Hartlepool Falklands veteran asks public to show their support

SPEAKING OUT: Tug Wilson.
SPEAKING OUT: Tug Wilson.

A FALKLANDS veteran from Hartlepool has called on the public to show their support for the Royal Artillery ahead of a historic event next week.

The Royal Regiment of Artillery is set to start its third centenary celebrations next Friday with a service at the Firepower Museum, in Woolwich, London. As part of the event, a silver baton will start its journey around the globe, which it will complete next May when it is presented to Her Majesty the Queen at Larkhill.

Hartlepool has been an artillery town since 1854, and this is an important event for people to recognise the Royal Artillery.

Tug Wilson, Hartlepool Combined Ex-Servicemen’s Association

The baton journey is to mark 300 years since the Royal title was given to the Royal Artillery in 1716, and will travel by hand to every country the United Kingdom has served over that time.

The journey – which will see the baton engraved at each location – will be completed on the day of the third centenary, on May 26, 2016, when it will be presented to the Queen. Tug Wilson, secretary of the Hartlepool Combined Ex-Servicemen’s Association, who served his country for 38 years, says it will be a ‘major event’ in the history of the Royal Artillery.

Mr Wilson, who is also the Northern Region representative to the national executive committee of the Royal Artillery Association, said: “Hartlepool has been an artillery town since 1854, and this is an important event for people to recognise the Royal Artillery.

“Hartlepool’s first three batteries were stationed here in 1854, and that was gradually reduced to one battery, which remained here until 1995.

“This is going to be a big event for the nation, and it’s quite a unique thing to be taking the baton around the world. I’ll be at the service, and a lot of the chairmen and secretaries will be travelling down there as well, as well as some generals. It is a major event in the history of the Royal Artillery, and I’m looking forward to it.”

Although the Royal title was added in 1716, the first recorded use of artillery by the British took place at the Battle of Crecy in 1346.

The baton journey will see the Kings Troop Royal Horse Artillery take it to Dover, and then it will be taken by 5 STA Regiment Royal Artillery across the English channel by kayak before being passed onto another regiment and continuing its passing around the world.