Author - Susannah Walbank

HMS Pickle

HMS Pickle

There have so far been eight ships named HMS Pickle in the Royal Navy. The most recent being an Algerine-class minesweeper which was launched in 1943. The original HMS Pickle was launched in the 1800s and was a 10-gun topsail schooner. The ship was present at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805, under John Richards’ Lapenotiere, but was unfortunately wrecked in 1808. During the Battle of Trafalgar, HMS Pickle was too small to fight but was given the honour of being the first ship to bring the news of Nelson’s victory to Great Britain. In 1995, five replica Baltic packet schooners were constructed. In 2005 one was renamed ‘Schooner Pickle’ and although not a replica of HMS Pickle, this ship took part in the 200 year Trafalgar celebration. Currently the ship is at Hull Marina on the Humber and is kept as a representation of the original Pickle. The anniversary of the Battle of Trafalgar is on the 21st October. If you [...]

Windsor Castle

The Military Knights of Windsor

The Military Knights of Windsor were known informally as the Poor Knights. Originally known as the Alms Knights, they are retired officers who receive a pension and accommodation at Windsor Castle. They are commanded by the Governor of the Military Knights of Windsor, who is a senior officer who has also retired. Retired Officers must become a Military Knight before the age of 65 and places are given to applicants in needy circumstances who are married. Military Knights provide support for the Order of the Garter and for the services of St. George’s Chapel. The Military Knights of Windsor participate in the Order’s processions and escort the Kings and Ladies of the Garter and are not paid for their duties today. During the reign of King Edward III, following the Battle of Crecy (1346), the Alms Knights of St George’s Chapel were established. Originally, veteran warriors were called to ‘serve God continually in prayer’. Duties included attending four services per day [...]

The Rifles

The Rifles

The Rifles is the largest British Army infantry regiment. There are a wide range of jobs in the regiment, which, unlike any other regiment in the infantry, are a three hour travelling time from anywhere in the UK. The regiment was formed in 2007 as a result of the Future Army Structure and is made up of five Regular and two Reserve battalions. Since the formation of the regiment, it has been involved in many combat operations such as the Iraq War and the War in Afghanistan. The Band and Bugles of The Rifles was formed by renaming the Band and Bugles of the Light Division. This then formed the band for The Rifles. The Buglers are selected from the regular battalions and are trained to play the bugle and a fast march of 140 paces per minute. A private soldier in a rifle regiment is known as a Rifleman and Sergeant, which is spelt in the archaic fashion. The founding regiments [...]

Windsor Castle

Constable and Governor of Windsor Castle

The Constables and Governors of Windsor Castle take charge of Windsor Castle on behalf of the Sovereign. The Constable does not receive a salary but lives in the Castle. Day-to-day operations are looked after by the Superintendent who is an officer of the Royal household. Since 1660 the posts of Constable and Governor have been joined as one. They are also in charge of their garrison, including the Windsor Castle Guard of the Foot Guards of the Household Division. The office was filled by a member of the Royal Family from 1833 to 1957, but is now held by a senior retired officer of the armed forces of the Crown and so is their representative. The current Constable and Governor of Windsor Castle is Admiral Sir James Perowne who was born in 1947. During his career he served on HMS Opportune, HMS Superb and HMS Boxer. He retired in 2002.

Medals in wear

How to wear your Medals

The British Armed Forces recognise outstanding personal achievements by giving individuals from the Royal Navy, Royal Air Force and British Army various awards and decorations. Medals, ribbons and emblems awarded by HM The Queen are only permitted to be worn by the recipient. Whether friend or family, wearing someone else’s awards is classed as fraud. Ribbons can be worn without the medals themselves, apart from The Orders of the Garter and Thistle. Ribbons are to be worn over the left breast pocket button in the centre of the pocket. The ribbons are worn in rows with the most senior medal worn nearest the jacket lapel or front buttons, and in the top row if multiple rows are worn. The number of ribbons worn in a row depends on the width of the breast pocket, however, if the uniform has no breast pocket then the number of ribbons worn must be no more than five. If there is an incomplete row of [...]

