A landmark Governor’s Parade
9th July 2021
The last Sunday in June was a significant date for the Royal Hospital. Almost every Sunday, between April and November the Governor’s Parade – reviewed by the Governor, the Quartermaster or the Royal Hospital’s doctor - is conducted by the duty officer appointed for the week. For the first time the duty officer responsible was a woman – Tina Kilnan, our new Heritage Manager, who served in the Royal Military Police for 21 years.
Combining archaeology and the Army
While Tina was serving in Cyprus, she became interested in an archaeological dig near where she was living. It inspired her so much that she went on to do a long-distance degree in archaeology with the University of Leicester. After leaving the Army, Tina relocated to Australia and conducted research into colonial graveyards, before returning to the UK to do a Masters in heritage management at the University of Durham. She carried out her dissertation here at the Royal Hospital where she became fascinated by our Old Burial Ground.
As a trustee of the charity Soldier On! – which looks at the role heritage can play in rehabilitation and enhancing the wellbeing of veterans – she helped manage a project recording the ancient monuments on our site. After spending a few years working at the Royal Military Police Museum, Tina took on her current role here at the Royal Hospital.
“Being the first woman is significant, but it means more to be the first member of the Royal Military Police”
Tina appreciates the significance of being the first woman to take the Parade in our long history, but what meant even more to her was being the first representative of her former regiment to take on the role:
“The Regimental Sergeant Major decides who goes on the parade. The Chelsea Pensioners who were members of the Royal Military Police went to him and said, ‘We want to be on the parade to support her’. They’d retired long before I joined but because we wore the same headdress and cap badge the majority of the Provost family turned up and that was really touching.”
One of the Pensioners even approached Tina before the parade and offered to bull her shoes for the occasion; an offer she readily accepted!
Although the parade only lasts for a short time, lots of people turned up to see the momentous occasion and Tina says the Chelsea Pensioners made it a really enjoyable and memorable day for her.