Wales

Royal Welsh finally captures new regimental goat Shenkin IV

Shenkin IV - the new regimental goat Image copyright Crown
Image caption Soldiers described Shenkin as having "a cheeky look in his eye"

After repeatedly evading soldiers, the Royal Welsh finally got its goat after catching a new regimental mascot.

Initial attempts to dart Fusilier Shenkin IV - a wild goat on the Great Orme in Conwy county - were met with a gruff response from the animal.

But the 3rd Battalion is nothing if not persistent and Shenkin IV has now officially begun his training.

Sgt Mark Jackson said: "There was a bit of a run around on our first attempt but it's all been worth it."

Shenkin IV will have six months of training at Maindy Barracks in Cardiff and his first public appearance will be at National Armed Forces Day in Llandudno, close to where he was captured, on 30 June.

Image copyright Crown
Image caption You've goat to be kidding: Shenkin proved to be a slippery customer for soldiers from 3rd Battalion The Royal Welsh

Goat Major Sgt Jackson said: "Yes, we're very pleased to finally get our goat. There was that cheeky look in his eye when I first saw him and we knew immediately which member of the royal herd we were keen on.

"It's all about getting Shenkin used to different noises now and being around people. I take great care in making sure he's fully prepared to face the public and, when he is, he'll be in great demand."

Following a tradition more than two centuries in the making, soldiers selected Shenkin IV from the royal herd after being given permission from the Queen.

A new goat was needed after Shenkin III died in September, aged seven.

Image copyright Crown
Image caption The men who stare at goats... and eventually catch them

Accompanied by an RSPCA vet and wardens from the Great Orme Country Park, they (eventually) managed to capture the Kashmir kid goat, four weeks after their first attempts.

Searches were hindered by dense shrubs where Shenkin IV was grazing - terrain more favourable for goats than those in pursuit.

Cpt Tom Sobik said: "There's no doubt we've got a character on our hands. Shenkin is a Welsh icon and he will go on to attract as much attention as his predecessors and serve with distinction."

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Strike a pose: Shenkin shows he is not camera shy at Cardiff Castle in March 2000

A history of hooves

  • The National Army Museum said The Royal Welsh and its predecessor units had adopted goats as mascots since the 1770s
  • It stems from the Battle of Bunker Hill during the American War of Independence when a wild goat is said to have strayed into the battle and led the Royal Welsh Fusiliers' colour party from the field
  • Another story said a young Welsh soldier found a kid goat during the Crimean War and kept him as a pet. While on sentry duty one night, he tucked the goat inside his coat to keep warm and fell asleep, but was alerted to the enemy's advance when the goat bleated, giving him time to tell his fellow soldiers who were then able to repel the Russian attack
  • In 1884, Queen Victoria presented the regiment with a Kashmir goat from the royal herd, starting the tradition that continues to this day
  • All Royal Welsh goats hold a rank within the regiment

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