Merry Christmas from all at Wyedean We close on Wednesday 23rd December and reopen on Monday 4th January
Every year we as a nation unite to remember those who have fallen fighting for our country. This year celebrations will be a little different due to Covid. The annual Remembrance Sunday March past at the Cenotaph, where up to 10,000 War Veterans take part in London did not take place this year. The ceremony was still broadcast live on BBC1 at 10:15am. The closed ceremony was attended by the likes of The Prime Minister and Members of The Royal Family. Attendees laid Poppy wreaths at the Cenotaph. Armistice Day 2020 will take place on Wednesday 11th November. On November 11th 1918 the armistice was signed between the Allies of World War I and Germany. This stated an end to any conflict and an end to the war. This was signed at 11am, “on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month.” In many of the Allied nations, and France, this is a national holiday. All over the world people stop to observe a two minutes silence at 11am on the 11th of November. Poppies are worn as a symbol of respect and a tribute to those who fell during the Wars. Socially distanced ceremonies took place on Sunday on a much smaller scale due to Covid. The local councils advised much smaller outdoor ceremonies. We are advised to keep numbers down to those wishing to lay wreaths. Buglers are able to perform outdoors. Any communal singing must be outdoors and is limited to the national anthem and one additional song.
Coronavirus has disrupted many of the Armed Forces celebrations this year. Armed Forces Day, which was supposed to see celebrations across the country on the Saturday 27th June had to be cancelled. The Red Arrows performed a flypast in Scarborough however to commemorate the day. The Hawk jets flew over the town which has planned various events which had to be moved online or cancelled. The Queens Trooping the Colour, which celebrated the Queen’s Birthday, was also scaled back this year. It was confirmed that a mini trooping the colour would be held on the 13th June at Windsor Castle. The small parade of Welsh Guards which would see them troop their colour accompanied by a smaller group of the Bands of the Household Division. VE Day or Victory in Europe was celebrated during this year’s lockdown on Friday 8th May. Celebrations to mark the 75th anniversary of the day were planned across the country however due to coronavirus many celebrations were cancelled. The Queen addressed the nation via a televised broadcast at 9pm on the day, which was the same time her father, The King George VI gave the radio address 75 years ago. The Beating Retreat was also due to take place on June 3rd-4th this year however the decision was made to cancel this military event also due to Covid-19. Those who purchased tickets for the event are to be refunded for their tickets and the organisers hope this event will take place next year. During the coronavirus pandemic the Armed Forces have been on call helping out around the country with various tasks. The Forces have taken a lead role in the UK’s response to the pandemic. During the height of the pandemic there were 20,000 members of the Armed Forces at readiness with more than 4000 being deployed at any one time. One of their major tasks has been helping the NHS. Various Armed Forces personnel helped to set up the Nightingale Hospitals around the country. The vast majority of the mobile testing units were run by military personnel. Staff from HMS Prince of Wales and 1st Battalion Irish Guards were among the staff. 400 members of the Armed Forces were mobilised to help the COVID Support Force. Members from the British Army, RAF and Royal Navy have been supporting the NHS ambulance services and tri-service personnel have trained to drive oxygen tankers if required. Other duties included delivering PPE to NHS staff. The British Army teamed up with EBay to help healthcare workers find and order free personal protective equipment. They have also helped in the increase of medical provision. Two specialist RAF aircrafts, which are normally used to transport Government ministers were reconfigured to help in the fight against coronavirus by being adapted into medical evacuation planes for the critically ill COVID-19 patients.
