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Medway Man Jim Duncan becomes Beefeater

Jim Duncan, from Chatham, who has become a Beefeater.
Jim Duncan, from Chatham, who has become a Beefeater.

Medway man Jim Duncan has been sent to the Tower of London - and he couldn't be happier!

Jim, 55, from Chatham, has joined the elite ranks of Beefeaters patrolling the ancient corridors of the hallowed national treasure.

Now the former serviceman will spend the next three months learning a script by heart as part of his tower tour.

He will also become familiar with the 21 duties the Beefeaters, or Yeoman Warders, have to complete each day.

These include the Ceremony of the Keys, when the Tower is secured for the night.

Jim said after taking on the role: "It is an honour and a privilege to be selected and appointed as a Yeoman Warder – a little boy’s dream come true that makes me feel on top of the world!"

Tower of London graphic
Tower of London graphic


The Beefeater's latest career twist comes after 40 years in the Queens Regiment and the Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment (PWRR).

He was also a Royal Sergeant Major for recruits in London.

Jim, who was raised and brought up in Chatham, said: "It is a fantastic role being part of living history.

"I think life here will be ever-changing each day, and each person you meet will bring new challenges.

"I believe that Yeoman Warders are seen as the face of the Tower, and always being in the public eye can be both demanding and rewarding."

As part of the role Jim gets accommodation - in the Tower itself!

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

Audio: Jim Duncan explains the role of a Yeoman

Modern Yeoman Warders are still Extraordinary Members of the Queen’s Bodyguard and are all former forces warrant officers with an honourable service record of at least 22 years.

Today they combine their traditional ceremonial role with that of tourist guide.

They are joined by the Tower's ravens. Legend has it that if the ravens ever leave the Tower, the kingdom will fall. So as not to tempt fate, their wings are clipped!

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