Queen’s Dragoon Guards families looking forward to Swanton Morley move
PUBLISHED: 12:04 02 June 2015 | UPDATED: 10:12 09 March 2017
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While there are not many valleys in mid Norfolk for many in the 1st Queen’s Dragoon Guards the return to the UK will feel like coming home.
Welcome to Swanton Morley
Swanton Morley parish chairman Roger Atterwill said he was looking forward to the regiment settling in to the community.
He said: “In December last year I was lucky enough to spend three days in Germany visiting the 1st Queens Dragoon Guards in their current
“It was a great opportunity to make new friends, open some important lines of communication and give a presentation to servicemen and their families about Swanton Morley and the wider Norfolk area.
“I am pleased that their new welfare officer, Captain Rob Mansel, who I
met in Germany has now moved here with his family. Together with
Simon John from the Army Welfare Service we met recently to discuss ways of cementing community ties between the regiment and the village.
“I have a sense that the new regiment is very keen to integrate with the
local community and in particular
help with youth and sport activities. “They have a really good sense
of humour which I think will fit in very well here in rural Norfolk. There has already been some
friendly ‘banter’ about the England
and Wales rugby teams and at our
recent annual parish meeting
Simon suggested that St Michael’s church at Robertson Barracks should really now be
renamed as St David’s church.
Having paused to take on board
this request our vicar saw the funny side.
“We are really looking forward
to welcoming everyone connected
with the regiment.
“Our village is about to undergo a great deal of change during the crossover period between the Light Dragoons leaving and the Queens Dragoon Guards moving in but I am confident that our community is ready to meet this challenge.”
The regiment, which recruits from Wales and its border counties, is moving to Swanton Morley after 12 years in Germany.
But for many Paderborn, where they are currently based, is where they have got married, raised their children and been part of the community.
They have joined sports teams, taken part in charity challenges and been a regular part of life in the area.
Some have met and married local women and will be taking their young families to live in the UK for the first time.
As reported in last week’s Times the QDG bid farewell to Germany with a parade in front of civic and military dignitaries.
Warrant Officer Class 1 Russell Gallacher, the regimental sergeant major, said the move would be exciting for the regiment.
He said: “They are a friendly bunch who will fit well in to the community and I am sure we will do very well in Norfolk.
“The guys are good characters, have a good sense of humour and are well behaved.
“I have got a lot of friends in the Light Dragoons and I think we have got to get the crowbars out and push them out of the door because they don’t want to leave.
“From what I have heard it is a very good place to be.”
The regiment are looking forward to making themselves part of the community and picking up where the Light Dragoons left off.
Soldiers of the QDG, who are keen on rugby among other sports, are likely to become familiar to many of those in local sports teams and community groups.
Sgt Thomas Hamilton, 28, will be returning to the UK with a young family in tow. His wife Laura, 27, grew up in Paderborn and when she moves to Norfolk it will be her first time living outside of Germany. They have a daughter, Mathilda, four, and a son William, one and a half.
He said: “It is both sad and good to move.
“It is a bit complicated because my wife is studying here to be a teacher so we are going to have to spend a little while apart while she finishes that.
“I have had a little look at Norfolk, I have never lived in England either.”
Mrs Hamilton is set to continue her teacher training in Germany before joining her husband at Swanton Morley.
Sgt Gareth Roberts, 27, from Newport, will be moving with his wife Calais and his two children Kieran, 11, and Kayden, four.
He said: “I am looking forward to Norfolk and going to the Broads and places like that.
“It looks like a really good place.
“I have never been based in the UK so it will be different.
“I have an 11-year-old son so I am looking forward to taking him to London to see the Natural History Museum and places like that.
“It has been really nice being based here. It is like a little British community and has been a nice place to live.
“I have been to see Swanton Morley and the barracks and we are really luck to be going there.”
Cpl Joel Edwards, 23, said: “It has been good, something different and a good experience overall.
“I am looking forward to getting back closer to home.
“For the most part I think people are looking forward to getting back to the UK.
“My girlfriend lives in Suffolk so I have been there a bit and it will make things easier.”
Trooper Robert Crowther, 28, from Pwllheli, Wales, will be moving to Norfolk with wife Marcie and daughters Ruby-Lee, 4, and Daisy-May, 2. He said: “There are mixed emotions.
“I have kids, the eldest is at school so there is disruption, my wife herself has loved it out here but I am going back home where I belong in a way and our families are there.
“I have some friends in the Light Dragoons so I have had some information about it and from what I have heard it is a really nice place to live.
“A bit like being back in Wales.”
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