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British Army unit finally gets its goat

It’s a tradition that’s been more than two centuries in the making.

And while there has been a delay in a British Army unit selecting its newest recruit as part of that tradition – they have finally got their goat and Fusilier Shenkin IV has officially begun his training with 3rd Battalion The Royal Welsh.

Soldiers from 3 R Welsh travelled to the Great Orme in Llandudno from their HQ in Cardiff to select the new Regimental Goat following permission being granted by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

But not all went according to plan. Captain Tom Sobik and Goat Major Sergeant Mark Jackson picked out the new Kashmir kid goat and, led by an RSPCA vet and wardens from the Great Orme Country Park, sought to safely transport Shenkin IV from the area.

However, the process was much trickier that first thought. The section of the Great Orme where Shenkin was grazing was set amongst dense shrubland situated on steep slopes, which made favourable conditions for goats. 

Captain Tom Sobik, Adjutant 3 R WELSH, said: “We were very keen not to rush the process and it was important the proper procedures were observed.

“The welfare of the animals was paramount and under the advice of an RSPCA vet we tried all kinds of ways to encourage Shenkin to a safe spot. However, and despite numerous attempts, we decided it was best to postpone.

“The public took great interest in the events of our initial attempt but we are finally relieved we’ve got our goat. There’s no doubt we’ve got a character on our hands. Shenkin is a Welsh icon and he will go on to attract as much attention as his predecessors and serve with distinction.

“We are very thankful to the Great Orme wardens and the RSPCA vet for all of their support and patience over the last few weeks.”

3rd Battalion The Royal Welsh is Wales’ only Reserve infantry battalion and is paired with its Regular counterpart, 1st Battalion The Royal Welsh, currently deployed on Operation CABRIT in support of the NATO mission to provide reassurance to the Baltic States.

Shenkin is most famous for his appearances in the Principality Stadium leading the Welsh Rugby Union team into sporting battle during the Six Nations to the sound of the Regimental March, 'Men of Harlech' played by the Regimental Band and Corps of Drums of The Royal Welsh.

Goat Major Sergeant Mark Jackson said Shenkin IV has now begun an immediate six-months training schedule back at Maindy Barracks in Cardiff.

“Yes, we’re very pleased to finally get out goat,” he said.

“There was a bit of a run around on our first attempt but it’s all been worth it. There was that cheeky look in his eye when I first saw him and we knew immediately which member of the Royal Herd we were keen on.

“It’s all about getting Shenkin used to different noises now and being around people. I take great care in making sure he’s fully prepared to face the public and, when he is, he’ll be in great demand.”

Shenkin IV’s first public appearance is due at the National Armed Forces Day event in Llandudno on Saturday, June 30, where there will be various VIPs and thousands of visitors.

Sgt Jackson said: “That will be a very special day as he’ll be on home turf during what will be the most high-profile public military event of the year and probably the largest event North Wales has ever hosted.”