The Blues and Royals regiment is made up of the Royal Horse Guards (RHG) and the 1st Dragoons. They are a cavalry regiment in the British Army and, along with The Life Guards, make up the Household Cavalry Regiment. The British Household Cavalry is classed as a corps in its own right. Together the two regiments which make up the Household Cavalry, act as the Queen’s personal bodyguard. In 1969 the merger of the Royal Horse Guards, which were then known as “The Blues”, and The Royal Dragoons, which was known as “The Royals”, formed The Blues and Royals. The regiment is the only regiment in the British Army to be known by their nickname. Their Colonel-in-Chief is Queen Elizabeth II and is the second most senior regiment in the British Army. Both Prince William and Prince Harry joined the regiment as cornets in 2006. Due to their role as the monarch’s official bodyguard, this historically meant that the soldiers and officers of the Household Cavalry were drawn from British aristocracy. Although this is no longer the case, many of the officers maintain a close connection to the Royal Family. Newly commissioned officers in the Blues are Royals are named cornets, rather than Second Lieutenants. In the Household Cavalry, the rank of sergeant does not exist. In most dress orders, the Waterloo Eagle is worn on the left arm as part of dress traditions. As the regiment is part of the Household Division, they do not use the Order of the Bath Star for its office rank pips but use the Order of the Garter Star instead. Their lineage can be traced back to the New Model Army. During ceremonial occasions, The Blues and Royals wear a blue tunic, a metal cuirass and a matching helmet with a red plume. The Blues and Royals wear their chin strap under their chin, as opposed to the Life Guards, who wear it below their lower lip. The Blues and Royals are based in Windsor and central London. Since 1992, the squadrons from The Blues and Royals have served with the HCav in Bosnia, Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan.
This year marks the 75th Anniversary of VE, or Victory in Europe Day. On 8th May 1945, Winston Churchill made an announcement on the radio at 3pm after enemy forces had surrendered the previous day. He said, “My dear friends, this is your house.” This year on the 8th May 2020 it will be 75 years since the guns fell silent and marked the end of World War II. To commemorate the event, this year’s May Day Bank Holiday has been moved. Usually the May Day Bank Holiday is the first Monday of May, however this year the date has been moved to Friday 8th May to mark the 75th anniversary of VE Day. Events will take place around the country over weekend from the 8th May to the 10th May 2020 to mark the enormous sacrifice, courage and determination shown by those who served and the millions who lost their loved ones in the conflict. If you wish to find out more information on how you can take part in celebrating the 75th anniversary of VE Day click here. Ensure your uniform is ready to take part in the parades and remembrance duties. You can find all your uniform accessories on our website.
Mess dress uniform is not to be confused with full dress uniform. Mess dress is the semi-formal uniform worn by the military, police and other public uniformed services. The uniform is worn for certain ceremonies and celebrations on private occasions. Design may vary but they mainly consist of a mess jacket, trousers, white dress shirt and are worn with medals or other insignia. Mess dress is seen as an alternative to black tie for evening wear and is sometimes known as half dress. Mess dress is worn predominantly by commissioned officers and non-commissioned officers. It can however be worn by some senior enlisted personnel. The Royal Navy has two forms of evening dress. Mess dress (No. 2A) consists of a mess jacket, plain navy blue mess trousers, white waistcoat and black bow tie. The mess undress (No. 2B) consists of a mess jacket, plain navy blue mess trousers, blue waistcoat or black cummerbund and a black bow tie. Officers in the Royal Navy with the rank of Captain and above wear gold laced trousers and may wear the undress tailcoat with either mess dress of mess undress. The Royal Marines mess differs from the Royal Navy in that the jacket is scarlet. The Royal Marines also wear a scarlet cummerbund. The British Army mess uniform appeared in 1845, initially utilizing the short ‘shell jacket’. The original purpose was to provide a comfortable and inexpensive alternative to the full dress uniforms. After World War I, full dress uniforms mostly disappeared and mess dress became the most colourful and traditional uniform to be worn by most officers in the British Army. The most commonly worn mess dress in the British Army is the No. 10 Mess Dress. It can differ slightly depending on the regiment or corps but mostly this includes the short mess jacket. The colours of the mess jackets and trousers reflect the traditional full dress uniforms of the regiments. Usually the jackets are scarlet, dark blue or rifle green and are worn with embroidered waistcoats. The jackets are worn with high waisted, very tight, trousers called overalls. Ornamental spurs are often worn by cavalry regiments and traditionally mounted corps. Female officers and soldiers wear mess jackets over a dark coloured ankle length evening dress. The Royal Air Force mess dress is similar to the Royal Navy, except the jacket and trousers are mid blue. The No. 5 Mess Dress is also worn with a slate grey cummerbund. For women the same uniform is worn except they wear their high waisted jacket with an ankle length blue grey skirt. Unlike the men’s jacket, which has a pointed lapel, the ladies jacket features a shawl collar. Wyedean work along side military tailors by manufacturing and applying the braiding to the Mess Dress uniforms. Contact us today with your requirements.
