West Midlands Fire Service officer marches into the history books 

Historic royal duties beckon on Coronation Day for Group Commander Kris Darnley



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Published on 18 April 2023

Historic royal duties beckon on Coronation Day   

Group Commander Kris Darnley is preparing to put his best foot forward at next month's Coronation - with training from a West Midlands Fire Service (WMFS) colleague who marched in The Queen's funeral procession.

Kris was selected, together with 19 other colleagues from FRSs across the country. And now he's being put through his paces by Watch Commander Dave Cross, in preparation for his historic duties - 15 years after they both served at Birmingham's royally-named King's Norton fire station.

"To be chosen to represent WMFS and the whole UK fire and rescue sector at the coronation is an amazing honour,” said Kris.

"It's a long time since I learned to march as a trainee firefighter! Dave, who was a 'gaffer' when I was based at King's Norton fire station, is putting me through my paces, so I can be as prepared as possible.

"I'm really grateful to him for sharing his expertise and experience of such events, and hope that I do my family and colleagues proud."

Firefighters will form part of the Uniformed Civilian Services detachment on Coronation Day, alongside more than 200 members of services such as police and ambulance, HM Coastguard and Merchant Navy.

They will parade on Whitehall, before lining the King and Queen Consort’s processional route to and from Westminster Abbey.  

Officer in black tunic, white shirt and tie

Dave Cross said: “It was a career highlight for me to take part in last year’s State Funeral - something I will never forget.   

“Traditionally, firefighters march ‘navy style’. For the coronation, as for the funeral, they will be required to march ‘army style’. Although I won’t be there in person this time, it’s great to know that I can still play a part by, quite literally, giving Kris his marching orders beforehand!”

Kris joined WMFS as a firefighter in 2005. Aged 39, with four children, he has served at several Birmingham fire stations and had a two-year stint with our Technical Rescue Unit based at Wednesbury.

As a Station Manager he was responsible for Billesley and then Northfield fire stations, before moving to our headquarters to lead project, programme and performance work. He was recently promoted to Group Manager within the Chief Fire Officer’s team.

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