A VALE of Clwyd Major who served in wartorn Afghanistan is now guarding Buckingham Palace.
Major Henry Llewelyn Usher, 37, a former Ruthin School student, completed his Welsh Guard, operational tour of Afghanistan in October 2012 and commanded the change of guards at Buckingham Palace yesterday on February 19.
Major Usher started his army career at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst at 25-years-old after studying Medieval History in Cambridge University.
“I joined the Welsh Guard Regiment in 2001 and was deployed to Bosnia as a peacekeeper,” said Major Usher.
“I’ve served all over the world with the Welsh Guards, I’ve been to Northern Ireland as peace support and fought in Afghanistan and Iraq.
“I don’t think we’ll be going back to Afghanistan, it was our fifth tour there,” he added.
Major Usher’s company, Number Three, affectionately known in the regiment as the ‘little iron men’, conducted a wide range of roles in Helmand Province, focusing on the continued training, development and mentorship of the Afghan Police Force.
Major Usher was also a commander 2nd Lieutenant in the Seven Platoon in Bosnia when a mass grave was discovered in 2002.
The Lieutenant was part of the guardsmen on patrol when a mass war grave in a cemetery, which was not meant to be there, had to be exhumed.
He is now the commader of changing of the guards, which is the process involving a new guard exchanging duty with the old guard.
Major Usher said: “The Welsh Guard is one of five parts of the household division.
“There is a requirement to fulfil ceremonial occasions and public displays.
“A lot of people don’t realise the men who stand outside guarding Buckingham Palace are soldiers, they have served their country.
“We took a lot of casualties last year whilst fighting and people should know they were there too.”
Major Usher is married to Helen Usher and has a three-year-old girl and a nine-month-old girl, who was born whilst he was in Afghanistan.
The former Ruthin student attended the boarding school as his great-grandfather also studied there and owned a vets in Denbigh.
“The guards went to venture training in Denbighshire before we went to Afghanistan last year,” said Major Usher.
“We have a strong connection with Wales, it is incredibly strong and most of the soldiers are from North Wales and some from the South.”
The Welsh Guards will also be trooping the colour in June.