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The Classics

15,000 Gather for Queen’s Birthday Military Parade

Published:Friday | June 2, 2023 | 7:56 AM
THE FIRST BATTALION of the Royal Hampshire Regiment marches away from the Queen's Birthday Parade on the morning of June 2, 1962, after their flag had been lowered and they had said farewell to active service in Jamaica.

 A new flag rose to signify a new chapter in Jamaica’s history. It was a grand occasion attended by many. There were a lot of significant moments that marked Jamaica's journey to becoming an independent nation.

Published Sunday, June 3, 1962

Farewell to British Garrison

Big crowd sees end of an era

THE flag of the Royal Hampshire Regiment was slowly lowered towards the ground and in its place rose the West Indies Regiment flag, winding its way slowly to the top of the flag post, signifying the departure of the British Garrison from Jamaica after 250 years. They were given a warm farewell.

The crowd attending the Queen’s Birthday Military Parade at the Polo Grounds, Up Park Camp, yesterday, stood in rapt attention as the Royal Hampshire soldiers slowly disappeared at the northern end of the grounds. The crowd gave them a long round of applause and then cheered as L. Col. David Smith, Commanding Officer of the West India Regiment, took over the rest of the parade formalities.

This was the main highlight of the parade, which was witnessed by an estimated 15,000 people, including Ministers of Government and representatives of the Church and other sections of the community.

Another feature of the history-making ceremony was the presentation of insights of awards by the governor, Sir Kenneth Blackburne, to Jamaicans who were honoured by the Queen in the New Year Honour’s list of 1962 and the Queen’s Birthday Honour’s list of 1961; the Premier, the Hon. Sir Alexander Bustamante taking the salute; and the fly-past by aircraft of the Jamaica Flying Club.

The occasion also marked the last time that Sir Kenneth or any other Colonial Governor would take the salute at the march-past of the uniformed bodies.

Taking part in the parade were the First Battalion of the Royal Hampshire Regiment; the First Battalion of the West Indies Regiment; the Jamaica Constabulary Force and the Jamaica Special Constabulary.

Ideal weather

The crowd began streaming on to the grounds from the gates were opened at 6:30 a.m. The weather was ideal for the occasion as under an overcast sky, a gentle breeze kept waving the flag of Jamaica and the Union Jack over the dais, where the Governor took the salute.

Music was supplied for the parade by Massed Bands of the West India Regiment, the Royal Hampshire Regiment, and the Jamaica Constabulary. Sir Alexander Bustamante arrived before Sir Kenneth and took a salute from the dais. He was cheered by a section of the crowd.

Sir Kenneth arrived at 8 a.m. and was given the Royal Salute. He was escorted by eight outriders of the Jamaica Constabulary. He wore a full-dress uniform with decorations and a cocked hat with plumes.

The Governor, accompanied by Brigadier Derek Lister, Commander of the Caribbean Area, Mr Noel Crosswell, Commissioner of Police, Lt. Col. D. J Warren, Commander of the First Battalion of the Hampshire Regiment, and the Governor’s ADC, Lt. Richard Carr, inspected the guards at the request of Lt. Col. Warren. The march-past then followed in both slow and quick time.

Sir Kenneth then left the saluting dais. A Royal Salute was given and the Royal Standard was hoisted, symbolising the arrival of Her Majesty the Queen. The troops removed their headdress and gave three cheers for the Queen. That was followed by a Royal Salute and the lowering of the Royal Standard, symboliing the departure of the Queen.

“Auld Lang Syne”

Sir Kenneth then presented insignia of awards, after which there was the fly-past by nine aircraft from the Jamaica Flying Club.

The First Battalion of the Royal Hampshire Regiment did the march-past in quick time and then trooped their colours and slowly marched through the ranks of the Jamaican units of the Parade. The trooping was carried out  to the tune of “Auld Lang Syne”.

During this slow march, the Regiment Flag of the Royal Hampshire was slowly lowered from the flagpole in the centre of the Parade, and as the Battalion slowly disappeared at the northern end of the grounds, the flag of the West India Regiment slowly wound its way to the top of the flagpole, marking the end of the era of the occupation of British soldiers in the island.

As the Hampshire soldiers disappeared in the distance, a long clap from the crowd bade them farewell. Then the Commanding Officer of the Jamaica Parade, Lt. Col. David Smith, commanded his force in full review line to march forward.

The Governor left shortly afterwards, followed by the Premier. Spectators remained in their seats until the Colour Party of the West India Regiment marched off the parade.

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