When the 1st Battalion was based outside the UK, or on unaccompanied operational tours, it was the responsibility of the Colonel of the Regiment and his deputies, RHQ and others - serving or retired - in the two counties to help maintain the Regiment's high profile. There was frequent contact with the Lords Lieutenant, with the Mayors and other civic dignitaries, with HMS Devonshire (until she was decommissioned in July 1978), with HMS Exeter (commissioned in September 1980), with RAF Chivenor, and also with our affiliated regiments in Canada, Australia and Malaya. The two ACFs and the school CCFs were also part of this wider Regimental family. The key to the success of RHQ was having the right people on the spot: people who knew the Regiment well and were committed to the task in hand. In this respect the Regiment has always been extremely fortunate.
On 7 February 1997 General Sir John Archer succeeded Brigadier 'Speedy' Bredin as Colonel of the Regiment while, the same year, Brigadier Randle took over as Regimental Secretary, based in Exeter, from Lieutenant Colonel Windeatt. In September 1979 Lieutenant Colonel Wakely retired as Assistant Regimental Secretary and Museum Curator at Dorchester and was replaced by Major Wyllie, who had previously been in Exeter, while Lieutenant Colonel Stone became Assistant Regimental Secretary in Exeter. An important development during this period was the amalgamation of the Welfare Funds of the three Regimental Associations, which took place in 1979. Meanwhile the Territorial Army remained unusually stable and C and E Companies, 1 Wessex, continued to be a credit to the Regiment: for example, these two companies provided the backbone of the 1 Wessex team that won the prestigious China Cup, the major unit trophy for shooting, in both 1979 and 1982. On 1 December 1979 Colonel Michael Bullock succeeded General Sir John Archer as Colonel of the Regiment, handing over in his turn to Major General Colin Shortis in December 1984.