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Soldiers from 2nd Battalion The Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment (2 PWRR) have stepped down from state ceremonial duties.
Last week the battalion’s two-year-long tenure on the ‘Blue Line’, as the commitment to ceremonial duties is known, came to an end with Z Company, 2 PWRR, completing the final guards for Buckingham Palace, the Tower of London and Windsor Castle.
Significantly 2 PWRR are the last light role infantry battalion to undertake public duties on a regular basis, as they now revert full-time to the Household Division.
The memorable public events of 2011 and 2012 - the Royal Wedding and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee - involved soldiers from the Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment parading in the capital.
The last 2 years have not been spent solely conducting ceremonial duties. The battalion played a central part in the military’s support to the Olympics and Paralympics, in addition to 4 rotations providing the garrison of the Falkland Islands.
The Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Colonel Stokes, said:
The battalion has worked extremely hard to achieve and maintain the highest standards in its ceremonial role over the last two-and-a-half years. The effort has been magnificent.
Next we must take forward this disciplined approach to transform to a fighting light role battalion, ready for operations as the Theatre Reserve Battalion in 2014.
The next challenge for the battalion is to re-subordinate from HQ London District to come under HQ 20th Armoured Brigade and transform from a focus on ceremonial duties to become a strong light role infantry battalion.
They will need to be ready to deploy to Kenya on Exercise Askari Thunder in May and set for mission specific training and a move to Cyprus as the Theatre Reserve Battalion in 2014.
Captain Ed Farren, who took part in the battalion’s final guards at all 3 royal palaces, said:
Ceremonial duties have been challenging but I and all my men have a great sense of pride having been able to take part in this time-honoured tradition. We can now look to the future and our imminent departure to Kenya on Exercise Askari Thunder.