You are if I may say so, an enormous credit to all of us but particularly to the people of Wales.

Coming now just before you go off on deployment to Afghanistan... I know you will be brilliant as usual in the way you operate in that part of the world.

Many of you have of course been before, many of you have been to Iraq before and the frequency with which you are required to deploy seems to be ever more increasing.

I can imagine with all the training you've done, and I've been hearing something about it, I know you'll be very much up to speed. My great disappointment is that I wasn't able to visit you on some of your pre-deployment training. I tried very hard but they kept changing the dates as you can imagine, so I was sorry to miss all that because apart from anything else I'd have been quite amused to see how you managed this simulation aspect of the training which seemed to go down rather well with the guardsmen. And having once been dragged by my own children on a paintball expedition, I have some vague idea of just slightly what it meant and how painful it can be. So I do hope that there was some realistic aspects to the training.

If I may say so again, I know I'm in the Sergeants' Mess, that so much depends on your leadership and motivational skills. We expect so much of people but it's so much down to all of you I know, in terms of the kind of difference you can make.

Having heard something from Commanding Officers of other regiments and indeed the Welsh Guards in the past of just what a fantastic difference you all make to your Sections, Platoons and Companies; I know so much depends on all of you and the quality of your leadership under very difficult, very challenging circumstances. I also can't imagine as some of you are getting older, how you manage to cart around so much kit as you do in the heat and with everything else.

You are if I may say so, an enormous credit to all of us but particularly to the people of Wales. And on a special occasion like this [Saint David’s Day] it is important to say “Pob lwc” (Stay safe in Welsh). And I do hope you all have great success with all your mentoring and all the other things you are going to do out there. You will make an enormous difference in terms of investment in the future and it's thanks to people like yourselves, I hope, that in time to come, the Afghan people will have cause to thank you and be grateful for your extraordinary contribution.

Thank you so much, good luck and do take care.