RTR Cenotaph Parade Sunday 15th November 2009

The National Express 0625 coach from Poole arrived at Victoria Coach Station to find clearing skies and the hope of a cracking day ahead. We shared a taxi to Horse Guards and then headed for the unofficial meeting point (McDonalds) and breakfast. Only 3 or 4 tankies were there at first but soon a steady stream of people wearing regimental ties arrived and that " buzz” was there.

Once refuelled we all headed to horse guards parade and joined the ever growing throng of people waiting for the main event. The band arrived with the contingents from 1&2 RTR. The association standards formed up and then the old & bold formed columns of four and then we were off. We were all in step (unbelievable) as we marched proudly towards the cenotaph. The short service included wreaths being laid in remembrance of our fallen comrades since the inception of the Heavy Branch of the Machine Gun Corps. We then marched towards Whitehall and the RTR memorial, looking up, the association standards looked magnificent, and above them with the now bright blue sky as background stood Nelson’s column. As ex 1 RTR. the fact that the band were playing Lippe Detmold at this exact moment of time made it a most memorable moment. At the RTR memorial further wreaths were laid before the parade disbanded.

Free London buses then took us to the Regimental Church where the old standard of 1 RTR was laid up. As a branch representative of the association I was invited to the officers reception at the Vintners where the RTR Association AGM was also being held. Two glasses of fine red wine and some nibbles were fine preparation for the next round! the Barley Mow pub in Horsferry Road. As usual it was wall to wall Regimental ties, the buzz was electric, the place was rocking! Numerous pints of beer later it was time to make my way back to Victoria and the coach back to Poole. I had my route planned and I made it without any errors and in time. I knew my map reading class 1 would come in handy one day. On arrival in Poole I walked home to help eradicate the effect of alcohol, to my shame I succumbed to a doner kebab and although I knew I would regret it later it simply rounded off a perfect day. Next week it’s Cambrai ! I do like November.
I last went in 1996 , 1st and 2nd marching down to cenataph with the pipes and drums and RTR band, us oldies trying to march,really not succeeding, was an excellent day all round i'd thoroughly recommend it

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