for a much happier event, the Queen’s Official Birthday Parade, where he will be standing beside the Major General Commanding the Household Division next to the Royal Dais overseeing the parade.
While hugely proud to be involved, the piercing Bagshaw gaze will be looking out along the ranks of soldiers for one Guardsman in particular. “My 18 year old son Henry is also on parade as the Ensign for No 3 Guard” he said.
“He is on a Gap year commission with the Army prior to going to University and the chances of us both finding ourselves in this privileged position together is astonishingly rare. It will be the only occasion I am likely to ever be on parade with my son and so rather special.
“It is also rather nice to still be able mark the Queen’s Official Birthday despite the restrictions. As the Army always does, we adapt and overcome, and as the Household Division always does, we will pull off something special. It’s always an honour to be on parade on such a day.”