THE Prince of Wales enjoyed meeting troops from the Queen’s Dragoon Guards at Castlemartin Range earlier today (Friday, February 28).

It was the first of three public visits in south Wales to mark St David’s Day. 

The Prince, Colonel-in-Chief, spoke to troops from C Squadron, 1st Queen’s Dragoon Guards (QDG), otherwise known as The Welsh Cavalry.

They are training at Castlemartin as part of Exercise Pashtun Tempest - the bespoke training package for soldiers due to deploy to Afghanistan.

Squadron C, the Brigade Reconnaissance Force, will be deployed to Helmand Province, Afghanistan, in May to reinforce security within the UK area of operations as they prepare for the final stages of the re-deployment to the UK. 

On arrival, His Royal Highness (HRH) met soldiers conducting first aid training to deal with life threatening situations under combat conditions.

He then visited the live firing range complex where he spoke to soldiers involved in training to counter the threat posed by Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) using detection equipment, such as metal detectors and ground penetrating radars.

The Prince also met soldiers training to respond to an "insider threat" at a simulated shared check point at the range.

Sergeant John Davies, 30, of Cardigan, will be going to Afghanistan for the third time in May.  He has been taking part in mission-specific training since January. 

Speaking about The Prince’s visit, Sgt Davies said: “He was just asking about the equipment that we use for the IEDs.  We were just letting him know what the equipment does, how long it takes to be trained on it and what it’s used for.”

Major Hugo Lloyd, the officer commanding the Brigade Reconnaissance Force, said: “Prince Charles, as our Colonel-in-Chief, is hugely important to us. 

"His visit is hugely morale boosting, for the younger soldiers particularly to see who we work for and what we work for - that pride in country and patriotism is symbolised by the Colonel-in-Chief.”

Commanding Officer William Hywel Davies added: “The last time The Prince visited was in 2009 for the 50th anniversary of the regiment, so this is very special for us, especially just before St David’s Day and prior to Afghanistan. 

“For the trooper who’s aged 18, it’s not every day you get to meet a member of the Royal Family.”

Each year Prince Charles marks St David's Day in some way, either by undertaking engagements in Wales or by meeting people with Welsh connections in the UK or overseas. 

This year, with St David's Day falling on a Saturday, The Prince is undertaking three visits today before spending a private weekend in Wales.

Today’s other visits include Llanelly House, Llanelli, and the Old Town Hall, Merthyr Tydfil.