Calls for Queen’s pallbearers to be given MBEs after their faultless composure


‘They did the Queen and nation proud’: Calls grow for Her Majesty’s pallbearers to be given MBEs after their ‘faultless composure’ during nerve-wracking funeral

  • The eight pallbearers were handpicked from the 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards
  • Former head of the Army Lord Dannatt said the soldiers should be made MBEs 
  • Said the pallbearers had ’embodied the professionalism of the Armed Forces’
  • MPs Dan Jarvis and Tobias Ellwood supported the soldiers receiving honours 
  • The Queen’s funeral: All the latest Royal Family news and coverage

Military leaders, politicians and celebrities have backed calls for the Queen’s faultless pallbearers to receive medals.

The Grenadier Guards who carried the Queen’s coffin into Westminster Abbey and St George’s Chapel showed incredible composure throughout the ceremonies.

Watched by the wellwishers who lined the streets of London and Windsor – and billions worldwide – they produced a perfect performance.

The eight men, handpicked from the regiment’s Queen’s Company, included a teenager and a former reservist.

They were led by a ninth soldier, Company Sergeant Major Dean Jones, a married father-of-one, with another guard at the rear of the coffin. Last night, former head of the Army Lord Dannatt, MPs Dan Jarvis and Tobias Ellwood and SAS: Who Dares Wins star Ant Middleton agreed that the soldiers should be made Members of the British Empire (MBEs).

There is a historical precedent for such an award as the Grenadiers who were responsible for bearing Sir Winston Churchill’s coffin in 1965 received the British Empire Medal (BEM).

The Grenadier Guards who carried the Queen’s coffin into Westminster Abbey and St George’s Chapel showed incredible composure throughout the ceremonies

At the time, the BEM was awarded to soldiers holding the rank of warrant officer and below for meritorious service. Officers ranked lieutenant and higher received the MBE. This distinction ended after a review in 1993.

Lord Dannatt said the MBE would be a fitting reward for the pallbearers who ’embodied the professionalism of the Armed Forces’.

Soldier Luke Simpson, from Selston, Nottinghamshire, (pictured before a cadet camp in 2016) was praised by his former teachers at Ashfield School for his role in the funeral

Soldier Luke Simpson, from Selston, Nottinghamshire, (pictured before a cadet camp in 2016) was praised by his former teachers at Ashfield School for his role in the funeral 

Mr Ellwood, head of the Commons defence committee, said: ‘Their performance did the Queen and the nation proud.’ Mr Middleton, a former Special Forces operative, said they ‘deserved nothing less than an MBE’.

CSM Jones, the eldest of the party, led his young charges throughout the ceremonies. Meanwhile, the guardsmen, corporals and lance sergeants under his command carried the coffin, weighing more than 500lbs due to lead lining, up and down steps without putting a foot wrong.

Many of them had been on operational service in Iraq and were flown back to the UK for the funeral.

The youngest of the pallbearers was believed to be 19-year-old guardsman Fletcher Cox from Jersey. The former Army cadet fulfilled his childhood ambition by joining the Grenadier Guards.

But he could scarcely have imagined he would be trusted to carry the Queen’s coffin.

And soldier Luke Simpson, from Selston, Nottinghamshire, was praised by his former teachers at Ashfield School for his role in the funeral. Head teacher John Maher said he took his place ‘centre stage on such a historic occasion’ and executed his duties ‘so professionally’.

The Ministry of Defence last night refused to be drawn on whether the pallbearers would be decorated for their exemplary performance at the funeral.

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