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1 March 2022 | Comment | Article by Nia-Wyn Evans

Celebrating Wales’ presence in the military

I would like to acknowledge the efforts of two of our paralegals on the Industrial Disease team, Gwenllian Evans and Joe Garcia. This blog post highlighting the contributions of Welsh servicemen and women would not have been possible without them.

Darllenwch y fersiwn Cymraeg

At Hugh James, we are very proud of our Welsh roots and St David’s Day is all about celebrating Wales’ unique history and culture. As a Military legal department, we have the privilege of representing some of the finest people that Wales has to offer – Wales’s service personnel.

Wales has long had a formidable reputation for producing some of the finest service personnel in the British Military. As early as the Battle of Agincourt, Welsh Warriors have participated in almost every major conflict that the British Military has fought. Whether it be defeating Napoleon’s Grande Armeé at the Battle of Waterloo or making a final stand against the proud Zulu Warriors at the Battle of Rorke’s Drift, from dropping behind enemy lines during the D-Day landings to more recent conflicts in the blistering heat of Afghanistan and the Middle East, Welsh service personnel have always been right in the center of the action.

So who are these Welsh Warriors?

Today Wales has three main Welsh regiments. They are:

  • The Royal Welsh Regiment
  • The Welsh Guards
  • The Welsh Dragoons

The Royal Welsh Regiment

Formed on St David’s Day in 2006, the Royal Welsh Regiment is regarded as “Wales’ oldest and most decorated regiment and the Army’s most experienced armoured infantry unit”. On the surface it may be difficult to see how a regiment, that has existed less than 20 years, has been able to obtain such a strong reputation. However, aside from the Regiments notable recent involvements in Iraq, Afghanistan and Estonia, the formation of the Regiment in 2006 did not see an entirely new regiment raised from recruits. Instead, The Regiment was formed out of an amalgamation of some of Wales’s oldest and most distinguished regiments. These included the Royal Welch Fusiliers and the Royal Regiment of Wales. Therefore, the Regiments roots can actually be traced as far back as 1689. Since then, The Regiment has fought in the American War of Independence, the Napoleonic Wars, and both World Wars.

The Welsh Guards

Formed in 1915, the Welsh Guards are an infantry unit who have served in many notable conflicts such as the Battle of the Somme in World War One, on the Eastern and North African front during World War Two, the Falklands War as well Afghanistan. Aside from their infantry role, the Welsh Guards are renowned ceremonial soldiers who guard The Royal Family and the Royal Palaces such as Buckingham Palace and the Tower of London. Whilst on guard, they can be seen sporting their familiar black bearskin headdresses which are recognizable around the World.

Their ceremonial duties have included escorting the casket of Diana, Princess of Wales at her funeral. More recently, the Welsh Guards were trooped before Her Majesty the Queen in a unique parade at Windsor Castle to mark her official birthday on the 13th of June 2020.

The Queen’s Dragoon Guards

The Queen’s Dragoon Guards also knows as The Welsh Cavalry, were originally formed as a horseback unit in 1685. Though they no longer ride their trusty steeds to battle, the Regiment still specializes in reconnaissance but, instead, they use armoured vehicles to get around making them much more versatile, which is a key component of a successful reconnaissance mission.

Aside from in Wales and the British Army, these soldiers are well known internationally as their skills are often used to train foreign military personnel.

As one of the oldest regiments in the British Army, the Dragoon Guards have been involved in many conflicts. Recently, this regiment was part of an operation that saw the capture of Saddam Hussein’s presidential palace in Bara, Iraq.

Although these are the main Welsh Regiments, Wales’s service personnel can be found in the Navy, the RAF, the Royal Marines as well as other reservist regiments.

Future arrangements for the Armed Forces in Wales

Recent developments within the Armed Forces in Wales suggest that Wales’s contribution and sacrifice over the years has not only been appreciated but is set to be a vital part of the British Armed Forces in the future. Steps have been taken by the UK Government and the Ministry of Defence to support Welsh current and ex personnel, and also to protect the Welsh language and culture. These are major developments and highlight the value of Wales’s contribution to the British Armed Forces.

