WREXHAM mayor Mike Edwards has become the first man to present service medals to the new 1st Battalion of the Royal Welsh (The Royal Welch Fusiliers).
And the battalion, currently based at Aldershot, will be coming nearer to home in 2009.
Service medals were presented to 30 soldiers who had returned from a tour of duty in Iraq at a special presentation.
The Royal Welch Fusiliers formally changed its name as a result of the Ministry of Defence's reorganisation of the army.
The Royal Welsh marked its formation in North Wales with a parade in Hightown Barracks, to coincide with a St David's Day Royal Welsh Drumhead Service in Cardiff.
The medals, along with the removal of the old headdress and the issuing of a new one, were presented after the mayor and mayoress Kay Edwards inspected the troops. And the regiment held its traditional St David's Day celebration which includes the elaborate leek-eating ceremony.
Mayor Edwards said: 'It is a great honour to visit Hightown Barracks and present these medals.
'Wrexham has a long military tradition and the formation of the Royal Welsh, with its North Wales headquarters based in Wrexham, will ensure tradition continues for many years.'
Major Bob Lake of the Royal Welsh said: 'The day was tinged with sadness for the Royal Welch Fusiliers, but the ancient valour of the regiment will not be lost and its name, ethos and traditions will continue in the 1st Battalion of the Royal Welsh (The Royal Welch Fusiliers).
'In 2009, the 1st Battalion will take up a permanent home at the Dale Barracks, Chester, where it will build on its close links with Wrexham and North Wales. This will herald a new era for the regiment in its traditional area.'
Hightown Barracks, the true home of the Royal Welch Fusiliers, is unsuitable as a home for the battalion but its administrative centre will remain there.