A grant of £500 was made towards funeral costs for a 71-year-old widow of a Guardsman who completed his National Service in the 1950s. The veteran’s family of 10 (eight children) had struggled to care for the former soldier who suffered from a number of physical disabilities and alcoholism. The family had been forced to move from their council accommodation once because it was no longer fit to live in, and had received support from service charities to furnish new accommodation. The death of the veteran substantially decreased the benefits provided to care for the former soldier’s family, and the family’s ability to give their father a decent burial.
Yearly Archives: 2015
The Battalion (Bn) marked the 200th Anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo through a series of events across the UK and Belgium. Several members of the Battalion went to Waterloo for anniversary that included the Duchess of Richmond’s Ball and commemorations at Hougoumont Farm, the scene of the 2nd Battalion’s valiant efforts. Back in the UK the a Colour Party was at the service at St. Paul’s Cathedral while the Officers hosted the Warrant Officers for a Waterloo dinner night in Catterick.
Left Flank and B Coy deployed to Warcop in June to trial the new mounted gunnery shoots for Mechanized Infantry from their respective vehicle platforms. Left Flank fired from their MASTIFF vehicles while B Coy trialled shoots from HUSKY for the Mortar Platoon and JACKAL for the Recce, Snipers, Anti-tanks and Machine Guns. In the glorious Cumbrian sunshine both companies produces some excellent shooting and results. All crews passed their Annual Crew Test (ACT), qualifying them for the remainder of our year on readiness.
Unit Move to Aldershot
The Battalion is now firmly established in our new home at Mons Barracks, Aldershot. While further from home for many of the Battalion, the excellent facilities both in camp in the Aldershot Garrison make up for it. The Officers and Sergeants are now neighbours, with both enjoying far better accommodation than in Catterick. The junior ranks now have their own cookhouse instead of having to share one with three other regiments, while their accommodation remains similar to that in Catterick. Just outside the front gate of camp is the new the Garrison super-gym as well as the Army Sports Centre so there is no shortage of things to keep us occupied.
Looking to the future the Bn will continue to develop our understanding of Mechanized Infantry with C Coy deploying to America in September to conduct exercises alongside the 1st Armoured Division in their Stryker armoured infantry vehicle. BGHQ elements will support them as LOCONs but not before completing CAST on return from Summer Leave. Teams from the Machine Gun Platoon will compete in the 3(UK)Div Mounted Gunnery Competition against other JACKAL crews from across the Army in October while LF and the remainder of B Coy will complete CT1 and 2 training on Salisbury Plain later that month. LF will also deploy to Denmark in November to conduct a joint dismounted exercise with our Danish counterparts.
The Spring was a busy time for F Company, we took part in a full spectrum of events, as is often the norm in London District. February started with 38 members of the Company deploying to Les Contamines in France for the annual PDIC ski strip, where all participants passed the Ski Foundation Level 1 course. Not all members of the Company were fortunate enough to go skiing however, and 2 sections were sent to Brecon to support Infantry Battle School courses, supplying a section to both the Platoon Commanders’ and Platoon Se’geants’ Divisions.
Another few weeks of state ceremonial and public duties commitments back in London saw rehearsals and preparation for the State Visit of the President of Mexico, Enrique Pena Nieto. F Company provided two half companies for street lining. This prepared the Company well for the Major General’s Inspection, where the Company was congratulated for their immaculate turn out, and considered ready for ceremonial duties throughout the busy Summer Period.
F Company returned from Easter leave in mid-April, and was straight back into the London District routine; with a jam packed ceremonial season ahead, the company had to hit the ground running. A full timetable of Windsor and Queen’s Guards lay ahead until early May, including F Company leading the Army contingent for the Victory in Europe 70th anniversary parade in Whitehall.
This turned out to be over half the Company in the marching contingent, in front of the Royal Family, politicians and senior officers from all 3 services.
Troop training started soon afterwards, with the whole Company heading down to Pirbright on a daily basis to train with the Welsh Guards and the other incremental companies. Training this year was significantly cut down however, because of the timing of the General Election in May, the State Opening of Parliament awkwardly fell 3 days before the Major Generals Review, meaning there was limited time to practice for both. F Company provided 3 half-companies for the State Opening of Parliament, and the guardsmen showed they are able to take any amount of State Ceremonial duties in their stride.
