Goats on and off poles and in the military -- a philosophical walkabout

We all know the philosophy of goatonapole as illustrated here:


I now present for your edification the Regimental Goat. First, a bit of backstory from their website:

Shenkin (the Welsh pronunciation of 'Jenkins') is a goat from the Royal Herd at Windsor, and is the official mascot of the Royal Welsh, and is looked after by Goat Major Sgt. David Joseph BEM.

Regiments of the British Army have always been prone to adopt members of the animal world as their mascots: bears, apes, dogs, geese, ponies and rams are just a few that have graced ceremonial parades. Three Regiments used to parade a goat - The Royal Welch Fusiliers, the Royal Regiment of Wales, and the Royal Welsh Regiment. However on 1st May 2006 these three Regiments merged to form ' The Royal Welsh', of which Shenkin is the mascot.

Wild goats were at one time quite common in Wales, particularly in the mid and northern counties of the Principality. The goat, particularly the billy is hardy, stubborn, and when confronted, aggressive, and can live off the land in the most inhospitable climates - character traits that were, and still are, desirable in a soldier.

The origins of the Regimental Goat reach back to the Crimean War of 1854/56 where one of the Irish soldiers acquired a small goat kid with which he intended to supplement his meagre ration. He was on sentry duty at the time and tucked the live kid under his greatcoat.

During the night, he fell asleep, to be suddenly awakened by the agitated bleating of the animal. As he came to, he espied a Russian patrol advancing and was able to warn the forward picket who drove off the enemy.

The goat mascot was present during a review at Aldershot in 1856 by Her Majesty, Queen Victoria of regiments that had returned from the Crimea. On that occasion the Queen promised the 41st (The Welch Regiment) that upon his death, the goat would be replaced by one from the Royal Herd in Great Windsor Park. That custom has since perpetuated.

Within the 1st Battalion of the Regiment, the Goat was officially listed as Private Gwylim Jenkins. The soldier appointed as his keeper and trainer is known as the Goat Major.

The Goat often accompanied the Battalions on active service and were, when applicable awarded the appropriate service or campaign medals.

The last Goat of the Welsh Regiment to go on active service was that of the 1 Welch which accompanied the battalion to Korea in 1951.

Private Jenkins is that handsome fellow to the left. The life of a Regimental Goat is not always an easy one though -- from newsvine:

British Army Demotes Mascot Goat, Billy
A British army regiment's ceremonial pet goat was demoted in disgrace after it marched out of line before a host of dignitaries during a parade to mark Queen Elizabeth II's birthday, a military spokesman said Saturday.

The military mascot, a 6-year-old male goat called Billy, was downgraded from the rank of lance corporal to fusilier - the same status as a private - after army chiefs ruled his poor display had ruined the ceremony earlier this month at a British army base in Episkopi, western Cyprus.

Lance Cpl. Dai Davies, 22, the goat's handler, was unable to keep control during the June 16 march. The mascot darted from side to side, throwing soldiers off their stride, Capt. Crispian Coates, a spokesman, said by telephone from the base in Cyprus.

"The goat, which has been the regiment's mascot since 2001, was supposed to be leading the march, but would not stay in line," Coates said. "After consideration, the commanding officer decided he had no option but to demote Billy."

Ambassadors from Spain, Sweden and the Netherlands were among those who attended the march along with U.N. dignitaries.

Since the goat's demotion, soldiers of a lower rank are no longer expected to salute Billy as a sign of respect, Coates said.

Capt. William Rose, a soldier present at the parade, said the goat "was trying to head-butt the waist and nether regions of the drummers."

And you are expecting Billy to behave any differently? The drummers were probably off tempo -- everyone knows that goats have an innate groove goin' on. Lance Corporal Dai Davies needs to go back to step one with goatonapole and begin again the quest for his inner goat.

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This page contains a single entry by DaveH published on June 24, 2006 10:00 PM.

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