Service planned at Richmond Castle as 2 YORKS prepare for Afghan deployment

Soldiers march into Richmond from the last Drumhead Service in 2017.

Officers and soldiers of the 2nd Battalion, The Yorkshire Regiment (2 YORKS) will conduct a traditional military Drumhead Service at Richmond Castle later this month ahead of deployment to Afghanistan.

For the 2nd Battalion this will be a second return to operations in Afghanistan in as many years.

This will be their first experience of operations for many soldiers however and the Army says the preparations and training leading up to deployment have been intensive.

Sixteen of British Army Reserve soldiers from the Yorkshire and Teesside-based 4th Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment have also been mobilised and will deploy on operations with 2 YORKS.

Warrant Officer Matty Cockburn MC, a veteran of previous tours in Afghanistan, is the Regimental Sergeant Major (RSM) for 2 YORKS and organiser of the Drumhead Service at Richmond Castle.

He said: “This is a proud day for the battalion and especially for the young infanteers starting off on their first operational deployment and an opportunity for them to travel and experience a new culture.

“This traditional service, held here today in front of our families, allows us to come together as a unit and start the eight-month journey together.

“I know the soldiers will enjoy the work in Kabul, even though we will probably face some harsh winter conditions and will be away from our families and loved ones during the festive period.

“But when we all come back, I am sure we can look forward to the battalion’s move to Cyprus to face a different challenge, enjoy some sunshine and spend some quality time together.”

A Drumhead Service is a traditional faith service attended by members of a military unit while in the field.

The ceremony on September 30 will be similar to that of the battalion’s previous Drumhead service in 2017, which entails a march from Catterick Garrison to Richmond Castle, a parade, short service and inspirational singing from the YORKS Fijian choir.

During the Drumhead Service, the regimental colours, which were traditionally taken into battle as a mark of honour and achievement, are presented on a temporary altar.

In recent years, the colours have served as presentational pieces at both formal and informal events.

The Regimental colours which will be taken on this winter’s deployment by 2 YORKS, will be handed over by the 1st Battalion, The Yorkshire Regiment at a ceremony at Warminster Barracks, to 2 YORKS on Friday, September 27.

The colours will be displayed in Kabul by 2 YORKS from late October to May 2020.