Gunners of 266 Battery exercise their Freedom of Bristol on Armed Forces Day
Army Reserve Gunners who have been based in Bristol for 160 years marked Armed Forces Day by towing their 105mm light guns through the city centre, accompanied by the Regimental Band and Corps of Drums of The Royal Welsh.
266 Battery, formed in 1859 at the Artillery Grounds in Whiteladies Road as the Gloucestershire Volunteer Artillery, was awarded the Freedom of the City ten years ago. This was the first time the Gunners had exercised that freedom to ‘march’ through the city.
The salute was taken by Her Majesty’s Lord Lieutenant of Bristol, Peaches Golding OBE, and the Right Honourable Lord Mayor of Bristol, Councillor Jos Clark.
Afterwards, the Battery opened the historic Artillery Grounds to the public for an Open Day, featuring displays of modern military vehicles and equipment from the Royal Artillery, Royal Marines, Royal Engineers and Royal Signals and a chance to meet the men and women who make up Bristol’s Armed Forces.
The Battery Commander, Major Neil Cook, said: “It is an enormous privilege both to represent the Army Reserve and the city on Armed Forces Day in our 160th year.
“Recruiting has picked up since we were re-roled to operate the 105mm light gun as part of 104 Regiment Royal Artillery. We are just over 70 in number now, with about 20 vacancies which we are keen to fill.
“We should be fully operational across four guns by the end of this year, which would be two years ahead of the rest of the regiment.”
All trades are now available to female recruits and Major Cook added: “We’ve got females across nearly all the trade streams and they’re beginning to come through the ranks as well.
“We’ve got two on the gun teams and I’d like to see in the next few years a female as Gun No 1, which I would be very proud of.”
To find out more about 266 Battery, go to the 266 GVA Battery – Royal Artillery Facebook page or call 0117 973 4895.