Heathfield army officer honoured for building timely resilience in the fight against Covid-19

A Coldstream Guards Officer who paraded in Windsor Castle for Her Majesty’s Official Birthday Parade on Saturday has been recognised for a very different role in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List.

Monday, 14th June 2021, 3:35 pm
Colonel Jeremy Bagshaw (Right) with his son Second Lieutenant Henry Bagshaw, Coldstream Guards (left) dressed for the rehearsal for the Queen’s Birthday Parade
Colonel Jeremy Bagshaw (Right) with his son Second Lieutenant Henry Bagshaw, Coldstream Guards (left) dressed for the rehearsal for the Queen’s Birthday Parade

Colonel Jeremy Bagshaw, 53, from Heathfield, is Chief of Staff at Army Headquarters London District.

He has been awarded the CBE for exceptional performance in this demanding dual role in the Army in London.

Colonel Bagshaw, who is based in the historic Horse Guards building in Whitehall, has a large working brief.

He manages the firm base of all troops in London, oversees ceremonial delivery of the Household Division’s duties for the Royal Household, oversees Defence engagement and diplomacy using the soft power of ceremonial on behalf of the nation and wider Government.

In addition, as Chief of Staff Joint Military Command for London, he has managed the tri-service response in support of the NHS and local Government for the nation’s capital during the COVID-19 Pandemic.

When he arrival at the post, the highly experienced Army officer – who has served on operations in Northern Ireland, Bosnia, the Falkland Islands, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Nigeria – immediately recognised improvements could be made.

He noted that although London’s UK operations capability was passable, it lacked the depth and robustness required for long term resilience.

Over his first seven months in post, he set in train a programme to make immediate improvements.

His vision has enabled effective enduring military support to the nation’s capital during the COVID-19 Pandemic – London’s most significant and enduring operation since World War 2.

As it transpired, getting it right had personal ramifications.

His wife is a community physiotherapist working for the NHS in Westminster and has worked in the community throughout the pandemic.

On hearing of his award, Jeremy said: “I was genuinely speechless, and very surprised.

“I feel very honoured to receive such an important award but frankly none of this would have been possible without an awful lot of very good people doing an awful lot of brilliant work.

“If you’ve got a good team around you, it’s going to work, and I’m very proud and pleased that it did.”

The greatest challenge of his career may well have been the pandemic but the greatest honour was taking part in the funeral of HRH the Duke of Edinburgh in his ceremonial role as Chief Marshall.

On Saturday, he was back in the Windsor Castle Quadrangle for the Queen’s Official Birthday Parade, where he stood beside the Major General Commanding the Household Division next to the Royal Dais overseeing the parade.

It was a particularly special event – considering his 18 year-old-son Henry was also on parade as the Ensign for No 3 Guard.

“He is on a Gap year commission with the Army prior to going to University and the chances of us both finding ourselves in this privileged position together is astonishingly rare,” he said.

“It will be the only occasion I am likely to ever be on parade with my son and so rather special.

“It is also rather nice to still be able mark the Queen’s Official Birthday despite the restrictions.

“As the Army always does, we adapt and overcome, and as the Household Division always does, we will pull off something special.

“It’s always an honour to be on parade on such a day.”