Queens Scout Parade Windsor Castle 2004

posted 6 Oct 2016, 08:12 by Dave Tomlin

"mm do I have to its like doing church parade but worse?"

"They will want me to be smart and stuff"

"Who is this duke bloke anyway?"

"Well I suppose since we have got the Queens Scout Award, I guess we could go to Windsor!"

"What? Not the queen what's the point"

Well they were some of the many excuses I had come up with to avoid going but there I was on the morning of the parade getting the shoe polish out and grumbling about lack of sleep and why was I getting up on a Sunday before I would get up to go to work!!! As usual I was later than planned

I went and picked Shep up and hurtled down the M40 to Windsor, trying to make up a bit of time. Having driven up one stretch of road a couple of times we decided that they didn't want any visitors at the castle because there are no signs what so ever from the motorway, and the only sign I did find was pointing back to the motorway we decided to follow our noses and head for the big castle shaped building over there!

Having parked in the Railway station car park, taken a layer off, as the sun was shining and eaten half a sarnie by way of breakfast

We walked off to the Barracks where we were to be taught how to march, feeling slightly self conscious walking through a town with the old uniform on, we needn't have worried as before we got out of the car park there were people in uniform everywhere, and when I say everywhere I mean everywhere, people not in uniform began to look out of place!

We arrived at the barracks in plenty of time and had our passes checked, we were grouped up and put into a drill hall to have our uniform checked, surprise surprise I had forgotten something, my belt was on my bed, balls!! So having filled in a form promising to pay for the belt later, we went out for some drill practice.

Having come from a troop where we do drill twice a year just before church parade I was not expecting to be the best but it’s surprising how inept some people are just at walking never mind marching, I have to say it was fairly obvious the Sea and Air scouts stood out a mile not just with the different uniform, but most of them could already march.

We had an interesting colour Sgt shouting stuff, it was all I could do not to laugh at him, honestly mate shouting stuff in a weird way, might impress your new shiny out of a packet soldier but its making my sides split. So on went our training I had by this time realised an error, my hat which I wear for 10mins at a time is tight, I now realised that I was going to be wearing it for some time and it was beginning to really hurt.

We were let out to go and have lunch, by this time my feet really hurt as well. We then met up with the others to have lunch.

Then back to the forming up area for the actual parade, by this time some of my initial expectations had been dropped but I am still a slob at heart and this was tough on my conscience!

We were formed up and marched into the Quadrangle, this was the point when things started to look worthwhile, the setting is impressive the building is a thing of real understated beauty, something that our American friends know nothing about. With the bands marching in we stood on the grass waiting for out 10 seconds with our Royal Host, this waiting period is long and boring, in the sunlight as well, so people started fainting all around, the funniest had to be the main colour party, the little guy fell over and the ones either side of him held him up each at arm’s length until some assistance arrived.

Both Dave and I were in the front row so got to meet the Duke of Kent while the people in the back row met some bloke in a skirt, George someone or other apparently he is the Chief Scout.

We then marched around the Quadrangle and out into The Chapel, now I'm not well known for being a god bother but the chapel is an impressive place, along with the memorials and Crypts of past Monarch's.

Outside again for a quick speech from George Purdy the Chief Scout reminding us if what we have achieved and what we should do from here?

Then march out and are dismissed a quick round of shaking of hands with 180 people that you have never met and a few minutes of peace reflecting on a remarkable day, then out thought the gates to meet all the people who have turned up to see us!

Well I'm not sure I would do it again but the chance to do it and having done it is a memorable occasion that should not be missed.

I think the quote of the day has to be "take this one opportunity in your life to walk into MacDonald's in Windsor stand in a queue between two other scouts, in a restaurant full of scouts all proud to be wearing the uniform"
Dave Tomlin May 2004