2 Canadian Mechanized Group (2 CMBG) Commander Colonel Jason Adair inspect the troops prior to their departure Monday. (Photos by Patricia Leboeuf, Petawawa Post)
The soldiers had to practice drill for several weeks in order to perfect their marching skills for their trip to London, UK. (Photos by Patricia Leboeuf, Petawawa Post)
(Photos by Patricia Leboeuf, Petawawa Post)
3rd Battalion, The Royal Canadian Regiment (3 RCR) Commanding Officer Lieutenant-Colonel Kristopher Reeves speaks to the troops and their families at the last dress rehearsal before the soldiers head off to the United Kingdom. (Photos by Patricia Leboeuf, Petawawa Post)
The Royal Canadian Regiment (RCR) soldiers march in unison. They travelled to the United Kingdom on Oct. 8 and will remain there for the next six weeks, performing Public Duties for The Queen. (Photos by Patricia Leboeuf, Petawawa Post)
RCR Guard, RCA Band to perform Public Duties for The Queen
By Patricia Leboeuf
Posted on Thursday October 11, 2018
Over 120 members of the Royal Canadian Regiment (RCR) and the Royal Canadian Artillery Band were chosen to travel to the United Kingdom (UK) to perform public duties for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
Being chosen to be the Queen’s guard is a rare privilege for Canadians.
“It’s so rare that we get to do this honour,” said Captain of the Guard Major (Maj) Ben Lacey. “The last time that the Regiment provided a Queen’s Guard was in 2000 and getting to do it again 18 years later is certainly a once in a career, if not once in a lifetime, opportunity for most of us.”
Eighty-two soldiers were selected from the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th Battalions of The Royal Canadian Regiment (RCR) as well as 38 soldiers from the Royal Canadian Artillery (RCA) Band located in Alberta.
The last dress rehearsal was held on Oct. 4 at the Simmonds Parade Square, Garrison Petawawa.
Several command teams from different units came to see the military spectacle one last time. The contingent left on Oct. 8 and will return in mid-November, spending a total of six weeks performing Public Duties.
“Everything originally had a purpose,” said 3rd Battalion, The Royal Canadian Regiment (3 RCR) Lieutenant Colonel (LCol) Kristopher Reeves. “When the regiment was first formed in 1883, it fought wars every year since then. There was a time when this was the uniform they were wearing.
“I think that it is important to remember this sort of thing,” he added. “The traditions that we inherited aren’t just ceremonial traditions, but operational battle-tested traditions.”
For the past few weeks, the soldiers have been routinely practicing drill together at the Garrison to perfect their technique for their time abroad. Drill instructors from the UK were on hand to provide tips and ensure their skills were up to par. A Master Tailor also reviewed the uniforms to ensure they are refined enough for The Queen.
Going overseas to perform ceremonial duties for The Queen demonstrates the close ties Canada has with the United Kingdom.
The fact that “we are going to guard the Sovereign in another country, that is a major signal that we are not just partners, but we are friends and family,” said LCol Reeves.
While in London, the soldiers should also have time to take part in cultural activities.
The RCR Public Duties 2018 contingent will contribute to The Queen’s Guard comprised of units charged with guarding the Sovereign and the official royal residences within the London District from Oct. 21 to Nov. 12, 2018. These are Buckingham Palace, St. James Palace, Windsor Castle and the Tower of London.
“We know that you are going to do (2 Canadian Mechanized Group) proud,” said LCol Reeves on behalf of the Brigade Commander Colonel Jason Adair. “You are going to do the Regiment proud, but more importantly you are going to make all Canadians proud.”