As your proud Royal Colonel, it is a huge pleasure to be back in Aldershot today to present the richly deserved medals to those Riflemen who have waited so patiently for them. It has also given me an excellent excuse to return to these barracks to visit you and your families once again.
After nearly two years in your Specialised Infantry role, I am reliably informed that you have seized the many opportunities it has offered you. Your teams have been sent to work all over the world making each new deployment a different challenge. Often in arduous terrain and unfamiliar climates, your ability to adapt quickly to cultural and physical demands are an enormous credit to this formidable Battalion.
As Specialised Infantry, your small numbers while deployed overseas are quite disproportionate to your vital contribution to this country. And, if I may say so, the skills required in this new pioneering role were foreseen in your cherished Regimental tradition of ‘the thinking Rifleman’…
And yet, as you perfect this new specialised role in the British Army, you somehow find time to excel with the Regimental Shooting Team. You are even threatening to overturn the supremacy of the Royal Gurkha Rifles. I’m sure that you need little encouragement from me to beat them this year, but I wonder if it might add an edge to the competition to mention that their Colonel-in-Chief happens to be my husband…!
I cannot end without praising the steadfast support of your families, who as always, keep the home fires burning whilst sharing the stresses and strains of these testing times. They play a vital part in the life of the Regiment and I thank them for their contribution to the success of 4 RIFLES as it has adapted so brilliantly into its new role. I look forward to returning again soon, but please be assured that I will be following your progress with great pride and interest. And as your Royal Colonel, I salute you all.