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Bombardier Joshua Green King's Troop
Andy Parsons

Things you only know if you're a soldier in the King’s Troop

Danielle Goldstein

...according to Bombardier Joshua Green, 26.

The King’s Troop has more than 100 horses…

‘As the army unit responsible for firing ceremonial salutes on state occasions, we have between 130 and 140 draft horses here at Woolwich Barracks. They do two job: chargers – which have a bigger presence on parade and are much taller – and gun team horses, which are a little shorter and stockier to fit into a harness and pull the guns.’

…and some very old-school artillery

‘All our guns were in active service in World War I. We have the gun that fired the first round in the Battle of the Somme in 1916. Now they fire blank rounds, but there’s always an eerie atmosphere when you hear the big bang: masses of smoke comes out and you’re reminded of the guns’ history.’

Military horses have weird names

‘The names of the gun team horses all start with the first letter of the commanding officer’s surname. Battleaxe, Bellagio, Boudica and Beowulf were all named under our old CO Erica Bridge. The chargers are named after characters from the novels of Robert Smith Surtees, like The Duke of Dazzleton, Miss Lovelace and Lucy Glitters. I’ve not got a clue why.

While you’re commuting to work, the King’s Troop is walking its horses

For morning exercise, each of us will ride one horse and hold two in hand round the streets of London. We do it here in Woolwich, and when we’re deployed to central London we do it there as well. You get a lot of people looking a bit bewildered to see horses coming down the road.’

The King’s Troop appears at the Royal Windsor Horse Show, May 9-13.

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