Lieutenant Colonel James Coote, commanding officer of 1 PWRR, said: “Despite daily danger and deprivation the men and women of the Afghan National Police have made a most significant contribution to transition. “We respect their courage; we admire their tenacity and we value their hospitality, generosity of spirit, friendship and, above all, ubiquitous sense of humour.” Regimental plaques were exchanged between the commanding officers of both regiments to mark the hand over.
The rest of the battalion, with the support of members of the Light Dragoons and Queens Own Gurkha Logistic Regiment, will be advising and mentoring police on the ground as Police Advisory Teams (PATs). It will be the second tour of Afghanistan for many of the regiment. Back in 2009, the Welsh Guards were involved in ferocious fighting in Operation Panther’s Claw, which was aimed at rooting out the Taliban from its strongholds ahead of the Afghan presidential elections. Two further companies from the Welsh Guards will also have a ground-holding role to allow governance to be put in place.
Rachel Bywater, Community Liaison Oficer is holding a launch day on 29th April at their new gift shop based in Market Mall, in the Pavilions Shopping Centre, Uxbridge. Topping the bill will be Mr John Miller (nephew of the late great Glen Miller) and his Orchestra. Art Forces Art UK will be the leading fundraiser for the Appeal with a target of £1 million to wealth fare for injured troops.
The new gift shop displays decor themed to the war years and the blitz, complete with sandbags and the wail of distant air raid sirens, and is packed with books, posters, replica ration books, photographs, newspapers of the time as well as period clothing. Senior shoppers can take a trip down memory lane, whilst the younger visitors can gain an education in history, following the life and times of their own grandparents.
Gift ideas include 1940′s kitchenware and shoppers can enjoy home baked cakes, afternoon tea and freshly made sandwiches in the Tearoom. All served in mismatched bone china just like in the war years! Three years after its launch in summer 2009, the Welsh Guards Afghanistan Appeal is re-mobilising in anticipation of the Welsh Guards’ return to Afghanistan in March of this year. Much has been done to date to help Welsh Guardsmen and dependants in need of support, but we know that another tour inevitably means that others will need help, both for the short and long term.
Like any professional military unit lst Battalion Welsh Guards will face the challenges of its forthcoming operational tour with confidence and we can be sure that they will serve with distinction. While doing so they will take comfort from knowing that a truly effective support network is there for each of them and their dependants if needed – the Appeal is designed to help ensure that they get all the help they need.
Battalion Headquarters, Number Two Company and Support Company will all be training and mentoring the Afghan Police as the Police Mentoring and Advisory Group (PMAG), which will be commanded by the Commanding Officer, Lt Col Bossi. Attached to the PMAG will be D Squadron, Light Dragoons, and Number 1 Squadron, Queen’s Own Gurkha Logistic Regiment. Elements of Headquarters Company, with Attached Arms, will run the Lashkar Gar Training Centre, which trains Afghan Police Patrolmen and Non Commissioned Officers.