Royal Welch Fusiliers
Reference Library – Line Infantry – Royal Welch Fusiliers
The invasion of Iraq led to the deaths of 179 British personnel between March 2003 and February 2009. Tony Blair told the Chilcot Inquiry into the conflict he had “deep and profound regret” about the loss of life suffered by British troops and the countless Iraqi civilians. Some of the Britons who died were just 18 years-old.
Here is a roll of honour of the British personnel who died on service during Operation Telic in Iraq:
The dart found its mark. The goat kid looked alarmed at first, but couldn t quite understand the sudden pain in his limb. Soon, he lost interest and went back to his mid-morning snack. Jim Mason, blowgun in his hand, remained crouched in his spot. The veterinary doctor didn t want to disturb the herd grazing a few metres away. He knew it was a matter of time before the drug would take effect. As he watched, the kid began walking as if drunk. A few minutes later, his limbs gave way and he collapsed. Mason signalled to his three companions standing a few feet away from him. Together, they hauled the kid to the Visitors Centre on the top of the rocky Great Orme cliffs in North Wales. The other goats went back to their meal unconcerned.
At the Centre, Fusilier Mathew Owen, Goat Major of the 1st Battalion of the Royal Welsh, part of the British army, was pleased. The kid was every bit as handsome as he appeared at a distance. It had sturdy looks, shapely horns and better fur than other cashmere goats. He would grow up to be a fine soldier. Mason injected him with an antidote of the tranquiliser, and with a couple of hours, the sedatives wore off. We took him to Llandudno [a town in west Britain] train station, said Mason. I stopped him there and checked him again. He looked okay to travel. The vet waved goodbye as the kid was taken to the Lucknow Barracks in Wiltshire, England. Over the next few months, he would undergo rigorous training under the watchful eye of the Goat Major.
In January, two months after he was plucked off an obscure headland of Llandudno, he was introduced to the public. By this time, he had a name, a post and a mission: Fusilier Llywelyn, the mascot-soldier of the battalion, soon about to march his men in the annual birthday parade for Queen Elizabeth II.
Fusilier Llywelyn carries forward a royal goat tradition that dates back nearly two centuries. It belongs to a breed which, before it was introduced to Britain and anglicised to cashmere , came from the Kashmir region of undivided India. The Shah of Persia gifted a pair of goats to Queen Victoria upon her accession to the throne in 1837, writes historian Jared Eglan. The goats were added to the Royal Herd and, in 1884, presented to the Royal Welch Fusiliers. Ever since, a cashmere goat has been part of the ceremonial duties. In the meantime, the goats were also introduced to the Orme, a headland in North Wales, by a general in the Welsh Fusiliers. As army personnel, the goats have privileges the same as other soldiers. They have their own private residence at the barracks, eat a cigarette a day (tobacco is considered good for their coat) and drink beer when old enough, to keep the iron up. Some, like Llywelyn s predecessor Taffy VI, were even allowed to keep a radio in their pen. Taffy VI liked listening to the BBC.
In the 18 years that Sally Pidcock has been the warden at the Great Orme country park, she has aided in three goat recruitments. The first time a retired Goat Major phoned me, I didn t believe him at all, she said. I thought it was one of my colleagues winding me up. The Welsh army comes scouting for candidates every few years. In May last year, Taffy VI died after nine years of service. That August, Pidcock was informed that the Welsh army was planning to visit the Orme for a recce to select a new goat soldier.
We didn t have much choice really, said Sally. The nanny goats aren t producing as many kids because we are using contraceptives.
Credit: Omkar Khandekar
The number of animals is kept under control due to the limited area of grazing land. Around 100 cashmere goats share the pastures with 400 sheep. Each of the species tend to stick to their brethren. But unlike sheep who like to entertain themselves by bleating away, cashmere goats conduct themselves with a quiet dignity, making them harder to track down. After Llywelyn s recruitment, the only time Pidcock had news of the goat was when he was featured in the newspapers and had reporters fawning over him. He had grown to be a fine young Billy, she remembers, and wore the silver head-plate and the green coat on his back with panache.
Quite strangely, I felt guilty, she said. It s an alien kind of life, isn t it, compared to the life they would have had on this wild windswept headland with a hundred other goats. But then, he is extremely well looked after, almost to the point of pampering.
