As thousands of Armed Forces personnel gather in and around London to prepare for the Coronation of His Majesty The King and Her Majesty The Queen Consort, Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) staff and their contractors are working round the clock to support them behind the scenes.
A Grenadier Guard picks up food organised by DIO Army and Aramark at Wellington Barracks prior to night time Coronation rehearsal.
Courtesy DIO / Crown Copyright 2023
DIO and contractors Aramark, VINCI, Sodexo, Aspire and Landmarc, are supporting Service Personnel involved in the Coronation across 14 military bases and Brunswick and Longmoor Training Camps.
DIO is working with Sodexo at RAF Halton and RAF Odiham, and Aramark and VINCI at multiple sites in the south-east, including the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, RAF Northolt, and Royal Artillery Barracks in Woolwich. At these sites accommodation and food is being provided, including at irregular times, to ensure personnel taking part in night rehearsals are properly fed. This includes both hot food and packed lunches, which are served in sustainable packaging.
While some rehearsals have been taking place on the streets of London, others have been further afield. Brunswick and Longmoor Training Camps, in Surrey and Hampshire respectively, have large open spaces which are ideal for rehearsing for some of the ceremonial elements of the Coronation. DIO and its training estate contractor Landmarc are working together to accommodate and feed around 1,800 personnel across both sites as they prepare for the Coronation.
As well as food, accommodation, cleaning and waste management, other requirements being provided by DIO and its contractors are more unusual. They include tailoring for military uniforms, provision of water troughs and temporary stabling for military horses, and cobbling. In addition to this, the teams are also providing generators, heaters, portable ablutions, including shaving sinks, marquees, lighting towers, seating stands, privacy fencing and other services such as road sweeping.
For the day of the Coronation, DIO and its contractors are providing four welfare areas which will allow service personnel a private space to take a break away from the eyes of the public. These areas will include ablutions and ‘brew stations’ where personnel can make a drink.
Andy Honnor, DIO’s Head of Regional Delivery for the south-east, said: "The role of Defence in the Coronation of His Majesty King Charles III is significant and wide-ranging, and DIO is honoured to be working with our industry partners to support it. Our teams have been working hard, in some cases around the clock, to make sure that the soldiers, sailors and aviators can be properly accommodated, fed and otherwise looked after. Ultimately, this is about making sure they can focus on performing their role for the Commander-in-Chief, himself a Royal Navy veteran, to the best of their abilities."