Unit History: Royal Regiment of Wales
The Royal Regiment of Wales (24th/41st Foot) was an infantry regiment of the British Army, part of the Prince of Wales’ Division. It was formed in 1969 by the amalgamation of two other regiments:
* The South Wales Borderers
* The Welsh Regiment
With the Royal Welch Fusiliers, the Royal Regiment of Wales was one of two British regiments to have a goat as its mascot. The regiment’s goats were always named Taffy plus a Roman numeral to show the succession, and are traditionally selected from the royal herd kept at Whipsnade Zoo, an outstation of the London Zoo. It’s fitting that the two regiments with goat-mascots have now combined as one. The soldier in charge of the mascot is styled as the "Goat Major", who, unlike what the rank suggests, is a corporal.
Prince Charles was appointed Colonel-in-Chief of the new regiment in early 1969, his first Army appointment. The amalgamation parade of the two regiments took place in Cardiff Castle in early 1969, in front of Prince Charles. The point of formation of the new regiment is taken as the point at which Prince Charles placed the new Royal Regiment of Wales green goat-coat upon Taffy the goat-mascot, replacing the Welch Regiment’s red one. The goat-coat had been worked by the Royal College of Needlework. Postcards of Prince Charles in the new regiment’s uniform taken at the occasion are still on sale in Cardiff in 2006.
It is said that the then Regimental Sergeant Major, WO1 Gordon Amphlett - later Colonel Gordon Amphlett MBE MVO - was awarded his subsequent MVO decoration - a personal royal honour -for the effectiveness and good humour in teaching the young prince to salute and for his preparedness and poise for the parade.
Later in the year the Prince went to Caernarfon, North Wales, where his mother created him Prince of Wales. Charles wore the uniform of Colonel-in-Chief of the Royal Regiment of Wales for the ceremony. The newly-formed regiment lined the route on the day at Caernarfon.
Assistant military equerries to Prince Charles were regularly drawn from the regiment, notably Lt Christopher Elliott in 1970-2. Lt Elliott went on to a distinguished military career, one-time youngest commanding officer as a Lt Col in the Army, retiring as major-general and Colonel of the Regiment.
In 1996, the 1st Battalion, the regiment became the first line infantry battalion to be posted as a regular public duties unit to London. Amongst its other duties, it provided the Queen’s Guard at Buckingham Palace. The Welch Regiment in early 1969 pre-amalgamation, under its Commanding Officer Lt-Col Lionel Harrod - a former Guards officer - had spent six weeks on the same public duties in London, providing the guards at Buckingham Palace, St James’ Palace and the now defunct duty at the Bank of England.
In 2004 it was announced that, as part of the reorganisation of the infantry, the Royal Regiment of Wales would be amalgamated with the Royal Welch Fusiliers to form The Royal Welsh. This occurred on the 1st March 2006- St David’s Day, the national day of Wales.