26 September, 2022
During the service, in a symbolic act Her Majesty’s Personal Flag for New Zealand was paraded for the final time and was carried by New Zealand Army Captain Joel Ebbing.
Chief of the New Zealand Defence Force Air Marshal Kevin Short was present at the service, alongside the Chief of the Royal New Zealand Navy (RNZN) Rear Admiral David Proctor, Chief of the New Zealand Army Major General John Boswell and Chief of the Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) Air Vice-Marshal Andrew Clark.
The RNZAF Band played as the Queen’s Colours of the RNZN and the RNZAF, as well as those of the Army’s Officer Cadet School and eight infantry battalions, draped with mourning ribbons, were marched into St Paul’s Cathedral by Colour parties.
A unit’s Colours are the living embodiment of the honour, spirit and heritage of the Regiments that carry them, and they carry the spirit of all those who have fought in the Regiment and its predecessor Regiments.
The Queen’s/King’s Colour represents the unit’s loyalty to the Sovereign while the Regimental Colour carries the history and traditions of the unit.
Air Marshal Short said the NZDF personnel took great pride in being able to continue to honour and reflect on the 70 years of service that Her Majesty inspired so many with.
“Our people are driven by the commitment to service that Her Majesty also displayed so often through her decades of leadership,” he said.
“The Queen’s Colours have been a very tangible and public statement of our relationship with Her Majesty. We acknowledge the accession of King Charles III and we in the New Zealand Defence Force will continue to serve him, as we did for Her Majesty The Late Queen Elizabeth II.”
Captain Ebbing said he felt honoured when he found out that he would be the final flag bearer for The Queen’s Flag for New Zealand.
“Part of the significance for me is that my grandmother as a Girl Guide was at the first ceremony of Her Late Majesty’s reign, her coronation, in London in 1953. Almost 70 years later, I will be at a final ceremony commemorating her reign and will hold the flag that represents her loyalty, personal connection and commitment to New Zealand.
Captain Ebbing, who has recently returned from Europe where he was deployed as part of a multinational response to support the defence of Ukraine, said his family were excited to see him take part in the State Memorial Service.
“When I told my grandmother, we talked about The Queen. She remembers that she was very excited when she was selected, her and a few other Girl Guides. She’s kept the newspaper clippings from the time,” he said.
“One of the things I thought about when walking down with The Queen’s Flag was that when Her Majesty was put in that position, she was 25-years-old and I’m 25-years-old now and the weight of what must have been on her shoulders would have been heavy, and she’s done amazingly well over that time.”
At the conclusion of today’s service, The Queen’s Colours were uplifted to the sound of the lament played on bagpipes by RNZAF bagpiper, Sergeant Murray Mansfield QSM.
Currently an Aircraft Technician at RNZAF Base Ohakea, Sergeant Mansfield piped for Her Majesty’s last visit to New Zealand, and has performed at many important occasions such as Sir Edmund Hillary’s funeral, the return to New Zealand of the Unknown Warrior and at Gallipoli on Anzac Day.
Sergeant Mansfield was awarded a Queen’s Service Medal in the 2016 Queen’s Birthday Honours for his services to pipe band music.
Following today’s service, Her Majesty’s Personal Flag for New Zealand was ceremonially folded and placed into safe keeping. The plans for where the flag will go next are still under consideration.