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Past Events

Listed here are some featured Pioneer events.



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  Royal Guard and March Past - 8th June 1989

After months of planning, reces and several dawn rehearsals, with hours of bulling boots, pressing uniforms and the last hour arrival of new buttons behind them, 200 and more officers and men of the Corps were ready for the big day. Thursday June 8 dawned, the day the Corps was to provide a Royal Guard of Honour for the visit to Northampton of Their Royal Highnesses the Prince and Princess of Wales, and later at the Guildhall, to March past Princess Diana, who as Northamptonshire's most famous daughter, was to receive the Freedom of the Borough.

The Guard of Honour, commanded by Major Hardy, was drawn up outside the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, where Their Royal Highnesses were to attend a Service of Thanksgiving as part of Northampton's 800th Anniversary Charter celebrations, and to open the biennial Flower Festival.

Looking very pretty in pink, the Princess of Wales arrived in a blaze of sunshine at the start of an historic day. Accompanied by Lt Col Baird, her Royal Highness then inspected the Guard of Honour, making it a memorable day for those she stopped and chatted to.

The Royal couple entered the church, where Earl and Countess Spencer and other members of Her Royal Highness' family were already seated, to a a fanfare. After the service, during which Prince Charles read one of the lessons, Major Elliott, the Corps Secretary, had the honour of showing Their Highnesses the Corps Silver which was display in the Regimental Chapel.



Escorted by Lt Col Baird the
   Princess inspects her Royal Guard

During the service the Royal Guard and the street-lining party marched down to Bridge Street to join the rest of the parade and prepare for the March Past. Light refreshments were served by the hotels and cafes on the route, a very thoughtful gesture by the people who had complained at being woken at dawn during the rehearsals.

On arrival at the Guildhall Their Royal Highnesses were introduced to the Colonel Commandant, General Sir John Stibbon and his wife Lady Jean Stibbon and the DAPL, Brigadier Higginbotham and his wife, before the Princess stepped on to the dais with the Mayor of Northampton.

Led by the Band of 3rd Battalion The Royal Anglian Regt, the parade rounded the corner to the enthusiastic applause of the large crowd who had waited patiently for many hours. Amongst the crowds were many proud wives, mothers, children and friends, and they had much to be proud of.


HRH Princess Diana chatting to the Lord Lieutenant,
   in the background Pte Williams and LCpl Burke

The parade, immaculately turned out, marched with bayonets fixed as is their right since the Corps was granted its Freedom of the Borough in 1984. A smart eyes left for the Princess flanked by the Axe-bearers concluded the formal part of the day for the Corps.

Everyone then returned to Simpson Barracks, to an All-Ranks party in the Soldiers Dining Room. There was much talk of what the Princess had said and who had spotted who in the crowds. Many of those who had been off duty and had watched the parade had already had their photographs developed, and were handing them around. The nerves and tension now gone, everyone relaxed, and enjoyed the buffet, provided by Staff Penn and his team, while listening to The Anglian Band who played in a marquee erected alongside the Dining Room.


The Ceremonial Lances,
   Axes and Pioneer Sword

It was a memorable day, particularly enjoyable because the party brought together so many of the Corps, something that happens much too rarely. As a footnote, during the Flower Festival, we took turns looking after the Corps Silver at the Church and we were told by several members of the public how proud they had been of the soldiers on parade, and that they were a credit to the town. So, from all who watched you, ourselves included - 'well done, guys!'.

521 Coy
Marching on led by the Band of
   3rd Battalion Royal Anglian Regt.
518 Coy
Lt Col Baird leads the March Past
The Pioneer Volunteers provided
   the ushers inside the church.
   Sgt Hampton of 68 Coy (V).

Inspecting the Guard.
Princess Diana has a
   bit of a word with Cpl Wood
Inspecting the Guard.

Labor Omnia Vincit