The Australian Defence Force is preparing to remember and honour Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II at her funeral ceremony in London on Monday.  

About 40 personnel, representing each of the services and military organisations with which the Queen had a special relationship, have arrived in the United Kingdom over the past few days in preparation for the ceremony.

The personnel will march alongside Canadian and New Zealand defence force members in a Commonwealth contingent as part of the ceremony.

Commodore Ray Leggatt is heading up the Australian contingent.

“This is indeed a solemn moment for all of us – the opportunity to express our sorrow for the loss of Her Majesty and thanksgiving for her life – on behalf of the entire Australian Defence Force,” Commodore Leggatt said.

There has been little down time for those taking part, which also involves Australian service members currently on deployment in the UK.

Training started within 24 hours of personnel arriving, including before-dawn dress rehearsals at Wellington Barracks near Buckingham Palace.

The Head of Defence Staff in London, Brigadier Grant Mason, said, despite the training, no amount of planning, preparation or processes you put in place could prepare you for the impact of the death of the Queen.

“We are extremely grateful for Her Majesty’s service and commitment throughout her 70-year reign and deeply humbled by the opportunity to recognise her dedication to duty at her funeral on Monday,” Brigadier Mason said.

The Queen had a special affinity with a number of Defence Organisations, serving as:

  • the Colonel-in-Chief of:
    • Royal Australian Engineers (RAE)
    • Royal Australian Infantry Corps (RAINF)
    • Royal Australian Army Ordnance Corps (RAAOC)
    • Royal Australian Army Nursing Corps (RAANC)
  • the Captain-General of the Royal Regiment of Australian Artillery (RAA)
  • the Air-Commodore-in-Chief of the Royal Australian Air Force – Reserve

Additionally, all vessels within the Royal Australian Navy were recognised as Her Majesty’s Australian Ships.

An online form has been established at www.pmc.gov.au for anyone wishing to express their condolences.