There was an excellent turnout from Members for the 2016 Annual Parade which was led by the Band of The Royal Yeomanry and the Pipes and Drums of the London Irish Rifles.
The Parade was inspected by the GOC, London District, Major General Edward Smyth-Osbourne KCVO CBE and the Remembrance Service was conducted by Canon Christopher Tuckwell. The First Secretary for Irish Culture and Community, Alma Ní Choigligh, laid a wreath on behalf of the Irish Government.
Joining the hundreds of veterans on parade were serving members of the Irish Guards, the Royal Irish Regiment and the London Irish Rifles and we were also very pleased to be joined by Irish Defence Force veterans who had served with the UN and a very welcome detachment of Gurkhas. As usual, RQMS John Gavin, was on hand to provide assistance to those who tarried along the way.
Given the fact that it was the middle of June, it was perhaps understandable that the weather gods decided to intervene by playing a random game of elemental bingo, starting with a round of heavy showers, closely followed by a succession of torrential downpours. These did not completely dampen the spirits of those on parade but, once dismissed, it was noticeable that some Members appeared to be marching at full Rifleman pace to reach the sanctuary of the Civil Service Club for a much needed cup of tea and some tasty nibbles. It is even possible that some might have risked a half pint or two of bitter shandy.
Perhaps some of the words of the Old Gaelic Blessing were particularly apt this year:
"May the road rise to meet you,
May the wind be always at your back,
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
May the rains fall softly upon your fields,
And until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of his hands."
A short video of the start of the Parade can be found here: