Heroic Queens guards heading back to Iraq days after carrying monarchs coffin

The guards who carried the Queen's coffin at her state funeral are heading to the Middle East to guard a secret special forces base.

Having won plaudits for their seamless carrying of the coffin by the world's media, the eight men along with their sergeant are to fly into a Northern Iraqi airbase in Irbil, taking part in a black ops mission alongside US special forces.

READ MORE: Piers Morgan praises 'magnificent' pallbearers for 'doing their Queen proud'

Sgt Major Dean Jones fronted the ceremony and alongside pall bearers Lance Sergeant Alex Turner, Cpl Tony Flynn, Lance Sergeant Jake Orlowski, Guardsman Fletcher Cox, Guardsman James Patterson, Lance Sergeant Ryan Griffiths, Guardsman Like Simpson and Guardsman David Sanderson.

Their next role however will be very different, as they are tasked with protecting the UK Special Forces camp from attack by Islamic State in a mission codenamed Operation Shader.

The base they will guard has come under significant fire this year, with some five separate rocket attacks launched on the encampment.

Intelligence officials believe the attacks came from the Iranian regime as it continues to seek revenge for the US assassination of General Qasem Soleimani who commanded the Quds Force, a division of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard responsible for foreign and clandestine military operations.

A former guards officer Harry Williams, said: “Their role is very important, they maintain security so that others can plan and carry out their work.

“The two roles could not be more different – one ceremonial in front of the public and the other covert and low profile.”

All nine men are widely tipped to be awarded an MBE for their role in the service.

Shortly after their ceremonial work, they conducted training for their forthcoming mission at the Wellington barracks in London.

It is not clear how long there mission will last, as special forces operations are rarely publicly commented on by the government.

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