Veterans Commissioner for Wales

The UK Government have announced that a Veterans Commissioner for Wales will be appointed this year. This is one of the 60 commitments noted in the Veterans’ Strategy Action Plan by the Office for Veterans’ Affairs to support veterans. Fay Jones MP, the UK Government Veterans Minister, called and campaigned for the role to be created and highlighted that Wales is the only nation in the UK that does not have an appointed Veterans Commissioner. The Welsh Government have also supported and encouraged the creation of this post. The role has proved successful in Northern Ireland and in Scotland. Miss Jones voiced that ‘with so many veterans in and around Brecon, this would recognise the circumstances faced by Welsh veterans’.

Currently, there are approximately 140,000 veterans living in Wales. In 2021, the Welsh Government announced that more than £500,000 will be used to fund seven Armed Forces liaison officers to help veterans and their families, and other specialist services. The new Commissioner role will also hope to further increase employment, improve health and wellbeing services and better the knowledge and the understanding of the veteran community. This includes listening to the issues affecting veterans and their families, improving the services and support structures in place, ensuring co-ordination between the services, and communicating the changes needed for Welsh veterans to the Government. The Veterans Commissioner will act as a voice for veterans and their families. This is in an effort to achieve the goal set by the UK Government for the UK to be the best place in the world to be a veteran.

Johnny Mercer MP, who is also a former Army officer, noted the importance of Veterans Commissioners across the United Kingdom to improve the support and care for veterans. The role will also highlight the UK Government’s determination in ensuring welfare to the ex-servicemen who served in the Armed Forces in the UK and most particularly in Wales.

Welsh Language Champion

Air Commodore Adrian Williams has been appointed as The Welsh Language Champion by the Ministry of Defence in an effort to strengthen their Welsh Language Scheme’s objectives. The Scheme was approved in October 2021 and its objectives is to ensure that the Welsh and English Language is treated equally as they hope to provide the necessary services in the Welsh language to the Welsh speaking public in Wales.

The Welsh Language Champion will ensure that compliance is made with the scheme, to ensure that the Welsh Language is given the recognition that it needs; to be recognised equally as the English Language in the forces. A UK Government source mentioned that the appointment will champion the language and its importance, as well as celebrate the diversity within the Armed forces. This role will ensure that Welsh and English language interaction is made with the public, and it will mean that more Welsh language social media posts will be published by the Defence’s accounts.

Air Commodore Adrian Williams, the RAF’s most senior officer in Wales, was brought up in Denbigh, Wales in a Welsh speaking household and attended Ysgol Glan Clwyd, a Welsh medium secondary school. He expressed that he has always felt ‘passionate about our native language’ and he understands its ‘central importance to people and communities across Wales’. Air Commodore Adrian Williams has noted that he hopes that his efforts will strengthen the Armed Forces’ ability to operate bilingually. This will ultimately show the forces’ determination in recognising the needs of Welsh personnel and to respect every member of the forces, by making an effort to be inclusive.

Further information:

Yma yn Hugh James, rydym yn falch iawn o’n gwreiddiau Cymreig ac ar Ddydd Gŵyl Dewi rhaid dathlu hanes a diwylliant unigryw Cymru. Fel adran filwrol yn Hugh James, mae gennym ni’r fraint o gynrychioli rhai o’r dynion a menywod gorau sydd gan Gymru i’w cynnig – personél y Lluoedd Arfog Gymreig.