With the State Opening of Parliament and all of the guard mounts from Horse Guards out of the way, the Company had two weeks of intensive training left before the Queen’s Birthday Parade, with a few Queen’s Guards and Windsor Castle Guards thrown in for good measure. Every man in the Company will agree that the hard work that is put in during the build up isn’t really appreciated until the actual day, with Her Majesty on Horse Guards and friends and family watching in the stands and on TV. The Company congregated for the post-Troop ball in one of the Army Reserve Centres in Mayfair to celebrate their achievements, followed by a week’s leave for the majority.
Some of the senior members of the Company and the colours travelled out to Hougoumont Farm in Belgium instead of heading home, to provide a colour party to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo, and the opening of the refurbished Hougoumont Farm. For the few that travelled out there, this was a memorable experience celebrating one of our most famous battle honours.
Most recently, the Company as a whole has been to Newquay in Cornwall for a week of adventure training, including hill-walking, coasteering and surfing. The surfing was enjoyed by all, but the cliff jumps during the coasteering tested the mettle of those who struggle with heights. This period has also seen the Company say goodbye to Capt. Jones and Sgt. Wood, both of whom leave the army to forge new careers for themselves.
The Regimental Lieutenant Colonel hosted a lunch at the Cavalry and Guards Club on 8th December 2014 and invited Mrs Linnet Waghorn and her son to view her late Uncle Second Lieutenant Grey Leach’s Albert Medal in Gold awarded posthumously to him, after he displayed conspicuous self sacrifice in France on 3rd September 1916, in which he lost his own life. Mrs Waghorn had agreed the The Regiment could buy the Medal, rather than take it to Auction.
All those who had supported and assisted in ensuring that the Regiment obtained the Medal now on display at Regimental Headquarters, were also invited as were Members of the Regimental Historical Committee who had also helped in the process.
As part of the London District task to provide Military Aid to the Civil Authorities (MACA) F Company was directed to organise the training of 1418 military personnel in Wellington Barracks over five days in late January in order to cover the NHS Industrial Action (IA). This was due to be followed by coordinating the delivery of eighty crewed ambulances to North-West London during the IA. Fortunately the strike was called off, but not before 1180 personnel had been trained.
During the first Queen’s Guard of 2015 the Guardsmen of the St James’s Palace detachment were very pleased to get a visit from a Bond Girl! Miss Olga Kurylenko (Quantum of Solace) is dating Mr Max Benitz (author, Six Months Without Sundays: The Scots Guards in Afghanistan) and she was his guest at the Queen’s Guard Officers’ Mess on the 2nd January.
Both the Battalion Football and Rugby teams continue to represent the Regiment well. 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.
Guardsmen Forest and Dunn accompanied the 1st Battalion team during the Infantry Biathlon Training Camp and Championships in Bessans, France, in December. They were placed 3rd Overall Novice and 3rd Junior Novice respectively. The team also managed to get out into the hills on the last day. With the outgoing Company Commander, Major Charlie Turner, starting at the Royal Military College Shrivenham on the 5th January, Captain Malcolm Dalzel-Job has been standing in until the next Company Commander arrives. In his twelve months in Command Major Turner has pushed the Company hard, enthused the next generation of Scots Guardsmen and left a legacy and momentum within F Company that will endure for years.
The Battalion has also had great success on the snow this season. Not only was the Battalion annual ski camp to Val D’Isere a great success under the stewardship of Capt Charlie Craven, but both the alpine and Nordic ski teams achieved great success in their respective competitions. Lt Magnus Arbuthnott managed to progress through to the Army Ski Championships after impressive individual and team performances on Ex FROSTED BLADE (the infantry ski championship) under Capt Chris Connolly; while Capt Alex Jackson’s Nordic team greatly improved on the previous year’s performance as third best infantry team in this year’s championship not to mention a host of individual commendations.
With the successful completion of Ex WESSEX STORM in November of last year and the festive celebrations a distant memory; the Battalion returned to barracks in the beginning of January at readiness to be deployed as part of the Vanguard Armed Infantry Brigade. Throughout 2015 elements of the Battalion will be held at notice to move to deploy where ever they are needed while simultaneously completing refresher training to maintain the high level of training achieved at the end of 2014.