Pride at Ashton soldier’s role in Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral

AN ASHTON soldier is playing a key role in the ceremonies surrounding Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral – after setting off on his way home.

Sergeant Josh Tate was making his way back to the north-west when he received the call which meant he had to return to barracks.

Now the 35-year-old is part of the Kings Troop Royal Horse Artillery that is operating both on the procession that sees her Majesty’s coffin travel from Buckingham Place to the Palace of Westminster, where it will lie in state in Westminster Hall tomorrow (Weds, September 14), and the funeral itself on Monday (September 19).

 

Josh Tate

It meant rehearsals in the early hours to make sure everything goes to plan.

And even though it means her son had to delay his return, mother Maggie could not be prouder.

She said: “I’m so proud of him. I’ve seen him in the Trooping of the Colour ceremony when he was in the Household Cavalry and the Blues and Royals.

“He was involved in the gun salute after the Queen died and Prince Philip’s funeral, plus the gun salute after his death.

Josh Tate with Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

“The funeral certainly is a big day for this family.

“I suppose no-one really knows exactly what will happen but I do know rehearsals are being done on the early hours.

“It’s been almost like a dress rehearsal so they get all the timings and everything right.

The 35-year-old is part of the Kings Troop Royal Horse Artillery that is operating both on the procession that sees her Majesty’s coffin travel from Buckingham Place to the Palace of Westminster

“But Josh was actually on his way home to Ashton when he got the call to go back to barracks – he hasn’t been back since Christmas.

“He’d finished his summer duties and was on the road home but he got the call to say he had to go back to work.

“He didn’t get very far, though, and when a call like that comes in, you don’t have any choice but to turn back.

“You’ve got to be prepared for it doing the job he does.”

Maggie, who lives on Penrith Avenue, recalled her son dreaming of being in the Army when he was just three-years-old.

The Castleford, West Yorkshire-born soldier- who went to Stamford High School and Tameside College – had the honour of being chosen to escort her Majesty around the stables when the troop performed at the Royal Windsor Horse Show.

Josh with his Mum, Maggie

She added: “It’s always what he wanted to do from being three-years-old – ever since he played with Action Men basically.

“Josh was the minimum age you can be to join the army when he signed up – 17-years-old. I had to actually sign a letter saying, ‘Yes, I allow him to join the army.’

“And he’s actually had involvement with the Queen, showing her around at the Royal Windsor Show and chatting to her.”

Based at the Royal Artillery Barracks in Woolwich, London, but now operating from Wellington Barracks, situated close to Buckingham Place, Sgt Tate and his colleagues will take on what is an important role in the ceremonies.

He will be firing the ceremonial guns at Hyde Park tomorrow before redeploying to Windsor to fire them on the day of the funeral.

And even though the circumstances could not be sadder, the honour means so much.

Maggie told The Correspondent: “Josh is at Wellington Barracks at the minute, which is opposite Buckingham Palace.

“We’ve known all along the Kings Troop will be in the procession and they were rehearsing at 3am today (Tues, September 13)!”

3 Replies to “Pride at Ashton soldier’s role in Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral”

  1. Thank you. This is a great week written piece. You have made me even prouder (if that’s possible!!)
    Josh’s Mum, Maggie x

  2. Amazing cover! .. pleasure to know Josh from my time as an army cadet a top guy. Should have posters of him in the schools just showing what you can achieve.

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