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Welsh Guards brave the conditions to celebrate St David’s Day at Pirbright

3 minute read
Welsh Guards brave the conditions to celebrate St David’s Day at Pirbright

Published at 7:33pm 1st March 2018. (Updated at 7:35pm 1st March 2018)

With the snowy weather you may have forgotten that the first day of March is also St David's Day.

An important day for any Welshman, but none more so than for the 1st Battalion Welsh Guards who have been based at the Elizabeth Barracks of Pirbright Army Training Centre.

The 400 strong Battalion weren’t deterred by the conditions and marked the day with a special outdoor service in which the Guardsman were presented ceremonial leeks.

The annual St David’s Day celebrations were unlike their traditional formal parade at Elizabeth Barracks, but it wasn’t only the snow that made it different.

With the Battalion set for deployment in Afghanistan on Operation TORAL 6 in the coming months, they combined their St David’s Day celebrations with a pre-deployment service.

The celebrations took place in the form of a Drumhead Service held on the training area at Pirbright, which included readings and hymns led by the Battalion Padre, Reverend Catherine Gillham.

Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Colonel Dai Bevan presented the Guardsman with their ceremonial leeks, before a small reception in the field.

Welsh Guard

Lieutenant Colonel Dai Bevan explains what today celebrations mean: “St David’s Day for a Welsh Battalion is a really important day, but it’s got double the importance for us because we’re about to go to Kabul.

“This is the Battalion’s third tour to Afghanistan, but our first to Kabul so we wanted to mark both days at one go and what a beautiful day and amazing day to do it.

“Sadly we can’t be with our families today but I’m sure there are plenty of people toasting us and we will be toasting them today as we think about Wales and our home nation.”



Legend has it the tradition of giving leeks is said to have originated when King Cadwaladr ordered his soldiers to identify themselves by wearing the vegetable on their helmets during a fierce battle against the Saxons on a leek field.

The Regiment was formed in 1915 by Royal Warrant of King George V and order of Earl Kitchener the Secretary of State for War. Within a few months of its creation the new unit was not only on mounted guard duty at Buckingham Palace but also sailed for France to engage in the actions of the Great War.

Welsh Guard

Welsh Guard

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