With Alastair and Rosemary I went to St James's Palace for lunch with the Welsh Guards, our affiliated regular Army unit. Based in Aldershot the battalion was on guard duties in London and using the facilities provided for the Queen's Guard at St James's Palace.
Colonel Tom Bonas, the Regimental Adjutant and our principal contact with the regiment, met us and guided us through the labyrinth of the palace.
At lunch we were very well looked after by Lieutenant Colonel Charles Antelme DSO, his fellow officers and his charming wife Margaret. Charles and Margaret are only recently married and back from a honeymoon in Sri Lanka.
It has been a time of a lot of travel as a detachment from the battalion added a distinctive dash of British military colour at the sixty fifth anniversary parade in Moscow to commemorate the end of what the Russians call the Great Patriotic War. By all accounts the Welsh Guards had been most enthusiatically received.
A particular link beteween the Company and the Regiment is the Welsh Guards Afghanistan Appeal. Jessica Gable-Smith from the appeal was also present. Earlier this year in April we provided the Hall for an event to launch this excellent charity which is designed to support, as quickly and unbureaucratically as possible, those Welsh Guardsmen who have been casualties in Afghanistan. This, of course, includes their families as well. For more details go to http://www.welshguardsappeal.com/
In recent years a number of non-Guards units have taken their turn on duty. I was intrigued to see that 23 Pioneer Regiment, Royal Logistic Corps had left their mark. I was honorary colonel of their TA sister regiment, 168 Pioneer Regiment, and know that the Pioneers, the Army's equivalent of Ground Force, can turn their hand to anything involving carpentry, bricklaying etc. Outside in a previously little used patio area they had put up a superb piece of decking well above the Alan Titchmarsh, Charlie Dimmock and Tommy Walsh standard.
Links with the Welsh Guards are very much two way and they have invited a number of the Company to fly out to join them on an exercise in Kenya later this year. A very popular and generous offer that was well oversubscribed.
As a Company we are very proud of our links with the regiment and are honoured to be of some support at a time when there is so much that needs to be done.