The commemorations for the centenary of World War One will be continuing on Sunday 7th September as HRH The Duke of York will be in attendance at a memorial service at Montcel-Fretoy in France.
Prince Andrew will not be alone in his commemorations as he will be joined by 150 soldiers from the 9th/12th Royal Lancers who will also be paying their respects. Andrew is the Colonel in Chief of the Regiment and what makes the event even more poignant is that it will be held on the anniversary of the Great War’s final Lance-on-Lance cavalry battle.
For those who do not know about the Lance-on-Lance cavalry battle, it was fought on 7th September 1914 between the 9 Lancers and the Garde Dragoner and was one of the most intense battles of the entire conflict. The battle was fought solely on horseback and what makes it unique is that there were only four fatalities one of which was Lieutenant F de V Allfrey who was in charge of the machine gun. To recognise this intense and defining moment in the Regiments history, Fretoy Communal Cemetery will hold a short memorial service.
The memorial service isn’t the only event that the Duke of York will be attending whilst in Fretoy, he will also be presenting Operational Service Medals to a number of soldiers who have recently completed a tour of Afghanistan. What’s more is that the family and friends of the soldiers have been invited to share this special moment with them, as have some of the local people.
The Regiment as it is known today was formed after the amalgamation of two regiments on 11th September 1960, the 9th Queens Royal Lancers and the 12th Royal Lancers. Previous to the amalgamation, the two Regiments both served on the Western Front from 1914-1918 during the First World War and in the present day the Regiment celebrates Mons Moy Day every year, this celebration marks the last occasion on which both regiments charged with the lance and also gives the opportunity for the Regiment’s present soldiers to reunite with comrades from its past.
Since the amalgamation of the two Regiments they have served in Belize, Bosnia, Cyprus, Germany, Iraq, Kosovo and Northern Ireland to name just a few while their most recent deployment was to Afghanistan on Operation Herrick in 2013/2014.
The Duke of York’s commemorations on 7th September isn’t the first memorial event that he has attended this year. The entire Royal Family marked the centenary of the outbreak of the Great War on 4th August 2014 and the Duke of York attended a service at St Anne’s Cathedral in Belfast. Commemorations are expected to continue until 2018, which will mark the centenary of the end of the First World War.
photo credit: 4 Cdn Div/4 Div CA – JTFC/FOIC via photopin cc