Yearly Archives: 2014

Lt Col Sir Malcolm Ross and Ray Walker with our commemorative gift to the Council.

Unveiling Of The Commemorative Paving Stone for Private James Mackenzie VC

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As part of the Secretary of States for Communities and Local Government announcement to commemorate the bravery of those who were awarded the Victoria Cross during World War One, a Commemorative Paving Stone was unveiled at the Maxwelltown Memorial, New Abbey Road, Dumfries to commemorate the award of the VC to Private James Mackenzie. The VC was awarded on 19th December 1914 at Rouge Bancs.

The Ceremony was arranged by the Dumfries and Galloway Council, led by Councillor Archie Drybuirgh, Chairman of the Armed Forces Working Group. Lt Col Sir Malcolm Ross, Major Ray Walker, and Captain John Bull represented the Scots Guards Association and Regiment with other local members of the Association also attended.

The Commemorative Paving Stone was unveiled by a descendent of Private James Mackenzie VC which was followed by a church service at Troqueer Parish Church and a lunch at the Church Centre. An exhibition of works researched on World War One Memorabilia by pupils from the Laurieknowe and Troqueer Primary School was on display in the afternoon.

Lt Col Sir Malcolm Ross, Maj Ray Walker, Capt John Bull and Council members with the closest living relatives to Pte James Mackenzie VC.

Lt Col Sir Malcolm Ross, Maj Ray Walker, Capt John Bull and Council members with the closest living relatives to Pte James Mackenzie VC.

Christmas Celebrations

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The festive season provided the usual opportunity for one and all to relax after what had been an exceedingly demanding Ex WESSEX STORM. With the lack of sleep and bitter cold of Otterburn behind us, the Battalion’s attention turned to the carol service and Christmas lunch which were both great successes. On the rugby field, the Officers’ Mess we able to field an uncharacteristically strong side and took home the spoils in what was a highly enjoyable and largely injury free match against the Sergeants’ Mess.
The football team has continued its impressive unbeaten run, but unfortunately the rugby team were defeated on its trip over to Northern Ireland to play 1 SCOTS. Hopes remain high that both sides will continue to progress to the next round of their respective cups however.

1st Battalion (Catterick)

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This continues to be a very busy year for the Battalion. Just prior to summer leave the Battalion returned from the British Army Training Unit Suffield in Alberta, Canada where it had been providing enemy for the King’s Royal Hussars’ Battle Group as they prepare to become the British Army’s Lead Armoured Battle Group.

This was a highly productive time for the Battalion, providing not only the opportunity to conduct some first class Adventurous Training in the spectacular Rocky Mountains which included sky diving, mountaineering and canoeing; but also allowed the Battalion to take the first steps in its own progression of training ahead of our seminal training event in November; Exercise WESSEX STORM. This month long exercise held in Otterburn and Salisbury Plain will test the Battalion’s capability and will allow it to be held at readiness for operational deployment in 2015.

The Battalion recently completed a Combined Staff and Tactical Training Exercise in Warminster during which the battle group staff’s knowledge and ability to use the planning process was tested, culminating in orders which were then executed by the companies in a simulated environment. The exercise was a huge success in developing common knowledge and understanding at all levels across the Battalion.

Driver training continues at full pace as the companies prepare to operate in the Mechanised Infantry platforms newly arrived back from service in Afghanistan as part of the Battalion’s test of the new Mech Inf operating concept. The Battalion also continues to enjoy a wide variety of sports and adventure training. The Battalion rugby and football teams continue to build on last season’s successes, while a group from the Battalion recently returned from walking in Nepal. Preparations are also underway for the Battalion’s annual ski camp as well as repeating our representation at the Infantry Alpine Ski Championships, Nordic Ski Championships and the Cresta Run.

F Company (Independent Public Duties Company London)

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Life in F Company has continued apace with the festive season now long behind us and the imposing prospect of the summer season fast looming. The Company has continued to provide a steady number of Queen’s and Windsor Castle Guards, but have been lucky to have sufficient space in our program to conduct some excellent training. The end of February unfortunately coincided with the arrival of horrific weather for most of the UK and along with many other units across the country, F Company was stood up to provide assistance to the civilian authorities as they battled to deal with the rising flood waters. Although the Company was never fully deployed, 15 members of the company did support No 7 Company when they were deployed to fill sandbags to protect a pumping station in the Croydon area.

The Company has just returned from a well deserved week of leave and is now focused on preparations for The Major General’s Inspection, which will formally mark the start of the Ceremonial season the main event of which will be the Company’s provision of No 5 Guard for Trooping of the Colour!