Posted: 2008-06-19 00:00:00 - Last updated: 2008-06-19 00:00:00
As the screens over the parade ground showed pictures of the Mall, bedecked with flags, a convoy of vehicles lined up behind the band of Guardsmen, it seemed for a moment to be a replay of our Centenary convoy last June. But this was the TA, just one year younger than the Corps, celebrating its 100th birthday.
What a birthday party it was, too. So many of our friends were there, taking part or enjoying the spectacle. We each picked out the vehicles we knew from Richard Beddall's Military Vehicle Trust cavalcade and applauded the owner/drivers we recognised. The HAC paraded in their distinctive uniforms, the Boers were repelled; Sudan remembered; the London Scottish went off to the Great War; many weary soldiers perished in the arena under shot and shell.
The modern 'rescue under fire' was particularly poignant as everyone was aware of the four soldiers being repatriated from Helmand as well as the many others currently serving abroad. HRH The Prince of Wales empathised with fathers, worrying about their children in danger, and with all the families waiting for soldiers' return from battle.
The TA is a vital part of the British Army and has been playing a vital role for one hundred years.