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Welsh Guards to be focus of new television programme

The Welsh Guards are celebrating their centenary this year and honouring the occasion; S4C will be following one of Britain’s most iconic regiments in a programme beginning this week.

S4C is a Welsh-language public-service television channel based in Cardiff and broadcast in Wales.

The Welsh Guards (Gwarchodlu Cymreig) are part of the Guards Division and one of the Foot Guards regiments of the British Army. They were founded on 26 February 1915 by Royal Warrant of His Majesty King George V.

Since the establishment of the regiment in 1915, the Welsh Guards have been involved in all wars and conflicts of significance including Northern Ireland, Bosnia, Afghanistan and Iraq.

In their distinctive red tunics and black bearskin hats, the Welsh Guards are well-recognised to everyone visiting Buckingham Palace or Horse Guards Parade in London.

Filming of the series occurred over 18 months. Beginning Tuesday and for the next six weeks, it will highlight some of the interesting members of the regiment.

Although many of the officers received their education at private schools such as Eton, there are young men who hail from the Welsh valleys and are part of the 1st Battalion Welsh Guards.

One such lad is 19-year-old Sion Prysor Williams, from a village near Caernarfon. Williams joined the regiment eight months ago. He follows in the footsteps of his ancestors who include bard and winner of National Eisteddfod Chair, Hedd Wyn.

Wynn, soldier with the Royal Welch Fusiliers, was killed in the First World War merely weeks before the announcement that he had won the 1917 National Eisteddfod chair.

“My great great grandmother on my father’s side was a first cousin to Hedd Wyn,” Williams stated.

“Many of the men in my family have joined the army and my uncle was in the Falklands War. It was natural therefore for me to join the Guards, and it was my father who encouraged me to do so,” he concluded.

In the first part of the series, viewers will see members of the regiment practising for ‘Trooping the Colour’ and meet some of the new recruits training at Catterick and Sandhurst.

Producer Steffan Morgan commented: “The series gives us unique behind-the-scenes insight into the lives of soldiers at work and at home with their families. We come to understand some of the challenges they face from day to day and the pride they feel serving in one of the most well-known regiments in Britain.”

“The Guards are of constitutional ceremonial and international importance as they are part of ‘Trooping the Colour’, and the ‘Changing of the Guard’ outside Buckingham Palace. The tourists flock to the Tower of London to see members of the Welsh Guards protecting the Crown Jewels – as well as greeting the Queen on special occasions such as her 80th birthday and the celebrations marking 60 years since her coronation in 2013,” noted Morgan.

Battalion Welsh Guards/Milwyr y Welsh Guards begins on S4C on Tuesday, 31 March at 9.30pm. Subtitles are available.

Featured photo credit: Ronnie MacDonald

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