Sunday, July 08, 2007

The Norwegian King's Guard visits the Dominion of Canada

The Norwegian King's Guard band and drill platoon are presently on a visit to Canada, and on the 10th and 11th of July they will perform at the Changing of the Guard at Parliament Hill in Ottawa.

/ np
08.07.2007 06:04

Before leaving the Canadian capital they will also put on a performance at Ashbury College, followed by a reception at the Norwegian ambassador's residence.

The Norwegian King's Guard was established in 1856, and is today organised as a four-company infantry battalion, with two rifle companies, one escort company and a headquarter company.

The regiment's duties remain unchanged, i.e., guard and ceremonial functions in peace-time and the security of the Royal Family in crisis or war. The rifle companies and the escort company normally take turns doing guard duty for a week and carry out regular training in between. Training includes the specialised techniques relating to the mission of safeguarding the Royal Family in time of war as well as the usual infantry work, live firing exercises, etc.

This entails a hectic training schedule for the guardsmen during their 12 months of national service. On arriving at the battalion from basic training, they spend their first five weeks in ceaseless drill practice, hand-to-hand fighting, physical training, close range firing and case solving excercises before they are allowed to perform their first duties outside the royal palace or around the Royal Family's country residence. The changing of the guard ceremony in front of The Palace takes place at 1330-1400 hours every day and is a popular event with tourists and the people of Oslo alike. The dark blue dress uniforms have remained virtually unchanged throughout the regiment's 141 years of existence. One noteworthy detail of the uniform is their plumed bowler hats.

A new military band and drill platoon are recruited each year, with the best available musicians arriving from Norway's huge number of school bands. The band and drill platoon display particularly high standards of drill and turn-out and regularly perform abroad. Among other places, they have performed several times at the prestigeous Edinburgh Military Tattoo, outside Napoleon's tomb at Les Invalides in Paris as well as the Grand Place in Brussel. They also featured prominently at the opening of the 1994 Winter Olympic Games in Lillehammer.

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