Experts in close combat, our soldiers are brave, decisive and equipped with highly mobile Foxhound and Jackal vehicles and the full suite of infantry weapons. Able to deploy rapidly to operate in any conflict, combining manoeuvre and firepower to gain battle-winning advantage. Ready for anything, anytime, anywhere.
At home here in Yorkshire, 1 YORKS are exchanging their 20 years’ of experience as Armoured Infantry, for their ‘Future Soldier’ Light-Mechanised Role. With an interesting and varied operational training programme to look forward to over the next 5 years, 1 YORKS will be ‘at home’ in Catterick, but also have a 2-year tour in Cyprus to look forward to in 2029.
1 YORKS on Operations – Currently 1 YORKS are buidling towrds a major operational deployment to Iraq and more than one hundred 1 YORKS soldiers are held at high readiness as the UK’s Standby Battalion, ready and prepared to meet any eventuality, including driving ambualnces and fire engines.
The 1st Battalion, it’s fair to say, is absolutely thriving in early 2023. Having firmly embraced our role within the 7th Light Mechanised Brigade Combat Team, we have made great strides with our conversion in recent months. Joining the Desert Rats on Ex CERBURUS in October 2022, the Army’s most significant exercise in over a decade, the 1 YORKS BGHQ was at the heart of demonstrating the utility of Light Mechanised Infantry within the Army’s warfighting division.
And with an operational deployment to Iraq fast approaching, a further deployment to Kosovo on the horizon for this year and next, and a Battlegroup validation on Ex WESSEX STORM in 2024, there is a palpable buzz and excitement amongst the Bn. Having relinquished our Armoured Infantry role after more than 20 years, 1 YORKS is set to be part of NATO’s Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF) in the relatively near future. Given the turbulence of events in eastern Europe, there are few, if any, more relevant roles in the Field Army right now.
The operational focus and energy of coming to grips with a new role have been galvanising and have generated a discernibly strong reputation for professional excellence. Alma Coy and the Recce Pl provided a fearsome opposition for 1 RIFLES in Kenya last November. The performance of Burma and Corunna companies on their mission-ready training for Op SHADER in Iraq was lauded as class-leading by the team from the Mission Ready Training Centre, who praised the learning culture within the Battalion and exemplary professionalism at every level. And the Mortar Pl have undertaken some excellent joint live-fires training, integrated brilliantly alongside the 105mm light guns from our fellow Desert Rats in 4th Regiment Royal Artillery. Equally, we have seen some outstanding performances by 1 YORKS NCOs on career courses at the Infantry Battle School and the Combined Arms Manoeuvre School, on Ranger Regiment assessment cadres and on selection courses for RMAS CSgt instructors.
Against a frenetic tempo and mosaic of commitments, it is remarkable that the Battalion’s sporting reputation is equally strong across an impressive array of disciplines. The Rugby team continue their defence of the Army Premiership; the nascent boxing team has been extraordinarily successful, and at the time of writing looks forward to facing 2 PARA in the Army Semi-Finals; the Alpine Ski team progressed to the Army championships and saw 2Lt Sutherland place 2nd overall; and the Battalion’s Cross-Country team is heading the UK North League.
As ever, the approaching summer churn means there are many farewells to be said, and sadly too many to mention in detail here. I must, however, make particular mention of WO1 (RSM) Barnes, who hands over to WO1 Senior after a fantastic tenure as RSM; having commissioned, he will move to 2 YORKS to become the MTO, after a short interlude where he will row the Pacific Ocean with a team of Yorkshire Regiment officers – I commend their excellent article in this journal, and encourage you to support their charitable causes. I too will say farewell to the Battalion in the coming months. It has been the utmost honour to lead the 1st Battalion over the past two and a half years; to all the officers and soldiers, I extend my deepest thanks – I am humbled by your commitment and dedication. Finally, to my successor, Lt Col Ed Lyons, I wish every success; I could not hope to leave the Battalion in better hands.
Take a look at what life is like in 1 RYORKS Light-Mechanised Infantry