The Life Guards (LG), along with The Blues & Royals, are the most senior regiments in the British Army. Together they form the Household Cavalry Regiment (HCav). The regiment was formed in 1660 by King Charles II. It consisted of 80 Royalists who accompanied the King and formed themselves into a military bodyguard to protect The Sovereign. The regiment has always remained the senior regiment of the British Army. The regiment was nicknamed the ‘Cheesemongers’ in the 1780’s. After originally, only recruiting gentlemen-troops, the regiment allowed members of the common merchant class to join. ‘Cheesemongers’ was a pejorative term for the people who worked in a trade. In 1815 the regiment were a part of the Household Brigade at the Battle of Waterloo. Under Major- General Lord Edward Somerset the regiment charged at the French heavy cavalry equivalents, along with the then, Royal Horse Guards. In 1922 the regiment became known as The Life Guards. In 1992 the Life Guards and The Blues & Royals formed a union but retained their separate identity. Since 1945 the regiment has served wherever the British Army has been in action. The Life Guards have been on tours to various places including; Cyprus, Northern Ireland, The Gulf, Palestine and Afghanistan. The regiment continues to be fully integrated as part of the modern British Army and are ready to deploy whenever they are needed. The Life Guards uniform if distinguishable by their red tunics with white horsehair plumes atop their helmets. They also wear a metal cuirass consisting of a front and back plate. Another distinguishing factor of The Life Guards uniform is that they wear their chin strap below their lower lip, unlike The Blues & Royals who wear theirs under their chin. On service dress the Life Guards Officers and Warrant Officers Class One wear a red lanyard and a Sam Browne belt. The Order of the Garter Star are used for Officer rank pips. Their motto is Honi soit qui mal y pense which is popularly translated to “Evil be to him who evil thinks.” View our Life Guards uniform accessories here.
Remembrance Sunday, will be held on Sunday 10th November. The National Service of remembrance will be held at the Cenotaph at Whitehall in London at 11am. The service honours the service and sacrifices of the Armed Forces who fought in the two World Wars and any other conflicts. This yearly remembrance ensures no one is forgotten and honours those who sacrificed themselves to protect our freedom. Every year up to 10,000 veterans, current serving Armed Forces personnel and bereaved spouses and first generation descendants take part in the March Past. From 9am on the 10th November the Royal British Legion detachments form up on Horse Guards Parade. At 10am the March Past begins then at 11am there is a two minute silence in which the whole country falls silent to remember those who gave their lives. The beginning and the end of the silence is marked at 11.00 and 11.02 by the firing of guns by the Kings Troop at Horse Guards Parade The 11th November marks Armistice Day. This year will mark 101 years since the end of the First World War. On November 11th 1918 the armistice was signed between the Allies of World War I and Germany. This stated an end to any conflict and an end to the war. This was signed at 11am, “on the eleventh house of the eleventh day of the eleventh month.” In many of the Allied nations, and France, this is a national holiday. Remembrance does not glorify war. Its symbol, the red poppy, is a sign of remembrance and the hope for a peaceful future. The poppy is greatly appreciated by those who it is intended to support and shows your respect. This well-established symbol is one that carries a wealth of history and meaning. During WW1, much of the countryside on the front in Western Europe was repeatedly bombarded by artillery shells. This turned the landscapes into bleak and barren scenes where nothing could grow, apart from the poppy flower. The Flanders poppy flourished in the middle of all the destruction, growing into tens of thousands. Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, saw the poppies which gave him his inspiration to write the famous poem ‘In Flanders Fields’. This poem led America academic, Moina Michael to adopt the poppy into the memory of those who had fallen in the war. Anna Guerin, in 1921, sold the poppies in the UK where she met Earl Haigh , the founder of the Royal British Legion. He was persuaded to adopt the poppy as the emblem for the Legion in the UK and so in 1921 they ordered nine million poppies and sold them that year. They raised £106,000 to help the veterans which became the first ‘Poppy Appeal’. In today’s Poppy Appeal, 40,000 volunteers distribute 40 million poppies. Remembrance Sunday and Armistice Day offer us all a chance to remember not just those who fought, but what they fought for. Today in the UK, remembrance is very different to how it was 100 [...]
