The Royal Lancers Autumn 2019

When I last wrote to you, Castlemartin was full of the sound of Annual Crew Tests being conducted on our Scimitars. As I write today, I hear the Subalterns in the Mess rehearsing carols with which to serenade the Warrant Officers and Senior NCOs next week. I'll leave you to decide which is the sweeter music! As we approach 2020 I would like to take this opportunity to take stock of the last quarter and to update you on our plans for the next few years.
Top Crew and Regimental Gunnery Champions 2019

The last few months have seen us consolidate, with a focus on resetting the Regiment for the challenges of next year. We have delivered: rest by prioritising the taking of individual leave; realignment into our new structure for training next year; and reward for our hardworking teams. We are also delivering a range of individual training courses to ensure we are ready for deployments next year and are currently undergoing a communications upgrade which will improve our digital planning ability.

Our Cambrian Patrol Commander receiving her Silver Medal from Commander 160 Brigade in October

For a lucky few a change is clearly as good as a rest. October saw the Cambrian Patrol team awarded a Silver Medal - a true testament to determination and hardwork in some atrocious weather. In November alone we had: elements of C Sqn in the USA alongside The Scots Guards and the US Army on Exercise Rattlesnake; some of our crew commanders attending battlefield study in Israel; our footballers in Cyprus competing in the Army Cup; several Lancers joined 1 Armoured Infantry Brigade on exercise in France and we had a team of vehicle specialists preparing for our upcoming exercises by activating a fleet in Germany. This was the high water-mark of the autumn, but it points to the opportunities for travel and adventure for all.

One week you're playing Football in Cyprus, the next, you're stepping off a Blackhawk in Louisiana.

Finally, it has been a time for reward, as we have taken the opportunity to demonstrate that hard work, dedication and effort does not go unnoticed. We have instigated an annual Rolls Royce dinner, and held the inaugural one in October as mark of recognition to the vehicle commanders of the Regiment - those who have earnt their 'armoured car' qualification badge as a Crew Commander.

Present Crew Commanders attending the Rolls Royce Dinner - those of future are now beginning their first steps into leadership roles.

November saw our sportsmen and women recognised with the annual Sports Dinner and the awarding of our new Regimental colours to acknowledge feats of sporting prowess. The event was supported by Tamara Taylor, the former England Rugby Captain and World Cup Winner, as well as WO2 Andy Halliday MBE, the FA referee. We are grateful to both for their support and inspiration.

October and November's Sports Highlights: Boxing at the Peto Cup and The Sports Dinner.

The Royal Lancers Battlegroup will deploy to Sennelager in February, as the first unit to train on the new Land Training Fleet, a new initiative that will see vehicles remaining in Germany full-time to be used for expeditionary training. Nothing new for the more senior members of the Regiment but a welcome change from Salisbury Plain for our more junior Lancers.

6 Lancers passed the arduous Sniper Qualification course this week.

At the end of April, Battlegroup Headquarters and Echelon, two sabre squadrons and our infantry company will deploy to BATUS. It will be our first iteration as a combined arms Battlegroup since 2014 and will validate our operational deployment to Eastern Europe in 2021. This, the Regiment's second unit-level operational deployment, offers some truly excellent opportunities, not least training in a multinational environment with our hosts and NATO partners.

Preparing for Germany in February with ACTs at Castlemartin.

For others, a deployment to Germany beckons in a different guise; that of partners alongside our allies in the Bundeswehr as we train as part of the German 1 Panzer Division. This will be followed by an operational deployment to the Balkans, which should prove to be a fascinating tour - and in an area that may well be familiar to our Veteran Lancers.

So the future is bright, with engaging and rewarding training leading to operational deployments at the forefront of the Army’s modern deterrence agenda for most of our people. With the promise of hard work and excitement ahead I would like to wish you all a very Happy Christmas and a prosperous New Year - as well as some well-deserved time off with your families and friends.

The Commanding Officer