On the left is a scene from one of the 1960's deployments to Aden. The Regiment has served in a variety of locations worldwide to protect British interests, ranging from 2-6 months emergency operational deployments to up to 9 years in Germany. These deployments include garrison, counter terrorist and peacekeeping duties both with and without families. On the right is a scene from Northern Ireland. The Regiment has served there 29 times.
Peacekeeping under the United Nations, or in conjunction with forces of other nations, may be a role for the Regiment in the future. In addition to Battalions’ UN tours in Cyprus and Bosnia, individuals have served on UN operations in Lebanon, Namibia, Cambodia, Western Sahara, Iraq/Kuwait and Mozambique and on other peacekeeping deployments, not with the UN, in Oman (Dhofar), Mauritius, Rhodesia/Zimbabwe and Sinai.
The Regiment today maintains the high reputation of its predecessors with recent operations in Northern Ireland, Bosnia, Sierra Leone, Afghanistan and Iraq. Tours since 1964 include:
Aden and Radfan (5 times), Afghanistan (4), Bahrain, Belize (2), Berlin (2), Bosnia (2), Cyprus (6), Falkland Islands, Germany (8), Gibraltar (3), Iraq (3), Kuwait, Libya, Malta, Northern Ireland (29) and Sierra Leone.
Use the interactive map below to see photos, videos and articles on some of Regiment's deployments around the world. Simply click on the 'hotspot':
The 1st Battalion deployed to Basra Province between April and October 2005. The Battalion’s main task was to assist the emerging Iraqi Security Forces in developing their ability to preserve law and order. During this period the Iraqi people voted in a constitutional referendum in September 2005, which led to the establishment of their first democratic government.
The Battalion’s area of operations covered some 12,000 square kilometres and included borders with Kuwait and Iran, the main supply routes running from the south to Baghdad, access to the Arabian Gulf and vital economic infrastructure. As the tour progressed the Battalion became increasingly and very effectively involved in direct counter-terrorist operations.
Almost coincidentally, and in addition to providing 12 individual reinforcements to the 1st Battalion, The East of England Regiment, deployed a composite Territorial Army company that was based on 3 Company, to serve alongside Regular counterparts in the Rear Operations Battlegroup in South East Iraq from April to November 2005. Its main tasks were security of the Shaibah Logistics Base (a patrol area of 100 square miles and 14 miles of fence line), convoy protection and security for the Divisional Temporary Detention Centre.
11 - 11
Capt Smit on patrol
Soldier and child
Pairs, fire and manoeuvre
LCpl Smith at Al Faaw
Children and patrol
Capt Smit on patrol
7 - 7
Maj Grounds engaging
Lt Graham on patrol
Gen Sir Mike Walker talking with B Coy
Mobile patrol with children
5 - 5
Sgt Shand's birthday
Mobile patrol in Basra
Cpl Price and team
6 - 6
Pte Hodge and Sgt Macintyre
Mobile patrol in Az Zubayr
The 2nd Battalion deployed to Basra from April to November 2006, initially to help retrain the Iraqi Army and Police Force. Increased militia activity meant that it re-roled in mid-tour to conduct counter-terrorism tasks in Basra. Again the 3rd Battalion provided 18 territorial soldiers as individual reinforcements to bolster 2nd Battalion numbers.
Terrorists targeted the Battalion almost daily. Some 40,000 small arms rounds were fired in reply to these attacks.
A soldier of the Essex Regiment poses between London and Baghdad in 1944
Pte Wode makes some new friends
An Iraqi boat patrols the Basra waterways
Sgt Booth assesses the situation
Shatt Al-Arab hotel, Basra, Headquarters of B & D Companies
REME Servicing area, Basra Palace
A patrol returns to base
C Company at Shaiba Logistics Base
C Company on an exercise
‘Snatch’ patrol on the road into Basra
On patrols of all kinds in this operation, water is a priority
The new ‘Osprey’ body armour
Top Cover on a ‘Snatch’ landrover
Interior of ‘Snatch’ landrover
C Company at Shaiba Logistics Base
‘Warrior’ armoured vehicle
2 - 17
The 1st Battalion deployed to Kabul in March 2002. Its mission was to reassure the population by patrolling and deterring crime. An additional task was to train the Afghan National Guard .The 1st Battalion’s tour ended in June 2002.
Throughout the tour, a Regimental officer, Major General J C McColl CBE DSO, who was awarded the Regiment’s first Distinguished Service Order for his service in Afghanistan, commanded the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF).
