News Release: WARWICK CAMP, Bermuda – Members of the Royal Bermuda Regiment (RBR) proudly represented their battalion when they joined thousands of troops for King Charles III’s coronation in London.
Days of intense preparation paid off for the ten-strong marching guard – led by Acting Captain Corrie Cross – that took part in a 1.4-mile procession from Westminster Abbey to Buckingham Palace.
In a first for the RBR, the group was among the British Army’s Order of Battle, next to representatives of the Royal Gibraltar Regiment, in recognition of the Corps Warrant given by the late Queen Elizabeth II.
Another four of the Bermuda contingent formed a Colour Party stationed at the Queen Victoria Memorial in front of the palace for about an hour, during which time the procession passed.
All 14, as well as the RBR’s Commanding Officer Lieutenant Colonel Ben Beasley, were among the 4,000 service personnel who formed up in the grounds of Buckingham Palace to salute and give three cheers to the King and Queen Camilla.
Warrant Officer Class 1 Luis Pereira, the Regimental Sergeant Major, said: “I’m very proud of our soldiers.”
He added: “Obviously it was on a scale at which we’ve never worked before – a lot more than the 47 soldiers we normally take on parades back home.
“We were trained, we were well briefed, well prepared, so there was a sense of let’s get down to business and let’s perform in front of the world.”
The RSM said: “Now, we are a part of history.“In years to come my grandchildren will be able to go on YouTube – or whatever video-sharing site there is in the future – and see their Grandpa or even their Great-Grandpa who took part in the coronation of May 6, 2023.
“I’m very proud of the fact that I was able to participate in that.”
Leading up to the procession, the RBR’s marching guard members woke at 4.30am to get from their accommodation at Army Training Centre Pirbright to the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst for rehearsals that lasted, on average, ten hours a day.
Preparations also included practising at the RAF Odiham air base in Hampshire as well as an overnight walk-through on London streets.
Corporal Nigel Lee, 31, said the group learned new skills, including a change in formation while marching so that troops could make their way through the gates of Buckingham Palace.
The ZipX clearance agent, of Sandys, added: “What I enjoyed most was meeting different people, seeing different nationalities, different armies from around the world.”
He said: “It was a big occasion, once-in-a-lifetime and we were able to show off everything – that we know how to do our drill movements correctly, properly in our beautiful whites.
“It was an honour to be a part of it.”
Private Sher-Maur Gomes, an electrician, was pleased to be able to represent his home country at such a magnificent event.
The 23-year-old noted how his eyes have been opened to new opportunities since he enlisted with the Regiment five years ago.
He said: “I never thought I would get selected when I first put my name down to be part of the coronation procession, because there were lots of other people who probably had a chance, but I was glad they put faith in me and I put my best foot forward.”
Private Daniel Wideman, 43, of Paget, said the parade was “a great culmination to a lot of hard work”, which included standing in formation for about an hour in the rain before the procession began.
He added: “There were lots of people lining the streets, the vibe was very good, people were into it.
“Everything that was happening in Westminster Abbey was broadcast on an outdoor sound system; there were speakers everywhere so as we were walking from the barracks we heard the ceremony that was happening in the church.
“People sang along with the hymns, gave ‘hip hip hooray’ to the King.
“It was kind of cool to see the people there were into the whole thing.”
The 14 soldiers and officers also included Captain Travis Stevens, Warrant Officer Class 2 Shaun Williams, Colour Sergeant Shanté Arnold, Colour Sergeant Sergio White, Corporal Ryan Hayling, Corporal Kallan Thomas, Lance Corporal Azar Morrissey, Lance Corporal Kirk Wilks and Lance Corporal Ashley Grant.
Their contribution to official coronation events means they will be eligible for a Coronation Medal, as will other serving members of the Royal Bermuda Regiment with at least five full years of service.
A group of RBR troops took part in a sunset parade at Warwick Camp on Saturday to mark the coronation.
Soldiers also attended The Cathedral of the Most Holy Trinity yesterday for a Service of Thanksgiving, which included the Regiment band and fanfare trumpets.
For more information or to join the Royal Bermuda Regiment, visit www.bermudaregiment.bm or call 238-1045.