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Camilla visits Bulford
THE Duchess of Cornwall visited 4 RIFLES at their barracks in Bulford today.
Camilla is Royal Colonel of the battalion and during her sixth visit to 4 RIFLES she watched training exercises, opened the new officers’ mess and met families.
Dressed in her Rifle Green coat, complete with regimental buttons and brooch, Camilla arrived at the training demonstration in a 15-tonne husky protected mobility vehicle, which ploughed through the mud.
The duchess was shown the latest personal equipment the battalion has for insurgent warfare, demonstrated by Corporal Steve Rendell. She was impressed by the new kit but aghast at the weight the soldiers have to carry.
The group then moved to the officers’ mess where, in a private ceremony, the duchess unveiled a plaque commemorating her visit and the opening of the mess.
Finally she visited the Hub, a mess for all ranks, where she met 50 mothers and children.
Camilla spent almost an hour talking to them about their experiences of army life.
New army wife, Lola Illes, 32, a primary school teacher from Fordingbridge who married Sergeant Samuel Illes at Salisbury Guildhall at Christmas, was excited to meet the duchess.
“She was just delightful,” she said. I was so excited at meeting her, she was so keen to meet us and know how we are doing, which is such a boost to our morale.”
“I have been used to Sam going away on training while we have been together, but I have never had him go away on an operational tour and although I am nervous about it, I am terribly proud of him at the same time.”
Commanding officer, Lieutenant Colonel Tom Bewick said: “The Duchess has been a huge supporter of the battalion over the last few years through thick and thin. She has shown such interest in what the guys do and what they go through.
“It is not just the soldiers, it is the families as well - the support that she gives the battalion is immense.”
4 RIFLES is a part of 1 Mechanised Brigade that will deploy to Afghanistan in late spring. The battalion is training hard for an expected deployment as the Afghan Army Mentoring Force.