Army School of Ceremonial marches on

The British Army's premier drill and unit musician training establishment has pressed on through the pandemic and continues to teach soldiers the art of ceremony.

Catterick's Army School of Ceremonial (ASC) is responsible for training soldiers up to a standard where they can perform and instruct back at their home units.

Split into two departments, the Drumming Wing covering music and the All Arms Drill Wing covering marching: 400 troops graduate from the ASC each year.

While all British Army personnel will learn basic foot and rifle drill, with some regimental variations, in initial training, the All Arms Drill Wing ups the ante considerably by guiding soldiers through advanced techniques such as issuing out words of command and arrangements for military funerals.

You will grow in confidence Colour Sergeant McKenzie

Colour Sergeant McKenzie, one of the drill instructors at the facility, said: "I came across to the school from the 1st Battalion Scots Guards. Some of the people we teach here bring a lot of experience to the party. We help them to find the qualities of an instructor that they may not know they already have.

"The students are from all different backgrounds, we have Army Cadet Force (ACF) instructors, we have the RIFLES and the Gurkhas, who do light drill as opposed to standard drill, we give them all the information and qualify them to teach. As long as you come in with an open mind, are enthusiastic, and are a team player, you will grow in confidence on this course."

And while the Royal Corps of Army Music has primacy over the large service bands, individual unit flautists and drummers (plus the buglers of The Rifles) must pass through the ASC before they can take on their musical duties.

Representatives of the school were on hand to help during the preparations for the funeral of the late HRH Prince Philip earlier in the year.

It is not just British soldiers that grace the ASC, personnel as far afield as Ghana and Malta have benefitted from the excellent instruction.

Although the pandemic might have posed initial issues for the North Yorkshire facility, social distancing measures and the use of masks where appropriate have ensured that this most British of military institutions has been able to carry on teaching.