RAF

RAF Musician Lands 'Amazing' Job As Tower Of London's Newest Beefeater

After 33 years in the RAF, Barry Stringer MBE is proudly wearing another uniform.

A former RAF musician says he is on "cloud nine" after becoming the Tower of London’s newest Yeoman Warder.

Yeoman Warder Barry Stringer takes on the role after more than 33 years serving in the RAF.

More commonly known as 'Beefeaters', the Warders have guarded the Tower since 1485.

Yeoman Warder Stringer becomes the 410th Yeoman Warder since records began in the 19th century and the first RAF Musician to join the Yeoman Body.

"I feel like I'm on cloud nine," he said.

"My feet haven't touched the ground... It's a real privilege."

10 Things You Didn't Know About The Tower Of London
The Tower of London where beefeaters work.

Before joining the Tower of London, YW Stringer was a Flight Sergeant and led the RAF Salon Orchestra and managed the RAF Central Band, both based at RAF Northolt.

With only 37 Yeoman Warders working at the Tower, it is a competitive application process. YW Stringer says: "You have to serve 22 years in the military before you can apply.

"You have to have a Long Service and Good Conduct medal.

"And you also have to have reached the rank of Warrant Officer or equivalent.

"Honestly, I'm still pinching myself.

"Every morning, when you come out on to Tower Green, or you're on the battlements overlooking the White Tower, it's just incredible and I just think I'm just so privileged."

Yeoman Warder Tower of London

As well as guarding the historic castle, a major part of the Yeoman Warder role is giving guided tours to the Tower's annual three million visitors. 

Over the next few months, YW Stringer will learn word-for-word the Story, the script of the famous Yeoman Warder Tour, before being allowed to lead a tour himself.

"The story is huge, everybody says it takes over your life for six months.

"It's about eight and-a-half-thousand words I have to learn."

Yeoman Warder mentor

There are 21 separate duties that the Yeoman Warders conduct each and every day, including the Ceremony of the Keys, a closing ceremony that has taken place every night at the Tower of London without fail for at least 700 years.

The Yeoman Warders are descended from the ancient band of warders who guarded the gates and royal prisoners, early in the Tower’s history.

Modern Yeoman Warders are still Extraordinary Members of the Queen’s Bodyguard.

Today they combine their traditional ceremonial role with a love of history to make the past come to life for visitors.