After being based in Catterick, North Yorkshire, for seven years the 1st Battalion moved to Episkopi, Cyprus, in August this year. It continues in the light battalion role and is therefore deployable by a number of means of transport, including helicopters, vehicles and on foot.
The 1st Battalion will be based in Cyprus for three years and will hold an operational role throughout this time. Initially it will be responsible for protecting vital infrastructure in Cyprus. It will then spend an 18 month period as the regional standby battalion, with troops held at very high readiness and prepared to deploy anywhere in the Middle East and North Africa region as military taskings require.
The Battalion has arrived in Cyprus after a consolidated period of training. The rifle companies have deployed on overseas sub-unit training exercises to France, Estonia and Poland in the last 18 months and Somme (Support) Company has conducted training in Cyprus and Germany. Collectively the Battalion has conducted live firing exercises in Otterburn and Scotland, whilst individuals have deployed on training tasks to Uganda and Morocco. The culmination of Battalion training took place in Kenya in February and March this year. Augmented by artillery, engineers and other arms the 1 LANCS Battle Group, consisting of some 1000 personnel, trained for six weeks in the arduous environment of central Kenya.
Away from training and operational commitments the 1st Battalion places a high priority on sport and adventurous training. The Alpine ski team is the best in the Infantry and will be defending its title this winter in Val d’Isere whilst the rugby league team, after being runners up this year in the Army 9s, will be seeking to go one better next year. Numerous Adventurous training expeditions have taken place in the last 12 months, allowing over 60 per-cent of the battalion to conduct expeditions with soldiers training across Europe, in Germany, the Alps, the Pyrenees, and in North Africa and Kenya. Cyprus will provide further opportunities to experience new challenges and adventurous activities.