In February 2003, A Company of the 2nd Battalion deployed to Kabul. Duties involved counter-insurgency patrols and community reassurance. The Battalion also trained NCOs of the new Afghan Army. In June, C Company relieved A Company, with the tour ending in October.
Parade and Awards
Chief of the General
Gar and Silicon
After only some 15 months break from demanding operations, the 1st Battalion deployed to Helmand Province in the south of Afghanistan in March 2007 for a six months tour of duty. The level of operations was extremely intense and the British Army had not experienced anything like it since the end of the Korean War. The Taliban were cleared and kept away from some very remote areas of the Sangin Valley. The first vestiges of normality were brought to villages that have not seen soldiers (state authority) since the end of the Soviet era. Medication and irrigation projects were particularly warmly welcomed, but they came at a price. On their return to UK in October 2007 the Vikings had sustained nine killed in action with some 70 injured.
While all that was going on the 3rd Battalion (Territorial Army) was doing its bit. In addition to supplying 13 soldiers as individual reinforcements to serve with the 1st Battalion, quite separately it provided a formed platoon for guard and security duties in Kabul. Like their regular counterparts they undertook a six months tour of operational duties.
November 23rd, 2007. After their return from Afghanistan, the 1st Battalion The Royal Anglian Regiment parade through the streets of Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk. The Regiment’s Headquarters is in Bury St Edmunds, and the city is home to a number of the Battalion’s soldiers, including Regimental Sergeant Major Ian Robinson.
November 11th, 2007. Soldiers of the 3rd Battalion The Royal Anglian Regiment receive Operational Service Medals for their tour of duty in Afghanistan.
The medals were presented at a Remembrance Day ceremony at the Imperial War Museum Duxford. Among those presenting the medals were Richard Ashton, Director of the Imperial War Museum Duxford, Brigadier Colin Groves, Chairman of the Trustees of The Royal Anglian Regiment Museum; and Martin Bell, former MP and BBC war correspondent.
Brigadier Groves is himself a Royal Anglian, while Martin Bell served in an earlier time in the Suffolk Regiment. He has been associated with The Royal Anglian Regiment Museum since its beginnings, and performed the opening ceremony in June, 1996.
The 1st Battalion, The Royal Anglian Regiment received 76 awards for their work in Afghanistan, including the following:
Distinguished Service Order (DSO): Lt Col SW Carver
Military Cross (MC): LCpl LD Ashby, Maj MP Aston, Maj DSJ Biddick MBE, Capt DC Hicks (killed in action), Cpl RW Moore, LCpl OS Ruecker
Queen's Gallantry Medal (QGM): Pte LC Nadriva
Mentioned in Dispatches (MID): Sgt SE Armon, WO2 K Main, Maj PJ Messenger, WO2 TR Newton, Sgt SI Panter
Queen's Commendation for Valuable Service (QCVS): Capt PN Blanchfield
Soldiers from the Battalion also received 47 Commander British Forces' Commendations and 15 Joint Commander's Commendations.
The Battalion suffered 9 killed and 51 wounded in action. These figures give a clear indication of the intensity of the fighting.
The total of 76 awards means that roughly 1 in 8 soldiers who deployed with the Battalion was honoured for bravery and/or outstanding service. Their conduct under fire was remarkable as was the collective performance of the Battalion as a whole.
Photographs courtesy of the Imperial War Museum
Camp Bastion is the main British military base in the south of Afghanistan.
Imagine a rectangle, four miles long by two miles wide, drawn almost at random in the flat emptiness of the southern Afghanistan desert. Fill it with cargo containers, white polythene tents and a bulldozed airstrip, and you have an idea of Camp Bastion, the main British military base in Helmand province.
In places the talcum-like dust is so deep that it can come over the top of your boots; in the distance, spiky mountains rear up from the plain without so much as a preliminary foothill. Not that you can always see the mountains - in summer, the air is distorted by temperatures of up to 50º C (122º F), and even in late autumn, dust devils suddenly blow up in the heat of the day.
Everything in Bastion is imported, from the shower blocks to the food. In the air-conditioned ‘Cook House’, despite the nearest ocean being 600 miles away, there is defrosted Black Forest cake for pudding every night.
Thanks to modern military logistics and prefabrication techniques, it is possible to drop a capsule of Western living conditions almost anywhere on the planet, with Rolla-Trac plastic flooring for the tents and ramparts made of Hesco. Described on the company website as ‘the most significant development in field fortifications since WWII’, Hesco consists of giant plastic bags surrounded by steel mesh and filled with local dirt. If a base is ever constructed on the Moon, it will probably be made the same way.
