As the eyes of the world remain fixed on the United Kingdom, Commonwealth soldiers from one of the Army’s most multinational regiments have come together to remember Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
They are among hundreds of troops surged into the Army’s Pirbright Training Centre which has been stood up as a huge concentration area to enable the Army’s contribution to Her Majesty’s State Funeral.
That task – away from the glare of cameras in central London – is the job of 27 Regiment Royal Logistics Corps (27 RLC) and is a crucial component in making sure the behind-the-scenes planning and preparation runs perfectly.
During her reign, she brought all Commonwealth countries together. Private Adjei, 27 Regt RLC
Recalling the moment he heard the Queen had passed away, Staff Sergeant Dlamini, originally from Eswatini in southern Africa, said: “When the news came out, most Swazis that know me wanted confirmation, asking ‘is this real?’. They were touched the same as British citizens.”
“Personally, I just felt broken down. People back home are mourning at this moment,” said Private Adjei, talking of his native Ghana.
By providing support and working with the Commonwealth liaison team, the Pirbright concentration soldiers will ensure that British and Commonwealth soldiers are ready and prepared for Monday’s historic funeral, which is expected to be watched by a worldwide TV audience of 4 billion.
Highlighting the poignancy and uniqueness of the occasion, Private Adjei reflected: “You can tell your children and your grandchildren that you were part of the Queen’s ceremony.”
This sentiment was shared by Private St Marthe, of Saint Lucia in the Caribbean, who added: “It is a great honour to be part of it. Few people will have this experience.”
27 RLC is known as ‘The Wolf Pack’ and is made up of approximately 800 personnel from 24 different nations, including soldiers from countries as far apart as Mauritius in the Indian Ocean to the Caribbean island nation of Barbados. With a diverse range of job roles from chefs and drivers to logistic supply specialists and tank transporter operators, they are crucial to ensuring the Army can meet its commitments across the globe.
Serving as part of a unit, full of different capabilities, job roles and backgrounds, has given these soldiers a unified perspective, and it is in this spirit that they look to the future.
Private Shallow, one of the 16 soldiers of the 27 RLC contingent from the islands of St Vincent and the Grenadines, another country in the Caribbean, said: “With the Queen’s passing, I hope we can keep the unity. Keep everyone together.”
Private Adjei finished the thought, stating: “During her reign, she brought all Commonwealth countries together. We need to keep up that bond. Not let her death separate us.”