Jamaican Fisherman’s Son Will Become The First Black Leader Of The Queen’s Elite Coldstream Guards 20 Years After He Flew To Britain To Visit Relatives But Ended Up Joining The Army

(dailymail.co.uk) – Glowing with pride, this is the man who has soared into Army history from an unlikely background.

Born into a poor family in Jamaica, Kirtland Gill will be the first black soldier to lead the Queen’s elite Coldstream Guards.

He has been chosen to be its next Regimental Sergeant Major – one of the most senior Army roles.

The son of a fisherman, he flew to Britain to visit relatives aged 20 and ended up joining the Army.

Currently a Warrant Officer Class 2, he served in Iraq and Afghanistan with the 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards, and has already met the Queen twice.

Speaking about his new post, which he will take up in April, the 40-year-old said: ‘I am honoured to have been given the opportunity to be the next Regimental Sergeant Major.

He has been chosen to be its next Regimental Sergeant Major – one of the most senior Army roles +3
He has been chosen to be its next Regimental Sergeant Major – one of the most senior Army roles

‘It’s not something that’s just given to you because of who you are, it is something you need to achieve.

‘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.’

The soldier, whose mother was a dressmaker, said: ‘I had a poor family background, I wasn’t well off where I could go to the top schools.’

He said his parents were ‘extremely proud’ of his career, adding: ‘I still remember the first time I went back in 2004, everyone was happy – ‘You’ve gone away and done something with your life.

‘You weren’t just going to sit down and watch the world go by’.

‘My family and friends have always been really proud.’

The warrant officer visited his family in Tooting, south London, in 2001, and became a British citizen in 2008.

He now lives in Windsor with his wife Sashagay, 31, and daughter Hayley, four.

His post as top soldier in the Coldstream Guards, the longest continually serving Army regiment, will put him in charge of discipline and orchestrating parades, 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.

Lieutenant Colonel David Marsham, Commanding Officer of the 1st Battalion, said he was delighted to congratulate the soldier, adding: ‘Alongside being the first black Sergeant Major of the battalion, he is a tried and tested soldier with an immaculate service record and great vision for the job.

‘He is an ideal role model for all soldiers.’