Visiting in Her Royal Highness’ capacity as Colonel-in-Chief of the Royal Army Veterinary Corps, the Princess was received by the Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Colonel Kay Hanson and the Regimental Sergeant Major Craig Woodall.
During the visit the Princess Royal was briefed on the regiment's accomplishments, its future plans and its ongoing deployments and training.
Her Royal Highness met soldiers and their families and presented Long Service and Good Conduct medals to four soldiers: Staff Sergeant Craig Bambro, Lance Corporal Ceri Jones, Captain David Sables and Sergeant Andrew Miles. The medal is awarded to soldiers who have served for 15 years with an exemplary service record.
There to watch Sergeant Miles receive his medal was his wife Jenna who also serves in the Royal Veterinary Corps. He said: “It was a true honour and privilege to receive the honour from Her Royal Highness. Not many people have the opportunity to have a member of the Royal family present you with an award.
The Military Working Dog Regiment is a hybrid unit of around 350 personnel. It provides the only deployable military working dog and veterinary capability within the whole of the British Army.
Based in North Luffenham, Rutland, the dogs and their handlers deliver vital detect and protect capabilities for troops on the ground.
The Regiment’s Reserve Squadron, 101 Military Working Dog Squadron, was introduced in 2015. Reservists joining the Squadron are trained as Protection Military Work Dog Handlers who look after the security and safety of military assets and bases.
Lance Corporal Linsey Furness (42) is one such reservist. A self-employed hairdresser, she joined the Regiment at the age of 38 because she needed a challenge. Speaking about the royal visit she said: “It’s been an honour and a privilege to meet Her Royal Highness.”
The Princess Royal’s final task prior to departure was to cut the Regimental birthday cake. Her Royal Highness was then presented a bouquet of flowers by the Commanding Officer’s children George and Jack and Gracie, the daughter of Major Emma Jude who commands 105 Military Work Dog Squadron.
Commanding Officer Lieutenant Colonel Kay Hanson said: "A visit by our Colonel in Chief is always very special and I am sure the memory will stay with us all for a long time. The Princess Royal took a great interest in all we had to say, and it gave her the opportunity to hear first-hand from our soldiers about their role supporting exercises and operations around the world as well as the everyday life back here in Rutland.”