Jersey teenager helps carry the Queen’s coffin

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A JERSEY-BORN teenager was one of eight guards who carried Her Majesty the Queen’s coffin to Westminster Hall for her lying-in-state.

Former Grainville student Fletcher Cox (19) was part of a group from the 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards which carried Her Majesty’s coffin from Buckingham Palace.

The Queen’s coffin will remain at Westminster Hall until her state funeral on Monday. Mr Cox had been part of Grainville’s Army Cadet Force. He left the Island at the age of 16 to begin his military and cadet training in the UK.

Grainville assistant head teacher Jonathan Kellett said: ‘I was in charge of the ACF when he was here and he showed a huge amount of commitment. He was a Senior Cadet Officer by the time he was in Year 11 and ran our Grainville detachment. He was an excellent lead role model for the younger cadets and would run most of the activities for the juniors. The school and I are immensely proud of what he’s achieved and how far he has come since being a student.’

Grainville is the only non-fee-paying secondary school in Jersey to have its own section in the Jersey Militia Army Cadet Force.

After training as Guardsman and serving abroad for a period of time, cadets earn the title of Lieutenant-Governor’s Cadets to serve in roles supporting the Queen’s representative at public ceremonies throughout the year.

An interview with Mr Cox during his time training with the ‘Nijmegen Company’ Grenadier Guardsmen, who represent the 2nd Battalion and carry its colours, has been published on Grenadier Guards social media. In the interview, conducted when Mr Cox was about to take part in his first ceremonial Guard Mount, he said: ‘My main goal has always been to be part of Grenadier Guards. I watched a documentary on Youtube and just thought ‘’That looks pretty good’’, so I aimed to join them. It’s going well at the moment. I’m going to Besi (Afghanistan) on 31August so I’ve been here since February, so I’ve done around seven months now. It’s not my first [role as a] Queens guard but its my first-ever serving dismount. We’ve rehearsed quite a bit back at Wellington Barracks and we’ve also done some rehearsals here just to make sure that we’re ready to go and do it properly.’

Wellington Barracks is a base for the Nijmegen Company. Formed in 1993, the base is used primarily for ceremonial practice.

Mr Cox is now part of the Queen’s Company Guardsmen, who are an elite British Army infantry unit famed for their bearskin hats, buttons down their chest in one straight line, white plumes and red tunics. They are the senior Guards regiment, who are fully trained combat soldiers.

Mr Cox went on: ‘I’m feeling a little nervous but I’m excited to do it because its just been pushed back and pushed back and I just want to do it now. It’s a good thing to do and I know I’ll enjoy it.’

Lieutenant-Colonel Charles Woodrow, former chief of staff at Government House, who briefly met Mr Cox, said: ‘My wife and I remember the young chap talking to us about joining the army to be a Grenadier Guardsman. It’s a tremendous honour to be a part of the Queen’s Company 1st Battalion, as they have the honour of carrying the monarch and to lie the Queen in state. They serve as a bodyguard to the monarch and will be there when King Charles has his coronation.’

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