Garrison sergeant major

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File:New GSM Rank Badge on WO1 Mott's Arm.jpg
The Garrison Sergeant Major London District's badge of rank

A garrison sergeant major (GSM)[1] in the British Army is the senior warrant officer of a garrison and holds the rank of warrant officer class 1. The GSM London District, always a guardsman, holds one of the four most senior WO1 appointments in the British Army, and has military ceremonial responsibility for important state occasions such as Trooping the Colour.

London District

The post of GSM London District was established in the early 1950s with specific responsibilities as State Ceremonial Sergeant Major. The first task of the new GSM was to organise the funeral of King George VI in 1952 and the coronation of Her Majesty The Queen in 1953.[2]

Traditionally the GSM London District wore the same badge of rank as a regimental sergeant major of Foot Guards, the large Royal Coat of Arms on the right upper sleeve. However, on 28 April 2011, the day before the wedding of The Duke & Duchess of Cambridge, the Ministry of Defence announced that, in recognition of the work done by garrison sergeant majors on behalf of the Royal Household, Her Majesty the Queen had approved the revival of the original insignia made for sergeant majors appointed to the Court of King William IV in the early 19th century. It incorporates the large Royal Coat of Arms worn by selected warrant officers class 1 of The Household Division, placed over four chevrons sewn in gold thread, the traditional badge of the sergeant major, originally worn on both arms of their tunics.[2]

GSM, London District

1940–1950 WO1 (GSM) Thomas Courtney, Coldstream Guards
1950–1951 WO1 (GSM) George Howe, Irish Guards
1951–1952 WO1 (GSM) Frederick Thomas Aylen, Coldstream Guards
1952–1965 WO1 (GSM) George Stone, MVO MBE, Irish Guards
1965–1977 WO1 (GSM) Tom Taylor, MVO MBE, Grenadier Guards
1977–1987 WO1 (GSM) Alex Dumon, MVO MBE, Coldstream Guards
1987–2002 WO1 (GSM) Alan G 'Perry' Mason, MVO MBE, Coldstream Guards
2002–2015 WO1 (GSM) William 'Billy' Mott, OBE MVO, Welsh Guards
2015– WO1 (GSM) Andrew 'Vern' Stokes, Coldstream Guards


  1. Note that in the British Army, the plural is "garrison sergeant majors" and not "garrison sergeants major". The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 48587. p. 5671. 16 April 1981. The London Gazette: no. 25044. p. 6467. 2 December 1881. The earliest usage of "sergeant majors" in The Times is in 1822. The last of the (very occasional) usages of "sergeants major", except when referring to American NCOs, is in 1938.
  2. 2.0 2.1 [1]

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