Sunderland's adopted regiment sends new leaders to visit city in celebration of 80th anniversary milestone

RSM Steve Fraser with the Mayor of Sunderland, Councillor Lynda Scanlan, RSM Craig Hilton and W02 David Newombe in the Mayor's Parlour
RSM Steve Fraser with the Mayor of Sunderland, Councillor Lynda Scanlan, RSM Craig Hilton and W02 David Newombe in the Mayor's Parlour

Soldiers took a tour of Sunderland as the city celebrated their regiment's eight decades of dedicated service.

The 4th Regiment Royal Artillery sent some of their new leading soldiers to meet the Mayor of Sunderland Councillor Lynda Scanlan as they celebrate their 80th anniversary this year.

Coun Scanlan welcomed the delegation from Sunderland's adopted regiment, led by the Regimental Sergeant Major WO1 (Warrant Officer) Craig Hilton, who represented their new Commanding Officer Lt Col (Lieutenant Colonel) Hakes RA.

The 4th Reg RA Standard Bearer George Reynolds with North East Representative 4th Reg RA Association, Raymond Kibble.

The 4th Reg RA Standard Bearer George Reynolds with North East Representative 4th Reg RA Association, Raymond Kibble.

Known to everyone as the North East Gunners'because of their close community ties to the region, the regiment was awarded Freedom of Sunderland in 1974 and march through the city every year as part of the Remembrance Day parade.

The regiment is celebrating its 80th anniversary and recently held a re-union dinner, welcoming past members back to share stories and commemorate the occasion at the home of the regiment in Larkhill.

Continuing this year’s anniversary celebrations the mayor invited RSM Steve Fraser, who is retiring after 22 years of service, into the Mayor’s Parlour.

They were joined by new Lead Soldiers RSM Craig Hilton who now steps into the role and WO2 David Newcombe who will serve as his deputy, as the mayor congratulated them and all 4th Regiment RA’s servicemen and women on behalf of the people of Sunderland on the anniversary.

Coun Scanlan said: “The people of Sunderland are very proud of the Gunners and the regiment’s Freedom of the City.

The 4th Reg RA Standard Bearer Mr George Reynolds and W02 David Newcombe.

The 4th Reg RA Standard Bearer Mr George Reynolds and W02 David Newcombe.

“I was delighted to welcome members of the regiment into the Mayor’s Parlour on an informal visit, and have the opportunity to congratulate them on behalf of the city on their 80th anniversary.”

During their time in Sunderland the group also visited the Memorial Wall and Memorial Walk, where the names of fallen comrades from the Regiment and across the Armed Forces are commemorated.

WO2 David Newcombe, who was born and bred in Sunderland, said: “I’ve served in the regiment for 18 years and always feel proud when I come back home, and had all my family in the crowd watching when we last marched through the city centre as part of our Freedom of the City with Sunderland.

“The majority of those serving with our regiment are from Sunderland and the region, so it’s always a special occasion when we are here.”

Also with the visiting party, was 4th Regiment Standard Bearer, George Reynolds, 68, from Washington who served between 1969 – 73 spending some time in Singapore.

He said: "The close relationship between the regiment and the city is very special, and we try to get involved in community life and make sure there is always a 4th Regiment Royal Artillery presence at civic events such as the Remembrance Parade."