1 YORKS returned to their permanent ‘home’ in Catterick Garrison in 2019 after a 17-year absence from Yorkshire. The battalion’s Future Soldier transition from Armoured to Light Mechanised Infantry is well underway, including conversion to Foxhound and Jackal, protected, wheeled vehicles.
At home here in Yorkshire, 1 YORKS are exchanging their 20 years’ of experience as Armoured Infantry, for their ‘Future Soldier’ Light-Mechanised Role. With an interesting and varied operational training programme to look forward to over the next 5 years, 1 YORKS will be ‘at home’ in Catterick, but also have a 2-year tour in Cyprus to look forward to in 2029.
1 YORKS on Operations – Currently 1 YORKS have soldiers deployed in Kenya, Nigeria and Germany. More than one hundred 1 YORKS soldiers are held at high readiness as the UK’s Standby Battalion, ready and prepared to meet any eventuality.
In what has turned out to be a momentous and historic year for the nation, 2022 has also been a year of profound change for the 1st Battalion. The implementation of Future Soldier and the Battalion’s move into the Desert Rats have brought fresh purpose and a great deal of exciting opportunities. The conversion to Light Mechanised Infantry (LMI) is now well underway and this is a marked change from our previous role as an Armoured Infantry Battalion. I have been struck by the incredible array of activity that has taken place within the 1st Battalion over a relatively short period of time and we have recently welcomed more than 60 soldiers from the 2nd Battalion on their return to the UK from Cyprus.
Over the last 6 months, the 1st Battalion has seen soldiers deployed to Op CABRIT and Op TURUS and has supported the training of Ukrainian soldiers on Op INTERFLEX. Individuals and small teams have been deployed to Oman, Estonia, the Falklands Islands, Nigeria, Germany, Kenya, Belize and Mozambique. The difference from the necessarily constrained Armoured Infantry rotation of Salisbury Plain, Castlemartin Ranges, Sennelager and Estonia could not be more different, and the effect has been galvanising. On top of it all, the preparations for deployment on Op SHADER in 2023 are taking shape and the training on Foxhound and Jackal vehicles is well underway
Despite a busy programme, we have sought every opportunity to participate in Army sporting competitions and adventurous training. On both fronts, this has been a resounding success. 1 YORKS have been crowned winners of every Army Rugby competition this season, were semi-finalists in the Army Football Cup, won the Army Offshore Regatta and placed well in the Combat Arms Sailing Regatta, are through to the semi-finals of the Army Cricket Cup, and our novice team have placed 4th in the Army Cross Country MTB Championship in their first season. The Battalion has conducted more adventurous training than any other unit in the 1st Division and has capped it off by taking 80 soldiers to Val d’Isere for an Alpine skiing expedition.
We now move into our new LMI structure, six months ahead of schedule, and are preparing for Mission Specific Training for operations in Iraq. Alma Company will soon deploy to Kenya on Ex ASKARI STORM, and by late summer 2023, 1 YORKS will be fully converted, fully restructured, operationally tested and ready to unite collectively for Battlegroup validation in early 2024.
Take a look at what life is like in 1 YORKS Light-Mechanised Infantry