This year, the 17th of September, marked the 75th anniversary of Operation Market Garden. This World War II mission was fought in the Netherlands from 17th – 25th September 1944. Market Garden consisted of two sub operations. Market was an airborne assault to seize key bridges and Garden which was a ground attack moving over the already seized bridges creating the salient, or inroad into enemy held territory Up until that point, this attack was the largest airborne operation, in World War II. The operation was the idea of General Bernard Montgomery. It began with heavy air raids, with para troopers landing around 13:00 hours. The initial phase of the operation was a success as the Germans were taken completely by surprise. Even though the resistance by the Germans was heavier than expected, most of the bridges were captured. The most important bridge, Arnhem, was the most strategically placed and in order for this mission to be successful the ground forces needed to capture the bridge. Unfortunately the German SS pounded the paratroopers and eventually they were forced to surrender. Operation Market garden achieved all objectives apart from the capture of the Bridge at Arnhem. The operation failed for a few reasons. Many felt that Montgomery’s plan was too optimistic. The paratroops were lightly armed and without the support from the ground force they couldn’t hold out for long. The general also failed to understand the terrain the men were fighting on. He assumed the tanks could make their way to the landing zones by only using the roads which was no longer the case. The roads became clogged with burned out tanks and vehicles which delayed the vehicles. Another reason the operation failed was due to intelligence. The Germans anticipated an offensive would be launched to seize Arnhem. Although the British had intelligence with compelling proof that the Germans had significant forces in that region, it was not believed by Montgomery. Lastly, the Germans had been driven back by the British and Americans as they dominated the skies and harassed the Germans. During this time the Germans lost some 90,000 killed or wounded soldiers and 200,000 had been taken prisoner or missing in action. The Germans regrouped in the Netherlands, after the British army failed to encircle the German army in the Scheldt Estuary. Due to German intelligence, and the regrouping of the German army, this meant the SS units were positioned in Arnhem. On a more positive note, Operation Market Garden did lead to the liberation of large areas of southern Netherlands, including the cities of Eindhoven and Nijmegen, however it failed to secure the key bridge at Arnhem which delayed any other planned invasion of Germany and hopes of ending the war by Christmas in 1944. The river remained a barrier to invasion until offensives at Remagen, Oppenheim, Rees and Wesel in March 1945.
The Royal Logistic Corps (RLC) is not only the largest Corps in the British Army, it is also an incredibly diverse organisation. Its soldiers work on both peacekeeping and on operations. The RLC’s main function is to provide constant support to help the Army maintain its optimum operational capability. The RLC was formed in 1993 by a union of five units; the Royal Corps of Transport, Royal Army Ordnance Corps, Royal Pioneer Corps, Army Catering Corps and the Postal and Courier Service which were previously part of the Royal Engineers. Currently the RLC are deployed in Cyprus, Kenya, Canada and the Caribbean. Their current deployment to Cyprus is a 6 month peacekeeping mission as part of the UN peacekeeping agreement. Previously they have been deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. Soldiers in the Royal Logistic Corps are infantry trained. They are also professionally trained in one of 12 trades. 40% of the RLC is detached and serves with other units. The RLC flag is dark blue with the Corps badge in the centre. The unit is the only Corps (Combat Service Support) of the British Army with battle honours. Their battle honours are: Peninsula, Battle of Waterloo, Lucknow, Taku Forts and Peking. Their motto, ‘We Sustain,’ was kept from the Army Catering Corps and their cap badge is an amalgamation of the cap badges from the original forming corps. The laurel and garter band are from the Royal Engineers, the star is from the Royal Corps of Transport, the shield is from the Royal Army Ordnance Corps and the crosses axes are from the Royal Pioneer Corps. The Colonel-in-Chief of the RLC is HRH The Princes Royal. The RLC have a Corps of Drums and a Marching Band. To view our range of RLC uniform accessories click here.