Fisherman's son from Jamaica to become first black Regimental Sergeant Major in Queen’s elite bodyguards

A FISHERMAN’S son from Jamaica is set to become the first black Regimental Sergeant Major in the Queen’s elite bodyguards.

Kirtland Gill, 40, will be the most senior enlisted soldier in the Coldstream Guards when officially promoted next year.

Only commissioned officers will rank higher. The dad of one told The Sun: “It will be challenging but I wouldn’t want it any other way.

“It is an honour and it doesn’t come with colour or creed. It is something you need to achieve.

“I grew up in a small family. My mum is a dressmaker and my dad a fisherman. I wasn’t well off, where I could go to the top schools.”

Sgt Maj Gill joined on a whim after meeting a recruiting sergeant on a 2001 visit to London.

He added: “Being 20 I thought if I did four years and didn’t like it I’d still be young and get on with life.”

Instead he fell in love with the Army and even persuaded his brother Ryan to join.


In 2005 Sgt Maj Gill served in Iraq where two of his unit were killed. In 2007 he was a section commander in Afghanistan.

He rates it a highlight, adding: “It’s where you have the opportunity to put into practise all the things you’ve trained to do.”

He later instructed at the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst.

His promotion will also make him the first black RSM in the Household Division, which guards Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle.

As the colonel’s right-hand man he will be responsible for administering the 500-strong regiment including Number 7 Company which parades in the red tunics and bearskins during State visits.

Sgt Maj Gill has met the Queen twice, first at a Westminster Abbey memorial service in 2003 when he admits to being “overwhelmed”.

He met her again in 2012, when she presented the regiment with a ceremonial flag at Windsor Castle.

He is a hero in Jamaica, saying: “I remember the first time I went back in 2004 everyone was happy. They said you’ve gone away, you have done something with your life.

“I’d encourage any young kid to join the Army. The sky’s the limit. It inspires people to fulfil their potential.”

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