Gautby soldier takes centre stage at Platinum Jubilee Birthday Parade

A Horncastle area soldier has had the honour of taking part in The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Birthday Parade on Thursday (June 2).

Warrent Officer Class 2 WO2 Emma Colton. Photo: Sgt Donald C Todd (RLC)
Warrent Officer Class 2 WO2 Emma Colton. Photo: Sgt Donald C Todd (RLC)

Warrant Officer Class 2 Emma Colton, 34, joined the Army straight from school and is the British Army’s first female Master Tailor, and will be on parade alongside the Equitation Instructor, Regimental Sergeant Major and the Master Saddler.

Originally from Gautby, Emma serves in the Kings Troop Royal Horse Artillery, and is in charge of a small team of tailors who are responsible for making sure the Kings Troop uniforms are in perfect order for the parade.

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Speaking before the parade, she said: “The parade is an annual event that has marked the official birthday of the monarch for more than 260 years. It will be a spectacular day filled with all the pomp and ceremony the watching public have come to expect and will be an historical event that may never happen again.

“It’s been a very busy time leading up to the parade. Every soldier wants and needs to look perfect on parade.

"We’ve been busy altering uniforms, from taking in to taking out, to sewing on trade badges, buttons and hooks, mounting the new Platinum Jubilee medal for the upcoming celebrations.”

This will be Emma’s 16th Queen’s Birthday Parade, as she not only was part of the Diamond Jubilee Celebrations in 2012 but also took part in the gun salute ceremony to mark the death of His Royal Highness, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh last year.

She has also had the pleasure of meeting the Queen on several occasions at the Royal Windsor Horse Show.

“She has dedicated her life to the country,” said Emma, “It was an honour to be introduced to her.”

Another Lincolnshire soldier who featured in the parade is Warrant Officer Class 2 (WO2) Paul Jones who is the Master Farrier of the Household Cavalry Regiment.

Paul, 35, also joined the Army straight from school, and this will be his eighth and final parade.

In 2009 whilst serving on Operation Herrick in Afghanistan, Paul received life changing injuries to his leg, when he was maimed by an improvised explosive device and spent two years in rehabilitation.

Following his recovery in 2012, he started his Farrier training and now, having risen through the ranks, he is now the Master Farrier of the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment, responsible for a team of 14 farriers who together are fitting shoes on all the 240 horses on parade on Thursday.

“It takes about 50-minutes to shoe all four feet,” he explained, “We use a mix of factory and handmade shoes, but even the factory shoes need altering because no one hoof is the same. We have to reshape them to fit.”

The Drum horses, which are the most powerful horses in the Regiment, all have their shoes handmade, which can take between two to three hours to make as the farriers’ have to forge a straight piece of metal in red-hot coals and shape them to fit the hooves.

Ahead of the parade, Paul and his team were arriving at the forge at 6am to check the horses’ feet prior to rehearsals, and then again on their return.