10 The Queen's Own Gurkha Logistic Regiment have passed their 'Fit For Role' Inspection and conducted their first Guard Mounts at Buckingham Palace, St James' Palace, Windsor Castle and the Tower of London and will have the honour and responsibility of guarding Her Majesty The Queen during May and her Platinum Jubilee Weekend.
Soldiers from 10 The Queen’s Own Gurkha Logistic Regiment (10QOGLR) are taking a break from providing logistical support to the British Army’s warfighting division (3rd (United Kingdom) Division) on operations and exercises to don their ceremonial uniforms once again and support the Household Division by assuming the mantle of Queen’s Guard during the busy months of May and June.
In their distinctive uniforms with black accoutrements, khukuri’s, highland brogues and traditional ‘toppi’ hats, the Gurkha’s provided a stark contrast to the scarlet tunics and bearskins of the Coldstream Guards. As an additional difference before every parade, there was a khukuri inspection, in which the soldiers grounded arms, and withdrew their khukuri for inspection by the Inspecting Officer.
Despite the busy tempo of the Regiment, we are immensely proud to be taking over Queen’s Guard during the Jubilee period. The Regiment prides itself on standing out, and completing every task it is given to the highest of standards. The Queen’s Guard will be no different, and all soldiers and officers are approaching the job with excitement, and professionalism. It is a privilege to work with London District Headquarters during the run up to the duty, and the soldiers have enjoyed being able to try something new. Lieutenant Fred Dickson, Troop Commander, 1 Squadron, 10 The Queen's Own Gurkha Logistic Regiment
Proving themselves "Fit For Role"
On Thurs 5 May, a rigorous inspection of the soldiers and officers was carried out, ensuring that their ceremonial uniform and drill sequences were ‘fit for role’ to take over the honour of Queen’s Guard at Buckingham Palace, St James’ Palace, Windsor Castle and the Tower of London. Although the Regiment last conducted State Ceremonial Public Duties in 2019, for many of the Gurkha’s on parade, learning ‘heavy’ drill will have been a testing experience, as a light regiment they will only have had experience parading in ‘light’ drill, a very different set of skills from that needed on the Queen’s Guard.
During the inspection the full Squadron was scrutinised from head to toe to ensure excellence of bearing, discipline and uniform ensuring they are ready to step onto parade in front of Her Majesty The Queen’s residences. Additionally, they demonstrated the drill steps and orders for Guard Mounts at Buckingham Palace, St James’ Palace and Windsor Castle as well as the Ceremony of the Keys at the Tower of London, throughout they were watched by the beady eyes of the Brigade Major, Garrison Sergeant Major and retinue to ensure the accuracy and timings of each movements are up to the high standards set by the Foot Guards. A difficult challenge for any Regiment, but the Gurkhas proved themselves up to the task and were declared ready to take up the mantle of Queen's Guard.
Stepping up to take over Queen's Guard
Following the Fit for Role Inspection, 10 The Queen’s Own Gurkha Logistic Regiment conducted their first Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace and St James Palace on the morning of the 8 May, before assuming Queen’s Guard at the Tower of London on the 9 May and Windsor Castle 10 May. During their tenure as Queen’s Guard, of particular note, is that they will be supporting the Foot Guards by providing the Queen’s Guard over Her Majesty The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee weekend and, apart from a brief hiatus provided by the Irish Guards during the Queen’s Birthday parade, can be seen in their ceremonial uniforms at Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle during this historic weekend.
Musical support was provided for the Fit for Role Inspection and during the Changing of the Huard ceremonies by the Band of the Brigade of Gurkhas including a section of the 10 The Queen's Own Gurkha Logistic Regiment Pipes and Drums, demonstrating their historic Scottish connections. These Scottish connections are born from two events which occured during the Second Afghan War, first, when the 5th Gurkha Rifles and the 72nd Highlanders fought alongside each other and the Gurkha's had lost their kit in an explosion, the Highlanders insisted on providing the Gurkhas with their greatcoats, proving their friendship. The second event was after the battle for the ridge at Dargai at which the 2nd Gurkha Rifles and the Gurkha Highlanders had suffered heavy casualties, it was the Gordons who brought down the Gurkha wounded and were called a "pukka paltan" (a proper Regiment) by the Gurkhas for their actions. From then onwards these fond ties have been memorialised by the Gurkhas in the wearing of tartan and playing of pipes by Pipe Bands of the Gurkha regiments.
Usually, these high-profile duties are carried out by a regiment of foot guards with their regimental band.
For many of our soldiers, even in Nepal it is a childhood dream to one day guard the Queen outside her palaces, and now that dream is coming true. The Platinum Jubilee is a once in a lifetime opportunity, and the Gurkhas are both proud and happy to be able to be involved. The soldiers know that it is a privilege, and worth the hours of shining shoes, and being worked hard by the drill instructors. Lieutenant Fred Dickson, Troop Commander, 1 Squadron, 10 The Queen's Own Gurkha Logistic Regiment
Changes to viewing the Changing of the Guard
From Tuesday 3 May 2022, public access in front of Buckingham Palace will be extremely limited due to the preparation and build for events to celebrate The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. Whilst Changing the Guard will still take place on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays at 11am, the opportunities to view from the front of the Palace will be extremely limited and those wishing to view the ceremony are advised to arrive early. Once the allocated areas to view Changing the Guard are full, the area will be closed off. For those unable to find a viewing point in front of the Palace, the Guards can still be viewed en-route as they make their way along the Mall from Marlborough Road, and there will be additional opportunity to view the new guard form up through the railings of Wellington Barracks, on Birdcage Walk.
Restricted public access is expected to end by Monday 20th June 2022. From Tuesday 7 June, Changing the Guard will take place daily until the end of July. There will be no Changing the Guard on Monday 6 June.
The Household Cavalry change guard on Horse Guards Parade daily at 11am (10am on Sundays). On days of rehearsals or other events taking place on Horse Guards, Guard Change can move to 4pm.