We can all look back on 2016 with a certain amount of pride and satisfaction.  The Regiment’s reputation is high and everywhere I go I am complimented on the performance of Fusiliers, be that on the streets of Warwick or in the corridors of Army HQ. There have been some notable highlights, and whilst it would be wrong to focus on any specifically, the First Battalion winning the Army Boxing Championships and the Fifth Battalion achieving full manning leap out from a very busy Regimental programme.

In July we delivered Regimental Orders and I am hugely grateful to the plans team who pulled the Operation Order and Strategic Plan together, and to all of you who have taken the direction and risen to the challenge superbly. This is a whole of Regiment effort and there is still much to do. Recruiting and retaining Fusiliers remains our Main Effort.

Looking forward, next year will be no less challenging. Army 2020 (Refine) has been released and there is more change ahead. The Regiment has come out of it well and I am delighted to announce that we will grow in size over the next year or so. First Fusiliers will remain in Tidworth in the Armoured Infantry role. Part of 20 Armoured Infantry Brigade, it will remain on the tip of the spear for the UK Reactive Force. Fifth Fusiliers will grow to incorporate MG Pl in Bury, A Company in Sheldon and C Company in Balham. This is a significant win and will see us once more with a Regimental C2 node in each of our recruiting areas. The Fifth Battalion will also become officially ‘paired’ with First Fusiliers, presenting further opportunities for training and operations.

We will need time to consolidate our gains, work out how to command and control a much larger organisation and of course realise the significant opportunities. There will of course be challenges but we will work through them with customary Fusilier spirit and determination.

For now there is a chance to draw breath over the festive season. However, as you tuck into your Christmas dinner, I would ask that you spare a thought for X Company from the First Fusiliers in the Falklands, for all Fusiliers who are overseas on operational tours and postings, and for any of us for whom this time of year will be a little harder.

Wherever you are I thank you for supporting the Regiment in 2016 and wish you and your loved ones all a very happy Christmas and a safe and successful new year.

Paul Nanson

‘For England and St George’