A soldier from 1st Battalion The Royal Welsh (1 R WELSH) based in Tidworth, Wiltshire has been talking about what made him join this particular regiment and why it had to be the British Army as a career for him.
Fusilier Basset Karim knew from an early age that he wanted to follow in his Father’s footsteps and join the Army and it didn’t take him long to decide which regiment he wanted to be a part of:
“I chose The Royal Welsh after looking at their history and seeing that they are heavily decorated with many Victoria Crosses. I also read that they had been successful on many overseas exercises and operations and that they are one of the best armoured infantry regiments in the British Army too.”
The Royal Welsh is Wales’ oldest and most decorated regiment with 1 RWELSH the longest-serving Armoured Infantry Battalion in the British Army. The regimental history dates back over 300 years, including playing a part in nearly every major campaign that the British Army has participated in.
They are a key part of the only warfighting division at continual operational readiness in the UK; ready to protect the UK and project its influence across the globe. Over the years the regiment have been on operations in Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia and in Estonia on Operation CABRIT 2.
Fusilier Karim is proud to be part of B Company Rourke’s Drift, 1 RWELSH, based on Salisbury Plain. He completed his basic training in October 2021 and had been serving with 1 RWELSH for just a few months before heading to the Sennelager Training Area (STA) in Germany to take part in Exercise Tallinn Dawn, the Mission Ready Exercise (MRX) that validates them to deploy as a Battlegroup on the upcoming Operation Cabrit 10.
Operation Cabrit is the name of the UK operational deployment to Estonia where British troops are leading a multinational Battlegroup as part of the enhanced Forward Presence (eFP).
UK Armed Forces have a leading role in NATO’s eFP in the Baltic States, in order to enhance Euro-Atlantic security, reassure our Allies and deter our adversaries.
The eFP in the Baltic States is a deployment of robust, multinational, combat-ready forces to Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland, on a lasting, rotational basis. British personnel rotate on a continuous basis alongside Danish, French, and host nation Estonian forces.
Basset, originally from Ghana recalls the reaction he got from his family when he told them he was joining the British Army:
“My Dad was a soldier in the Ghana Army and I looked up to him thinking I want to do that one day.
I did lots of research and chose the British Army as they are the best. FUSILIER BASSET KARIM 1ST BATTALION THE ROYAL WELSH
My Dad, having been a soldier understands what I am doing, he gets it. Although they worry, my family are very proud of what I have done and what I am doing now. I have never been to Europe before so this is all very new. For me this is all good experience and it is building me as a person.”
Within the dense forestry landscape of this vast training area Fusilier Karim talks about Exercise Tallinn Dawn, his first exercise as a soldier and as a Fusilier with 1 R WELSH:
“I have never experienced anything like this so didn’t have a picture of how it was going to be. It will take some getting used to. The thing that impresses me most is that everyone is well equipped and the seniors who have done this many times before, their experience rubs off on you and makes you feel more confident. I have to tell myself that this is reality and not a scene from a movie.”
For those like him who are new to Army life he says he is reassured by the support he gets:
“Everyone in the Battalion looks out for each other. I know that one of my mistakes could be the downfall of the whole company or battalion so when you see something going wrong you should take an action to correct matters. The good thing is that the soldiers around you have your back and will always put you right.”
And he adds:
“On this exercise as a newcomer it has been a real challenge because I’m doing things I have never done before like using weapons and travelling in armoured vehicles like the Warrior. Also, as it’s my first time in Europe I am not used to the weather either. But I will adapt. I will be fine.”
Although very new to Army life Fusilier Karim is already looking ahead to the future:
“First I need to learn how to be a good soldier and to settle into Army life. Once I have fully trained, I would like to be a medic in the Army.”