Soldiers from Queen's Division, one of the newly reorganised Infantry Divisions of the British Army, are working together for the first time on exercise in Otterburn, Northumberland.
The infantry has been reorganised from five divisions down to four and the traditional grouping of battalions based on geography has been changed to make sure each division contains a range of skills.
When Defence Secretary Ben Wallace announced the restructure to the Commons in 2021, he said "these divisions are designed to reflect historic ties, while also balancing their number of battalions and unit roles, offering greater flexibility and opportunity for soldiers of all ranks".
Lieutenant General Douglas Chalmers is Colonel Commandant of the historically southern Queen's division, which used to be made up of units associated with the southeast of England.
However, following the reorganisation, there is a new northern contingent within the division, which marks a significant shift in how the Army has traditionally grouped its battalions together.
Lt Gen Chalmers told Forces News: "We've got a couple of southern regiments, the Royal Anglians and PWRR (Princess of Wales' Royal Regiment) being the classic, we've got two northern regiments, the Mercians, the Lancs, and the Fusiliers, of course, really strand from both the north/Northumberland, all the way down to the south.
"The connections are actually very strong. We're all English and we're all pretty much based within England – unless, of course, the cycle to Cyprus and the Royal Gibraltar Regiment itself."
Queen's Div is now made up of seven cap badges - 14 battalions both regular and reserve - as listed below:
- The Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment (1, 3 and 4 PWRR)
- The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment (1 and 4 Lancs)
- The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers (1 and 5 Fusiliers)
- The Royal Anglian Regiment (1, 2 and 3 R Anglian)
- The Mercian Regiment (1 and 4 Mercian)
- 3rd Battalion Ranger Regiment (formed from 2 Lancs)
- The Royal Gibraltar Regiment
There is also an affiliation with 2nd Battalion Ranger Regiment (formed from 2 PWRR).
For the soldiers on exercise though, it has felt like business as usual, as Private Declan Gilligan, 1 MERCIAN, explained: "You're seeing different faces, different cap badges, so that's definitely a lot different, really, but back in battalion there's not really much of a noticeable difference."
After three weeks in the field in Northumberland, the soldiers are all working together, setting the tone for the future of the newly reorganised divisions of the infantry.