Canadians on guard at Buckingham Palace

There was a literal and figurative changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace Sunday, as some Canadian soldiers began a rare tour of duty.

For the next month they'll be taking part in the ceremonial parade. Their tunics are scarlet, although distinctive white hats replace the British black busbies.

"I'm ecstatic to be here," said Warrant Officer Jim Young of the 2nd Battalion of the Royal Canadian Regiment, based in CFB Gagetown, N.B.

"If I wasn't here, I would pull in every card to try to make sure I'd be part of this," he added.

Canadians have taken part in the changing of the guard on four other occasions, but it's the first time this regiment has been asked.

"Most of us have been to Bosnia a few times now so we might select the changing of the guard as a change of venue," said Master Warrant Officer Brad Elms, the group's drill sergeant.

The regiment has been given the honour of watching the Queen's residence to mark the 100th anniversary of a battle in the Boer War the first time Canadian soldiers fought overseas.

They're been practising for about three weeks for the 45-minute ceremony, which involves plenty of pomp, a small key, and a lot of tourists with cameras.

On Sept. 8 soldiers from Lord Strathcona's Horse, based in Edmonton, will form the Queen's Life Guard mounted troop the first time soldiers from outside Britain have been given this honour.