The 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards, at the request of their Regimental Colonel, HRH Prince Andrew, Duke of York KG, KT, held a Medals Parade today in the Quadrangle of Windsor Castle to mark the end of their highly successful tours of Iraq, Afghanistan and South Sudan.
In an unprecedented achievement in recent Army history, in the second half of 2018, 360 members of the First Battalion Grenadier Guards deployed concurrently on 3 separate operational tours to Iraq (Operation Shader), Afghanistan (Operation Toral) and South Sudan (Operation Trenton).
Number Two Company, Battalion Head Quarters and members of Support Company deployed in June 2018 to four locations on Operation Shader. The UK's efforts in Iraq are to support, empower and develop the Iraqi and Kurdish Security Forces in their continued fight against Da'esh. In Camp Taji, around 40km North West of Baghdad, Battalion Headquarters with 77 Squadron 35 Royal Engineers and Force Protection delivered infantry, counter-IED, medical and bridge building support training to the Iraqi Army. The ultimate aim was to train the Iraqi Army to deliver its own future training. Nowhere was this more evident than at the NCO Academy, where a small group of Grenadier captains, the Drill Sergeant and non-commissioned officers tactical "train the trainer" lessons alongside Iraqi instructors. On the other side of Baghdad, members of Support Company also assisted in delivering support weapons and C-IED training from the Spanish run camp of Besmaya. Outside Erbil, in the Kurdish Region training was also delivered to Kurdish forces alongside Italian and Hungarian training teams.
In August 2018 The Queen's Company Group took over from the 1st Battalion Welsh Guards on Operation Toral 6. This was part of the overarching Resolute Support Mission to the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. The Grenadier Guards provided force protection to those conducting train, advise and assist roles in the country. They also provided security for camps in Kabul. While overall risk was much reduced from the Grenadiers' previous tours of Afghanistan under Operation Herrick, the country is still volatile, and tasks often resulted in long days in security vehicles in intense heat, providing a challenge to all those involved. For many Guardsmen, it was their first operational deployment and a good opportunity for them to see how other nations performed and did their business.
Inkerman Company and the Corps of Drums deployed in August 2018 to South Sudan on Operation Trenton. This was a United Nations tour and extremely diverse, made up predominantly of Royal Engineers, but also Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, Medical Corps, Royal Signals and Royal Logistics Corps personnel as well as many other nations soldiers, from Kenyans to Japanese. In Malakal the Guardsmen were primarily occupied with base security but also provided some limited assault pioneer support to Engineer tasks. In Benitu force protection remained the focus, from airport runs and inner cordon force protection to Engineering tasks. Snakes, sand flies and aggressive mosquitos proved a daily challenge.
The parade was followed by a Regimental Photograph on the East Lawn of Windsor Castle of all Grenadiers on parade.
A frontline infantry regiment of the British Army, the Grenadier Guards can trace its lineage back to 1656 and is recognised globally for its dual role excellence on operations and on ceremonial duties.
The Grenadier Guards will now begin preparations to Troop their Colour for the Queen's Birthday Parade on 8th June, but before that, they will Troop their Colour before HRH The Duke of York as their Royal Colonel for the first time on the Colonel's Review on 1st June. The Battalion will then undertake some of the Army's toughest frontline training on exercise in Belize this Autumn.