Departing British Army contingent presented service medals in Tapa ceremony

Thursday's medals ceremony at Tapa.
Thursday's medals ceremony at Tapa. Source: Ministry of Defense.

Outgoing British soldiers serving with the NATO Enhanced Forward Presence (eFP) Battlegroup at Tapa were presented service medals on Thursday.

Lt Col. Dean Canham, commander of the 1st Battalion, the Mercian Regiment, said: "It´s been an honor to serve alongside our comrades in the Estonian 1st Brigade here in Tapa and be part of Estonia's defense plan."

"Despite challenges such as COVID-19, we have been able to maintain our readiness and capabilities to deter and defend; we have profited from the excellent training opportunities that are available to us here, and our integration into the 1st Brigade has been a very valuable experience for every soldier in the battlegroup. We are now in the process of ensuring a seamless transition to the next battlegroup," Lt Col. Canham.

Mercian Regiment No. 1 Dress and the regiment's mascot, a Swaledale ram. Source: Ministry of Defense.

The Mercians have been in Estonia since March and formed the core of the eFP Battlegroup.

They will complete their tour later this month, to be replaced by Dreadnought Squadron, the Royal Tank Regiment (RTR).

Ministry of Defense Permanent Secretary Kusti Salm presented the outgoing personnel with their medals.

The RTR will bring Challenger 2 tanks and other armor, by sea, arriving late on next week, the Ministry of Defense says. The unit is traveling from Germany, where it has been training in recent months, and will be in Estonia for around six months, the ministry says.

The heavy machinery will be offloaded at the port of Paldiski, meaning convoys between there and Tapa can be expected on September 9.

The official handover takes place on September 19, while the French contingent within the eFP will also conduct a changeover, with the 501e Régiment de chars de combat and its Leclerc heavy tanks passing on the baton to the 1er Régiment de Chasseurs Parachutistes.

Since becoming a reality in early 2017, a battalion from a heavy infantry or armored regiment has generally been at the heart of the battlegroup, on a rotational basis, while British Army personnel from other regiments including the Royal Military Police and the Army Air Corps provide support.

The battlegroup is completely separate from the NATO Baltic Air Policing missions, which fly out of Ämari Air Base.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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