Text: Raymond Whitaker, The Independent, 3 December 2006
On the 10th of May 2007 , Chief of the General Staff (CGS) General Sir Richard Dannatt KCB CBE MC ADC Gen visited the 1st Battalion the Royal Anglian Regiment - the ‘Vikings’ - at Camp Bastion.
Right: 1st Battalion soldiers leave Camp Bastion in an armoured vehicle - also known as a 'Viking'!
The CGS was very keen to meet personnel of the Battalion who had just returned from fighting the Taliban in the Lower Sangin Valley during Operation Silicon.
Left: Chief of the General Staff, Sir Richard Dannatt (foreground, right), chats to Corporal Stephen Martin at Camp Bastion.
Private James Booth from Witham (background, left) said: ‘He came and shook my hand and asked me what it is like out here. I told him it’s not what I’ve seen on TV because it’s pretty good out here.’
Corporal Stephen Martin from Peterborough (foreground, left) added: ‘In my 10 year career in the Army I’ve met most people. The CGS came and asked me how much ammunition I carried last week and if it was enough. I told him it was about right.’
Corporal Martin concluded: ‘It is good for the lads even if they don’t really know that, but it raises morale. It’s good to see the Chief of Army taking interest in the lads, coming on the ground and not just sitting in his office in Whitehall.'
Right: Repatriation ceremony at Camp Bastion for Private Chris Gray.
Text: Eastern Daily Press
As well as Camp Bastion, the ‘Vikings’ used forward bases further north, at Kajaki, Nowzad and Sangin.
These photographs show life and work at these three centres.
Right: the compound at Kajaki, showing the ‘Hesco’ protective barriers.
C Company sniper observation post. Accommodation at Kajaki.
A Company bathing in the river at Sangin District Centre.
Accommodation at Nowzad. Nowzad, improvised kitchen.
Patrol in Nowzad. Nowzad, Sergeants’ Mess.
Battalion Media Officer, Major Landragin, talks to Tim Alburne of the Times newspaper inside the compound at Sangin.
In May and June 2007, the ‘Vikings’ conducted Operation Lastay Kulang (‘pickaxe handle’ in Pashtu) in the Upper Sangin Valley in northern Helmand Province alongside Afghan National Security Forces, Danish, Estonian and US forces.
Leaving the town of Sangin, B (Suffolk) Company advanced up the Sangin Valley through villages and towns between the towns of Sangin and Kajaki, clearing the area of Taliban throughout the day and night.
Sergeant Michael Woodrow from Great Yarmouth/Chesham said: ‘The first day was a lot more aggressive and intense. RPGs [rocket propelled grenades] were flying around and we had two mine strikes within 24 hours. It was a long op and the lads coped very well.’
Following an overnight stay in the desert east of Sangin, A (Norfolk) Company emerged from the surrounding desert further up north in the Upper Sangin Valley near the town of Putay, halfway between Sangin and Kajaki.
Private Terry Croft from Great Yamouth said: ‘Our job was to clear the village of Putay of Taliban, who we knew were waiting for us somewhere in the village. It was a bit of a blower and physically demanding. We patrolled throughout the day, but as soon as we were on the ground, RPGs and small arms fire hit us.’
In the meantime, C (Essex) Company created a diversion (a ‘feint’) around Kajaki, pretending to advance south in order to distract Taliban forces in their area. This allowed the 82 US Airborne to conduct an air assault south of Kajaki.
Despite several fire fights, B Company continued their advance up the Sangin Valley towards the troops of A Company, who had infiltrated into the village of Putay and Lwarmalazi.
In the end, the Taliban elements were destroyed or fled from the area. Both Companies consolidated their positions, making contact with local people and tribal elders to reassure them and find out what their needs were.
Along with Afghan, Danish and Estonian forces, the ‘Vikings’ took part in Operation Ghartse Gar, which aimed to clear the Taliban from Jusyalay, the area between Sangin and Putay in Helmand Province, southern Afghanistan.
During their advance, the soldiers were helped by local villagers, who gave them vital information about where the Taliban were in the area..
Right: Private Scrivener from A Company, on Operation Ghartse Gar
To maintain the element of surprise, soldiers from A (Norfolk) Company set off overnight and on foot from their base in Sangin. They had to cover the 16 km (10 miles) distance to their starting position, carrying up to 36 kg (80 lbs) of equipment. This included heavy machine guns, mortars, grenade launchers and supplies.
At dawn the following day the Royal Anglian soldiers approached the Taliban positions from all sides, blocking their escape routes. The Afghan National Army drew them out so that the Royal Anglians could push them further north and out of the Sangin Valley area.
The soldiers came under attack from small arms fire and rocket propelled grenades, which continued throughout the day.
