A new Garrison Sergeant-Major (GSM) has been appointed to the London District.
Warrant Officer Class 1 (W01) Vern Stokes (Coldstream Guards) will oversee ceremonial events in the capital and beyond following the departure of WO1 (GSM) Bill Mott (Welsh Guards), who retired after 13 years in the job.
Cutting an imposing figure at nine-feet tall in his bearskin, WO1 Stokes spent a whole year shadowing his predecessor to prepare for the high-profile role, which requires an obsessive attention to detail and an encyclopaedic knowledge of drill and presentation.
W01 Stokes brings 27 years of military experience to the post, including tours of Northern Ireland, Iraq and Afghanistan.
The 43 -year-old deferred his commission to Captain in order to take up the appointment. which he described as the “pinnacle” of a guardsman’s career. “It’s an incredibly proud moment and hugely poignant for me,” he added.
Soldier (2015) Fresh Eyes Cast Over London. Soldier: Magazine of the British Army. August 2015, pp.17.