Following the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, the ESS team was honoured to work closely with its Defence clients to support customers throughout the period of national mourning and during preparations for the funeral. Key activities included providing full catering and FM support for:
- Reception, staging, onward movement and integration procedures for over 500 Royal Navy personnel arriving at HMS Excellent very shortly after the sad announcement was made
- Ceremonial training for the state funeral gun carriage procession at HMS Collingwood to fit with the requirements of the Royal Navy’s ceremonial training team
- Ceremonial training for the London marching escort and Windsor street-liners at HMS Excellent
- Increased personnel numbers at establishments across the UK, including RAF Cosford and RAF Honnington
- A large-scale feeding operation based at Twickenham Stadium mobilised at short notice to support security arrangements in Central London.
Working very closely with its tailoring partners, the team also managed the preparation and tailoring of Royal Navy No. 1 uniforms for the funeral procession, as well as uniform alterations at other establishments across the estate.
During the ten-day period, ESS provided:
- 40,000 additional cooked meals in messes across its estate
- 8,000 packed meals to support personnel on the move
- Extended opening hours in retail outlets to match the long training days being worked by military personnel preparing for the funeral
- For five days, three meals a day, including high energy packed meals, for up to 1,200 service personnel out of Twickenham Stadium
- Other FM services, including accommodation management, cleaning and waste disposal, to support the larger populations on sites.
Richard McKinney, Regional Delivery Director – DIO, commented:
“DIO would like to thank all members of ESS for the important part they played in ensuring the successful delivery of Op London Bridge. ESS were very flexible in their approach to meeting the SFM requirements under immense time pressures and with ever changing demands. It was a great example of collaborative working, thanks again.”
Andy Honnor, Head South East Region and PFIs – DIO, commented:
“Infrastructure and service support was an important part of Operation London Bridge. ESS were a key contributor to that service. The use of Twickenham Stadium to provide feeding support to service personnel was a great example of working with our industry partners to find an efficient and effective solution. ESS, working with the RFU, provided hot meals and packed meals to personnel employed on duties.”
Bob Gray, Managing Director – ESS Defence, added:
“The successful delivery of Operation London Bridge saw an extraordinary effort from our teams on the ground. Effective collaboration with our military clients, Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) colleagues and the wider Compass business ensured customers were well looked after and enabled us to respond to fast-evolving requirements. We were proud to support the Armed Forces during such a challenging and historic period – it was a great privilege to play our part.”