UK warrior's haka farewell

MICHAEL FIELD
Last updated 13:27 13/07/2014
7th Armoured Brigade/Facebook

A real British Army warrior has farewelled his soldiers with a striking solo haka.

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A real British Army warrior has farewelled his soldiers with a striking solo haka.

Delivered in perfect te reo, Lieutenant Colonel Steven Davies' performance came as a big surprise to many who thought he was Australian.

Davies had brought his 32 Engineer Regiment home from a gruelling and tragic Afghanistan tour.

The regiment, also known as 3 Mercian or Staffords, supports the famed Desert Rats, the 7th Armoured Brigade.

Davies is their last commander - the regiment is being broken-up.

Many of its sappers are Fijian so when it came to saying goodbye to Davies, the whole regiment lined up behind them and performed a powerful cibi or war dance, advancing on him.

When it was over, Davies peformed a Ka mate haka. 

The Desert Rats posted it on their Facebook page, and the hundreds of comments point to Davies being a much admired commander.

Some of the comments:

+ "A fitting tribute to an awesome commanding officer & a man that looked after his regiment."

+ "Goes to show how far and wide our Sapper family is. Never met a bad Kiwi."

+ "That was class and shows what respect he has for the ranks under his command."

+ "Absolutely brilliant. A sure sign of fond respect for a great leader and Steve is one great leader."

+ "Great job Steve but I always thought you were Australian!"

+ "Well done Steve a great bloke who no doubt put his soldiers first every time ... One of the few."

Davies regiment is set to be disbanded as part of British Government plans to reduce the army by 20,000 troops by 2018.

Davies has promised that the battalion's traditions - such as its battle honours, regimental silver and regimental drums - will be carried forward within the reorganised regiment.

And the famous Staffordshire Knot - the cap badge worn by soldiers for hundreds of years - could be retained in future Mercian uniforms.

"We will go forward together and take the golden threads of our antecedent battalions with us.

"The regiment had a final parade this week. Davies, who led the 3rd Battalion the Mercian Regiment on its nine month tour of duty on the front line in Afghanistan, confessed he was 'choked up' after final parades in Stafford, Wolverhampton, Walsall, Cannock, Newcastle-under-Lyme, Stoke-on-Trent, Tamworth, Burton-upon-Trent, and finally in Lichfield.

"It is emotional for any CO to relinquish command. You invest so much of your hopes, fears and dreams with the battalion that it is always going to be difficult to let go.

"But it adds a certain poignancy to the situation to be the last Commanding Officer of 3Mercian. It has been an honour and a privilege although I understand why it has to go."

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