Commanding Officer: Lt Col J M H Bowder MBE
Adjutant: Capt P J Rice
Regimental Sergeant Major: WO1 G J Snazle
Station: Lille Barracks, Aldershot
On a cold winter’s morning in early November 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards gathered in the Royal Garrison Church of All Saints in Aldershot for a service of thanksgiving. The Queen’s Company had returned from the tour of Afghanistan only a week previously and this was to be our first opportunity to reflect as a Battalion on our third tour of Afghanistan. Holding the Nahr-e-Saraj North District of Helmand Province with our Afghan partners for the preceding nine months against a determined and capable enemy had been an exhilarating challenge. Our goal had been to increase the will and confidence of the local Afghan Army and Police to a point that they were comfortable to take on the security of the key town of Gereshk and its approaches. .. In the closing weeks of a tour, after a summer of pushing the insurgents back, we managed to transfer responsibility for security in the District to the Afghans. Following the church service the Battalion held a welcome home and medals parade to celebrate our operational achievements. The Colonel, HRH The Duke of Edinburgh took the salute and was joined by HRH The Earl of Wessex to distribute medals, before spending time with the bereaved families, a touching and fitting conclusion to proceedings.
After the medal parade the Battalion went on well deserved post operational tour leave and then after two weeks back at work in December took Christmas Leave. During this two weeks in work we were informed that the Battalion would remain in Aldershot until 2015 rather than move to Hounslow in 2013. This news and the period of stability that it heralds is welcome.
Upon our return to work in January, the sudden eruption of the conflict in North Africa served as a timely reminder of the likely global uncertainties of the years ahead. In this context it seems certain that operational opportunity for the Battalion will not end with the conclusion of the campaign in Helmand late next year. It was with this in mind that the Battalion threw itself into military training in the New Year. The emphasis was placed upon low level green soldiering and physical fitness, designed to build a solid foundation in the core capabilities of infantry soldiering. In between the more serious field training events, we have had numerous opportunities to challenge and push our comfort zones in fun, but frequently hair-raising, adventurous training expeditions. This has seen members of the Battalion deploying on Ex FROSTED BLADE, ski touring across the frozen tundra on Ex SNOW WARRIOR and hurl themselves out of aircraft at Netheravon.
As the soldiers focused on honing their basic soldiering skills, many of the Officers and Non-Commissioned Officers were called upon to support the training of those set to deploy on Herrick 18. As such the Battalion has supported the CFX and FTX, in which we mentored and guided the formations preparing to deploy, ensuring that they benefited from our experience and were set up for success..
The Battalion will complete the re-subordination to London District following Easter leave, and will begin preparation for Public Duties. Spring drills and the Major General’s Inspection loom large, from which we will be ready for a busy summer. However, the continued focus on green soldiering will be maintained, not least with an impending Falkland Islands deployment on the horizon in the autumn.
The Sergeants’ Mess continues to support the Commanding Officers directive by ensuring we maintain our impeccably high Grenadier standards in everything we do. The re-subordination to LONDIST is high upon our list and preparations for Spring Drills are firmly in place. We will conduct Spring Drills for two weeks culminating in the Major Generals inspection. We as a Battalion will commence Public Duties from April 23 2013.
The Mess social calendar remains as busy as ever. We recently held a Warrant Officers dinner night to say farewell to WO1(RSM) S Bate, WO1(RSM) S Munro and WO1 A Crowdy. The night was a huge success and there were many a sore head in the morning!! We also look forward to a Sergeants Mess Fathers dinner night in April.
The Mess seniors are,
WO1 (RSM) G Snazle, WO2 RQMS (M) M Boak, WO2 RQMS (T) R Day, WO2 (Master Cook) S Falkner, WO2 (RAOWO) L Draper, WO2 (DSgt) M Howlin, WO2 (DSgt) T Bearder, WO2( CSMIM) M Cox, CSMs, G Davis, S Brooks, J Summerscales, J Byrne, S Roughley, WO2 (UWWO) P Childs, WO2 (RSWO) S Ross MC