Behind the scenes look at extensive rehearsals for Queen Elizabeth II's funeral at RAF Halton

Hundreds of soldiers took part in an extensive rehearsal held in Halton preparing for Queen Elizabeth II’s state funeral.
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Images taken just days before Monday’s (19 September) state funeral show 576 members of the Royal Air Force making their final preparations.

At the site near Wendover, were servicemen and women from RAF Regiment, RAF College Cranwell, RAF Marham, the Royal Auxiliary Air Force and 603 City of Edinburgh Squadron.

Among the groups who completed their final preparations for Monday’s ceremony were 231 members of RAF Cosford, whose role at the funeral was to line the streets across London and Windsor.

Queen Elizabeth Funeral Rehearsals at RAF Halton. Royal Air Force Personnel. Photo by Mrs Fiona TrevittQueen Elizabeth Funeral Rehearsals at RAF Halton. Royal Air Force Personnel. Photo by Mrs Fiona Trevitt
Queen Elizabeth Funeral Rehearsals at RAF Halton. Royal Air Force Personnel. Photo by Mrs Fiona Trevitt

RAF Halton marked out a route at the base to replicate what the marching contingents, including the one that the Band of the Royal Air Force took during the procession.

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A spokesperson for the military group said: “As Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces and RAF. Her Majesty The Queen was unwavering in her role.

"All that the Armed Forces and RAF did, we did in her name, just as we do now for The King.

Royal Air Force personnel completing their final rehearsals. Photo by Miss Luka WaycottRoyal Air Force personnel completing their final rehearsals. Photo by Miss Luka Waycott
Royal Air Force personnel completing their final rehearsals. Photo by Miss Luka Waycott

“She was always present at very public moments including flypasts which she seemed to enjoy immensely.

“But also personal moments – with families, veterans, serving personnel.”

As part of Operation London Bridge the RAF formed a ceremonial team to ensure that the effective delivery of Air related ceremonial duties.

Also, because Her Majesty died in Scotland the RAF oversaw the safe travel of the Queen’s coffin back to London.

Operation London Bridge in action. Photo by Miss Luka WaycottOperation London Bridge in action. Photo by Miss Luka Waycott
Operation London Bridge in action. Photo by Miss Luka Waycott

Wing Commander Paul Crook said: “Although this was a very solemn occasion, it has been the highlight of my career to be involved in the safe return of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth’s coffin from Scotland to London. I and my team at RAF Ceremonial are humbled to have had this honour bestowed upon us. The professionalism of everyone involved, aircrew, our sister services and of course the Queen’s Colour Squadron demonstrated the best of Service and Duty. We continue our duty to Her Majesty until her funeral and will serve His Majesty King Charles III with the same dedication and excellence.”

The BBC has announced that 28 million people in the UK watched part of the historic ceremony.