Saturday, May 23, 2009

Kashmir goat | Goat as a member of the royal army | Billy the goat

Having a goat as a member of the Royal Army might seem funny to most people, but it has been a British tradition for more than 200 years.

Lance Corporal William Windsor has served in the army for the last eight years, traveling overseas, meeting royalty and leading military parades. His comrades from the 1st Battalion of the Royal Welsh said goodbye to their loyal colleague as he walked by to the trailer that took him to the zoo, where he will spend his retirement.

Billy the Goat is a Kashmir goat and was offered as a gift to the Royal Army, by the Queen herself. Billy’s replacement will be announced in June, when another kid goat will be picked from a heard in Great Orme, North Wales.

Photos by PA and Reuters.

Billy the goatRoyal salute: Billy, a Kashmir goat, was a gift from the Queen in 2001

Billy the goatGuard of honour: The retiring goat, wearing full ceremonial dress, is led out for the last time by handler Lance Corporal Ryan Arthur

Billy the goatFond farewell: The route from pen to trailer was lined by soldiers from the Chester-based regiment to say thank you to Billy for many years of service

Billy a Kashmir goatFull ceremony: Billy, who is nine, prepares to travel in a trailer to Whipsnade Zoo

Billy a Kashmir goatPride: Billy, whose real name is William Windsor, bears a silver plaque - a gift from the Queen - a tradition that goes back to Queen Victoria's donation in 1884

Billy a Kashmir goatLeaving home: Lance Cpl Ryan Arthur leads Billy through their digs in Chester


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