As the faint sounds of 30mm rounds echo into the Pembrokeshire evening, the summer edition of our digital update comes to you from the Regimental range period in Castlemartin. It has been some 30 months since the entire Regiment deployed to consolidate our mounted combat skills – but, I am pleased to report, we appear to have retained the sharpness in our skills and an appropriately competitive spirit, though more on that later. The last three months has flown by, and we have had the chance to take part in a number of memorable events.
We began our summer with the Regimental Weekend. With the RSM refreshing the Regiment’s drill and the SSMs supervising the construction of squadron bars, Cambrai Lines hummed with activity as we prepared to welcome the wider Lancer family to Catterick. In a close-run affair, Saturday’s athletics tournament saw C Sqn crowned winners of McVitie Cup by Simon Theakston; as many of you will know, we have a close affiliation with the Brewers’ Company and it was a delight to have them with us for the weekend and demonstrate the variety of life in The Lancers.
A celebratory party in the LAD hanger followed with squadrons demonstrating their usual creative prowess with a series of themed bars; it was also a night that saw Veteran Lancers and their families sharing drinks and stories with old and new friends and (hopefully!) future Lancers - all to the sound of live music and the usual fantastic food from our Catering department.
Yet the party the night before did not prevent perhaps the highlight of the weekend as the Veteran Lancers led the Regiment with lance pennons fluttering in the parading of the Guidon in front of the Colonel of the Regiment, families and friends. There was, however, a slight note of sadness to the event as it was the final duty of Brigadier Andrew Hughes CBE as he handed over the the Colonelcy to Colonel Richard Charrington. Brigadier Andrew has served as Colonel since amalgamation and has been the foremost champion of the Lancers in everything we have done and we were able to make a small presentation to thank him and Polly for all they have done for us.
Meanwhile, B Sqn, after their own range package in Castlemartin, deployed to Dartmoor, home ground of the Royal Marines and some of the most ‘hoofing’ ‘yomping’ country in the UK. B Sqn taught and tested the latest cadre of our future leaders as well conducting training with the RAF Chinook fleet. Tiring, taxing and tough, they justly earned their pass and are now eligible to promote and become our most junior leaders. They were received back to a welcome in front of the wider Regiment to celebrate their success, and the top student, Tpr Fletcher from B Sqn, was immediately promoted on CO’s PT.
Summer Leave saw a variety of expeditions and adventures; the first, educational, as crew commanders travelled to Italy to take part in Ex CASSINO LANCER, a battlefield study following the advance of 12th, 16th/5th, & 17th/21st Lancers during the Italian Campaign. Second, a yearly calendar stalwart, Ex FREEWHEELING LANCER continued to ascend to new heights, following various aspects of the Tour de France route and eating twice their body weight in croissants – and Lt Free’s adage ‘don’t buy upgrades, ride up grades’ has become part of Regimental cycling lore. Never to be outdone, our sailors crewed the RAC yacht Ajax in the famous Cowes regatta, in some ferocious conditions that saw the first day’s racing cancelled, a ripped sail and a highly competitive class - with victory not to be this year but demonstrating strong potential for next year.