Despite severe fire fights, A Company and B (Suffolk) Company continued their work in the Sangin Valley clearing the Juysalay area. The remaining Taliban were destroyed, or managed to escape from the area.
Later, after they pitched camp, there was a brief fire fight with more Taliban fighters. A Royal Anglian soldier was shot in the chest, but the bullet was deflected by his body armour, resulting in a less serious wrist injury.
Lieutenant Nick Denning from Colchester said: ‘This is the first time that we’ve marched out like this on an operation rather than dismount from vehicles nearer the starting point. It was an important operation to clear out Taliban strongholds from where experienced fighters have been launching attacks on ANA patrol bases around Sangin, and preventing essential reconstruction and development taking place.’
Major Mick Ashton, Officer Commanding B Company said: ‘We are now holding the positions we’ve taken and are busy securing the area to allow the irrigation work to continue. We’re also talking to local elders and tribal leaders to reassure them that we are working hard to provide better protection and increased stability for the area as well as for our logistics convoys.’
Major Dom Biddick from Leicestershire, Officer Commanding A Company said: ‘We have shown the Taliban that we are not going to let them attack us without retaliating. More importantly we have shown the population that we are here to stay and to provide security for them.’
More than 12% of the population of Afghanistan is involved in the cultivation of opium poppies, and production increased by 49% last year (Source: the Guardian, 27.6.07). However, destroying the crops without providing farmers with an economic alternative would make our troops unpopular with the local people and would increase support for the Taliban in those areas.
Below: Private Nadriva (left) and other ‘Vikings’ with some of the drug crops of the region, opium poppies and cannabis.
The ‘Vikings’ took the lead in a massive military operation in southern Afghanistan near the town of Gereshk.
The mission, code named Operation Silicon, was to remove Taliban elements from a specified area. It allowed the Afghan National Army to move in and re-establish the Government of Afghanistan’s authority, and involved more than 2,000 coalition personnel.
The Operations Officer, Captain Phill Moxey explained: ‘It was a very complex operation which involved several different units all supporting the Battalion. Our lads had to dismount from their armoured personnel carriers and physically remove Taliban elements which were terrorising the local population and preventing law and order.’
On 29 April, at 5am local time, A (Norfolk) and B (Suffolk) Companies, supported by other units, moved into the targeted area, around buildings and across poppy fields in search of Taliban elements.
The Companies were soon engaged by groups of Taliban, who offered stiff resistance, using small arms, RPGs (rocket propelled grenades), rockets and mortars. Throughout the day, the level of ferocity and scale of attacks increased.
Supported by artillery, aviation and Apache attack helicopters, the Companies pushed forward, clearing all Taliban positions, without sustaining any casualties.
‘The Taliban tried to take us on but they were no match for us. We had too much firepower with attack helicopters, artillery guns and armoured vehicles,’ declared Captain Dave Robinson, Second-in-Command of B Company.
From February 2007, 10 Platoon of the 3rd Battalion The Royal Anglian Regiment worked with the Macedonian Force Protection Company in Kabul.
The British and Macedonians were just two of the thirty-seven nation coalition in Afghanistan.
At first 10 Platoon worked very closely with the Macedonians. They conducted joint patrols around Police District 10 in Kabul and shared responsibility for base security. Later they became more independent, conducting their own patrols. Their aim was to build up a pattern of life and vehicle movements in their area.
Right: Sgt Gadsden, C Company, Leicester on patrol above Kabul
Their base in Kabul was small and crowded, but with many facilities. Two or three men shared a room with air conditioning, internet connection, and a bathroom down the hall. There were shops, cafes, bars and places to play basketball, volleyball and five-a-side football. These facilities were important to keep the men fit and healthly and in good spirits while they were a long way from home.
Text: adapted from Lieutentant Alex Horner in Castle magazine, June 2007
Our Macedonian Colleagues in Kabul
Photographs and text from ArmyNet, individual sources cited.
Thanks to Sgt Stu Rumsey and others whose work is featured, and thanks to RSM Ian Robinson, 1st Battalion, and RSM Adey Penn, 3rd Battalion, for photograph identification.
In May 2000 the 2nd Battalion was warned to deploy some 250 officers and soldiers to Sierra Leone. The group consisted of two security platoons from B Company and 42 officers and NCOs to form an instruction team.
The timetable for the deployment was remarkable:
24 May - warning to deploy received in their barracks in Chepstow.
15 June - training started in Sierra Leone.
22 July - 1,000 Sierra Leone soldiers trained.
27 July - 64 days after warning, back in Chepstow.