On Llywelyn s calendar, May 15 was marked in red. He had led his men through the streets of Britain on various occasions, but none compared to what he was about to do. Two weeks ago, Queen Elizabeth II was holding her annual birthday parade in the castle grounds at her Windsor residence. Before the big day, I visited the Goat Major at Windsor. Owen was camping near the castle with the ceremonial regiments from England, Wales and Scotland and their respective mascot-soldiers: dogs, ponies, horses and rams. Llywelyn ambled by his side as we tried to find a parasol to shelter ourselves from the drizzle. Everywhere we went, he attracted adoring looks from the visitors who had gathered to witness a horse show to be held later that evening. I noticed a boy of six pointing at him to his mother. Can we have one? he pleaded.
It was destiny, actually, Owen said, occasionally scratching his goat colleague. He came out of the bushes a moment before we were to get the proposed one. That s when we saw: he is the greater goat.
Although nearly 600,000 people visit the Orme every year, young Llywelyn had never had human interaction at such close quarters. It was the first time he was away from his folks. Owen decided to keep him company for the first night and set up a cot next to Llywelyn s pen.
He kept me up; bleating, sniffing me randomly at 4 am, said Owen. It s probably one of the hardest nights I have had. This, from a soldier who has seen duty in Afghanistan. Over the next two weeks, Llywelyn spent more time with Owen at the latter s office. At first, the goat was shy but started responding slowly, especially when there were biscuits on offer. That day, seeing us engrossed in a conversation, a far bolder Llywelyn nicks an unlit cigarette Owen held between his fingers.
You little bastard, cried the Goat Major.
Credit: Omkar Khandekar
In the battalion, responsibility for training and upkeep of the royal goat falls squarely on Owen. He has to brush his fur, make his bed, clean his hooves and make sure the goat gets used to people. Initially, the two were inseparable from 7 am to 10 pm. Goats are stubborn creatures, Owen said. Even though he carries a cane with him, you can t beat a goat into submission. They have to believe that they want to be a part of the march. But Llywelyn was sharp. He understood that they asked little of him: only that he be in step as the rest of them marched to the drumbeat. I was done with him in two weeks, said Owen. It was a record for me.
After being fully trained, it was a relatively easy life for Llywelyn. Every day, Owen makes it a point to take him for a walk and play with him. It was only a day after the Fusiliers came to Windsor that they decided to shake the dust off. The previous night was their first in a long time and Llywelyn wasn t too keen on marching in the cold. Towards the end of the parade, he sat down on the grounds, unwilling to budge. But the stakes were high this time. A good performance could get Llywelyn promoted to the rank of a Lance Corporal. A bad one, however, could bust him. A few years ago, one of his predecessors, William Windsor I, was demoted to a Fusilier after he tried to headbutt a drummer s rear. Owen recalled the case of another goat from Cyprus who, after a similar incident of indiscipline, had to make up for it by pulling a guard duty: sitting on a chair and monitoring the CCTV feed, no sneaking out for a cigarette.
The big day
Owen takes pride in being a dyed-in-the-wool royalist. It s an honour, he said. They [the goats] are the physical embodiment, a connection between the monarch and the regiment. In the coming days, they would have a few parades for the public before the queen came down to the grounds to witness their display on Sunday. Will Llywelyn be prepared for the task?
I think he ll do well, said Owen. He s hoping to get promoted. Is Llywelyn nervous though?
I don t think he knows what s going on, to be honest. Then, quite unexpectedly, Owen drew the line: He is a goat after all. I looked at Llywelyn. He was chewing on my trousers.
On the big day, Queen Elizabeth II, dressed in a bright sea green dress, took her seat in the arena built on the castle grounds. Over the next two hours, nearly 900 horses and 1,500 performers paid their homage to the longest-serving British monarch. A day after, I called up Owen to check if Llywelyn, too, rose to the occasion.
It was expected of him, said Owen, with a hint of pride. And he performed.
Credit: Omkar Khandekar
The following list of Hampshire Regiment prisoners of war has been transcribed from the Imperial War Museum’s collection, specifically the following items:
- B.O.2 1/145 is a 4-page typed and undated list, of which the 4th page refers to Hampshire Regt PoWs.
