Prince Charles

Prince Charles Visits Royal Dragoon Guards And US Spy Base During Yorkshire Visit

As Colonel-in-Chief of the regiment and patron of the Intelligence Agencies, HRH presented awards to soldiers and thanked workers.

Prince Charles has visited the Royal Dragoon Guards at Catterick Garrison in North Yorkshire.

The Prince of Wales visited the armoured cavalry regiment at Alma Lines in Munster Barracks in his role as Colonel-in-Chief of the regiment.

The visit comes as the unit moves south next month to Battlesbury Barracks in Warminster, Wiltshire, after 12 years in North Yorkshire.

During the visit His Royal Highness presented Major Charles Mackain-Bremner with his Long Service Good Conduct (LSGC) medal.

On receiving the medal, the major said: “Over the last 16 years I’ve had the privilege of serving alongside some extraordinary and brave people in some fascinating places. It has been a lot of fun.

“Receiving this medal today [12 October] from the Colonel-in-Chief of the Royal Dragoon Guards is a great honour and a chance to reflect on the highlights of my time in uniform.”

Corporals Charley-Ann Acaster and Harriet Ashcroft were presented with their Regimental Forage Caps on transfer from the Royal Army Medical Corps (RAMC).

Cpl Acaster will be one of the regiment’s first female junior non-commissioned officers (JNCOs).

“Since being attached to the regiment I have been welcomed into the Royal Dragoon Guards family,” she said.

“For me transferring opens a fantastic and challenging new career opportunity, especially with the upcoming operational deployments and re-role to the new AJAX platform.”

AJAX is the Army’s new multi-role, fully-digitised armoured fighting vehicle.

Soldiers from Royal Dragoon Guards prepare for the visit from their Colonel-in-Chief, HRH Prince Charles at Catterick Garrison in North Yorkshire (Picture: British Army).

She added: “It means a lot to have my regimental forage cap presented to me by the Colonel-in-Chief.”

Lance Corporal Peter Askew received a Regimental Commendation.

Troopers Elliot Clemson and Raviit Singh accepted their Lance Corporal rank slides on promotion.

Lieutenant Colonel Dom Davey, Commanding Officer of the RDG, said: “We are extremely honoured that our Colonel-in-Chief has the opportunity to meet with some of his Dragoons, particularly during this challenging time for us all.

“As a family regiment we have rallied round and supported each other as we prepare for our move.

“We are sad to leave, but our new home holds so many special opportunities with the impending arrival of AJAX.

“As Yorkshire and Ireland’s Cavalry, the Royal Dragoon Guards will never truly leave North Yorkshire.”

During his day trip to North Yorkshire, Prince Charles also visited the top-secret US spy base RAF Menwith Hill, near Harrogate.

The base is largely used by personnel from the US National Security Agency (NSA), as well as staff from the UK’s Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ).

As patron of the Intelligence Agencies, the Prince addressed staff and met workers to recognise the importance of what they do.

He also toured the operations centre and was briefed on the station’s history, mission and partnerships.

RAF Menwith Hill randomes with buildings in foreground
RAF Menwith Hill randomes with buildings in foreground (Picture: PA).

Squadron Leader Geoff Dickson, Commanding Officer at RAF Menwith Hill, said after the visit: “The delight on the faces of our employees reflects the honour we all feel in seeing His Royal Highness come to RAF Menwith Hill to see first-hand the work that we do, particularly in the year in which we are commemorating 60 years of operations.”

RAF Menwith Hill is known for its giant radomes, large white weatherproof globe structures, which are nicknamed the golf balls because of their white, dimpled appearance, and which were designed to shield and protect radar equipment.

The site was established in 1954 to act as a “communication intercept and intelligence support service” for both the UK and the US.

Owned by the Ministry of Defence, the land is made available to the US Department of Defense under the NATO Status of Forces Agreement 1951.

The base’s operations and location have frequently attracted controversy, with protesters objecting to the nature of its work and the presence of international military personnel.

HRH also explored the Serenity Park community space, which was built to commemorate the 60th anniversary of operations at the site in September.

Cover image: British Army.