HMS Hurworth

Mine Counter-Measure Vessels

During the 1990s the Royal Navy had two classes of off-shore patrol vessels: Island-class and Castle-class. In 1997, however, these were replaced by River-class which featured much larger vessels. The largest patrol vessel is HMS Protector which is a dedicated Antarctic patrol ship. There are also mine counter-measure vessels currently in service, including: the Sandown-class mine-hunters and the Hunt-class vessels. Hunt-class vessels have mechanical devices known as ‘sweeps’ used for disabling mines, while modern ships are soundproofed to reduce the chances of detonating the mines. Minesweeper vessels differ considerably to minehunter vessels. While minehunter vessels detect and neutralise mines, minesweepers clear open waters containing large numbers of mines.  Both vessels are formally referred to as mine counter-measure vessels (MCMV). There are various Royal Navy bases for the Mine Counter-Measures Squadron. HM Naval Base Clyde and Faslane are two of them. The First mine Counter-Measures Squadron (MCM1) recently received the Surface Flotilla Efficiency Trophy for keeping sea lanes safe from mines. When operating overseas, the [...]

Military Funerals

Military Funerals

A military funeral is a memorial given by the military for a serviceman who died in battle, a veteran or prominent military figures. A military funeral may include the firing of a volley of shots as a salute, drumming, a flag draped over the coffin or a guard of honour. In British Army military funerals, reserved arms are carried and the Last Post and Rouse of Reveille are sounded. Any Service personnel who died while serving are entitled to a private funeral or a funeral at public expense. Generally, there is no ceremonial at a private funeral. This normally depends on the next of kin in conjunction with the unit. Military funerals take place with some or all military honours depending on the circumstances. Any salutes of guns are fired after the body has been laid to rest. The Military honours are: – Bearer Party – Pall – Bearers – Insignia Bearers – Escort and Firing Party of Gun Salute – Musical support – Minute Guns Personnel who have served [...]

Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP)

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) is the Canadian national police service and an agency of the Ministry of Public Safety Canada. THE RCMP is unique in that it is a national, federal, provincial and municipal policing body. The RCMP’s 28,000 staff provides policing to all Canadians and is present in eight provinces (except Ontario and Quebec). The force’s scope of operations now includes organised crime, terrorism, illicit drugs, economic crimes and offences that threaten the integrity of Canada’s national borders. In May 1873 the Parliament of Canada established a central police force which was made up of 150 recruits sent to Manitoba and named theN orth-West Mounted Police (NWMP).  During 1847 its members marched to Alberta and established a permanent post at Fort Macleod where half of its recruits, now up to 275 members, were posted. The rest were sent to Fort Edmonton of Fort Pelly. In 1919 the NWMP decided to merge with the Dominion Police and together they would [...]

High Sheriff's visit Liberty Wing

High Sheriffs

A High Sheriff is a ceremonial officer appointed to each county of England, Wales and Northern Ireland. The Office of High Sheriff is a non-political Royal appointment lasting for a single year. The role dates back to Saxon times, when the ‘Shire Reeve’ was responsible for the maintenance of law and order within the county. High Sheriffs are the oldest secular Office in the UK after the Crown. Today there are 55 High Sheriffs serving the counties in England and Wales. Supporting the Crown is still one of their central roles, but they also lend support to crime prevention agencies, emergency services and the voluntary sector. Each year three nominations are made in a meeting of the Lords of the Council in the Queen’s Bench Division of the High Court of Justice. Every March the meeting of the Privy Council takes place where the Sovereign selects the High Sheriffs. This is known as the ancient custom of ‘pricking’. Male High Sheriffs wear [...]

Soldiers of the Royal Irish Regiment on Parade

The Royal Irish Regiment

The Royal Irish Regiment is made up of two Battalions, one Regular and one Reserve. The regiment is the only one to be awarded the Conspicuous Gallantry Cross which was given by The Queen on the 6th of October 2006. The regiment was founded in 1992 through the amalgamation of the Royal Irish Rangers and the Ulster Defence Regiment. Its motto is ‘Faugh A Ballagh’ meaning Clear the Way. This originated from the Peninsular War when Ensign Edward Keogh of the 87th Regiment of Foot cried out when capturing a French Eagle. The 1st Battalion recently switched from air assault infantry to being at the forefront of developing the Foxhound vehicle. They are now the Army’s first Light Mechanized Battalion. The 2nd Battalion provides reinforcements to all 1st Battalion deployments and receives direct support from their Regular counterparts. The 2nd Battalion can also deploy personnel on operations overseas exercises in its own right. Both the 1st and 2nd Battalions could serve [...]