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Royal Anglian troops honoured at Minden Day medal parade



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A Bury St Edmunds soldier and others from the area were among troops of the 1st Battalion The Royal Anglian Regiment who received operational medals today from their Colonel-in-Chief, His Royal Highness The Duke of Gloucester.

Private Robert Dixey, 25, from Moreton Hall, who has served four-and-a-half years in the battalion, was part of the parade and ceremony marking the end of two highly successful tours in Afghanistan and South Sudan, at the Royal Artillery Barracks, in Woolwich.

Private Dixey, who was on Operation Toral in Afghanistan, said: "This was my first full operation and it was a good feeling to finally put into play our training we have been doing.

The 1st Battalion The Royal Anglian Regiment's Colonel-in-Chief, His Royal Highness The Duke of Gloucester giving operational medals to the troops
The 1st Battalion The Royal Anglian Regiment's Colonel-in-Chief, His Royal Highness The Duke of Gloucester giving operational medals to the troops

"It was also honestly a great honour to be given my medal by The Duke of Gloucester, it was the first time I have met a royal and a great honour to receive our operational medals from someone so high up."

The operation, which saw 280 soldiers deployed, was the British contribution to NATO’s Resolute Support mission in Afghanistan from September 2018 to April this year.

Their role involved training, advising and assisting the Afghan National Defence and security forces to improve their capacity and capability.

Private Robert Dixey, of 1st Battalion The Royal Anglian Regiment
Private Robert Dixey, of 1st Battalion The Royal Anglian Regiment

Also forming part of the Kabul Security Force (KSF) providing force protection and secure transport for UK and coalition mentors - a role often referred to as a ‘guardian angel.’

Major Nick McGinley (OC C (Essex) Company), said of his soldiers: “Providing force protection to NATO advisors within the centre of Kabul which included the Presidential Palace, Afghan ministries and embassies was a high-profile task.

"During the deployment, the men of C Company have delivered over 2000 missions; we feel justifiably proud of our role and the soldiers’ professionalism.”

The 1st Battalion The Royal Anglian Regiment at the parade in Woolwich
The 1st Battalion The Royal Anglian Regiment at the parade in Woolwich

The day also honoured 80 soldiers from the Battalion, nicknamed The Vikings, who were deployed alongside 39 Engineer Regiment on a United Nations peacekeeping mission to South Sudan, known as Operation Trenton.

Based in Malakal and Bentiu, from February to July this year, The Vikings’ primary tasks was base security and force protection for engineers as they completed a wide range of construction projects, including building a hospital and new roads.

The medal parade came on the day the regiment gathered to mark the 260th anniversary of the Battle of Minden. The 1759 battle saw six regiments including The Vikings’ predecessors, the 12th Foot, defeat the French cavalry.

For the 1st Battalion The Royal Anglian Regiment, this is amongst its proudest battles and is the origin of their red and yellow tactical recognition flash.

The battle is also referred to as the Battle of the Roses because the soldiers pulled roses from the hedgerows and placed them in their headdress as they advanced towards the enemy.

In honour of their forefathers, the modern-day Vikings wear red and yellow roses in their headdress every year on August 1.

The Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Colonel Phillip Moxey MBE said: “The Battle of Minden isn’t just some historic curiosity, rather it is remembered and celebrated by the battalion as the epitome of courageous, stoic and steadfast sacrifice by regular soldiers drawn from the same counties as we are today.

"But this year’s 260th anniversary is particularly special as it offers us not just the chance to reflect on those famous actions but also as the opportunity to recognise the service and commitment of the modern day infantryman – still serving all over the world, with such commitment and professionalism.”

After the parade, the Duke of Gloucester will met members of the battalion and their families.