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Last Updated: Friday, 25 February, 2005, 17:44 GMT
Battle lost for regiments' names
Royal Regiment of Wales parade
Soldiers of the Royal Regiment of Wales on parade in Basra
The battle to keep the historic names of two Welsh army regiments prominent when they are merged has been lost.

Army chiefs have rejected pleas to retain the titles Royal Welch Fusiliers and Royal Regiment of Wales before the new name.

Opponents described it as disappointing but said they had to accept the decision and move on.

The regiment will be called The Royal Welsh, followed by the old titles.

The Army Board's executive committee said on Friday it was satisfied that this was "the most appropriate solution", and that was accepted by Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon.

He fought for his country and died for it and now they've taken the name away
Barbara Edwards, mother of fusilier killed in action

The Ministry of Defence said the new regiment would "offer a strong brand image and an effective way of maintaining a distinct Welsh identity for the future within the British infantry".

The MoD added: "There is also a real enthusiasm within the Army for pressing forward with all the changes, rather than looking back."

Barbara Edwards with a photograph of her late son Wayne
Barbara Edwards says her son Wayne would have opposed the change
Opponents of the new name said they wanted the same treatment as Scotland. Such Scottish regiments as the Black Watch will keep their traditional names upfront when they are reorganised.

But Sir Geoffrey Inkin, a former commander of the Royal Welch Fusiliers, said he was sure The Royal Welsh would retain its predecessors' traditions and pride.

We accept it's a fine point to understand unless you have been part of that organisation
Sir Geoffrey Inkin
The campaign was backed by MPs, peers, veterans, and the public, and Sir Geoffrey thanked them all.

"The name upfront has in our opinion more emphasis as to the origins of that particular battalion," he told BBC Radio Wales.

"But we accept it's a fine point to understand unless you have been part of that organisation."

Barbara Edwards, whose Royal Welch Fusilier son Wayne, of Cefn Mawr near Wrexham, was the first British soldier killed in service in Bosnia in 1993, also supported the campaign.

Mrs Edwards said: "Wayne would have been upset, and I'm upset because he fought for his country and died for it, and now they've taken the name away.

"I'll be sorry to see it go and I'm disappointed, but what can we do?"

Campaign group The Friends of the Regiments said it was "a great disappointment," but had to accept the decision.

A spokesman said it was "time to move on" and to make it "the most successful regiment in the army."


SEE ALSO:
Mother's plea for Fusiliers' name
24 Feb 05 |  North East Wales


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