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1st Bn Duke of Edinburgh's Royal Regiment

(Berkshire and Wiltshire)

British Honduras

 

Company Postings

Belize Flag

B Company 1969
A Company 1969 - 70
C Company 1970

 

Where is 'BH' and why were we there

British Honduras 'The Location'

The distinction of being the first troops to set foot in British Honduras for the first time in 150 years was claimed by the Gloucestershire Regiment. Two companies of the 1st Battalion were sent to the colony early in 1949 under the command of the C.O., and later by Major The Lord Seymore (The Wiltshire Regiment) when neighboring Guatemala, which had long coveted the British Territory, threatened to invade it. The Gloster's association with the colony was later marked by an official alliance between the Regiment and the British Honduras Volunteer Guard, a local force about 200 strong.

There have been citizen forces in the colony which is about the size of Wales, since the earliest days of its settlement. They defeated and drove out invading Spaniards in 1754 and provided the main striking force which routed a massive sea - borne assault by the Spanish in 1798. In 1817 the Prince Regent conferred on the local Militia the title of 'The Prince Regents Royal Honduras Militia'

Despite Spanish and Guatemalan claims British Honduras has been in British possession since the early Europeans settled there nearly 300 years ago. Called Baymen, they made a hard living by cutting and selling logwood and were given intermittent support from Jamaica against Spain which eventually recognized the colony in the Treaty of Paris, 1763. Timber - Mainly Mahogany and Pine, is still one of the colony's principle exports, others being citrus fruits and sugar.

Belize built on low - lying reclaimed land, is bisected by the river on which it stands. The first settlers there were shipwrecked British Sailors who arrived in 1638, long after the natives, the ancient, but culturally advanced Maya Indians, had left the area. The settlers were joined by a Scots Corsair called Wallace or Willis, and name which is believed to have degenerated, through the years of Spanish and British pronunciation, into Belize.

Barracks were built in the North side area of Belize at the end of the 18th Century to house troops sent to defend the colony against invasion, and for a long period in the following century were occupied by detachments of the West India Regiment. The buildings were later used as houses, clubs and as a hospital until destroyed in the 1931 hurricane.

On the extreme east of North side stood Fort George, an old defence work on a small island cut of at high tide by shallow tidal water. Ninety  years ago this depression was filled in and a part of it is now a memorial for the men of British Honduras who died in the two world wars.

The name 'Honduras', a Spanish word meaning depths, was given to this part of central America by Columbus. On his forth and last voyage in 1502 he ran into 40 days of gales, storms, and deep sea currants. His sailors threatened mutiny and his ships were leaking when Columbus reached quite waters, in what is now the neighbouring Republic of Honduras, and with a sigh of relief uttered "Gracias a Dios que estemos fuera de osas Honduras" (Thank god we are out of those depths)

The 1st Bn Duke of Edinburgh's Royal Regiment made its acquaintance with this 'Jewel in the heart of the Caribbean basin' in Company battle groups whilst stationed in Catterick, arriving in a country that Columbus would have been familiar with. They were based at Airport camp, not far from Belize City, with platoon detachments operating throughout the country, either patrolling, training or carrying out 'Hearts and minds exercises. 'Selected' soldiers went to Panama on Jungle training courses from all three Companies, but most of the dangers came from the local brew 'Swampie' or the local woman. 

HQ Showing the BH sign

A familiar sight to 'Farmersboys' of the late 60s

What follows are a number of images as a reminder of that time, which on reflection was the last few setting rays of the Empire. (Most of the images are of 'C' Company, any from 'B' and 'A' Companies would be welcome)

 
IMAGES FROM BRITISH HONDURAS 1969-1970

St Pedro, Ambergris Caye 1970

The Village of St Pedro, Ambergris Caye, British Honduras 1970

Belize Airport

Belize City Policeman

Belize 'International' Airport, the first sight for all three Companies A Belize City Policeman, circa 1970

Sgt EVANS pushing his luck

Sgt EVANS, plt Sgt putting his back into it in the village of progresso

9 Plt parade, Airport Camp

9 Platoon on Parade, Airport Camp

 

Norman Minty with top student trophy

Cpl MINTY, Honour Graduate, United States Army Jungle Warfare School 

B Coy Quarter Guard

Mac, Jim, Bali & Rosie

Maj RIDLEY, with Lord SHEPHERD, Seretary of State for Commonwealth affaiers inspecting a quarter guard found by Support Platoon, B Coy Cpls 'Mac' McINTYRE, Jim LONG, BALIMUTUKU, Rosie COUPLAND
 

 

HEARTS AND MINDS

Macs Section Hearts and minds

One of the 'Hearts and Minds ' Exercises was to go to a village on the Mexican Border and rebuild the pavements. Payment received in Rum. This picture shows Cpl 'Mac' McIntyre's section in action

Building a pavement

Further proof of highly trained ? Infanteers digging up a road
 

 

Photographic memories from B.H. Mainly from the ever ready cameras of 'A' & 'C' Companies

(Click to enlarge)

Lt David Chilton and soldiers from 9 Plt

9 Plt Broken down

A well 'Ard' group of Jungle Warriors from 9 plt C Coy under the command of Lt David CHILTON (Left) up Country 9 Plt C Coy waiting for the AA

Lt David CHILTON

Sgt VENUS Lt CHILTON

'Orderly officer' Lt David CHILTON, with the obligatory 'Pancho' Moustache Ferozeshah Parade, Airport Camp. Sgt John VENUS (Later RSM 1st Bn DERR) with an excellent salute (Thumb apart), followed by Lt David CHILTON waving at the crowd!!

Cpls SMITH and BROWN

Cpls SMITH (Left) and BROWN generally hanging around wasting the tax payers money Cpl Gordon GREENAGE pointing a rather aggressive finger with attentive pupil 'Fitz' FITZGERALD (Nearest camera) who appears to be all ears

Resting in the Jungle

Lt Cornwall A fashion statement

'What did you do in the war daddy' A group of 'C' Companies finest playing cards in the jungle Lt Cornwall in BH 'Walking out' garb, he has asked for this not to be printed, but for the sake of historical completeness and of course comments at the next reunion we felt it should be aired.

The Wild bunch

Heavy Weapons

'The wild bunch' Lt David CHILTON (Centre) and Bali complete with bandana attempting to look as hard as possible whilst on the Jungle training course in Panama with the yanks. In order to defeat the Guatemalan Air force everybody had to be training in the use of the Browning belt feed machine gun, pictured outside one of the barrack blocks during a training session

Patrolling pause

A Coy bod ?

A group of 'A' Companies finest pause whilst on patrol, still finding time to pose for the camera. Not a bead of sweat to be seen on this 'A' Company Jungle warrior

March Past

Watermanship training

Part of 'A' Company marches past followed by the British Honduras Defence force. The Battalion whilst there supplied instructors to this local force A group of our finest warriors practicing waterman ship training in the ulu

 

Acknowledgements
The Web team would like to thank both David CHILTON and Paddy TRAPP for their assistance with this page

 

 

 

 
                             
 
                        
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                            Revised: 19 July 2006.