A MEMBER of the Royal Air Force (RAF) at Brize Norton said he is ‘chuffed to bits’ to have been selected to be a member of the Queen’s body guard.

Reservist Matthew Smith performed his first duty as a Yeoman of the Body Guard in a ceremony at Buckingham Palace last month.

Forty-nine year-old Sergeant Smith is a member of the full-time training team with 2624 squadron, RAuxAF Regiment (Reserves), based at Brize Norton.

Following his selection in November, he was sworn in as a member of the Queen’s Body Guard of the Yeoman of the Guard (The Body Guard) at a ceremony in Her Majesty’s Chapel Royal last month.

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Situated within the grounds of St James’s Palace, in the City of Westminster, the Chapel Royal is the location for royal weddings and ceremonies.

Most recently, Prince George was baptised at the Chapel Royal in October 2013.

After the ceremony at the chapel, Sgt Smith travelled by horse to Buckingham Palace to fulfil his first investiture, which was attended by Prince William.

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Sgt Smith said: “I was chuffed to bits to be selected as a Yeoman.

“I have served many years in the military, but I was humbled to be selected as a member of the Queen’s Body Guard.

“It is an exciting opportunity, especially as later this year I will be part of the Yeomen inspected at Windsor Castle by Her Majesty, the Queen.”

Sgt Smith is in exclusive company in his new role, as he is now one of 73 Yeomen of the Guard.

He joined the Army in 1987, where he served with the Grenadier Guards and the Queen’s Company.

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He ended his career in the Army as a regimental Sergeant Major and joined the RAF reserves in 2014.

A common misconception is that the Yeoman Warders or Yeomen of the Guard (In Extraordinary) and The Yeomen of the Queen’s Body Guard of the Yeomen of the Guard (The Body Guard) are one and the same.

Although both corps are made up of former British servicemen and servicewomen that have served at least 22 years in the Army, Marines, RAF or Royal Navy, there are several differences in the duties and uniform of these corps.

Dressed in their distinctive Tudor uniforms of red, white and yellow, the Queen’s Body Guard has a ceremonial role in many royal events.

The Body Guard are summoned for duty only on these ceremonial occasions, such as the state opening of Parliament, summer garden parties at Buckingham Palace, coronations and the funeral of the sovereign.

They live across the whole of the British Isles.

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Their headquarters is at St. James’s Palace and they have no duties at the Tower of London.

Yeomen Warders however guard the Tower of London, although their uniforms are almost identical.

Most of the The Body Guard indeed have a full time second career.

The Yeomen of the Guard can be distinguished by their cross belts, worn from the left shoulder.

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They carry a sword, which is not drawn, and a halberd - a pole weapon - known as a partisan.

The Yeomen of the Guard, or Yeomen Archers, were created in 1485 to guard King Henry VII, after the battle of Bosworth.

Formed in 1982, and based at Brize Norton, Sgt Smith’s regiment at Brize Norton provides trained personnel to support in operations worldwide.

In recent years, the squadron has deployed personnel in Iraq, Afghanistan and Somalia, as well as domestically.