I begin this Autumn update by paying tribute to our late Colonel in Chief, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. Her death brings to an end over seven decades of personal service and spans a significant length of time that we as servicemen and women, serving and retired, served under our monarch and for our country. I am sure for many of you this has been a difficult and moving few weeks. I have written to the Royal Household to pass on the condolences of All Ranks, members of our Association and all our families. The battalions responded superbly, at short notice, in support of Op LONDON BRIDGE and I was proud to represent the Regiment at Her Majesty’s State Funeral at Westminster Abbey on Monday 19th September. The outpouring of love, respect and grief was immense. As a regiment, we now look forward to serving most loyally our new monarch and Commander in Chief of our Armed Forces, His Majesty King Charles III.
Recognition too, for the passing of Field Marshal The Lord Inge KCB GCB DL, who died on 20th July. He was a great man and a fine leader and was the last serving officer to be promoted to Field Marshal. He characterised everything it is to be a Yorkshire soldier.
As a new phase in our nation’s history commences and Autumn is now upon us, I send my personal greetings to you all in the regimental family from my new position as Commandant Royal Military Academy Sandhurst.
On 30th September we took our place in the new Union Division, alongside the Royal Regiment of Scotland, Royal Irish and Royal Welsh. As my fellow Colonels have observed;
“The formation of the Union Division is a significant opportunity for our Nation and the Infantry; it forges together tough, historic and dependable Infantry Regiments from every part of the United Kingdom to deliver the full breadth of future Infantry capability for the British Army”.
Although the formation is a change in our higher command structure, I see this as a great opportunity for our Regimental family. Alongside my fellow Colonels of the Union Division, we have published direction which specifies the key principles of how the Union Division will form and operate. We are all personally invested in ensuring this works for you.
The Regimental Board will drive the essential changes we need to make through the new strategy and importantly, people will be at the centre of all that we do. The Union Division offers wide opportunity in terms of Infantry roles and geography as well as providing us with an enviable position amongst our peers as the only English regiment in the Division.
Over the last few months, we have identified areas within our own regiment that must adapt and improve; closing the perceived ‘air gaps’ between soldiers and officers, battalions and RHQ and also between our serving, veteran and cadet communities will enable the re-unification of all elements of the regimental family – which for me, is our key strength.
Recently, we have created two new regimental family groups; the ‘Millennium Branch’ of our Iraq/Afghanistan veterans and ‘Egypt Company’, comprising our personnel serving away from the battalions at ‘E’. Playing to the strengths of our battalions is another key theme, expanding on what differentiates us from other regiments with a distinct emphasis on ‘Yorkshireness’. I also want to use our more recent history to better communicate who we are.
Over and above these changes, we are making a concerted effort to communicate everything we are doing to both our internal and external audiences. This is why the Deputy Colonel, Brigadier David Colthup, is leading a review of our Brand, Marketing and Communications to ensure that as we move forward, we are on track, on message and delivering the desired level of impact. So, with a new website and a re-focussed social media presence, we will ensure we are well placed to communicate our outstanding regimental family across Yorkshire and the United Kingdom and can better support our veteran and service leaver cohort. We now need to be bold in all that we do. We will face competition, but we have our unique name, reputation and the best people from the biggest county in England on our side. I know we will deliver.
Fortune Favours The Brave