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London Bridge From Over Here


svensson

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Completely separate from the political discussion about Her Majesty's death and funeral, I just wanted to share some thoughts as I watch this from literally the other side of the world [I'm 4800 miles /7750 km from London on the US West Coast].

I've been youtubing a lot of this because, like it or not, this is a major world event and I've never seen a Royal transfer of power /responsibility before. No surprise there. The last UK succession was 10 years before I was born. Because of all that, there is a certain mix of curiosity and morbid fascination with it all. I've seen US Presidential funerals, of course, but this is an order of magnitude more elaborate.

From a veteran's point of view, this looks like [and no disrespect intended] 'the Mother of All Dog and Pony Shows'.

The sheer number of troops involved in all this is surprising to me, for example. Beyond the Guards Division [whom you'd expect to have a role], it seems as if every single regiment and branch of the British Army will be involved in some fashion. I saw the RAF pallbearers, which I thought was odd but made sense once I thought about it, and I'm sure the RN will be involved in some way.

There's one company of Guards [sorry, I forget the regiment] that got back from Iraq the Tuesday before HM passed away and THEY'LL taking part! Wow, you'd think that 6 months or a year of counter-insurgency duty would get one a pass from all this.

And one can only imagine the attitudes of the officers and NCOs in the units participating. The number of inspections and rehearsals must be mind-boggling. Every coat, seam, buckle, piece of leather-work, and hobnail must have been examined twice by now with at least two more inspections scheduled before Monday. I'm also guessing that more than one drill square has been pounded just a little flatter and half the NCOs in the London Metro area have screamed themselves hoarse.

Edited by svensson
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17 minutes ago, Baron Wulfraed said:

Ever seen the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo? Or the hoorah from Diana's wedding? I'm sure they are looking at ways to out do either of those events.

Well, I'm reasonably certain there is a pretty thick volume rules, regulations, and precedent on Royal Ceremonies. For that matter, and I just found this out today, the British Army maintains a major general who is in charge of ceremonial duties and occasions. And it isn't as if the system didn't get a proper test when Prince Phillip passed away.

But Prince Phillip was a prince. Nobody swore any oaths in his name or directly to his person, save for a few staffers. I'm thinking that for the men and women involved with this event it's probably a whole level of magnitude different.

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16 hours ago, svensson said:

The sheer number of troops involved in all this is surprising to me, for example. Beyond the Guards Division [whom you'd expect to have a role], it seems as if every single regiment and branch of the British Army will be involved in some fashion.

I know a army lad who has had to cancel his wedding, which should be next Thursday, because of this. Leave cancelled. 'It's what you signed up for,' he was told. Thankfully they were prudent enough to take out wedding insurance, otherwise that would have ruined them, given his paltry military wage as he's still low ranks. 

Edit. Have been told a little more. He's Royal Engineers and will be on bomb squad support. It's easy to see the need for him in that case. 

Edited by Cloud64
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The scale of pageantry, if not the detail, is pretty much made up. It's the appearance of tradition that matters. The Victorians in particular were great ones for inventing new "traditions".

 

I use this conceit quite a lot in games, actually.

Edited by Vile Traveller
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11 hours ago, Cloud64 said:

I know a army lad who has had to cancel his wedding, which should be next Thursday, because of this. Leave cancelled. 'It's what you signed up for,' he was told. Thankfully they were prudent enough to take out wedding insurance, otherwise that would have ruined them, given his paltry military wage as he's still low ranks. 

Gads! I'm sorry about your friend's wedding. That's happened to more than one active duty troop [generic term for all the services] that I've known.

I knew one poor guy that got married, took a week's leave for his honeymoon, and at the morning formation the day he got back his command put him on deployment orders to Afghanistan. They gave him 10 days total to clear post. His wife was, um, 'distressed' over it all. Fortunately he made it back in one piece. He's now a Staff Sergeant [US E6, a senior Sergeant in the UK system], his marriage survived the stress, and they're the parents of a boy and girl.

Edited by svensson
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5 hours ago, Vile Traveller said:

The scale of pageantry, if not the detail, is pretty much made up. It's the appearance of tradition that matters. The Victorians in particular were great ones for inventing new "traditions".

 

I use this conceit quite a lot in games, actually.

My Traveller game has several 'traditions' based on historical reading [and Victorian militaries show up a lot there], my own experiences, and some practical thinking given the realities of the milieu. And there are some that I've utterly discarded. There was, for example, some Traveller grogs who insisted that the Imperial Marines of 5500 AD played bagpipes and wear solid color maroon purple kilts in their dress uniforms.

And there is just so much wrong with that visual that it makes my stomach flip just trying to explain it... ROFL 🤣

Edited by svensson
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