A naval rating based in Helston has made history after becoming the first sailor to perform the Changing of the Guard ceremony outside Buckingham Palace.

Able seaman Alex Stacey of HMS Seahawk, the official naval name for RNAS Culdrose, was selected for this prestigious role as one of only 48 Royal Navy sailors nationally.

It is the first time in more than 400 years that sailors have replaced soldiers at the palace; the last time the Navy had an operational role guarding the Queen was when Elizabeth 1 appointed Sir Walter Raleigh as Captain of the Queen's Guard in 1587.

The sailors have spent the past month polishing their skills before being deemed ready to swap with the Grenadier Guards and carry out the event for real.

Alex, who works in Culdrose's logistics team, ensuring vital supplies are sourced and delivered to Culdrose's squadrons, said beforehand: "It's been really enjoyable but the training has been tough. Many of the orders were army based, so we've had to change them to 'Jack Speak'.

"We've all been lucky to be chosen to do this, so we are all ready to go out and do the best we can. It's very nerve-wracking though, but something to be proud of."

Starting at Buckingham Palace, in full show of the general public, the sailors are also due to be at Windsor Castle, the Tower of London and St James's Palace in the coming weeks, before handing back fully to the army again.

The ceremonial honour has been given to coincide with the commissioning of the new Royal Navy aircraft carrier, HMS Queen Elizabeth, which is due to become operational next year and for which Helston’s 820 squadron, and in part 849 squadron, together with the new F35 jets, will be the only aircraft onboard.

The most senior officer in the Royal Navy, First Sea Lord Admiral Sir Philip Jones, said: "The sight of sailors undertaking public duties in our capital city is a sign that the Royal Navy is back where it belongs, at the very heart of national life. These young men and women are some of the finest ambassadors we could wish for and I know they will make the navy and the nation proud."