Ers amser, mae Cymru wedi cynnal enw da am gynhyrchu rhai o’r dynion a merched milwrol gorau yn y Lluoedd Arfog Brydeinig. Ers amser maith fel ym Mrwydr Agincourt, mae Rhyfelwyr Cymru wedi cymryd rhan ym mron pob gwrthdrawdiad mawr y mae’r Lluoedd Arfog Prydeinig wedi’i ymladd. Boed hynny’n trechu Grande Armee Napoleon ym Mrwydr Waterloo, neu’n gwneud safiad terfynol yn erbyn y rhyfelwyr Zulu ffyrnig ym Mrwydr Rorkes Drift, o ollwng y tu ôl i linellau’r gelyn yn ystod glaniadau D Day i’r wrthdrawiad mwy diweddar yng ngwres Afghanistan a’r Dwyrain Canol, mae dynion a merched y lluoedd arfog Gymreig wastad wedi bod yng nghanol y brwydro.

Felly, pwy yw’r Rhyfelwyr Cymreig yma?

Heddiw mae gan Gymru dair prif gatrawd Gymreig, sef y;

  • Catrawd Frenhinol Cymru
  • Gwarchodlu Cymreig
  • Dragwniaid Cymreig

Y Catrawd Frenhinol Cymru

Wedi’i ffurfio ar Ddydd Gŵyl Dewi yn 2006, caiff y Catrawd Gymreig Frenhinol ei ystyried fel “catrawd hynaf a mwyaf addurnedig Cymru ac uned troedfilwyr (infantry) arfog mwyaf profiadol y Fyddin”. Ar yr arwyneb, gallai fod yn anodd gweld sut mae’r catrawd, sydd wedi bodoli lai nag 20 mlynedd, wedi ennill enw mor da.

Er hynny, ar wahân i gyfranogiad nodedig diweddar y Gatrawd yn Irac, Affricanistan ac Estonia, nid oedd ffurfiad y Catrawd yn 2006 yn gatrawd cwbl newydd wedi’i godi o recriwtiaid. Yn hytrach, cafodd ei ffurfio allan o gyfuniad o rai o gatrodau hynaf a mwyaf nodedig Cymru. Mae’r rhain yn cynnwys y Ffiwsilwyr Brenhinol Cymreig a Chatrawd Frenhinol Cymru. Felly, gallwn olrhain gwreiddiau’r Gatrawd mor bell yn ôl â 1689. Ers hynny, mae’r Gatrawd wedi ymladd yn Rhyfel Annibyniaeth America, y rhyfeloedd Napoleonig, y rhyfeloedd Zulu a’r ddau ryfel byd.

Y Gwarchodlu Cymreig

Wedi’i ffurfio yn 1915, mae’r Gwarchodlu Cymreig yn ddynion troedfilwyr sydd wedi gwasanaethu mewn sawl gwrthdrawiad nodedig fel Brwydr y Somme yn y Rhyfel Byd Cyntaf, ar ffrynt Dwyrain a Gogledd Affrica yn ystod yr Ail Rhyfel Byd, yn Rhyfel y Falklands yn ogystal ac yn Afghanistan. Ar wahân i’w rôl troedfilwyr, mae’r Gwarchodlu Cymreig yn filwyr seremoniol enwog sy’n gwarchod y Teulu Brenhinol a’r Palasau Brenhinol fel Palas Buckingham a’r Tŵr Llundain. Gallwn eu gweld yn gwisgo eu hetiau du cyfarwydd sydd wedi’u hadnabod ledled y byd.

Mae eu dyletswyddau seremoniol wedi cynnwys hebrwng arch Diana, Tywysoges Cymru, yn ei angladd. Yn ogystal, fe wnaeth y Gwarchodlu Cymreig ymddangosiad unigryw er mwyn dathlu penblwydd y Frenhines ar y 13ain o Fehefin 2020.

Gwarchodlu Dragŵn y Frenhines

Mae Gwarchodlu Dragŵn y Frenhines hefyd yn cael eu hadnadbod fel ‘Cavalry’ Cymru. Cafodd ei ffurfio’n wreiddiol fel uned cefn ceffyl yn 1685. Mae’r Gatrawd hon yn arbenigo mewn archwiliad strategol (reconnaisance). Er nad ydynt bellach yn marchogaeth ar gefn ceffyl, maent yn defnyddio cerbydau arfog i deithio sydd llawer mwy amlbwrpas; sy’n elfen allweddol o genhadaeth archwiliad strategol lwyddiannus.

