In September, Builders Merchants’ line up for action at the annual Skills at Arms day in Canterbury with the 3rd Battalion The Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment (PWRR). Attending was the Master Gill Moore with her Consort Liveryman Dave Moore, Past Master Ken Pepperrell, Past Master John Poore with his wife Linda Poore, and Liveryman Chris Hayward.

We also have a full update from Colonel John Baynham on the activities of the Regiment in 2014. The soldiers had a busy year! Read the full article below:

The last year has been like no other for the 3rd Battalion!  With our soldiers having returned from operations with the UN in Nicosia and the dusty plains of Kenya, we regrouped for what was to come.  In June we exercised our Freedom of Guildford and marched along the High Street with drums beating, bayonets fixed, and Colours flying.  On 04th August I was very fortunate to command the tri-Service ‘Step Short’ parade in Folkestone to commemorate the start of 100th anniversary of the start of the First World War to the very day.  Prince Harry was the inspecting officer, he was inspirational and a lot of fun to host as we met many of those on parade from Normandy Veterans, through serving soldiers, sailors and airmen – to the youngest of cadets.     

As outlined in the October edition of ‘The Builders’ Merchant’, the Battalion had the great honour and privilege of hosting a distinguished group led by the Master John Poore when they visited our exercise LION STAR in Cyprus.  An excellent and mutually beneficial visit with the Master and Liverymen learning much of what we do and our officers and soldiers learning much about the great support and contribution offered by the Company.  A ground breaking exercise in arduous terrain; the soldier s were pushed beyond what they expected was achievable and many learned a great deal about themselves.  In October we also had the opportunity to provide an information day for the Company, but also the Worshipful Companies of Cutlers, Paviors, Needlemakers and the Knightly Order Valiant of St George.  Watching the various teams different approach to cooking and eating Army rations was a real pleasure!  Whilst not the 100m gallery ranges in Hythe, the 25m range served its purpose allowing the opportunity to fire the Glock pistol in addition to the standard assault rifle.  The teams also took part in a first aid scenario, an escape and evasion stand, an observation stand and all washed down with a reception and hearty curry in the Officers’ Mess.

In November we laid wreaths at over 40 Remembrance Services across the south east including the Cenotaph and Canterbury Cathedral.  In December we had over 200 members of the Battalion conducting operations in an urban area in a purpose built village on Salisbury Plain, where we hosted Julian Brazier MP, Minister for Reserves.  We also invited the family of the late Sgt Maj Marsh to a Memorial Service who we lost to cancer in May.  The weekend was rounded off with a fantastic Christmas lunch in a barn, the chefs were incredible.  Our Battalion ski team has just competed in the Infantry Alpine ski championships in Val D’Isere where they performed well and our Training Major became the Infantry Alpine Champion.  We were again fortunate to have the presence of the Master Gill Moore and Dave at our Battalion Service in Canterbury Cathedral in December, a wonderful event supported by our Band and a local school choir.

The next year is shaping up to be equally busy, we will exercise in the Pyrenees with the Spanish Army in June, as well as taking a significant part in the Armed Forces Day National Event in Guildford.  We sincerely thank the Company for all you do for us and we continue to enjoy our affiliation, but more so our friendship, which I feel has developed exceptionally well over recent years and is greatly appreciated.  

We wish the Master and Worshipful Company of Builders’ Merchants all the very best for 2015 and beyond.