Thousands bid farewell to the King’s Troop in St John’s Wood

St John’s Wood High Street came to a halt this morning (Monday) as thousands of schoolchildren, war veterans, residents and shopkeepers lined the street to bid a fond farewell to the King’s Troop.

Decorated with bunting and flags, the road was closed to traffic and provided a fitting setting for what was a moving goodbye to the Troop.

The Royal Horse Artillery unit has been based at the St John’s Wood Barracks since its formation by King George VI in 1947 but will now be stationed at a new home in Woolwich.

The Troop’s departure brings to an end more than 200 years of military occupation at the barracks which has been sold and will now be turned into luxury housing.

Mounted on his horse in the middle of the road, Commanding Officer Major Mark Edward said: “This is a historic day. Today marks the 60th anniversary of Her Majesty the Queen’s accession to the throne.

“It is also a fitting occasion to open a new chapter in the history of the King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery.”

He added: “We are very lucky given our role that we are able to engage with the community every day by exercising our horses and being out on the streets.

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“Where we have been extremely lucky is having a community in St John’s Wood that is so willing to share it with us.

“The fact that we have had so many people out here today is an indication of that.

“It’s a truly humbling experience for us all.”

Earlier in the morning, the Troop welcomed 400 former soldiers to the St John’s Wood Barracks before all 109 horses headed on their final march out and the gates were locked behind them.

For lots more on the King’s Troop’s departure see this week’s Wood&Vale out on Thursday.