More than 200 Household Cavalry horses had to be evacuated from the regiment’s Hyde Park Barracks on Friday (9 March), due to a gas leak nearby.

Police ordered the evacuation at about 6pm – just as the bulk of the regiment were about to go on leave for the weekend.

A hotel and several businesses were also evacuated.

Captain Alex Owen of the Household Cavalry said the evacuation was achieved in an “outstanding” 37 minutes.

“Around 50 troopers, non-commissioned officers and officers jumped into action, leading the horses out into Hyde Park were they were corralled in the outdoor manege,” he said.

Many of the men were dressed in their smartest suits, after a day a Sandown, watching the Grand Military Gold Cup.

“For the next three hours, drum horses, cavalry blacks and grey trumpeters stood side by side in the manege, held by the soldiers as they waited for police to give the all-clear.”

By 9.30pm, all 213 horses were back in their stables bedded down for the night.

“The Commanding Officer rewarded the men with a few crates of beer for their sterling efforts,” added Captain Owen.