Stephen's page An Ex Coldstream Guards Drum Major
Stephen Ronald Atkin (Ackers)
24125445 Coldstream Guards 1968/1993

I joined the Coldstream Guards in April 1968 at the age of fifteen. Started my basic training at the Guards Depot, Pirbright Camp, Brookwood, Surrey. Signed on for nine years completed twenty four years 256 days.

After 2 years in the Guards Depot I was posted to the Corps of Drums 2nd Battalion, who were serving in Munster West Germany.
Within a few months early 1970 I was posted to Belfast and accommodated on HMS Maidstone an ex-prison ship in the Royal Docks. Due to the distance we had to travel to the troubles, by the time we had arrived at the riots most people had gone home, we were then moved into North Howard Street Mill.
By the end of my service I completed 3 tours of Belfast, 1 of Londonderry.

Postings with in the 2nd Battalion;

Chelsea, Caterham, Wellington Barracks- carrying out public duties both in London and Windsor.
Guards Depot as a b-flat instructor, Tour of Gdynia Poland with both the Pipe Band and Corps of Drums.
Two Tours in Fallingbostel, West Germany
Cyprus- during the troubles in 1974 six month tour, also July 1983-August 1983.
Canada Field Firing
Tours in Italy & France
Attended NCO Commanders Armoured Recce Course
Took part in the Presentation of Colours to the Battalion which were held in the grounds of Windsor Castle. A fantastic day Family members were invited finished the day off with a lock in with the landlord of the Round Towers public house Windsor. And an expensive taxi back to our flat in London. 

Married Sue in 1976 have two children,
Rhona - Bachelor of medicine/bachelor of surgery working and living in London.
Stephen - Bachelor of Science in Computing, now owns and runs his own Limousine Business (
<>) living at home.
Sue is still working as a Senior Staff Nurse in Out Patient Department Ophthalmic Department in our local Hospital Doncaster.

So if you have a problem with your health, your eyes or you need a Limo please feel free to give me a ring?

In 1984 I was posted to the Ist Battalion who were stationed in Caterham to take over as Drum Major from Ossie Austin.

Completed the silly season, taking part in Queens Guard Mounts both at Buckingham Palace & Windsor Castle.
1985 Queens Birthday parade & Beating of Retreat on Horse Guards Parade.
State opening of Parliament.
State visits & Guard of honours.
Presentation of new colours for both 1st & 2nd Battalion on the 22nd of May 1985 Regimental Band And both Corps of Drums were on parade held on  Horse Guards Parade 

I spent another tour in Canada, field firing as well as Corps of Drums Displays in full home service clothing.

In 1986 Battalion posted to Hong Kong for a two year tour, whilst in Hong Kong we had the pleasure of playing in full dress uniform in a number of 1st class hotels & some not so 1st class.
The Royal Fleet Club.
The Ghurkha’s open day on the border.
The Regimental Band and the Corps of Drums both played on the Battalion open days in both Stanley Fort and in the local area.
The Corps of Drums were also fortunate to be invited to play in Perth Western Australia & Disneyland Osaka Japan.

As well as ensuring both flute and drum playing we’re kept to the highest standards, the Corps of Drums also trained as the Assault Pioneer Platoon- responsible for blowing things up. Keeping things afloat & clearing the way for the Battalion with a little bit of help from the Royal Engineers.

Half way through the Hong Kong tour, I informed the adjutant & the Commanding Officer after spending 19 fantastic years within the Corp of Drums I feel its now time to hand the Mace over prior to returning to London.

I was lucky enough to be posted as the CQMS No1 Company & stayed in Hong Kong to complete the Tour.

Spent a stint on the border trying to catch illegal immigrants trying to come into Hong Kong.

On return to London the Battalion was posted to Wellington Barracks. I completed the first Queens Guard Mount as Senior Sergeant Buckingham Palace.
Spent an enjoyable 12 months learning the role of the duty guys taking part in Queens Guard mounts at Buckingham Palace, St James Palace, Windsor Castle and lining the route for a state visit.

Then I was posted to the MT as MT Colour Sergeant,
Took part in battalion training in Kenya
Was I of the markers for the 1988 Queens Birthday parade first on parade last off 
I attended the MT Senior NCOs (All Arms)
Also attended the All Arms Sub-Unit CQMS Course
Passed my HGV course - Probably the only course that the forces offer to prepare you for life as a civilian.

My last posting was as the CQMS at All Arms Drill Wing, Guards Depot, Brookwood, Surrey.

Ironically Brookwood the place where it all started.

I took over from Ken Blanchard ex Drum Major Grenadier Guards.
Attended the Service Fund Accounts-UK-Soldiers Course.
The Wing was responsible for running all arms drill courses, for all members of the armed forces both male and female within the UK and serving members of other countries, from Junior to Senior Ranks. Territorials & Drum Major’s.

Decorations, Awards & Commendations
Regimental Entry-Commendation under QR 1975 (02Nov 73)
Long Service and Good Conduct Medal
General Service Medal (1962) Clasp Northern Ireland
U.N. Medal-Cyprus    

I retired on the 5th January 1993, and I moved back to Doncaster South Yorkshire to join my wife and family.

Spent a year doing the normal things, dole for 4 weeks then bored, went to college passed the National Examination Board in Occupational Safety and Health Certificate.

I used my HGV licence working for a local firm carrying out multi-drops around the local seaside resorts of Yorkshire.
Then started work within the motor trade, now employed as the Operations Manager at NKL Automotive, 250 Drivers on the books between 100-130 drivers on the road per day. I am still exposed to royalty with the most recent being the official opening of our new premises, performed by HRH The Princess Royal. The event can be viewed at
After the Yorkshire Corps of Drums played at the 2nd battalion reunion dinner in 2006 I was persuaded by ex members of the Coldstream Drums to join.

And I have to admit I am enjoying every minute playing with the Corps. If any ex drummers of any regiment read this please get in touch we are always on the look out for new members.

My Old Regiment
A Member of
The Yorkshire Corps of Drums

Webmaster Peter McCarthy BEM
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