The Regiment’s 1st Battalion nicknamed ‘The Vikings’ exercised the Freedom of Haverhill for the first time on Sunday. Granted in June, the ceremonial decree allows the Regiment to march through the town with bayonets fixed, drums beating, band playing and colours flying.
Led by the Band of the Royal Artillery over 100 troops from the Regiment’s C Company and D Company were cheered and clapped as they marched proudly along the High Street onto the Market Square where Colonel Guy Foden accepted the Freedom Scroll on behalf of the Regiment.
The Mayor of Haverhill Councillor John Burns addressed the parade saying: “Rest assured as you go back to your duties that the people of Haverhill are supportive of you wherever you are deployed. We think of you and we are incredibly proud of what you do for our country.”
The Commanding Officer of 1 st Battalion The Royal Anglian Regiment, Lieutenant Colonel Phillip Moxey MBE, who led the parade said: “We are delighted that Haverhill has seen fit to honour the Regiment. I would like to thank the people of Haverhill for their heartfelt welcome and support
which has made it a hugely memorable day for all the marching soldiers.”
It has been a busy year for the 1st Battalion The Royal Anglian Regiment. Some 80 soldiers from the Battalion deployed alongside 39 Engineer Regiment on a United Nations peacekeeping mission to South Sudan. Known as Operation TRENTON the soldiers deployed from February to
Based in Malakal and Bentiu, The Vikings’ primary tasks were base security and force protection for the engineers as they completed a wide range of construction projects, including building a hospital and new roads.
280 soldiers also deployed on Operation TORAL; the British contribution to NATO’s Resolute Support mission in Afghanistan from September 2018 to April 2019. The deployment saw The Vikings form part of the Kabul Security Force (KSF) providing force protection and secure transport for UK and Coalition mentors - a role often referred to as a ‘guardian angel.’
The Vikings worked with NATO allies including Estonia, Finland, Australia, USA and Denmark to form the Kabul Security Force whose role was to move the mentors, who are training, advising and assisting the Afghan forces, around the area, ensuring they can conduct their mission safely.
They also provided a quick reaction force in support of Afghan Security Forces, on standby to respond to any major incident within Kabul. In addition to the two operational deployments, the Regiment’s B (Suffolk) Company has taken part in a unique exercise in Finland as part of a joint expeditionary force involving nearly 1,000 soldiers.
Some 100 soldiers spend 10 days in and around the Finnish capital, Helsinki with the Guard Jaeger Regiment on Exercise SABRE. It is the first time any British Army unit has been involved in bilateral military manoeuvres of this kind with the Finnish defence forces and involved urban warfare training on Santahamina island,
where the men of B Company were based for the duration of the deployment.
A key part of the time spent with the Finns was conducting urban warfare operations training.
Exercise Saber was the final exercise of the Finnish conscripts who began their military service in
January and are serving in rank-and-file duties, and for those conscript leaders, high-level
readiness unit members and military drivers who began their service this month.