The Balkans, Africa, The Falkland Islands and Military Aid to the Civil Authority



The 1st Battalion in Canterbury

The 1st Battalion The Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment initially served in Colchester as part of 19 Infantry Brigade. Both regular battalions served within 5 Airborne Brigade whilst based in Canterbury and then in 1 Mechanised Brigade in Tidworth. The 1st Battalion spent the longest period within 5 Airborne Brigade, during the foundation of the Joint Rapid Deployment Force. During this period, the Battalion almost deployed to Albania to rescue British nationals, and partially deployed to the Congo prepared to rescue a similar group of nationals from the country of Zaire. The period in Canterbury was made even more unusual, as a formed company of Gurkhas was attached to the 1st Battalion from the end of 1996 for a duration of three years. Its commitments included two tours of the Falkland Islands.

The 1st Battalion - Operation AGRICOLA and FRESCO

As The 1st Battalion moved to Tidworth and 1 Mechanised Brigade in 1999, they converted to the Armoured Infantry role, equipped with the Warrior armoured vehicle. Their operational commitments shifted to the Balkans and Operation AGRICOLA. Three deployments took place to Kosovo; liaison officer groups with the initial deployment of 16 Air Assault Brigade in 1999, followed by battalion tours in 2000/01 and 2002, the latter including individuals deploying to Macedonia. The middle deployment included very high profile public order operations in Mitrovica. The gap in between the last two tours was filled by the battalion’s assistance to the Foot and Mouth crisis in the UK. Both regular battalions had further ‘action’ in the UK in 2003 when they participated in Operation FRESCO – providing Firefighting and Emergency rescue teams to cover national strikes.

The 2nd Battalion - UNAMIR and UNPROFOR

The 2nd Battalion obtained immediate experience in transition to amalgamation; as Sevastopol Company trained in the Falkland Islands in the period July to November 1992. Very quickly, operational experience with 5 Airborne Brigade was gained, as one company deployed to Rwanda in August 1994 as part of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Rwanda (UNAMIR). The British contingent’s mission was to help the humanitarian effort in Rwanda in the aftermath of the civil war there. The company provided the Brigade logistic troops with close protection. The tasks included convoy protection, delivering stores to other contingents, collecting refugees and returning them to their homes and delivering aid. In the previous February, thirty-five soldiers and one officer deployed to support 2nd Battalion The Royal Anglian Regiment in Bosnia. The platoon became armoured infantry (equipped with the Warrior armoured vehicle) and were responsible for escorting humanitarian aid and patrolling the buffer zones between the Serbs and Croats. This was part of the United Nations Protection Force (UNPROFOR). Individuals also deployed to Sierra Leone.

As The 2nd Battalion shuffled its barrack locations between Northern Ireland, Tidworth and Aldershot, in 2000/01 it deployed to Bosnia and Herzegovina as part of Multinational Division South West, within the NATO Stabilisation Force (SFOR). This was a challenging Peace Support Operation, which included deterring violence by the different factions involved; reassurance and monitoring patrols, dealing with displaced people; liaison with many international organisations and assisting in reconstruction projects. The battalion was very successful in recovering vast amounts of illegal arms and ammunition and also conducted a legal bank raid, supporting the authorities to recover funds and investigate corruption. One company was also deployed to Kosovo in 2007/08.

The two TA battalions (5 PWRR and 6/7 PWRR), then 3 PWRR, and B (Queen's) Company of The London Regiment sent a number of their soldiers on these operational tours with the regular battalions and other infantry units.