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COLD WAR WARRIORS
The Regimental History of
1st Bn The Duke of Edinburgh's Royal Regiment

(Berkshire and Wiltshire)

Lieutenant Colonel David Stone

 

Front Cover 'The Cold War Warriors'

 

INTRODUCTION

Lieutenant Colonel David Stone researched Cold War Warriors over a four year period prior to its publication in 1998, drawing upon regimental archives and journals, anecdotes, personal and official diaries, and a wide range of other documents and interviews. This important book’s recurring themes, many of which will be very familiar to the contemporary military observer, are the changing nature of infantry soldiering, the constant battle of the army (and the infantry in particular!) to recruit effectively in the modern age, and the traditions and the ‘oneness’ of an infantry regiment. Throughout the book special emphasis and extensive coverage are given to the 1st Battalion’s operational activities and, inevitably perhaps, to the Northern Ireland campaign in particular. Nevertheless, the book maintains a clear balance between the core professional military activities such as operations, exercises, ceremonial and training, and the wider human perspectives and images of military life during the Cold War years.

The history of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Royal Regiment is traced from its earliest origins in 1742, through its subsequent joining together with three other regiments of foot, and its development through the 19th Century to its eventual transformation into the Royal Berkshire Regiment and the Wiltshire Regiment. This initial scene-setting concludes with the amalgamation of these two county regiments on 9th June 1959 to form the Duke of Edinburgh’s Royal Regiment (Berkshire and Wiltshire).

            David Stone describes the early trials, tribulations and everyday life of the new regiment in the early 1960s, including its early postings to the Bahamas, British Guiana and Malta, the last of which tours of duty also involved the battalion in peacekeeping operations in what was then the riot-torn island of Cyprus. Subsequently, the 1st Battalion moved to Minden, West Germany, as a mechanised infantry battalion, where its role as the ‘Cold War Warriors’ of the title truly began.

            In July 1991, the news broke that under the so-called ‘Options for Change’ defence restructuring the regiment was to amalgamate with the Gloucestershire Regiment. Through his descriptions of the difficult discussions and events surrounding this announcement the author provides a rare insight, often at first-hand, into some of the hard realities for an infantry regiment of that which the wider public might otherwise dismiss as ‘Just another defence cut…’ He brings the story of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Royal Regiment to its close with an account of the formation of its successor – the Royal Gloucestershire, Berkshire and Wiltshire Regiment – in April 1994. Finally, David Stone takes an informed and not entirely uncontroversial look into the possible future both of the new regiment and of the wider British infantry. He also makes some personal observations upon the changing nature of military service since the 1960s. In so doing, he places the story of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Royal Regiment firmly in context, and thus produces an appropriate conclusion to the history of what was undoubtedly a very fine, and at the same time a very typical, British infantry regiment of the line. 

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 Lieutenant Colonel David Stone was commissioned into the Duke of Edinburgh’s Royal Regiment (Berkshire and Wiltshire) from the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst in 1967. He joined the Regiment’s 1st Battalion, which was then a unit of the 1st British Corps stationed in Minden, West Germany. Subsequently, he served in a wide range of national, multinational and NATO command, training, regimental and staff appointments across the world. From November 1989 to June 1992 he commanded the 1st Battalion of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Royal Regiment. This was initially in Hong Kong and then in the United Kingdom, where the 1st Battalion was one of the three infantry battalions of the elite 24th Airmobile Brigade  As a former ‘Cold War Warrior’ he came to know central Europe particularly well during his many assignments in the former West Germany and West Berlin, as well as elsewhere in NATO’s Central Region, both before and after the end of the Cold War. ‘Cold War Warriors’ was published in 1998 and was his first book. He retired from the Army in 2002 and is now a fulltime writer of military history. His second book – ‘First Reich – Inside the German Army during the War with France 1870-1871’ – will be published by Brassey’s in mid-2002. Following this, his next book will be a new history of the Cold War conflicts, which is due to be published in 2003. He also has several other projects in train. Previously, he has been published in several professional journals in the United Kingdom and the United States, to which he has contributed articles on contemporary military issues, as well as diverse texts and studies on a range of historically-based subjects.

 
REVIEW

Cold War Warriors Rear Cover

If you served in, or have any links at all with the Duke of Edinburgh’s Royal Regiment, this book is ‘a must’ to have in your library. It gives the reader a clear blow by blow account of the Regiment’s activities over the years, and the 1st Battalion’s activities in particular. There are lots of familiar names of those who served with or were connected with the 1st Battalion in this book’s pages! Lt Col Stone, who served in the 1st Battalion in appointments up to and including Commanding Officer, has clearly captured the ‘flavour’ of the Regiment and of the 1st Battalion. A typical county regiment of the British infantry of the line, that soldiered on without undue fuss or self-seeking glory, but which always achieved everything asked of it – and often a good deal more than that! This was undoubtedly an exceptionally good Regiment, and this is well mirrored in ‘Cold War Warriors’ by a very good write up!

By...A 'Farmersboy' who served.

 

DETAILS
Author Lt Col David STONE
Published 1998 by Leo Cooper, Pen & Sword Books Ltd’ 
ISBN Number 0 85052 618. 3
Available From Publishers and all good book shops at £25.00, or
Regimental Museum at Salisbury     (Tel. 01722414536) For the excellent price of £10.00 plus Postage and packaging

 

IMAGES FROM 'COLD WAR WARRIORS'
Ceremonial

Cold War Warrior Image1

The Royal Family connection. H.R.H. The Prince of Wales visits the 1st Battalion in Berlin 30th October 1972 and is seen talking to Sgt S. J. VENUS, with the Commanding Officer, Lt Col W.G.R. TURNER M.B.E, to the left rear of Prince Charles.

Exercise

Cold War Warrior Image2

Non -Mechanised training, soldiers of 'B' Company advance during Exercise POND JUMP WEST at Camp Wainwright in Canada, July 1984

Operations

Cold War Warrior Image3

Pte BISHOP with a .50 calibre heavy machine gun at the Mullan Bridge permanent vehicle checkpoint (PVCP), near the border in Fermanagh in early 1991. (The 1st Battalion was the first to use this formidable weapon to defeat a terrorist attack when the Gortmullan PVCP came under heavy fire from across the border in April 1991)

 
 
 
 
                             
 
                        
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                            Revised: 19 July 2006.