Inside the Beefeaters

A Yeoman Warder in Tudor State Dress, from a series of Photochrom prints created by the Detroit Publishing Co. between about 1890 and 1900. Although the image makes the common mistake of calling him a Yeoman of the Guard, the Library of Congress clarifies him as a Beefeater, a.k.a. a Yeoman Warder.

Narratively has a great interview with Alan Kingshott, the Chief Yeoman Warder, or, the head of the Beefeaters. Officially termed “The Yeomen Warders of Her Majesty’s Royal Palace and Fortress the Tower of London” the 38-person (they began allowing women a few years back) military force is comprised of long-serving retired NCOs and whose TOE includes a Ravenmaster.

From the piece:

When Kingshott became a Beefeater, life in the corps was different. For 25 years he had served as a tank gunner in the Royal Hussars, seeing active duty in places like Northern Ireland and the Middle East. After a brief, dreary career detour to manage an electrical supply store, Kingshott signed on as a Warder in 1998. A balance of charisma and stalwart respect for tradition helped Kingshott rise through the ranks, from Yeoman Warder, to Yeoman Sergeant to Gaoler and finally, in 2012, Chief Yeoman Warder.

“The guys that were on the job when I first got here had a very different view of life and of the job. It was seen as a sort of gentlemen’s retirement club,” he says.

But Tower life today is anything but laid-back. Kingshott rises early in a bedroom that was once a prison cell – the locks still bolt from outside the door – and treads 48 steps down a spiral stone staircase to work. The scene looks staged for a Hollywood swashbuckler with Kingshott decked out in his medieval uniform.

Ceremony infuses his day. Mornings start with a brisk march to the main gate – ancient iron keys in hand and flanked by four regimental guards – where tradition dictates he open the Tower to the public. In his office, Kingshott is deluged with administrative duties, escaping now and then to confer with colleagues around the complex. But it’s evening and the Ceremony of the Keys that he cherishes most is about to begin…

The rest here

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About laststandonzombieisland

Let me introduce myself. I am a bit of a conflict junkie. I am fascinated by war and warfare, assassination, personal protection and weaponry ranging from spud guns and flame throwers to thermonuclear bombs and Soviet-trained Ebola monkeys. In short, if it’s violent or a tool to create violence it is kind of my thing. I have written a few thousand articles on the dry encyclopedia side for such websites as, University of Guns, Outdoor Hub, Tac-44, History Times, Big Game Hunter, Glock Forum, Firearms, and Combat Forums; as well as for print publications like England Expects, and Strike First Strike Fast. Several magazines such as Sea Classics, Military Historian and Collector, Mississippi Sportsman and Warship International have carried my pieces. Additionally I am on staff as a naval consultant and writer for Eye Spy Intelligence Magazine. Currently I am working on several book projects including an alternative history novel about the US-German War of 1916, and a biography of Southern gadfly and soldier of fortune Bennett Doty. My first novel, about the coming zombie apocalypse was released in 2012 by Necro Publications and can be found at as was the prequel, Chimera-44. I am currently working on book two of that series: "Pirates of the Zombie Coast." In my day job I am a contractor for the U.S. federal government in what could best be described as the ‘Force Protection’ field. In this I am an NRA-certified firearms, and less-than-lethal combat instructor.

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