A contingent from the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) will depart the country today to take part in UK tributes to the life of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
More than 30 personnel from the Royal New Zealand Navy, New Zealand Army, Royal New Zealand Air Force and Defence civilians are set to depart on civilian flights.
“The Queen had a special relationship with the NZDF. As head of state, Her Majesty was the head of the NZDF and its three Services, Royal New Zealand Navy, New Zealand Army and Royal New Zealand Air Force,” the NZDF said in a statement this morning.
Some of the personnel selected to attend are drawn from the units and are reflective of the military appointments that were held by the Queen which include:
- Captain-General of the Royal Regiment of New Zealand Artillery (1953);
- Captain-General of the Royal New Zealand Armoured Corps (1953);
- Colonel-in-Chief of the Corps of Royal New Zealand Engineers (1953);
- Colonel-in-Chief of the Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment (1964); and
- Air-Commodore-in-Chief of the Territorial Air Force of New Zealand (1954)
The contingent’s role will be to march in the funeral procession with UK Armed Forces and those of other Commonwealth countries who have significant links to the late Queen. This will require several days of in-country preparation and rehearsals before the funeral.
Deputy Contingent Commander Lieutenant Colonel Edward Craw said while the occasion was sombre, the contingent were looking forward to being able to pay their respects.
“The Queen’s Colours of the Royal New Zealand Navy, the Royal New Zealand Air Force, and those of the regiments of the New Zealand Army, have been a very tangible and public statement of our relationship with the Her Majesty,” he said.
“We are honoured to take part in official events and to reflect the long standing and significant relationship between HM Queen Elizabeth II and New Zealand, the NZDF and her constituent Services, Regiments and Corps.”
The contingent will return to New Zealand later this month following the end of formal mourning activities.