1994 - 2006 Soldiering around the World
In March 1994 the 'Dukes' deployed to Bosnia, with an area of responsibility covering Bugojno, Vitez, Travnik and the besieged enclave of Gorazde. The latter was under siege for much of the war. It was declared a UN Safe Zone in that year. The 'Dukes' were one of the first units to enter the town. The Regiment pushed the Bosnian-Serb Army from their positions around the town to a distance of over one mile. Their objective in doing this was to create a safe zone for the town. While at Gorazde, Private Shaun Taylor of C Company was killed during an engagement with Bosnian-Serb forces while manning an observation post. The engagement lasted fifteen minutes, with over 2,000 rounds of ammunition being expended by the 'Dukes'. Several of the Bosnian-Serb soldiers were killed in the fire-fight.
Gorazde remained a safe zone, being held by British troops from 1994 to 1995. It was the only safe zone to survive the war and avoided the tragedies that occurred in other UN safe zones such as Srebrenica and Zepa.
Corporal Wayne Mills of the 1st Battalion became the first recipient of the Conspicuous Gallantry Cross, which is second only to the Victoria Cross.
On the 29th of April, 1994, a patrol led by Corporal Mills came under heavy small-arms fire from a group of Bosnian-Serbs. The patrol returned fire, killing two of the attackers. The patrol then withdrew, but the attackers persisted in firing on the patrol. The patrol soon reached an open clearing, where it was obvious they would be highly vulnerable to fire from the attackers. Corporal Mills then performed an astonishing feat of bravery. He turned back and engaged the group in a fire-fight, delaying the attackers long enough to allow the rest of his patrol to cross the clearing. During the fire-fight, Corporal Mills shot the leader of the group and the rest scattered into the woods. Due to that action he returned to his patrol safely.
Lt Col David Santa-Olalla received the Distinguished Service Order for his inspirational leadership and courage during the 'Dukes' deployment to Bosnia. He personally arranged for the mutual withdrawal of Serbian and Muslim forces from the besieged town of Gorazde, just as the Geneva talks were being held on the town. He was a truly competent leader during the Bosnia deployment, being first on the scene whenever an incident occurred.
In February 1995, the 'Dukes' were again posted to Northern Ireland for a two year tour of duty, as the Province Reserve Battalion.
In March, 1997, The Battalion was with 42 Bde, 2 Div, as Mechanised Infantry with Saxon Armoured Vehicles. There were deployments to Gibraltar, and Waterloo Company was reformed for deployment to the Falkland Islands, from July to November. C Company was deployed to Oman in October 1997.
From February 1998, until March 2000, the Battalion was posted, in a light role, to London District, on public duties, though various units were deployed on a mixture of other duties:- in 1998, C Company deployed for a tour of duty in South Amargh. From February to March 1999, B Company was on exercise in Belize, C Company deployed to Northern Ireland from March to August, units were on exercise in Canada and a platoon was attached to the 1st Battalion of the KOSB, in Kenya, from October to December.
In February 2001, a company from the 'Dukes' was deployed to Kosovo, with the objective of preventing arms and munitions being transported from Albania into Kosovo, and then onto the 'Former Yugolav Republic Of Macedonia' (FYMOV), now known as the 'Republic of Macedonia'. This deployment ended in July 2001.
In 2003, the 'Dukes' were part of Operation Telic 1, the invasion of Iraq, as part of 1st (United Kingdom) Armoured Division.
Later that year the Regiment celebrated its 300th year in existence. At Belfast Barracks in Osnabruck, Germany, over 2000, past and present, members of the Regiment converged to take part in the celebrations. The 'Dukes' were presented with new Colours by HM Queen Elizabeth II, represented by The Colonel of The Regiment ' Major-General Sir Evelyn John Webb-Carter KCB' (now KCVO OBE), due to the ill health of the Queen's representative, the 8th Duke of Wellington
During 2004 The Battalion was deeply immersed in infantry skills training in Bergen Holne, Germany, and BATUS Canada, where they did a considerable number of live firing exercises, followed up by a 'live' exercise, using computer targetting simulators hooked into their vehicles against a free ranging and independant enemy force.
The Battalion returned to Osnabruck just 5 weeks before deploying, again, to Iraq on OP TELIC 5 in October. As part of 4 (Armoured) Brigade, they went to the South-East of Iraq, to join the British-led Multi-National Division (South East), as a fully equipped Armoured Infantry Battalion with Warrior Armoured Personnel Carriers.