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State & Ceremonial

Billy Mott hangs up his bearskin after 13 years as Garrison Sergeant Major

The man responsible for organising London’s military parades and ceremonies, Garrison Sergeant Major Billy Mott, attends his final parade today as he prepares to leave the Armed Forces, having served in the post for the past 13 years.

Garrison Sergeant Major Billy Mott

Garrison Sergeant Major Billy Mott

Following the Queen’s Birthday Parade today, WO1 Billy Mott will hang up his bearskin for the last time as his successor – WO1 Andrew “Vern” Stokes – takes up the post ahead of the Garter day service at Windsor Castle, which will be the first state occasion he’s had sole responsibility for.

Having joined the Welsh Guards in 1979, Billy Mott rose through the ranks, from that of Guardsman all the way to working at the prestigious Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, where all British Army officers are trained, where he held the rank as College Regimental Sergeant Major.

He then went on to become Garrison Sergeant Major for Headquarters Northern Ireland before eventually succeeding WO1 Perry Mason as Garrison Sergeant Major for London District in 2002, having been involved in the funeral arrangements for Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother.

For his services as Garrison Sergeant Major, Mott has been awarded both the OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours 2007 and later also the MVO – a personal honour from The Queen – for his role in organising the ceremonies for the Diamond Jubilee in 2012. He has also been presented with the freedom of the City of London during his tenure.

Mott also played an integral part in the organising of the troops involved in the Royal Wedding in 2011, during which well over 1,000 members of the Armed Forces came to London to play their part in the events.

In the earlier part of his career, WO1 Mott was also on parade when – during the 1981 Trooping the Colour (34 years ago today) –  17-year-old Marcus Sarjeant fired shots at The Queen as he rode on her horse Burmese towards Horse Guards Parade. The shots fired later turned out to be blanks.

Billy Mott ends his 37 years of service in the British Army, Welsh Guards and to The Queen today, leaving as the second-longest serving Garrison Sergeant Major, at 13 years, following his predecessor WO1 Perry Mason, who served for 15 years. He leaves as his own regiment troops its colour on Horse Guards Parade in front of Her Majesty today, in their centenary year.

photo credit: UK Ministry of Defence