Tu allan o Gymru a’r Fyddin Brydeinig, mae’r milwyr hyn yn adnabyddus yn rhyngwladol gan fod eu sgiliau’n aml yn cael eu defnyddio i hyfforddi personél milwrol tramor.

Fel un o’r gatrodau hynaf yn y Fyddin Brydeinig, mae’r Gwarchodlu Dragŵn wedi bod yn gysylltiedig â llawer o wrthdaro. Yn fwy diweddar, roedd y gatrawd hon yn rhan o weithrediad a welodd gipio palas arlywyddol Saddam Hussein yn Bara, Irac.

Er mai dyma brif Gatrodau Cymru, mae personél y Lluoedd Arfog Gymreig o fewn y Llynges, yr Awyrlu Brenhinol, y Marines Brenhinol yn ogystal â gatrodau milwyr eraill. Mae’n ddigon deg dweud bod Cymru wedi, ac yn parhau i, wneud cyfraniad sylweddol i’r Fyddin Brydeinig.

Cynlluniau’r dyfodol ar gyfer y Lluoedd Arfog

Mae datblygiadau diweddar o fewn y Lluoedd Arfog yng Nghymru yn dangos bod cyfraniad ac aberth Cymru a’i milwyr ar draws y blynyddoedd wedi’i werthfawrogi, yn ogystal a’u cyfraniad am fod yn ran tyngedfennol o’r Lluoedd Arfog Brydeinig yn y dyfodol. Mae camau wedi’u cymryd gan Llywodraeth y DU a’r Weinyddiaeth Amddyffin i gefnogi personél y presennol a chyn-personél ac hefyd i warchod yr iaith Gymraeg a’i diwylliant. Mae’r rhain yn ddatblygiadau sylfaenol sy’n adlewyrchu gwerth cyfraniad Cymru i’r Lluoedd Arfog Brydeinig.

Comisiynydd Cyn-filwyr i Gymru

Mae Llywodraeth y DU wedi datgan y bydd comisiynydd cyn-filwyr i Gymru yn cael ei apwyntio eleni. Mae’n un o’r 60 ymrwymiadau wedi’i nodi yng nghynllun gweithredu strategaeth i gyn-filwyr gan Swyddfa Materion Cyn-filwyr i gefnogi cyn-filwyr. Galwodd ac ymgyrchodd Fay Jones AS, Gweinidog Cyn-filwyr Llywodraeth y DU, am y rôl i gael ei chreu ac fe uwcholeuodd mai Cymru yw’r unig cenedl yn y DU sydd heb y comisiynydd hwn wed’i benodi. Mae Llywodraeth Cymru yn ogystal wedi cefnogi ac wedi annog creu y swydd. Mae’r rol wedi profi’n llwyddiannus eisoes yn Iwerddon ac yn yr Alban. Dywedodd Miss Jones, ‘gyda chymaint o gyn-filwyr yn ac o amgylch Aberhonddu, byddai hyn yn cydnabod yr amgylchiadau mae cyn-filwyr Cymreig yn eu hwynebu.’

Ar hyn o bryd, mae tua 140,000 o gyn-filwyr yn byw yng Nghymru (PDF). Yn 2021, cyhoeddodd Llywodraeth Cymru y bydd mwy na £500,000 yn cael ei wario i ariannu saith swyddog lluoedd arfog ymgysylltu i helpu cyn-filwyr a’u teuluoedd, a gwasanaethau arbenigol eraill. Bydd rôl newydd y comisiynydd yn gobeithio cynyddu ymhellach cyflogaeth, gwella’r gwasanaethau a’r strwythurau cefnogaeth mewn lle, sicrhau cydlyniant rhwng y gwasanaethau a cyfathrebu’r newidiadau sydd eu hangen i’r cyn-filwyr cymreig i’r Llywodraeth. Bydd y Comisiynydd yn gweithredu fel llais i gyn-filwyr a’u teuluoedd. Mae hyn mewn ymdrech i gyrraedd y gôl a’r nod sydd wed’i osod gan Llywodraeth y DU sef i fod y man gorau yn y byd i fod yn gyn-filwr.

