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Royal Navy trains for national Remembrance ceremonies

10 November 2016
Sailors and Royal Marines have been honing their ceremonial drill to perfection as they prepare to represent the Royal Navy at this year’s national Remembrance events in London.

More than 100 men and women of the Royal Navy, Royal Marines, Royal Fleet Auxiliary and Queen Alexandra’s Royal Naval Nursing Service are practicing formal routines ahead of their role at the Cenotaph on Remembrance Sunday.

Wrapped in warm great coats to ward off the autumnal chill, their perfectly polished boots have pounded the parade ground at HMS Excellent in Portsmouth for the last three weeks.

Those chosen to take part regard selection as a great honour, and commit to thorough training each day plus hours of kit preparation in the evenings in order to display the best traditions and standards of the Royal Navy.

The sailors and marines are trained under the watchful eye of Warrant Officer 1st Class Eddie Wearing, the Royal Navy’s State Ceremonial Training Officer, and his team of instructors from HMS Collingwood in Fareham.

“Remembrance Sunday is one of the most important events in the Royal Navy’s calendar and we put a lot of time and effort into our preparation for the day,” said WO1 Eddie Wearing, who took over as the Royal Navy’s State Ceremonial Training Officer last year.

Remembrance Sunday is one of the most important events in the Royal Navy’s calendar and we put a lot of time and effort into our preparation for the day

Warrant Officer 1st Class Eddie Wearing, the Royal Navy’s State Ceremonial Training Officer

WO1 Wearing added, “It will be my first time at the Cenotaph in this role having been part of the contingent at various stages of my career, and I’m feeling relaxed about it because everyone is looking in really good shape. It doesn’t sound difficult, but standing still for two and a half hours with a rifle and being able to march with precision doesn’t come easily.

“The training is arduous at times, but everyone who takes part knows it will all be worth it when the time comes to take our place at the Cenotaph in London. We are all looking forward to paying tribute to those who have given their lives and to our colleagues who serve around the world keeping Britain safe.”

Those taking part are drawn from units across the country including ships, submarines, Royal Marines establishments and Royal Naval Air Stations. Many of them have served on operations around the world, while for some it will be their first major ceremonial event since joining the Navy.

Able Seaman Jack Andrews, 20, from Southampton, is taking part in the Cenotaph service for the first time in his career.

He said: “This will be the first time I have taken part in something like this to represent the Royal Navy in front of the nation. I’m nervous but at the same time I know I’m going to feel extremely proud on the day itself to be standing there with my colleagues.

“The training is tiring and difficult but it has been an interesting experience and it will feel good on Remembrance Sunday to actually be there doing the job. I feel extremely privileged to be taking part and I know it will be an emotional day for all of us.”

As well as marching at the Cenotaph, those taking part will also have a role to play in the Festival of Remembrance at the Royal Albert Hall, and the Lord Mayor’s Parade.

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