THE proud heritage of two Welsh infantry battalions has been recognised at a ceremony to mark a historic merger.

Lucknow Barracks in Tidworth saw hundreds of soldiers take part in the merger parade, which formally marked the coming together of 1st Battalion The Royal Welsh (formally Royal Welch Fusiliers) and 2nd Battalion The Royal Welsh (formally Royal Regiment of Wales).

Lance Corporal Taffy V, the regimental goat, was led by the Band and Bugles of The Rifles on to the parade square in front of more than 500 marching soldiers who were cheered on by friends, family and serving and former personnel.

The title for the merged unit is 1st Battalion The Royal Welsh and it will be an armoured infantry unit at the heart of the army’s reactive force, based at Lucknow Barracks, Tidworth.

The gathered crowd sang the Welsh national anthem, Land of my Fathers.

And in attendance were three Chelsea Pensioners, along with Brigadier David Bromhead whose ancestor, Lieutenant Gonville Bromhead was awarded the Victoria Cross at the battle of Rourke’s Drift in the Zulu War while serving with the 24th of Foot, later the South Wales Borderers.

Lt Col Shon Hackney, commanding officer 1R Welsh, who took command four days before the parade, said: “Today’s a very important day for our regiment and we begin writing a new chapter in our long history, which goes back 325 years, and the subsequent founding of the Royal Welch Fusiliers and the South Wales Borderers. Brig Philip Napier, Colonel of the regiment, took the salute.

He said: “We have a rich and well-regarded history which you can all be proud to continue through this parade today.”

Next year The Queen, who is Colonel-in-Chief of The Royal Welsh, will present new colours to the regiment.