Saturday, June 06, 2009

Queen's Birthday

Mine Host breaks with the protocol of this blog & tells a tale that did not happen to him in person:

In 1954 Mine Host's father was in the Army & tasked with Royal Guard duty in Sydney, for the occassion of the Royal visit.

Each day they would follow exactly the same routine:

At 2am they were marched into position along a parade route. They stood in position from 2am, at attention, lining the route until mid-morning/midday/early afternoon when Her Majesty passed by.

Shortly after the motorcade conveying Her Majesty had passed they were dismissed by an officer & were then on leave until 2am the following day. (use one's own imagination to fill in the details of this daily leave)

The first day nobody knew what to expect, so the troopers were armed with a .303, bayonet and Three rounds each, to handle any "attack that may be launched upon Her Majesty".

It was patently obvious the first day that by far the greatest risk Her Majesty faced was being swamped by enthusiastic loyal crowds.

Thus the second & subsequent days the .303 and bayonet remained in the armoury. Instead, dressed in full webbing only, each trooper gripped the belt of the trooper to either side, forming what was (hopefully) an unbreakable khaki chain, in an attempt to keep the adoring crowd from crushing Her Majesty & party.

1 comment:

RebeccaH said...

I'm way late to this, but wanted to tell my tale:

In 1979, just before our rotation back to the States from West Germany, we visited England. It happened to be June, and the Queen's official birthday parade in London. I was intrigued by the double line of guards: the Queen's guard in red coats and bearskin chef's hats (sorry, being an ignorant yank, I can't think of their official name) facing the parade route, and the lowly bobbies in black facing toward the crowd and forbidden to look back at the Queen.

She was riding a horse (in those days she still could), dressed in that red and black fox-hunting costume, surprisingly tiny in physique, and with the sourest look I've ever seen on anyone's face. On that day I knew never to envy royalty (or even the super rich).