Royal Navy rehearse remembrance drills ahead of Cenotaph commitments

Personnel from the Royal Navy, Royal Marines, Queen Alexandra’s Royal Naval Nursing Service and the Royal Fleet Auxiliary have been training at HMS Excellent in Portsmouth in preparation for The National Service of Remembrance at the Cenotaph in London on Sunday.

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.

 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.

WO Eddie Wearing said: “I am extremely passionate about representing all those that have given their lives and am proud of our part in the Cenotaph ceremony this weekend. I have served in various places across the world and I have lost a lot of friends in the military, so there is a massive personal part of this for me, but it is also a strong showcase of what we represent as the Royal Navy.

“We are doing our piece in a tri-service environment where we’re all representing our own fighting arm. That’s what I like most about being at the Cenotaph. Being there, being proud of what we’re doing, being proud of the uniform we’re wearing and representing all those guys and girls that have given their lives so that we can be where we are today.”

I am so proud to be part of the Queen Alexandra Royal Naval Nursing Service and the Royal Navy and that I can represent them at the Cenotaph on Sunday. I have recently returned from operations in South Sudan where as part of UNMISS we are helping to improve conditions for people living there.

Leading Naval Nurse Chelsie Rice

The group representing the Royal Navy are made up of a Royal Navy 96-man guard (90 Junior Rates, 6 Senior Rates and 3 Officers at the front), a Royal Marines 48-man guard.

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.

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.

For the first time all personnel taking part were given a commemorative coin to mark the occasion and their commitment to the training involved.

They were each handed their coin by Rear Admiral Surface Ships Jerry Kyd who has just returned from sailing HMS Queen Elizabeth on her maiden deployment.

He said: “This year’s commemoration for the centenary of the end of the First World War is really a very special thing but it’s also about all of those Armed Forces personnel who have given their lives in all the conflicts since then.

“To mark this we have given each person a challenge coin as a token of our appreciation for representing the Naval Service this year.”

Leading Naval Nurse Chelsie Rice, 24, of Motherwell said: “I am so proud to be part of the Queen Alexandra  Royal Naval Nursing Service and the Royal Navy and that I can represent them at the Cenotaph on Sunday.

“I have recently returned from operations in South Sudan where as part of UNMISS we are helping to improve conditions for people living there. We had to work under quite extreme conditions so it was very humbling to think that the South Sudanese experience that every day of their lives.”