Leading Seaman Zachary Duke, from Caboolture in Queensland, was one of the 40 members of Australia’s Federation Guard who paraded in London for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations.
CAPTION: Able Seaman Zachary Duke is part of the honour guard on the stairs of St Paul’s Cathedral in London during the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations. Story by Lieutenant Anthony Martin. Photo by Leading Seaman Nadav Harel.
The Platinum Jubilee marked the monarch’s 70 years of dedicated service to Australia and the Commonwealth.
Attending the ceremonial events held in the United Kingdom from June 2-5 was a far cry from Leading Seaman Duke’s normal duties as a fire control operator on a guided-missile destroyer.
“Being in the guard conducting ceremonial tasks is completely removed from my everyday job in the Navy,” Leading Seaman Duke said.
After more than eight years in the Navy, Leading Seaman Duke is about to return to a sea posting after his time in the Federation Guard.
He said having the opportunity to be part of Australia’s support to the jubilee celebrations has been a career highlight.
“I feel blessed to have had the opportunity to represent the Royal Australian Navy in the UK for the jubilee. I was amazed at the scale of the events the Brits undertook for the Platinum Jubilee,” he said.
Leading Seaman Duke was one of three Federation Guard members selected to be part of the guard of honour made up of servicepeople from the 21 Commonwealth nations that lined the steps of St Paul’s Cathedral for the service of thanksgiving for the Queen.
“Being part of the stair guard for the service of thanksgiving and then getting to sit in on the service was a proud moment for me personally,” he said.
Leading Seaman Duke and the other members of the Federation Guard attended a reception at the Australian High Commission where they were thanked for their work in support of the jubilee by the Governor-General General (retd) David Hurley.
Reflecting on his experience during the jubilee, Leading Seaman Duke said: “Getting to participate in this was a once-in-a-lifetime career event for me, and will stand out as a highlight of my career when I look back.”
Australia’s Federation Guard is the Australian Defence Force’s only dedicated ceremonial capability, made up of members of the Royal Australian Navy, Australian Army and Royal Australian Air Force.