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Prince Harry pays Lancaster ‘Lions’ visit in Estonia

LANCASHIRE soldiers were treated to a visit by Prince Harry during an exercise in Estonia. The Prince  joined troops to witness the exchange of a Bond of Friendship between UK and Estonian soldiers

LANCASHIRE soldiers were treated to a visit by Prince Harry during an exercise in Estonia. The Prince joined troops to witness the exchange of a Bond of Friendship between UK and Estonian soldiers

Soldiers were treated to a visit from Prince Harry during an exercise in Estonia.

The Prince witnessed the exchange of a Bond of Friendship between UK and Estonian soldiers.

The ceremony took place last weekend during Exercise Spring Storm in the Varu region of Estonia.

Ninety soldiers from the 1st Battalion The Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment are deployed to the Baltic region, taking part in a multi-national exercise that includes representation from Latvia, Lithuania and the US. Close links have been formed between both 1 Lancs and the Scouts Battalion of the Estonian Army since they served together in Afghanistan at various times from 2008 to 2013.

The ties go back to 2005 when Army Reservists from 4 Lancs attended the same exercise.

In their most recent operational tour together, the Estonians came under the command of the Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment.

The combined task force quickly became known as the “Lions of Helmand”, due to both units displaying a lion on their uniforms.

The Bond of Friendship is an extension of the extremely close ties that have been forged between the two.

Brigadier Peter Rafferty, the regimental colonel of the Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment, said: “This bond of friendship signifies the enduring relationship that we have made with the Scouts Battalion over the last nine years.

“The Scouts share many of the values of The Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment.

“Their soldiers are tough, courageous and disciplined, and they rise to whatever challenges they are faced with.

“I look forward to the regiment continuing to work alongside them in the future and strengthening the special bond we have forged with them on the training area and on the battlefield.”

The Scouts Battalion is the Estonian Army’s only regular infantry unit.

The current exercise completes a year’s training for Estonia’s latest conscript soldiers.

Soldiers from The Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment, based in Catterick, are acting as enemy forces for the conscripts’ exercise.

The soldiers have already spent two weeks in Estonia after arriving in an RAF C-17 aircraft earlier this month, accompanied by the Secretary of State for Defence, Philip Hammond.

The Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment recruits from across the Duchy of Lancaster – from Cumbria, to Lancashire, Greater Manchester and Merseyside.

 

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