The proud heritage of two Welsh battalions has been recognised at a ceremony to mark an historic merger.
Lucknow Barracks in Tidworth saw hundreds of soldiers take part in the merger parade which formally marked the coming together of 1st Battalion The Royal Welsh (formally Royal Welch Fusiliers) and 2nd Battalion The Royal Welsh (formally Royal Regiment of Wales).
Under Army 2020 it was announced that 23 Regular units would be removed from the Order of Battle (ORBAT) with the overall mandate to reach the capacity of 82,000 for the Regular Army and 30,000 for the Reserves by 2018 – 2nd Battalion The Royal Welsh was one of those units chosen to be removed from the ORBAT.
Taffy, the Regimental Goat, led the Band and Bugles of The Rifles onto the parade square in front of more than 500 marching soldiers who were cheered on by friends, family and serving and former serving personnel on raised seated platforms.
The title for the merged unit is 1st Battalion The Royal Welsh and will be an armoured infantry unit at the heart of the Army’s Reactive Force – trained, equipped and prepared for deployment both within the UK and across the globe. It will be based at Lucknow Barracks, Tidworth.
The Reaction Force deploys on short-notice contingency tasks and provides the Army’s conventional deterrence for Defence. It will be trained and equipped to undertake the full spectrum of intervention tasks and will provide the initial basis for any future lengthy operation.
Lieutenant Colonel Shon Hackney, Commanding Officer 1 R Welsh, said it was a hugely significant day. “Today’s a very important day for our Regiment and we begin writing a new chapter in our long history which goes back 325 years and the subsequent founding of the Royal Welch Fusiliers and the South Wales Borderers.
“Change has been prevalent, across the Army, but what’s been constant is the Welsh soldier serving with distinction in campaigns across the globe over many years.
“In terms of actual losses of numbers, it’s quite low. The total number that will make up the new battalion, including our supporting units, is about 800, so we are in good shape and optimistically looking forward to playing a very important role.”
“Spring in our step”
Brigadier Philip Napier, Colonel of the Regiment, took the salute in front of the large crowd. He said the day marked the beginning of The Royal Welsh’s next phase in its illustrious 325-year history.
“We have a rich and well-regarded history which you can all be proud to continue through this parade today. A parade which marks the formal merging of the 1st and 2nd Battalions The Royal Welsh.
“We have a commonality of shared experiences, fighting shoulder to shoulder at Waterloo, in North America and as part of the same Welsh Brigades within the 38th Welsh and 53rd Welsh Divisions, as opposed to any healthy rivalry that has existed through the centuries.
“At our primordial core is a strong sense of what it means to be Welsh, a fierce loyalty to each other, a determination to succeed in the face of adversity and a common love of home.”
The Royal Welsh formed up initially as the 23rd and 24ths Regiments of Line Infantry with constituent regiments going on to serve across the globe in various guises with enormous distinction.
Brigadier Napier noted the contributions of The 69th Foot (known as The South Lincolnshire Regimen, The Warwickshire Regiment, The Monmouthshire Regiment, The Welch Regiment, The South Wales Borderers, The Royal Welsh Regiment, The Royal Regiment of Wales and the Royal Welch Fusiliers.
Next year The Queen, who is Colonel in Chief of The Royal Welsh, will present new colours to the Regiment.
Brigadier Napier said: “We look forward to the future with a spring in our step.”
Original article written by and sourced from – army.mod.uk