May 5th 2023

Coronation: Reserves prepare for historic occasion

Sailors, soldiers and aviators took part in rehearsals, day and night, ahead of the Coronation.

Sailors, soldiers and aviators have trained day and night in preparation for the Coronation of King Charles III and Queen Camilla.

Thousands of Armed Forces personnel will be at the fore of this historic occasion, with East Midlands Reserves from the three services amongst them.

From 162 Regiment of the Royal Logistics Corps (RLC), which is headquartered in Nottingham, Lance Corporal (LCpl) Billy Taylor has been chosen as one of the unit’s representatives in the ceremonial procession on Saturday, 6th May.

The 38-year-old was quick to apply when the opportunity became available around 10 weeks ago. Mere days afterwards, he received the good news.

He said: “It’s a huge honour – a once in a lifetime opportunity. It’s the sort of story you will tell your grandkids about in years to come.

“I was working in my civilian role when I found out and I told everyone I could. Then I had to sit down and have a strong coffee.”

162 Regiment RLC is the Army Reserve’s only specialist movement control and postal & courier regiment. LCpl Taylor, who is originally from the Isle of Wight and now lives in Mansfield, is based within 281 Movement Control Squadron, Nottingham. He is a Movement Controller, facilitating the movement of vehicles and equipment from A to B within timings and budget.

His upcoming assignment is a unique one. He will be a part of the second marching contingent, which will escort the King and Queen from Westminster Abbey back to Buckingham Palace after the ceremony. LCpl Taylor admits he has never taken part in an occasion that comes close to the size of the Coronation in his five years as a Reservist.

Preparations officially began around three weeks ahead of the Coronation, with drill practice and new uniform fitting. But, as a result of his thorough training, LCpl Taylor is always primed and ready to be deployed.

Before he even knew about this opportunity, LCpl Taylor had made plans to join the celebrations in London with his wife. Instead, she will now be joined by LCpl Taylor’s parents, brother, sister-in-law, nephew and their son.

He added: “My parents couldn’t believe it when I broke the news to them – they’re super proud of me. As soon as I told them they started asking about what I was going to be doing, where I would be standing and more. They had more questions than I had answers to!

“My Dad is an ex-serviceman, so he knows what an honour it is and it’s a huge source of pride for him.”

LCpl Taylor has a busy year ahead. Shortly after the Coronation he leaves home on an expedition to Cyprus with 162 Regiment RLC. Then in June he’s being deployed to Germany for the remainder of the year. However, at the moment, his mind is focused squarely on the Coronation.

“This will absolutely be a career highlight,” he said. “I hope I do everyone proud.”

Stuart Williams OBE, Chief Executive of East Midlands Reserve Forces and Cadets Association, added: “Whether in London or further afield, good luck to everyone involved in the historic Coronation celebrations.

“Reserves, Volunteers and Cadets are set to make many valuable contributions to the ceremony. I hope they enjoy the moment and know they will make our country proud.”


Photo:4,000 sailors, soldiers and aviators paraded through the empty streets of the Capital as they mounted their final full-scale rehearsal of the Coronation processions. Courtesy of the Ministry of Defence.