King’s Troop: Departure marks an exciting new future

The Troop’s soldiers look forward to their new home in Woolwich

When the King’s Troop Commanding Officer Major Mark Edward dismounted his horse and locked the St John’s Wood Barracks gates on Monday, the moment was not just created for the cameras – the King’s Troop is never to return.

After enjoying the poignant send-off in the High Street, the Troop continued on past Lord’s Cricket Ground, through Paddington and on to Hyde Park where they fired a 41-gun salute to mark the official start of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.

The 109 horses, 163 soldiers and seven officers then continued to spend a night at the Wellington Barracks near Buckingham Palace before entering their new home at Napier Lines in Woolwich on Tuesday morning.

Speaking on Monday morning while preparing the horses at St John’s Wood for the final time, Captain Owen Beynon Brown said: “The build-up has been going on for months but in the past two weeks it has hit home.

“I’ve only been here for little over a year but I still have a strong attachment to this place.

“It’s unique and to see the back of it is a sad day. But we move on to better facilities for the soldiers and the horses.

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“The soldiers’ accommodation here was built in the 1960s when there were different expectations of living standards, whereas the new accommodation is fit for a modern soldier.”

He continued: “A lot of people have been stopping us over the past few weeks because they know it could be the last time they see us.

“There will be emotion out there but we are trained soldiers and our job is to deliver the Royal Salute.”

Lance Bombardier Lauren Bould, who has served with the Troop for five years, said the days leading up to the departure had been hectic.

“There will be a lot of emotion. When we did a rehearsal with the flag being lowered it made me choke up because it’s a sad occasion.

“But everyone’s really excited because the new place is amazing. It will be a dramatic change, but the facilities are fantastic.”