Royal Navy and British Army personnel from Portsmouth to flyi the flag at Commonwealth Games in Birmingham

SAILORS, soldiers and Royal Marines from across Portsmouth are gearing up to fly the flag for the UK at the Commonwealth Games.

By Tom Cotterill
Tuesday, 26th July 2022, 12:17 pm

The sporting spectacle, being staged in Birmingham, begins on Thursday and will see hundreds of athletes from across the Commonwealth taking part.

A select group of naval personnel have been hand-picked to join the ceremonial duties in Birmingham as part of a 1,000-strong mobilisation of British troops.

Reservist soldiers from 295 Battery, Royal Artillery, based in Hilsea, will be joining police to provide extra security for the games.

Members of all the Royal Navy, British Army, and Royal Air Force took part in a final rehearsal for their role in the awards ceremonies of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.

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Other personnel from the navy will be involved in similar duties, with some even having a role in the contest’s opening ceremony.

The Portsmouth-based Band of HM Royal Marines will provide a fanfare of trumpeters for Thursday’s opening ceremony, while 138 flag raisers will be deployed across the venues during the games, to lead 280 medal presentations over the 11 days of the sporting spectacular.

In addition to the 300 military personnel on ceremonial duties, a ‘venue assistance force’ of regulars and reservists has been formed to work with local authorities, chiefly West Midlands Police, to assist the comprehensive security programme, from providing expert advisers to supplying bomb disposal teams and a counter-drone capability.

138 flag raisers will be deployed across the venues during the games, to lead 280 medal presentations over the 11 days of the sporting spectacular.

Among those mobilising is Reservist Able Seaman Rachel-Stella Layton from HMS King Alfred in Portsmouth. She was a dancer in the closing ceremony of the 2012 Olympics.

She said: ‘I’m so proud to be taking part in the Birmingham Games not only for the Royal Navy but also the reserves at such a high-profile event. It’s an amazing, unique occasion, one you will never get to do again.

‘The training has been really good fun, it’s a great experience and it’s my first time being mobilised. There’s a lot to learn over a relatively short period, but it’s a great thing to be part of.’

For Portsmouth sailor Petty Officer Sam Quinn, who serves with the Diversity and Inclusion Policy team in Leach Building at HMS Excellent on Whale Island – flying the flag allows him to return to his childhood roots: the 18,000-seat Alexander Stadium, home of athletics events, was also the venue for his school sports day.

About 1,000 military personnel will be involved in supporting the Commonwealth Games, which begin on Thursday

‘I’m really excited to go back to my old running ground where I won some of those races and see what it’s like now,’ he said.

‘To be part of this event, in my home city, in the Jubilee year and play my role, is such an enormous pleasure and fantastic to be involved.’

Major Charlie Miller of the Royal Signals and the ceremonial lead for the military’s involvement in the games said there a lot of planning had gone into making sure the event ran smoothly.

Military personnel from across the Portsmouth area will be involved in the games in Birmingham. Pictured are personnel during a rehearsal.

‘I have had sleepless nights, there are a lot of moving parts as well as people coming from different places to be at the right location, at the right time of day, some early, some late, as well as Birmingham traffic being a concern,’ he said.

‘The vast majority of the 138 personnel here are volunteers and they have really taken to the job in hand. There’s an enormous sense of pride amongst them building toward their duties and what a unique experience it will be.’

Members of all the Royal Navy, British Army, and Royal Air Force took part in a final rehearsal for their role in the awards ceremonies of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.
138 flag raisers will be deployed across the venues during the games, to lead 280 medal presentations over the 11 days of the sporting spectacular.