All three Services have been feverishly preparing for the Armed Forces Diamond Jubilee Parade and Muster which will take place in Windsor this Saturday, 19 May 2012
This will be the first major national event of the Diamond Jubilee which honours the Queen’s 60-year reign and marks the unique relationship between the Armed Forces and their Commander-in-Chief, Her Majesty The Queen.
The event will begin with a spectacular flypast of RAF Typhoons over Windsor Castle in a ‘Diamond Nine’ formation followed by a parade through the Castle by more than 2,500 Service personnel from the Royal Navy, the Army and the Royal Air Force.
The troops will muster in front of Her Majesty The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh, as well as 3,000 military personnel, their families and veterans.
The event will close with a spectacular tri-Service flypast of 78 aircraft heading up the Long Walk and over the Castle, including helicopters, the famous Lancaster and Spitfires of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, Hercules, VC10 and Tornado aircraft, Hawks and Tucanos, and finishing with the world-famous Red Arrows.
In order to ensure the high standard expected of our Forces is maintained, all those involved have been hard at work practising so their performances on the day are perfect.
After providing over 130 horses and men for the State Opening of Parliament, the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment has had to move 80 horses and men to Windsor for the pageant.
Riding alongside mounted groups from all over the world, the Queen’s personal mounted bodyguard will take centre stage as Her Majesty’s Escort in the arena spectacular in Windsor Great Park.
A Captain’s Escort of 53 men and horses will be used to escort Her Majesty from Windsor Castle to the showground. A 25-strong division of Blues and Royals will ride in front of the carriage with a Life Guards division riding behind.
In addition to the escort troops, the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment will also be providing musical accompaniment in the form of the Mounted Band of the Life Guards.
This will consist of 26 musicians on their distinctive mixture of grey horses and cavalry blacks, and the famous drum horse Achilles - a personal favourite of the Queen.
Captain Charlie FitzRoy, the Blues and Royals Division Commander, said:
It is a great privilege to be able to represent the very best of British during this special year in our nation’s capital.
Of course, the workload is intense and the turnaround from one parade to another is very quick, but we are armoured combat troops and we are all used to this sort of tempo on operations.
Hundreds of Royal Naval personnel converged at Longmoor Training Camp in Hampshire for two-and-a-half days this week to practise their marching for the prestigious event.
Many of the personnel taking part have recently returned from operations in Afghanistan as well as from off the coast of Libya last year during Operation ELLAMY.
Lieutenant Richard Farrow deployed to Libya as the Logistics Officer on board Trafalgar Class submarine HMS Turbulent.
It was an amazing experience and one that people join the Royal Navy to take part in.
Watching the explosions in Tripoli through the periscope of the submarine was particularly memorable as was being part of a campaign to liberate the people of Libya.
This is clearly very different to what I was doing last year but I am very proud to be at the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations; it is an honour.
In addition, 500 Royal Air Force personnel from stations throughout the UK gathered at RAF Halton in Buckinghamshire to also rehearse their marching routines.
Drill instructor Sergeant Jono Atherton, charged with putting the troops through their paces ahead of the big day, said:
Bringing together staff from across the RAF it is our task to turn them into a smartly turned out team, ready to join their sister Services on parade.
We are striving for excellence, arm swings and steps all together.
New to the RAF, Aircraftman Stefan Connor starts training as an aerospace systems operator at RAF Boulmer next week straight after the parade on Saturday.
I feel really privileged to be able to take part, it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
I am particularly excited about being in front of the Queen and am looking forward to the ‘eyes right’ as I march past.
The tri-service Parade and Muster in Windsor before Her Majesty and the Duke of Edinburgh will go through the Quadrangle of Windsor Castle, down through the town of Windsor, along Castle Hill, Thames Street and Datchet Road, and into Home Park (Private) via Town Gate.