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The reason for including this volunteer unit of the Army in a section about ceremonies is that this famous regiment figures strongly in quite a few ceremonial occasions that take place throughout the year in the City of London. It is the HAC that supplies the Company of Pike men and Musketeers in ancient uniforms and armour that are in attendance to the Lord Mayor at certain times. They can be seen in full regalia on special state occasions and ceremonies, especially at the Guildhall. You may sometimes see them travelling by modern coach with police escort from their headquarters in Armoury House in City Road. The HAC is also responsible for firing the Royal Salutes at the Tower of London. You will often see the convoy of guns heading there under police escort.
The motto of the Honourable Artillery Company is ‘Arma Pacis Fulcra’, or ‘Armed Strength for Peace’. The coat of arms bearing this motto has been traced back as far as 1629 but is probably much older than this. The HAC is one of only five regiments allowed to march through the City of London with drums beating, colours flying and bayonets fixed. This dates from before the 17th. Century when they were trying to recruit men of the city, although it did not become official until 1924 by order of The Lord Mayor.
Every year on the Friday before Remembrance Sunday there is a Regimental Service of Remembrance held in Saint Botolph's in Bishopsgate when members commemorate those who died on active service. Prayers are also said for those from the Regiment who are currently on active service. The Service is led by the Padre of the Regiment. There is a lunch afterwards in Armoury House, their headquarters in City Road for those who wish to attend.
The London War Memorial is situated at the foot of the steps of the Royal Exchange and it is here that the wreath laying takes place.The Honourable Artillery Company march from Saint Pauls Cathedral to the Exchange and wait there for the Lord Mayor to walk from the Mansion House. The Lord Mayor and dignitaries lay their wreaths at the foot of the memorial and a small service is held. It is a good alternative to the Cenotaph as it seems to be more intimate with fewer people there. Old soldiers always form part of the crowd.
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