Monthly Archives - September 2017

RFA Cardigan Leading Royal Navy Ships in the Middle East

Royal Fleet Auxiliary

The Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA) is a civilian manned unit delivering operational and logistical support worldwide for tasks undertaken by the Royal Navy. Some of these include warfighting, counter-piracy, disaster relief and counter-narcotic operations. The RFA is a support force aiding the Royal Navy and allows them to conduct global maritime operations. As well as its primary role of supplying Royal Navy ships with fuel, ammunition and supplies, it also transports Army and Royal Marine personnel and supports training exercises. The Royal Fleet Auxiliary has aviation training ships and hospital ships in its fleet along with landing ships. RFA officers wear Merchant Navy rank insignia with naval uniforms but are under naval discipline when the vessel is engaged on any war-like operations. The RFA was established in 1905 originally to provide coaling ships for the Navy. It wasn’t until the Second World War when the Royal Fleet Auxiliary really came into its own. The Royal Navy really depended on it as often [...]

Foot Guards

Foot Guards

The Foot Guards are the Regular Infantry regiments of the Household Division of the British Army. There are five active regiments of the Foot Guards and one reserve regiment: Grenadier Guards Coldstream Guards Scots Guards Irish Guards Welsh Guards Royal Guards Reserve Regiment A simple method to help distinguish between different Guards is by looking at the spacing of the buttons on their tunics. Grenadier Guards – evenly spaced tunic buttons. Coldstream Guards – paired tunic buttons. Scots Guards – tunic buttons in groups of three. Irish Guards – tunic buttons in groups of fours. Welsh Guards – tunic buttons in groups of fives. The ascending number of buttons also indicates the order in which the regiments were formed. Various other features on the uniform help distinguish between regiments such as the plumes, the collar badge and the shoulder badge. When the regiments all parade together they form up in the order of: Grenadier Guards on the right flank, then Scots Guards, Welsh Guards, Irish Guards and the Coldstream Guards on the left flank. [...]

Duke of Wellington’s Regiment

Duke of Wellington’s Regiment

The Duke of Wellington’s Regiment was an infantry regiment in the King’s Division formed in 1702 by Colonel George Hastings, 8th Earl of Huntingdon. Originally the regiment was named Huntingdon’s Regiment, as was custom back then, but the name later changed as one Colonel succeeded another. In 1751 regiments were given numbers, so from that day forward it was called 33rd Regiment of Foot. It wasn’t until 1852, when the Duke of Wellington died, that Queen Victoria ordered the regiment’s title be changed to the 33rd (or The Duke of Wellington’s) Regiment. In 1881, the 33rd regiment was linked with the 76th Regiment of Foot who shared their depot in Halifax. It was after this that the two regiments respectively became the 1st and 2nd battalions of the Duke of Wellington’s Regiment. By 1948 the two regiments were amalgamated into one battalion. Following further mergers in 2012, the battalion was renamed the new 1st Battalion (1 Yorks) of the regiment. Nine soldiers [...]

Yeomen Warder

Yeomen Warders

Beefeaters, is the affectionate name given to what are more formally known as the Yeomen Warders of Her Majesty’s Royal Palace and Fortress the Tower of London, and Members of the Sovereign’s Body Guard of the Yeoman Guard Extraordinary. They are responsible for looking after any prisoners in the Tower of London and safeguarding the British crown jewels but are also the ceremonial guardians of the Tower of London. To be eligible to become a warder you must be retired from the Armed Forces of Commonwealth realms and must have been a former warrant officer having at least 22 years of service. You must also hold the Long Service and Good Conduct medal. The Yeomen Warders were originally formed in 1485 by King Henry VII. Since the Victorian era they have conducted guided tours around the Tower of London. In 2011 there were 37 Yeomen Warders and one Chief Warder. Each night the Beefeaters participate in the Ceremony of the Keys. One [...]

Royal Hospital Chelsea

Royal Hospital Chelsea

The Royal Hospital Chelsea is a nursing home and retirement facility for British Army veterans. The London-based Hospital is located on Royal Hospital Road in Chelsea. The charity relies on donations to help towards the day-to-day running of the accommodation. Any veteran who is over the age of 65 and has served as a regular soldier may apply to become a Chelsea Pensioner, or resident at the Hospital. They must also have found themselves in a time of need and must be ‘of good character’. Applicants must not have any dependant spouse or family and any former Officers must have served at least 12 years in the ranks before receiving a commission. King Charles II founded the Royal Hospital in 1682 as a retreat for veterans. Some of the first to be admitted were those injured at the Battle of Sedgemoor. It wasn’t until 2002 that the Sovereign’s Mace was presented to the hospital – up until that point the hospital had [...]