Catterick Garrison soldiers praised on return from Balkans mission

Photo: CSgt Stu Coles / MOD Crown Copyright 2021.

A group of Catterick Garrison-based soldiers have been congratulated on their successful mission in the Western Balkans by their commanding officer.

Around 30 soldiers from the Royal Lancers, who were supported by elements of the Intelligence Corps, were praised upon their return to Catterick after six months in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Kosovo.

Major Andrew Horsfall, OC of D Squadron, said: “Throughout the tour, we had the challenge of Covid-19 and the restrictions that it posed. None of our people had any leave, which is pretty tough.”

The mission in Kosovo sees British troops providing support to NATO, while the earlier Bosnia-Herzegovina task involved working alongside nations contributing to the EU mission in the country.

Senior officers say the UK has been a key player in ensuring security and stability in the region since the 1990s and continues this role as part of a multinational coalition.

Major Horsfall said: “Working with international partners is clearly critical on a NATO mission. There were lots of different nationalities, so we integrated with them throughout. That wasn’t a problem.”

Photo: CSgt Stu Coles / MOD Crown Copyright 2021

NATO troops operate throughout Kosovo, with British personnel providing expertise in the fields of intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance.

The Royal Lancers, established in 2015, form part of the ‘eyes and ears’ of the modern British Army and are likely to be an important part of Future Soldier, the transformation of the service in the coming years.

Corporal Lewis Westerman, one of the mission’s tactical team leaders, said: “Reconnaissance is always going to be needed.

“We provide accurate and timely information. In Kosovo, we kept our finger on the pulse to identify any threats to the safe and secure environment.”

The role in the Western Balkans was previously filled by another of the Army’s armoured reconnaissance units, the famous Household Cavalry Regiment.