British soldiers getting ready for whole world’s eyes to be on them

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Photographer: Sgt Donald C Todd - Copyright: UK MOD © Crown copyright 2023

34 Squadron from 39 Engineer Regiment is getting ready for nearly three months of Ceremonial Public Duties which will see them guarding the Buckingham Palace, the Tower of London, St James Palace, and Windsor Castle from late April to June, at a time when the whole world will be watching the UK.

Before they are able to do that, they have one last hurdle, to pass their Fit For Role Inspection.

Over the past months, under guidance from the Household Division, they have undergone rigorous inspections and drill practice to ensure they are of the highest standard. Which they will need to be to pass the Inspection and perform their duties up to the standard demanded.

39 Engineer Regiment’s current role has been to provide force support engineering to both the RAF and the British Army. 34 Squadron itself was originally formed in Chatham in July 1858 based there until 1977 when it was put under the administrative command of 39 Engineer Regiment and moved to Waterbeach, Cambridge.

The Squadron’s role was originally in support of 19 Infantry Brigade, where it was mounted in Saxon Armoured Personnel Carriers. The Squadron emblem is the Black Panther, this is in recognition of the time spent in Kenya as part of the East Africa Independent Brigade (from 1958-1965) and more recently as part of 19 Infantry Brigade, both of which have a panther as part of their badge.

In relatively recent history members of the Squadron have deployed to Iraq, Syria, Romania, France, Mali, Cyprus, Kenya, United Arab Emirates and Poland. Throughout its history 34 Squadron has regularly been called upon to support operational deployments from OP TELIC, Iraq in 2004 to OP TRENTON, South Sudan in 2017.

Most recently the Squadron has been held at high readiness as the Lead Air Support Squadron poised to deploy at a moments notice. The Squadron is highly trained and equipped to offer specialist air support engineering, airfield damage repair as well as provide artisan tradespeople and combat engineers.

The squadron are now looking forward to their next role of performing Ceremonial Duties for His Majesty The King.

Photos: Photographer Sgt Donald C Todd – Copyright: UK MOD © Crown copyright 2023

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