Dear Families,

Firstly thank you again for your incredible support during the last couple of months as we have prepared for our deployment.  I feel truly blessed that we all have such a strong team behind us and fully recognise the sacrifices you have all made and will continue to make.

Any deployment is fraught with worry, uncertainty and sadness, but I feel that the current global Coronavirus crisis has brought an a unwelcome and unprecedented level of concern and complication to our operational tour to Estonia.  That said, our deployment remains vitally important, First Fusiliers Battle Group are playing a vital role on the behalf of the UK to promote and maintain peace in Europe.   I want to reassure you all that we will do everything that we can to protect those who are deployed from the virus, and will work closely with the Estonian and UK authorities in Estonia to ensure that we are as safe as possible.  This will inevitably mean a number of restrictions for at least the beginning of our tour, and once it is clear what these are and how they will be implemented, I will write again to let you know.  I have no doubt it will test us over there, but we have survived worse many times before and I have no doubt we find a way to overcome difficulties as we always do.

I fear that the greater challenge, and the one that is probably causing you most concern, is the situation here in the UK and how your families might be effected.  To get through this, we must all trust and follow the Government direction.  Everyone involved is working to together to protect the country as fully as possible, and we all must play our part.  Again, the UK has a proud history of resilience, and I’m sure 2020 will be no different.  I appreciate the additional burden you will carry because your loved one is deployed with me in Estonia.  We must all work together as a Fusilier Family to succeed both here and in Estonia.  If we can help you, regardless of where you are in the UK, we will, and you should contact my Welfare Officer (01980 650419 or 24 hour emergency contact through Guardroom 01980 651396) in the first instance.  Our role in Estonia is so important, that we simply must deploy, and I’m afraid I must remain focussed on our security mission.  In case of emergency, when my Welfare Team or wider members of the Fusiliers Family are unable to help, we will maintain the ability to extract military personnel back to the UK.  I envisage these situations to be relatively few and far between, and they must be initiated by the Joint Casualty and Compassionate Cell (who can be contacted on 01452 519951).

We ask an awful lot of you, and I’m afraid we are asking for even more now.  Please be kind, look after each other, ask for help if you need it and as a Fusilier Family we will overcome.

Lt Col Chris Head

Commanding Officer First Fusiliers Battle Group