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Band of the Grenadier Guards during the procession of the coffin carrying Queen Elizabeth II as it passes from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Hall for lying in state on 14th September 2022 in London, United Kingdom. The coffin, which was covered in the Royal Standard and State Crown was moved on a gun carriage pulled by the King's Troop Royal Horse Artillery surrounded by Grenadier Guards. (photo by Mike Kemp/In Pictures via Getty Images)
The British Military Guards Must Follow Proper Protocol Even While Fainting
History - Science
Recently, a British military guard holding vigil at Queen Elizabeth II's coffin fainted in front of a large crowd of shocked onlookers. The man reportedly swayed on his feet just before he collapsed, first briefly stepping off the podium beside the coffin, rejoining the other guards, and eventually falling forward, perhaps "to attention" as he was instructed during his training.
A 2011 Express article reported that soldiers must learn how to "faint to attention." It's expected that if a soldier feels themselves going down, they pitch forward directly onto their front while still holding their rifle at attention, which — according to Major Dai Bevan of the Welsh Guards — "will probably involve a broken nose and a whole lot of missing teeth."
Over the years, many photos have surfaced depicting guards with their face flat on the ground. Perhaps it's a good idea that there are protocols regarding how to fall forward and at attention, so the fainted guard’s buddies can better sidestep the body while an attendant darts in to drag them away before too many photos are snapped.