Nododd Jonny Mercer AS, sydd hefyd yn gyn-swyddog y fyddin, bwysigrwydd comisiynwyr cyn-filwyr ar draws y Deyrnas Unedig i wella’r gefnogaeth a’r gofal i gyn-filwyr. Bydd y rôl yn ogystal yn tanlinellu pa mor benderfynnol yw Llywodraeth y DU i sicrhau llesiant i gyn-filwyr a wnaeth wasanaethu yn y lluoedd arfog yn y DU ac yn fwy pwysicach byth, yng Nghymru.

Pencampwr y Gymraeg

Penodwyd Comodwr Awyr Adrian Williams fel Pencampwr y Gymraeg gan y Weinyddiaeth Amddiffyn fel ymdrech i gryfhau amcanion eu Cynllun yr iaith Gymraeg. Cafodd y Cynllun ei ganiatau ym mis Hydref 2021 a’i amcanion i sicrhau fod yr iaith Gymraeg a’r Saesneg yn cael ei drin yn hafal gan hefyd obeithio i ddarparu’r gwasanaethau angenrheidiol yn yr iaith Gymraeg i’r cyhoedd sy’n siarad Cymraeg yng Nghymru.

Bydd Pencampwr y Gymraeg yn sicrhau fod cydymffurfiad yn digwydd i’r cynllun, i sicrhau fod yr iaith Gymraeg yn derbyn ei adnabyddiaeth mae ei hangen; i gael ei hadnabod yn gyfarfal gyda’r Saesneg yn y lluoedd. Dywedodd ffynhonnell gan Lywodraeth y DU fod yr apwyntiad am glodfori’r iaith a’i phwysigrwydd, yn ogystal â dathlu’r amrywiaeth o fewn y Lluoedd Arfog. Bydd y rôl yn golygu bod rhyngweithio drwy’r iaith Gymraeg a’r Saesneg yn digwydd gyda’r cyhoedd, a byddai’n golygu bod mwy o bostiadau Cymraeg yn cael eu cyhoeddi gan gyfrifiadau’r Amddiffyn.

Cafodd Comodwr Awyr Adrian Williams, swyddog uchaf y RAF yng Nghymru, ei fagu yn Ninbych, Cymru mewn cartref Cymraeg ac fe fynychodd ysgol Glan Clwyd, ysgol uwchradd cyfrwng Cymraeg. Fe fynegodd ei fod ef wastad wedi teimlo’n ‘fwrd dros ein mamiaith’ ac mae’n deall ei ‘bwysigrwydd canolog i bobl a chymunedau ledled Cymru’. Nododd Comodwr Awyr Williams ei fod yn gobeithio bod ei ymdrechion am gryfau gallu’r Lluoedd Arfog i weithredu’n ddwyieithog. Bydd hyn yn y pendraw yn dangos pa mor benderfynnol yw’r lluoedd i gydnabod anghenion personél Cymraeg ac i barchu pob aelod o’r lluoedd, gan wneud ymdrech i fod yn gynhwysol.

Author bio

Nia-Wyn is a senior associate solicitor with Hugh James. She has specialised in representing military service personnel and veterans bring claims against the Ministry of Defence, with a particular interest in cold related injuries.

Disclaimer: The information on the Hugh James website is for general information only and reflects the position at the date of publication. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be treated as such. If you would like to ensure the commentary reflects current legislation, case law or best practice, please contact the blog author.

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