LISTEN NOW: General Talk Podcast: WO1 Garrison Sergeant Major Andrew Vern Stokes

Speaking in our latest podcast for General Talk, hosted by Harry Bucknall, WO1 Garrison Sergeant Major (GSM) Andrew Vern Stokes talks about masterminding the military ceremonial arrangements for the state funeral of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

GSM Stokes tells us how proud he was of his instrumental role in organising The Queen’s funeral and pays tribute to his fiancée Sue for her support throughout the rehearsals and period of mourning. He also looks forward to planning His Majesty The King’s coronation next year, “another momentous national day”.

And he speaks with pride about the young soldiers of today, compared to when he joined the Army in 1988: “there is no hiding place for soldiers today, they are never off duty”. He explains the importance of Army drill for teaching soldiers to be on top of their game, and how it offers very valuable lessons to take on operations.

He also talks about his youth outreach work in London and attracting young people from the minority communities into the Army: “sowing that seed, hopefully, so that future generations can see the benefits of being a member of the Armed Forces”.

Finally, you can also hear how GSM Stokes won a BAFTA TV entertainment craft award, beating Ant & Dec and Strictly!

We are thrilled that GSM Stokes will be running the 2023 London Marathon to raise funds for ABF The Soldiers’ Charity.

GSM Stokes joined the Coldstream Guards in 1988 aged 16 and served tours of duty in N Ireland, Iraq and Afghanistan. In 2010 he was promoted Regimental Sergeant Major of the 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards, later becoming Academy Sergeant Major at Sandhurst before taking on his current duties as Garrison Sergeant Major London. In June 2021 he was awarded the MVO for his role in organising the military funeral of His Royal Highness the late Duke of Edinburgh. In September this year, with incredible precision and attention to detail, GSM Stokes also organised the state funeral of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II watched by a global TV audience of billions.


Hosted by Harry Bucknall and featuring leading figures from across the British Army and beyond, our monthly General Talk podcast examines the changing role of the military in the modern world.

To listen to other episodes in our General Talk podcast series, please visit our page.


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