- B.O.2 1/149 is a 2-page typed list sent to Sir Ernest Goodhart by Hampshire Regt Prisoners of War Help Fund, dated 20th January 1919
- B.O.2 1/150 is a 7-page typed list sent to The Director of Supplies & Transport, War Office, Whitehall, dated 17th January 1919. The penultimate page, containing three names, is illegible
- B.O.2 1/151 is a 3-page hand-written list, undated and no addressee.
Uncommonly, this list of Hampshire Regiment men who had become prisoners of war on or before 25th December 1914, includes officers as well as men. Colonel Jackson is the highest ranking PoW on this roll call of 191 men. A number of the men listed here have two or more entries and entries commonly include some or all of the following information: home address, next of kin address (where a man has since died), other information, transcriber’s notes.
The full transcription is available for sale as a download or CD for 20. Contact me if you would like to purchase a copy. 7171 Private Edwin Alderman 6913 Private Alfred J Andrews 6582 Private Charles Austin 8310 Private Ernest F Ballard 6643 Lance-Corporal A Bastiani 6457 Private George T Baulf 7297 Private Arthur George Bishop 6540 Private George Blackmore 4936 Sgt-Drummer George F Bowman 7139 Private Charles H G Boxall 8996 Private Nicolas J Bray 5465 Private Albert E Burgess 9524 Private Arthur E Chaffe 7358 Bandsman Jesse Chalwin 8574 Private Reginald R Chalwin 7005 Corporal Edward Charter 5101 Private Alfred J Chase 7134 Bandsman Thomas Clarke 9359 Private George Cleal 7314 Private William Climo 7025 Corporal George Edward Colston 3/2894 Private Albert E Croucher 9368 Private Thomas Digby 7128 Private Frank Dowden 7232 Private Alfred T J Dyer 6887 Sergeant Frederick Eldridge 7341 Private Samuel F Empringham 9289 Private George Etheridge 9395 Private Frederick Farmer 9165 Private Frederick Fisher 6425 Private A Fitzgerald 9228 Private Charles Ford 6710 Private Edward A Fox 6678 Corporal Thomas A Freeman 6824 Private Alfred Gilliam 9051 Private John E Grant 4890 Private Arthur H Greenman 8274 Private William H Hall 9066 Private George H Harfield 7519 Private C Harmsworth 7519 Private Charles Harmsworth 8741 Private William G Harper 8233 Sergeant H Harrington 7846 Private Charles E Harris 7991 Corporal Robert Harris 9090 Corporal Francis S Harrison 7833 Private Frederick Hatcher 8233 Lance-Sergeant H Herrington 7504 Harvey James Jeffery 6917 Lance-Corporal A Lance 6917 Lance-Corporal A Lance 6917 Lance-Corporal William A Lance 9198 Lance-Sergeant F Lockhart 3/4448 Lance-Corporal Edward J McGrath 6636 Lance-Corporal T A Meacher 8763 Private W Misselbrook 8763 Private William Misselbrook 6990 Private Thomas R Mustion 7087 Private William Nicklen 7506 Lance-Corporal Arthur W Phillimore 9037 Private E Phillimore 7508 Private Frank Powell 9268 James Christopher Poyle 6743 Private William Ralph 7254 Lance-Corporal A Randall 9129 Private Percy W Reeves 7194 Private Arthur Ribbick 8071 Private Sidney C Richards 5968 Private Percy Robinson 9387 Lance-Corporal L Rogers 7688 Bandsman Frederick Rose 9470 Private Cornelius Ryan 6732 Private Walter G Sansome 9407 Private Morris Saunders 8407 Lance-Corporal Denis Smallwood 8887 Sergeant Sidney G Smith 7451 Lance-Corporal C Spanholtz 7516 Private Frank Spencer 9339 Private Clement Stay 8800 Corporal Alfred Stead 5680 Sergeant Patrick Sullivan 6567 Private Henry S Thomas 6828 Private Thomas C Thomson 7291 Corporal Tom R Tobin 7676 Corporal James Trigger 6852 Corporal Stephen Urry 9108 Lance-Corporal J Waterman 9163 Private Walter Wheeler 6768 Private Harry S Whitehead 7837 Private Thomas John Whiting 5764 Private Francis W Wilkins 7184 Corporal William T Willis 7268 Private Albert N Winter 8016 Private Basil Withers 7691 Corporal Albert Witt 7180 Lance-Corporal G H Witt