An 18-year-old guardsman who walked alongside Queen Elizabeth II’s coffin during her funeral procession has sadly been found dead at his barracks this week, multiple sources have confirmed.
Jack Burnell-Williams, a trooper from South Wales, landed a vital role in the September 19 funeral of the late monarch, per BBC News. He guarded Her Majesty’s coffin as it was carried from Westminster Hall to Wellington Arch in a marvelous display of pomp and pageantry.
It was reported by The Independent that the Household Cavalry member, known affectionately as Jak, was found unresponsive at the army barracks just before 4:00 PM on Wednesday (September 28) – London Ambulance Service police and paramedics rushed to Knightsbridge’s Hyde Park Barracks, however, Jak was pronounced dead at the scene.
His death is not being treated as suspicious, and the Metropolitan Police have stated that it would be referred to the coroner, per The Guardian.
A spokesperson for the Army released a statement on the tragedy, which read: “Our thoughts are with the soldier’s family and friends at this difficult time and we ask that their privacy is respected,” via the BBC.
The young trooper’s mom, Laura Williams, took to Facebook to post a tribute to her late son, writing: “Never ever thought I would be saying this but we as a family are all heartbroken with the sudden passing of our wonderful son Jak Williams yesterday.”
The 42-year-old had previously posted images and videos of her son during his role in the late Queen Elizabeth II’s procession, writing on Facebook: “Couldn’t be any prouder today.”
Elisha Williams, Jak’s sister, commented underneath the devastating post, stating: “We will get through this together, as a team. We need to do him just as proud as he’s done us, love you all the world mum [heart emoji].”
“Forever going to miss u my love truly heartbroken [heart emoji],” Molly Holmes, Jak’s girlfriend, added.
Jak’s closest friends and family from his hometown Bridgend are expected to gather on Saturday (October 1) to pay their respects to the young man.
“For all family & friends of Jak Williams, we will be setting off balloons in his memory tomorrow at 4pm at Bryntirion Football Club. Please spread the word and join us in celebrating my boys life. Blue colours to be worn preferably and also blue balloons,” Jak’s sister, Elisha, wrote on Facebook.
Many people also left their condolences underneath Jack’s mom’s post. Alison Markey, Jak’s year 7 teacher paid her respects, commenting: “This is dreadful, dreadful news. I taught Jak when he was in Year Seven and will always remember him as a happy polite young man. Devastating.”
“I taught Jack for two years. He was an absolute pleasure to teach. Such a lovely boy. Gutted. Thinking of your family at this incredibly hard time. Devastating,” another of the young guardsman’s teachers added.
Our sincere condolences go out to Jak’s family, friends, and colleagues at this difficult time.