Her Majesty The Queen has presented medals to soldiers of 1st Battalion The Royal Welsh following their recent operational tour in Afghanistan.
The Queen, Colonel-in-Chief of The Royal Welsh, met soldiers and their families at Chester Racecourse on Thursday 10 June 2010.
1st Battalion The Royal Welsh deployed to Afghanistan in December and returned to their UK base, Dale Barracks in Chester, about five weeks ago, having had a central role in several high profile operations, notably Operation MOSHTARAK.
Soldiers from this battalion made the biggest find of improvised explosive devices ever uncovered by British forces in Afghanistan.
The Queen arrived shortly before midday and was greeted by Major General Roddy Porter, Colonel of the Regiment.
A Drumhead service of Thanksgiving preceded the presentation of Operational Service Medals to the 60 soldiers for whom the battalion’s recent tour was their first, with Her Majesty presenting 16 medals, including to six soldiers wounded during the operational tour.
The service remembered the sacrifices of the wounded soldiers and also remembered Fusilier Jonathan Burgess, the only soldier from the battalion to be killed in action during the tour.
The Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Colonel Nick Lock, then led his battalion on a march past, to cheers and applause from thousands of family members and friends who filled the racecourse stands.
Her Majesty The Queen then met with families and soldiers before an official reception and lunch.
Sergeant James Wilson said:
It is a massive boost for the guys that the Queen came to see us today and present medals.
The tour was quite intense and very challenging. We were working with French, Afghans and Estonians, which brings its own challenges which you have to adapt to.
Lance Corporal Gareth Smith said:
It has been a good day, especially for our families to be able to see us getting medals from the Queen. It is great for morale for the lads and the families.
Earlier, Major General Porter officially launched The Royal Welsh Regimental Association, formed from uniting the Regimental Associations of the antecedent regiments, The Royal Welch Fusiliers and The Royal Regiment of Wales.
The Colonel of the Regiment presented a new Regimental Association Standard and a Branch Standard.