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Royal Navy Ceremonial Guard rehearse for Cenotaph service

11 November 2021
The Royal Navy’s State Ceremonial Team held the final rehearsal and training of the Ceremonial Guard at HMS Excellent’s Parade Ground in Portsmouth prior to travelling to London for Remembrance Sunday.

Led by Warrant Officer First Class Darren ‘Eddie’ Wearing, 171 members of the Royal Navy will be on duty at Whitehall on Sunday.

WO1 Wearing said: “It’s an honour and a privilege to be able to do this job as part of the Royal Navy to pay our respects on Remembrance Sunday to those who made the ultimate sacrifice. 

“The Guard have been put through some intensive parade drill instruction, rifle handling, marching, standing still building up gradually to longer periods of time on the parade ground.  They have all had to pay close attention to their uniform dress and kit which must be to the highest standard for this National ceremonial event.”

The Royal Navy contingent at the Cenotaph comprises personnel representing all arms of the Royal Navy: the Surface Flotilla, the Fleet Air Arm, the Royal Marines, the Royal Fleet Auxiliary, Queen Alexandra’s Royal Naval Nursing Service, the Submarine Fleet and HM Coastguard.

The Royal Navy contingent will be led by the First Officer of the Guard, Lieutenant Commander Michael Quinn. 

Lt Cdr Quinn’s most recent operational experience was on board as the Training Management officer with HMS Vigilant delivering the continuous at-sea deterrent in 2018-2019. Lt Cdr Quinn’s grandfather served during World War 2, at Dunkirk, the Battle of the Atlantic and in the Arctic Convoys. 

They have all had to pay close attention to their uniform dress and kit which must be to the highest standard for this National ceremonial event

WO1 Wearing

Many personnel on the parade ground come from the Royal Navy’s surface fleet. From large assault ships to small patrol boats, the surface fleet forms the core of the Royal Navy. Most of the surface fleet operates from Portsmouth, Devonport and Faslane.

The QARNNS Queen Alexandra’s Royal Naval Nurses contingent comprises men and women in medical roles across the Naval Service. They operate in a variety of operational theatres around the world, providing lifesaving care on the front line, and assisting with the rehabilitation of those who have been injured. As a key component of the Royal Navy and Defence Medical Services, QARNNS supports several essential capabilities both at sea and on land, as well as in tri-service operation. 

Leading the Queen Alexandra’s Royal Naval Nursing Service on parade is Lieutenant Nicki Whitehead, who joined the service in 2016. Most recently, Lt Whitehead has worked throughout the pandemic as a critical care nurse with NHS colleagues, as have the rest of the team.

The Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA) is a civilian-manned fleet, owned and operated by the Ministry of Defence. It is the uniformed civilian branch of the Royal Navy, staffed by UK merchant sailors.  Fully integrated into front-line warships, the RFA supports a wide spectrum of operations that include counter-piracy, disaster relief, counter-narcotics, law enforcement and evacuation operations.

The Royal Fleet Auxiliary is led by First Officer Systems Engineer Robert ‘Bob’ Cocking at the Cenotaph. His experience includes 18 years with the Royal Navy Submarine Service, seven years in the Merchant Navy and 13 years to date with the RFA.


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