RNZN Personnel to Form Part of Queen’s Honour Guard
Four Royal New Zealand Navy (RNZN) personnel will form part of the Queen’s Honour Guard around the Royal Barge on Sunday, June 3 when over one thousand boats sail on the River Thames in support of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations.
One of the largest flotillas ever assembled on the river will pass under 14 road, foot and rail bridges on an 11km journey. During the pageant over 1 million people are expected to line the river bank and the world wide TV audience is expected to reach over 1 billion.
The RNZN contingent will be crewing one of four Offshore Raider Craft (ORC) around the Royal Barge as it progresses along the river and will be the closest vessels to the Royal Family.
Chief Petty Officer Toby Mills, who is one of the RNZN contingent, is feeling very honoured to be part of such a prestigious event. “With so many vessels on the water it will be amazing to be part of it all, especially in support of the Royal Barge.”
The RNZN crew will join crews from the Royal Navy, Royal Australian Navy and Royal Canadian Navy, all driving the 9 metre-long ORC boats from the Royal Marines’ inventory. The six ORCs will be stationed around the Royal Barge, forming part of the Guard of Honour.
Throughout the four-hour procession a mixture of vessels, made up of rowed boats (including a Maori Waka), working boats, historic and wooden launches, steam vessels and craft from the armed forces, fire, police and rescue services, will all join in the voyage down the River Thames to celebrate Her Majesty’s 60 year reign.
Commander James Routledge, the RNZN’s Naval Advisor in London, is proud of New Zealand’s recognition as one of the four Commonwealth Navies that will form the Honour Guard. “There has always been a very close relationship between the Royal Navy and ourselves, both in times of war and peace. Providing the ceremonial guard to the Queen for her Royal Barge is a task we are keen to perform and represent New Zealand on the world stage.”
“I feel very proud that we will be filling such an important role on the day, particularly given that this is one of the keystone events for the Jubilee celebrations.”
Naval Today Staff, May 31, 2012; Image: Royal Marines