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Royal Regiment of Wales
Active 1969–2006
Country Wales / United Kingdom
Branch British Army
Type Infantry
Motto(s) Gwell angau na Chywilydd
"Death rather than Dishonour"
March Quick - Men of Harlech
Slow - Scipio
Anniversaries St. David's Day, (1 March),
Rorke's Drift, (22 January)
Gheluvelt, (31 October)
Ceremonial chief HRH The Prince of Wales

The goat mascot and Goat Major of the Royal Regiment of Wales, 1999.

The Royal Regiment of Wales (24th/41st Foot) was an infantry regiment of the British Army, part of the Prince of Wales' Division. It was formed in 1969 by the amalgamation of The South Wales Borderers and The Welch Regiment.

The Royal Regiment of Wales was one of two British regiments to have a goat as its mascot. The other one was the Royal Welch Fusiliers. The regiment's goats were always named Taffy plus a Roman numeral to show the succession, and are traditionally selected from the royal herd kept at Whipsnade Zoo, an outstation of the London Zoo. It's fitting that the two regiments with goat-mascots have now combined as one. The soldier in charge of the mascot is styled as the "Goat Major", who, unlike what the rank suggests, is a corporal.

Prince Charles was appointed Colonel-in-Chief of the new regiment in early 1969, his first Army appointment. The amalgamation parade of the two regiments took place in Cardiff Castle in early 1969, in front of Prince Charles. The point of formation of the new regiment is taken as the point at which Prince Charles placed the new Royal Regiment of Wales green goat-coat upon Taffy the goat-mascot, replacing the Welch Regiment's red one. The goat-coat had been worked by the Royal College of Needlework. Postcards of Prince Charles in the new regiment's uniform taken at the occasion are still on sale in Cardiff in 2006.

It is said that the then Regimental Sergeant Major, WO1 Gordon Amphlett - later Colonel Gordon Amphlett MBE MVO - was awarded his subsequent MVO decoration - a personal royal honour -for the effectiveness and good humour in teaching the young prince to salute and for his preparedness and poise for the parade.

Later in the year the Prince went to Caernarfon, North Wales, where his mother created him Prince of Wales. Charles wore the uniform of Colonel-in-Chief of the Royal Regiment of Wales for the ceremony. The newly formed regiment lined the route on the day at Caernarfon.

Assistant military equerries to Prince Charles were regularly drawn from the regiment, notably Lt Christopher Elliott in 1970–72. Lt Elliott went on to a distinguished military career, one-time youngest commanding officer as a Lt Colonel in the Army, retiring as major-general and Colonel of the Regiment.

The 1st Battalion, The Royal Regiment of Wales (24th/41st Foot) had a short existence in military terms, just over 36 years. Within two months of amalgamation, the battalion was serving in Northern Ireland and was one of the first units to be deployed.

History[edit | edit source]

In August 1969 units of the 1st Battalion the Royal Regiment of Wales became the first British troops to be deployed in Belfast with A & B companies taking control of the Lower Falls Road on the night of August 15. C company had been deployed some days earlier in Derry. From 1969 to 1973 the regiment was posted to Osnabrück in West Germany, returning to Northern Ireland on two occasions for short tours. On one occasion, Lance Corporal Bennett was awarded the George Medal for bravery while under fire.

The battalion returned to Belfast in 1973 for two years as the resident unit then in 1975 it was posted for two years in West Berlin.

In 1977 the battalion were brought back to the United Kingdom and posted to Aldershot, also during this period they spent time in Belize and Hong Kong as well as on exercise in Germany and a further tour in Northern Ireland. The battalion re-enacted the defence of Rorke's Drift as part of the centenary events at the Cardiff Castle Tattoo in 1979, probably the best known event in their history.

Six months into this tour the battalion was on public duties mounting Royal Guards at Buckingham Palace and the Tower of London.

Towards the end of 1979, 25 soldiers were to play a significant role during Operation Agila, which monitored the fragile ceasefire in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) prior to and during the first all-party elections. 1982 - The regiment was posted to Lemgo in West Germany to begin a six-year tour of duty as a Mechanised Infantry Battalion with battle-group training taking place at CFB Suffield in Canada for six weeks in 1985.

Northern Ireland continued to dominate life in the battalion's history and during this period. Of particular note was its deployment to Belfast for an emergency tour in May 1981. The death of hunger-striker Bobby Sands when soldiers found themselves patrolling the streets of the city alongside the 1st Battalion The Royal Welch Fusiliers, with further operational tours in the province of Northern Ireland during 1983-84 and 1986–87. 1988 - The battalion returned to the United Kingdom to Warminster in Wiltshire as the School of Infantry's Demonstration Battalion. 1989 - The regiment held its Tercentenary Parade at Cardiff Castle to celebrate the formation of the regiment in March 1989. In 1990 - The battalion arrived in Hong Kong where it they were deployed to the Sino-Hong Kong Border and also carried out anti-smuggling operations with the police. The opportunities to travel, to play sport and to participate in adventurous training were numerous and overseas deployments took members of the battalion as far as Hawaii, Australia, New Zealand, Borneo and Malaysia. 1993 - Three years later the battalion returned to Britain to be stationed at Tern Hill in Shropshire. From there a company group was deployed to the Falkland Islands and South Georgia on an operational tour. Other companies visited Italy and Jamaica as part of exchange visits.

Early in 1994 - The battalion changed roles and began an intense period of Northern Ireland training prior to its deployment to Ballykelly in County Londonderry as a Resident Battalion. In July that year on 25th anniversary of the appointment of The Prince of Wales as Colonel-in-Chief, a memorable parade and Regimental garden party was held in Cardiff Castle at which His Royal Highness was asked to cut the first slice of a large regimental birthday cake. 1996- 1998 based at hounslow barracks, London

1998 - The 1st Battalion moved to Paderborn (Germany) to take up an Armoured Infantry role, equipped with Warrior armoured fighting vehicles, in 1st (UK) Armoured Division, part of NATO's Allied Command Europe (ACE) Rapid Reaction Corps.

1999 and 2001 deployed operationally to Bosnia (Op PALATINE) and then Kosovo (Op AGRICOLA).

More recently, the 1st Battalion has been involved in two six-month operational tours in Iraq, which involved leaving the families in Paderborn.

The Tercentenary of the Battle of Blenheim in 2004 was marked by a special dinner in London attended by the Colonel-in-Chief accompanied by his future wife.

2005 - The battalion returned to the United Kingdom based at Tidworth.

On 1 March 2006 it was announced that, as part of the reorganisation of the infantry, "The Royal Welch Fusiliers and The Royal Regiment of Wales (24th/41st Foot) together will form The Royal Welsh." This occurred on 1 March 2006, St David's Day, the national day of Wales.

Colonels of the regiment[edit | edit source]

Royal Regiment of Wales (24th/41st Foot) Colonels of the Regiment

  • 11 June 1969 - Lieutenant-General Sir David Peel Yates KCB CVO DSO OBE
  • 25 September 1977 - Major-General LAD Harrod OBE
  • 1 January 1983 - Major-General LAH Napier CB OBE MC DL
  • 1 October 1989 - Brigadier KJ Davey CBE MC DL
  • 1 October 1994 - Brigadier D de G Bromhead CBE LVO
  • 22 October 1999 - Major-General CH Elliott CVO CBE
  • 1 November 2004 - Brigadier RHT Aitken

Notes and references[edit | edit source]

External links[edit | edit source]

Preceded by
The Welch Regiment
South Wales Borderers
'The Royal Regiment of Wales (24th/41st Foot)'
1969- 2006
Succeeded by
The Royal Welsh

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