His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales, who is Colonel of the Welsh Guards, visited the battalion today at Cavalry Barracks in Hounslow ahead of their forthcoming deployment to Afghanistan.
The battalion’s Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Colonel Dino Bossi, greeted Prince Charles and took the salute during the St David’s Day Parade.
The first ceremonial leeks were presented to the Welsh Guards on the Somme on St David’s Day in 1916. Since then, the ceremony has been an annual highlight in the battalion’s calendar.
After the officers received their leeks, respective company commanders presented leek emblems in the form of fabric badges to the assembled companies.
Lieutenant Colonel Bossi said:
All Welsh Guardsmen past and present are extremely proud of our close connection with His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales and his presence with us at Hounslow today is enormously appreciated.
For both the Guardsmen and their families it is particularly pleasing to know that our Colonel is behind us in our endeavours in Afghanistan, and being presented with a leek on St David’s Day is a powerful demonstration of his support.
We are grateful that His Royal Highness has chosen to spend St David’s Day with his regiment. A Dewi Sant!
Prince Charles presented other medals during his visit today, including an Afghanistan campaign medal to Drummer Dale Leach who was injured in Afghanistan during the battalion’s last tour. Drummer Leach lost one of his legs to an IED in 2009.
Long Service and Good Conduct Medals were also presented to other soldiers during the parade.
Some 400 members of the Welsh Guards will deploy to Afghanistan in the coming weeks and the Prince of Wales met some of the soldiers and their families before they leave for the front line.
During the visit he viewed the Unit Welfare Office to see how families will be supported while the battalion is deployed.
The Prince of Wales also viewed the newly-constructed ‘Fasfous’ accommodation block at the barracks, built as part of the Single Living Accommodation Modernisation project. The accommodation block is named after Lance Sergeant Tobie Fasfous who was killed in Afghanistan on 28 April 2009.
Welsh Guardsman Tobie Fasfous was out on a foot patrol near Gereshk while working as a mortar fire controller attached to the Light Dragoons Battle Group when he was caught in an IED blast. During his deployment he saved many lives calling in direct fire to support friendly forces.
The six new accommodation blocks at the Hounslow barracks were completed in a two-year partnership project with Debut Services. The final building was completed in Summer 2011 and completes the Defence Infrastructure Organisation’s delivery of 396 new rooms at the barracks.
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