British Army

Changing The Guard

Royal Navy Sailors to perform Changing the Guard

Royal Navy sailors are to perform the Changing the Guard, often also referred to as the Changing of the Guard, at Buckingham Palace for the first time in the ceremony’s 357 year history. The sailors will also perform Royal Duties at St James’s Palace, Windsor Castle and the Tower of London. There will be 86 sailors from 45 different Royal Navy ships performing the ceremony after months of preparation at their headquarters in Portsmouth. Lt Cdr Steve Elliott will be Captain of the Queen’s Guard. He is believed to be the first in the Royal Navy since Sir Walter Raleigh in 1587. The Changing the Guard ceremony is usually carried out by one of the Foot Guard Regiments in their red military tunics. 2017 is set to be marked as the ‘Year of the Navy’ which is why there’s a change. The Changing the Guard is the ceremony where one set of guards hands over the responsibility of protecting Buckingham Palace and [...]

Royal Artillery

The Royal Artillery (RA)

The Royal Artillery (RA) provides firepower to the British Army and is more commonly known as the ‘Gunners’. Regular and reserve units make up the Royal Artillery and are located all around the UK and Germany. Originally formed in 1716, the RA found its regimental home in Woolwich for almost 300 years until it was recently relocated to Larkhill in Salisbury Plains. The Regiment has sub-units, or batteries, which can be deployed independently and move around regiments. It is able to perform many different roles within a single regiment. The Royal Artillery answers directly to the reigning sovereign, currently Queen Elizabeth II through the Master Gunner who is Her Majesty’s chief advisor on artillery matters. The modern battlefield means that new equipment is constantly developed so soldiers and officers in the Royal Artillery have to be flexible enough to cope with the demands of this. Before World War II, Royal Artillery recruits were required to be at least 5 feet 4 inches tall. There [...]

Kings Troop

The King’s Troop 70th Anniversary Parade

The King’s Troop 70th Anniversary Parade is due to take place on the 19th of October 2017 in Hyde Park, London. The event celebrates 70 years since the troop’s formation with a royal Review by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. The King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery has existed since 1946 and had its first royal visit on 24th October 1947 by King George VI to the Riding Troop. He famously scratched out the name Riding and replaced it with King’s, and from then on in they were The King’s Troop. The King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery form the Queen’s ceremonial Saluting Battery. The Troop is a mounted unit and is stationed at Woolwich, London. The troop’s duties include the firing of the Royal Salutes on royal anniversaries, and providing a gun carriage and team of block horses for state and military funerals. The troop also performs the duties of the Queen’s Life Guard at Horse Guard’s for one month each year. We [...]

Royal Regiment of Scotland

The Royal Regiment Of Scotland

The Royal Regiment of Scotland is the most senior and only Scottish line infantry regiment forming a core part of the British Army. The regiment consists of four regular battalions and two reserve battalions. As each battalion was formerly an individual regiment, they all maintain their former regimental pipes and drums to carry on the traditions of their antecedent regiments. The Royal Regiment of Scotland was formed in 2004 by the Secretary of State for Defence, Geoff Hoon, after a British Army restructuring. The regiment, along with the Rifles, is one of two line infantry regiments to maintain its own regular military band within the Corps of Army Music. This was formed through the amalgamation of the Highland Band and the Lowland Band of the Scottish Division. All battalions in the Royal Regiment of Scotland took the name of their former individual regiments. This was to preserve regional ties and former regimental identities. The order of battle is shown below: Regular battalions The [...]

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 [...]

Dalton Barton

Dalton Barton World War II Letter

The Wyedean Weaving Company established itself in Haworth in 1964 as a manufacturer of narrow fabrics, braid and uniform accoutrement. The business originated in Coventry around 1850 and was previously known as Dalton, Barton and Co Ltd. During WWII, the main factory in Coventry was completely destroyed during the Blitz in 1941. The company’s East End London warehouse and store in Jewin Street London were also later destroyed. For this reason the company possesses no artefacts or records dating from before the Blitz, nor evidence of this difficult time in the Company’s history…that is until recently when the letter shown below came to light from one of Dalton Barton’s war-time customers. Gary Smith is the current owner of fourth-generation upholsterers JE Smith and Son, and he tracked Wyedean down when he found the letter from Dalton, Barton hidden away in the company’s workshop. Gary’s grandfather purchased webbing from Dalton, Barton during the war and his company manufactured sewing bags for gas [...]

Cocked Hat

Cocked Hats

A bicorne, or cocked hat, is a two-cornered cocked hat which was worn during the 18th and 19th centuries and was adopted from the European and American military and naval officers. Today the bicorne is mostly associated with Napoleon Bonaparte and this style of hat was worn widely by most generals and staff officers until 1914. The bicorne descended from the tricorne. There was usually a cockade in the national colours at the front of the hat, but later on the hat became more triangular in shape and the two ends became more pointed. During the 1790s the hat was worn side-to-side. Some were even designed so they could be folded flat. This style was known as a chapeau-bras. During World War I the bicorne was worn as part of the full dress for officers. By the Second World War the hat had almost disappeared in this context. In the UK, cocked hats are worn during some ceremonial occasions: During the Trooping of the [...]