The regimental flag of the Welsh Gunners was lowered for the last time at Albemarle Barracks, Harlow Hill, signalling the disbandment of the unit.
The gunners from 39 Regiment Royal Artillery were joined in the final parade by Her Majesty’s Deputy Lord-Lieutenant of Northumberland, Colonel John Anderson, the Master Gunner St James’ Park, General Sir Timothy Granville-Chapman and mayors and civic leaders from the North East.
More than 300 officers and soldiers from the regiment, which is known as the Welsh Gunners, were joined by their families and veterans for a parade and flag lowering ceremony at the barracks.
The regiment has strong ties to the community and councils in the region and bid an emotional public farewell when it exercised its Freedom of Hexham for the last time in October.
The final farewell and flag lowering was held in front of the soldiers, families and invited guests, who saw the Regiment inspected.
The regimental flag was lowered by Cpl Stephen Hudghton, from Portsmouth, marking the point at which the regimental title goes into suspended animation. He and Staff Sgt Colin Fotheringham folded the flag, which was handed to the Regimental Sergeant Major, Warrant Officer 1 (RSM) Eamonn Hall who paraded the flag through the ranks. He then presented it to the Regiment’s Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Colonel Richard Clements.
Following a blessing the flag was presented to the Regimental Colonel, Colonel Richard Collinge.
The Regiment has been based at Harlow Hill since 1995 and from 2006 until the end of last year had a permanent commitment to operations in Cyprus, Iraq and Afghanistan.
Now three Batteries, each of about 80 personnel have been re-subordinated to three different regiments. These soldiers will remain in Albemarle Barracks until their accommodation in Wiltshire is ready for them. They will be joined in late summer by soldiers from 3rd Regiment Royal Horse Artillery, who will return to the UK from Germany to make their home in Albemarle Barracks.
“It has been a fantastic day and a fitting way to celebrate the Regiment’s proud history, in particular the enormous continuous contribution to operations overseas over the last eight years,” said Lieutenant Colonel Clements.
“Although it has been immensely sad to see the 39th Regiment Royal Artillery flag lowered for the last time, the soldiers have already joined their new regiments, 1st Royal Horse Artillery, 19 Regiment Royal Artillery and 26 Regiment Royal Artillery.
“With the arrival of 3rd Royal Horse Artillery from Germany in the summer I am confident that the links with the local community and councils in the North East will grow and they will be afforded a similar welcome to the one we received 20 years ago.
“Finally, we would like to say thank you from all the ranks of 39 Regiment Royal Artillery to the community and civic representatives in the North East, particularly in Northumberland, Newcastle and Hexham, for the support we have received.”
For more information on 3rd Regiment Royal Horse Artillery log on to www.army.mod.uk/artillery/regiments/24665.aspx