Nijmegen Company, commanded by Major James Fox, is an independent company which was created when the 2nd Battalion was placed into suspended animation as a result of the 1993 round of defence cuts. Nijmegen Company carries the Colours of the 2nd Battalion and maintains its customs and traditions. The Company is based in Wellington Barracks, London, and it is largely focused on public duties and state ceremonial events. A soldier passing out of basic training will be posted to Nijmegen Company for six to nine months. In this time, the Guardsman's training is built upon so that he is well prepared to take up his life in the 1st Battalion.
NIJMEGEN COMPANY - RECENT NEWS
Company Commander: Major NA Strachan
Company Second in Command: Captain NPH Wills
Company Sergeant Major: WO2 HL Lawn
Company Quartermaster Sergeant: Colour Sergeant JD Bennett
Nijmegen Company had an truly enjoyable start to 2013 with 60 members of the Company taking part in the PDIC Ski trip to Val d’Isère but from March all thoughts swiftly returned to our primary purpose, that of conducting state ceremonial and public duties. The first major commitment was the State Visit in Windsor of the President of the United Arab Emirates. The street lining role was the first one of the year for the Company, and with “ceremonial novices” at the helm (Major Young, Capt Wills & WO2 Lawn), the practices were appreciated and proved an excellent preparation for the forthcoming State Ceremonial season. The parade was not without incident with one Lance Corporal being knocked down by a wayward horse’s rump! Practice makes perfect though, and the following week saw the Company again street lining in the Mall as Numbers 3, 4 and 5 Half Companies for the State Opening of Parliament.
From May the Company moved from Wellington Barracks to the Drill Square at Pirbright as they prepared for The Troop. The Company formed Number Four Guard for the parade on a fiendishly hot day and all were thankful to be able to retire to the shade afterwards with no man going down! From the troop the tempo did not slow down as the Company prepared for the Presentation of New Colours during Her Majesty’s Grenadier Day on the 26th June. Outside the drill square the Company entered a team into the Nijmegen Marches at the beginning of July and conducted a series of three sailing expeditions to the Mediterranean on the Household Division Yacht at the end of July.
With the ‘silly season’ over all eyes turn towards the Regiments Wellington2Waterloo charity bike ride from Wellington Barracks to the battlefield at Waterloo in September, in aid of The Colonel’s Fund. 11 members of the Company took part as cyclists and overall the Company raised £13,000. We then moved into a period of ‘green’ training, getting the Company out of their tunics and into the field ready for life with the First Battalion.
October saw the arrival of Major Neil Strachan as the Company Commander in order to replace Major James Young, who has left the Army, with the grateful thanks of the Company for a job well done. The start of winter saw the Company providing numbers 1-4 Half-Companies for the state visit of the President of South Korea. This was then followed by the deployment of the majority of the Company onto Exercise WESSEX STORM, a Battlegroup level exercise attached to the Irish Guards. This provided an excellent training opportunity for everyone involved; the chance for the Guardsmen to be part of a higher level exercise prior to arriving at Battalion is rare, so it afforded the Company the chance to train with more assets than we could normally muster.
On the sporting field the Company entered into the London District Football league. With a young and raw team, the first two matches saw us lose to the 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards, and then the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment. However we improved throughout the course of those two fixtures to bounce back and beat the Massed Bands of the Household Division 5-0.
With Christmas finished and following a cheeky 72 hour guard to see in the New Year, the Company deployed again onto the annual PDIC ski trip to Val d’Isère. With The Queen’s Company also in the resort it was a great opportunity for the young Guardsman to get to know those in Battalion as well as receiving a visit from The Commanding Officer, Adjutant and Sergeant Major to learn a few of Battalions key personalities!
Looking ahead the Company deploys soon to provide a Guard of Honour in Estonia for their Independence Day. We shall also be laying up our old Colours, probably in the Autumn, after trooping our Colour on The Birthday Parade. In addition to this fantastic honour the Company will also be celebrating the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Nijmegen in September 2014.
Finally under the Army 2020 reforms the Company will be downsizing in the March to 93 personnel (88 + 5 officers). This is to bring Nijmegen Company into line with the rest of the infantry on the new manning requirements. This reduction in manpower has its challenges as we will no longer be able to provide a large Guard of Honour or conduct simultaneous Queen’s and Windsor Guards but is obviously the preferable option to losing the Company as a whole.