It was with great sadness that the Regimental flag of the Welsh Gunners was lowered for the last time at Albemarle Barracks signalling the disbandment of the Regiment.
Over 300 officers and soldiers from 39 Regiment Royal Artillery, which is known as the Welsh Gunners, were joined by their families and veterans for a parade and flag lowering ceremony at the barracks.
The gunners were joined in their final parade by Her Majesty’s Deputy Lord-Lieutenant of Northumberland, Colonel John Anderson, the Master Gunner St James’ Park, General Sir Timothy Granville-Chapman and Mayors and Civic leaders from the North East. The regiment has strong ties to the local community and councils in the region and bid an emotional public farewell when it exercised its Freedom of Hexham for the last time in October last year.
The regimental flag was lowered by Cpl Stephen Hudghton (31) from Portsmouth, marking the point at which the regimental title goes into suspended animation. He and Staff Sgt Colin Fotheringham folded the flag which was handed to the Regimental Sergeant Major, Warrant Officer 1 (RSM) Eamonn Hall who paraded the flag through the ranks. He then presented it to the Regiment’s Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Colonel Richard Clements.
Following a blessing the flag was presented to the Regimental Colonel, Colonel Richard Collinge.
Master Gunner St James’ Park, General Sir Timothy Granville-Chapman added in his speech:
“Today is, like it or not, history in the making. This is 21st century change which is the price of living.”
There were many Veterans that travelled far and wide to attend this parade. Below are some of their comments about the day and the parade itself:
“39 Regiment may be gone, but the memories and the mates will live in your heart forever ! (What my Tony found when 49 Fd Regt went the same way) ............. On the positive side there are even more excuses for a Reunion!”
“To all Bengals, past and present, Nicky and I had a great time at the sad occasion of the disbandment parade of 39 Regiment. During the festivities it was discussed future reunions of the mighty 132, well I will be looking for a suitable location for one in the Midlands, one with a big enough bar, possibly for the end of October. Any one up for it?” “Farewell to 39 Regiment my self and my wife Lynn have wonderful memories of the regiment and the friends made in Sennelarger in the 70s a sad day”
“A huge thanks to everyone who helped make yesterday a fitting tribute to 39 Regt on the day it was placed into suspended animation. To the serving soldiers, the ex-members, guests and those who participated in the setting up and running of the day - you all did us proud.”
Ubique - Quo Fas et Gloria Ducunt.
132 Battery (The Bengal Rocket Troop) Royal Artillery (Retired). A good Bengal turnout to see 39 away in style
For More Pictures please see our Gallery:
You can read more on this historical and moving parade at the following links:
A full report will appear in Gunner magazine in due course.
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