Jamaican-born becomes first black leader of Queen Elizabeth’s elite Coldstream Guards

Kirtland Gill

More than 370 years after it was formed, the Queen’s Coldstream Guards has finally appointed its first black Regimental Sergeant Major, and he’s Jamaican!

Kirtland Gill left Jamaica to visit relatives in Tooting, south London, in 2001 when he was 20-years-old. He later joined the army and seven years later became a British citizen.

He is currently a Warrant Officer Class 2 and served in Iraq and Afghanistan with the 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards. Gill has even met the Queen twice!

Gill will take up his new post in April, and said he is honoured.

“It’s not something that’s just given to you because of who you are, it is something you need to achieve,” he said. “Everyone who held this post before me would have gone through the same career path. I don’t think it has much to do with colour.”

As a top soldier in the Coldstream Guards, Gill will be in charge of discipline and orchestrating parades. He will be doing things like making sure the Queen’s Birthday Parade, for example, works like clockwork.

“It will be challenging but I wouldn’t want it any other way,” he said.