Page last updated at 07:49 GMT, Saturday, 10 April 2010 08:49 UK

Llangollen photo shoot for Royal Welsh regimental goat

Billy gets used to his fellow soldiers
Billy was picked from a herd on the Great Orme for a career as a soldier

A new regimental goat has been on parade in public, continuing a 200-year tradition for the 1st Battalion The Royal Welsh.

William Windsor, or Billy for short, was picked from a herd living on the Great Orme in Llandudno.

After his training at the regimental camp in Chester, starred in a Help the Heroes event in Llangollen on Saturday.

He was also posing for photos with people attending a cabaret and auction at the Wild Waters Hotel from 1830 BST.

Organiser Heather Davies said one family had promised to attend so the children of a soldier serving in Afghanistan could have their photo taken with Billy.

The tradition of a regimental goat dates back to the American War of Independence when a wild goat wandered onto a battlefield.

Legend has it the goat ended up leading the regimental colours.

In 1884 Queen Victoria presented the regiment, then called the Royal Welch Fusiliers, with a goat from her royal herd, and the tradition has continued.

The last regimental goat, William 'Billy' Windsor, retired last year after a seven-year military career.

His replacement - not a mascot but a full member of the regiment - has been put through his paces by the "goat major," a lance corporal who looks after him, at the Chester barracks, ahead of the regiment's return from Afghanistan in May.

'Heavy responsibilities'

The Help for Heroes event on Saturday was one of Billy's first public appearances.

Speaking before the event, Commanding Officer Major Brian Blore said: "He should behave - hopefully! He is quite good now. He has been marching around the camp, seeing the soldiers and getting used to the public."

Billy, who is to lead the drums around during regimental parades, had behaved well during the St David's Day celebrations and officers' dinner the night before, said Maj Blore.

Help for Heroes event organiser Heather Davies said: "This is a wonderful tradition going back many years and people will want to meet the new young goat who has had heavy responsibilities thrust upon him since he left the Great Orme."

The goat is a member of the battalion and in previous days when the battalion was traditionally 1,000 men strong, it was always 999 plus the goat.



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