My personal 'thank you' Article - Juels Limited News Article

My personal ‘thank you’

During my 26-year military service with the Grenadier Guards, the Warrant Officers’ and Sergeants’ Mess was gifted a matched pair of display cabinets from Pinewood Studios from the 2002 James Bond film Die Another Day, starring Pierce Brosnan and Madonna. You may recall the sword-fencing scene?

The mess decided that the cabinets would be used to depict the two roles of the First or Grenadier Regiment of Foot Guards – the operational infantry soldier and the ceremonial duties role.

The first cabinet was dedicated to the iconic and legendary Regimental Sergeant Major John C Lord MVO MBE, as the infantry role model. The latter, depicting the ceremonial role, was of Company Sergeant Major Walter (Wally) Williams BEM from the 2nd Battalion Grenadier Guards, who was part of the bearer party for the state funeral of Sir Winston Churchill, in January 1965.

What should have been a simple task- obtaining the names of the bearer party from 1965 funeral – turned out to be quite a difficult challenge. The Regimental Sergeant Major and I painstakingly trawled through hours of microfiche film and military records before finally finding an old copy of the London Gazette, which gave us of the names of the bearer party. Both cabinets now adorn the entrance to the Sergeants’ Mess in Aldershot.

Following the announcement of the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, it was with great anticipation that I watched the royal state funeral on television. Like millions of others around the world I watched in awe of the professionalism, dedication to duty and steadfastness of the bearer party from the Queen’s Company 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards.

After all the admiration, praise and superlatives was heaped on these young men, I wondered if there was a way we could ever show the nation’s appreciation for their sterling duty to our late monarch? I thought I could.

I decided to honour the bearer party and record their great achievement by obtaining a stunning twin-handled, lidded trophy and having it restored to all its splendour and glory. We handed it over to a silversmith, one of the country’s finest craftsmen, in Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter to hand-engrave the names of the bearer party and the Queen’s cypher on the obverse and the regimental cypher of the Grenadier Guards for Her Majesty on the reverse with the original hallmarks.

The trophy was originally hallmarked in Sheffield with date letter F for 1923-1924. We then included inscriptions on silver hallmarked plaques to adorn both the front and rear segments of the wooden plinth. Then the trophy and plaques were sent to have a gold gilt finish and then re-assembled. The finished silver and gold gilt trophy now captures the occasion and names of the men involved for eternity.

The process was not quite over as we then sent the trophy and plinth to the country’s most accomplished box makers prior to it being presented to the Regimental Adjutant of the Grenadier Guards Major James P.W Gatehouse (retd) at Wellington Barracks in London.

It was with great pride that I could personally say a small, token ‘thank you’ to a few men who on a very sombre day in September made the nation proud.

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