When a locally born soldier was tragically killed in Afghanistan his parish church was tasked with arranging a funeral with full military honours.
They turned to Ind-Ex to bring their expertise to bear to co-ordinate the requirements of the relevant security, army, civic organisations and interface them with the religious service, to ensure a fitting farewell to a fallen hero.
St Joseph’s Roman Catholic Church, Lytham St Annes
A funeral with full military honours presents significant security and organisational and challenges, particularly given the short timeframe available for planning and liaison with personnel from the key elements, and the heightened security state in the UK at the time. Security state was classified as severe.
The primary non-religious element of the ceremony is driven by the Army, and other elements are to be interfaced with this, bearing in mind the following:
- The needs and wishes of the family are fully met
- The importance of the respective security services requirements are communicated to, and co-ordinated with, the parish team and are fully met; and facilities are put in place to ensure unimpeded operational scope.
- The requirements of the various military elements (family liaison/regimental representatives/honour guard/chaplaincy) are accommodated and fully met
- The liaison with civic organisation (eg; Queen’s representative/civic dignitaries, etc) are accommodated and due protocols are understood and observed.
- The funeral director is consulted and fully briefed and his arrangements are incorporated in the overall plan.
- Veterans’ Associations tributes are planned and incorporated into the ceremony
- Religious service is planned to interface with the ceremonial element
- Accommodation of family/civic/military/veterans/friends and parishioners within the church planned and allocated
- Interment arrangements made
- Arrangements made with media (TV/Radio/Press)
The funeral is expected to attract significant local attention and the cortege will pass through Lytham town centre en-route to the church.
Parking would provide a significant challenge, as parking is prohibited outside the church for security reasons. Alternative parking areas arranged.
- To liaise with the various elements (security/civic/military/veterans’ organisations/ religious/funeral director) to determine priorities.
- To create an overall operational plan in consultation with the above to ensure priorities, protocols and needs of all the key organisations are met
- To supervise the implementation of the plan
- Work with the security services to ensure unimpeded access and operational imperatives are met. Arrange access for security sweep of church premises and sealing of church premises and environs 24 hours prior to commencement of ceremony.
- Interface with the Army family liaison officer to understand the wishes of the family and ensure these are fully met
- Liaise with RSM (leading burial party and honour guard) to understand imperatives, timings and co-ordinate rehearsals to interface with military plan
- Liaise with civic authorities and understand requirements and protocols
- Liaise with CO and Adjutant of Regiment to ascertain protocols and requirements for senior officers in attendance.
- Liaise with various veterans’ organisations to ascertain their requirements and accommodate their roles in the ceremony
- Liaise with police commander and establish communications
- Liaise with the Parish priest and the parish team (organist, bell ringers, choir)
- Liaise with the Army chaplain and effect introductions
- Brief and deploy Ind-Ex team on required logistical support:
- Communicating security plan
- Drafting operational plan and agreeing with all other relevant parties
- Preparing church seating plan
- Preparation of church premises (eg preparing suitable accommodation of veteran organisation flags during service, catering and refreshments for Army personnel during rehearsal day – the rehearsal took a full day ahead of the funeral and the soldiers would not have eaten nor had a hot drink since 07.00 – provision of Union flag for church, lowering of the Union flag on the morning of the funeral)
- Transport for Parish Priest to and from cemetery
- Arrange parking arrangements outside secure area near church
- Plan and rehearse church interface with Army burial party/honour guard during interment
The ceremony proceeded with the due dignity and all elements were delivered completely to plan.
Expressions of appreciation were received from the family, the CO of the Regiment, the police commander, the parish priest, the local authority liaison officer, the representatives of the various veterans’ associations and the chairman of the parish council.
This commission delivered without charge