Under a vaulted ceiling, a soldier in PPE with his back to the camera directs members of the public

In Pictures: Sappers support COVID-19 testing in Rochester Cathedral

One of England’s oldest Cathedrals, Rochester’s 1400 year old place of worship is now providing an entirely new service to local residents as the Royal Engineers — or Sappers — offer COVID-19 tests to eligible locals

Soldiers in PPE protection sit at tables under a vaulted ceiling as they process tests
Soldiers sit ready to process tests under the vaulted ceilings of the cathedral’s crypt

The Royal Engineers have a long history with this location. The Corps’ origins can be traced back 900 years, when the Bishop of Rochester Cathedral brought engineers together for William the Conqueror.

A sign reading “please wear your face covering” greets guests in a pillared hallway
A soldier in PPE directs a member of the public through a protective screen
Plastic screens are in place to protect visitors and soldiers .

This is the fourth Medway COVID-19 testing centre, established in the Crypt of Rochester Cathedral.

A soldier in a PPE stands in front of a church window processing test tubes, adding information to a mobile device.
The tests can be processed in around 30 minutes

175 Armed Forces personnel, drawn from a composite of units based on 35 Regiment Engineers, are helping to man test centres across the Medway area, with the aim of reducing the infection rate.

A soldier in a facemask and gloves types into a laptop. There is a walkie-talkie on the desk.

Read more about testing activity being delivered by the Armed Forces:

Find out where the UK Armed Forces are deployed here:




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