Gunners in Northumberland bid farewell to regiment

The Commanding Officer, 39 Regiment Royal Artillery, salutes the Inspecting Officer, Master Gunner St James' Park, General Sir Timothy Granville-Chapman.Picture by Sgt Si Longworth RLC (Phot)
The Commanding Officer, 39 Regiment Royal Artillery, salutes the Inspecting Officer, Master Gunner St James' Park, General Sir Timothy Granville-Chapman.Picture by Sgt Si Longworth RLC (Phot)

The regimental flag of the Welsh Gunners was lowered for the last time at Albemarle Barracks, in the west of Northumberland, this morning, signalling the disbandment of the unit.

The gunners from 39 Regiment Royal Artillery were joined in the 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 across the North East.

More than 300 officers and soldiers from the regiment, 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 Regiment has been based at Harlow Hill, to the south of Stamfordham, since 1995 and, from 2006 until the end of last year, had a permanent commitment to operations in Cyprus, Iraq and Afghanistan.

Now three Batteries, each of about 80 personnel, have been re-subordinated to three different regiments.

These soldiers will remain in Albemarle Barracks until their accommodation in Wiltshire is ready for them.

They will be joined in late summer by soldiers from 3rd Regiment Royal Horse Artillery, who will return to the UK from Germany to make their home in Albemarle Barracks.

Lieutenant Colonel Richard Clements, the Regiment’s Commanding Officer, said: “It has been a fantastic day and a fitting way to celebrate the Regiment’s proud history, in particular the enormous continuous contribution to operations overseas over the last eight years.

“Although it has been immensely sad to see the 39th Regiment Royal Artillery flag lowered for the last time, the soldiers have already joined their new regiments; 1st Royal Horse Artillery, 19 Regiment Royal Artillery and 26 Regiment Royal Artillery.

“With the arrival of 3rd Royal Horse Artillery from Germany in the summer, I am confident that the links with the local community and councils in the North East will grow and they will be afforded a similar welcome to the one we received 20 years ago.

“Finally, we would like to say thank you from all the ranks of 39 Regiment Royal Artillery to the community and civic representatives in the North East, particularly in Northumberland, Newcastle and Hexham, for the support we have received.”