On Monday 19th September 2022, the nation said a final farewell to Her Majesty The Queen.
Royal Air Force Music Services were privileged to be part of the ceremonies, with musicians from the regular RAF bands, the Band of the Royal Auxiliary Air Force and RAF Salon Orchestra involved in the procession from Westminster Abbey to Wellington Arch and route lining bands in London and Windsor.
The procession was formed in seven groups, the 84 musicians of the Combined Bands of the Royal Air Force led by Senior Drum Major (RAF), Warrant Officer Paul Phelan and Principal Director of Music (RAF) Wing Commander Piers Morrell OBE marched the RAF contingent from Horse Guards Parade to Wellington Arch. Marching at 75 paces per minute the bands provided continuous solemn music throughout the duration of the procession. Music included funeral marches by Beethoven, Mendelsohn and Chopin.
From Wellington Barracks, the Band of the RAF Regiment marched the RAF route lining contingent into position before themselves, lining the route on Constitution Hill. Paying their respects as the procession passed by.
At Wellington Arch, the Combined Bands of the RAF joined the massed bands to play the National Anthem for HM The Queen and HM The King as the bearer party raised the coffin from the gun carriage to a waiting hearse, beginning the final procession to Windsor Castle.
Upon arrival in Windsor, the state hearse joined the forward elements of the procession at Shaw Farm Gate, where it was flanked by the pall bearers and an escort party of 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards.
Paying their respects were the Band of the RAF College who had marched the RAF route lining contingent from Victoria Barracks into position on The Long Walk. The Band also lined the route as the coffin flanked by military personnel began its final procession to St George’s Chapel.
Royal Air Force Music Services are deeply saddened by the passing of Her Majesty The Queen. As the head of the Armed Forces, we feel her loss deeply. We are proud to have performed for Her Majesty over the years and privileged to play for her this final time.
Rest in peace Your Majesty