28th April 2020 marked the 81st anniversary of the Royal Gibraltar Regiment.
The Regimental flag was flown at No 6 Convent Place to mark the 81st Anniversary of the Regiment being raised. At Devil’s Tower Camp, a birthday parade was enacted, led by Lieutenant Colonel Simon Dyson and the Regimental Sergeant Major Patrick Canepa, for those troops available.
Troops from the Regiment gathered together in the Cookhouse to enjoy coffee and birthday cake, while socially distancing. The attendees were treated to following historical readings of the raising of the Regiment on 28 April 1939, read by Second Lieutenants Thomas and Walsh.
In early 1938, the Governor-General of Gibraltar was in touch with the War Office regarding the possibility of training Gibraltarians for war-time duties. The initial plan was to form a uniformed labour force – but this did not materialise. The idea subsequently evolved into a peace-time training scheme for men who could easily join the ranks of the Royal Artillery in an emergency.
In April 1939 the first notices appeared, asking for volunteers for a Gibraltar Defence Force Anti-Aircraft section. The notices stated that this section would, if the need arose, be mobilised and form part of the Rock’s defences. The notices requested that volunteers report to the Fortress HQ, then at the site of the present Duke of Kent House. 50 men were selected from over 500 volunteers and those chosen few paraded for the first time on 28th April 1939. This parade continues to this day as the Regiment’s Regimental Day.
Commanding Officer of the Royal Gibraltar Regiment, Lieutenant Colonel Simon Dyson said: “As today we celebrate our 81st Regimental Day, I want you all to be proud also of your service. I am proud of you. Gibraltar is proud of you. As we face and go through our current crisis, you have all stepped forward as Gibraltar has required it. And I know a long road is ahead of us but I know I can rely on us all to step forward again, as and when required. I wish you all a happy 81st Regimental Day.”
In order to thank other officials in Gibraltar, His Excellency the Governor, Chief Minister and Commander British Forces Gibraltar all received a Regimental Birthday Cake, delivered by the Port Sergeant Colour Sergeant Lee Turner.
Two new young officers have been welcomed into the Royal Gibraltar Regiment. Second Lieutenant Rhodri Thomas and Second Lieutenant Joel Walsh arrived on the Rock to take up Platoon Commander appointments within I Company in April 2020.
Second Lieutenant Thomas attended King’s College British School, Madrid to complete IGCSEs and A-Levels before joining the University of Birmingham in England to study biochemistry for three years. He began his training at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst in January 2019 and commissioned in December 2019.
Second Lieutenant Walsh attended Swavesey College, Cambridgeshire to complete GCSEs and A-Levels, before he read Ancient History at Reading University. Having attained his degree he joined the Army as an Environmental Health Technician in the Royal Army Medical Corps, before being selected to attend officer training at Sandhurst. He commissioned in April 2020.