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.
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.
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.
The King’s Royal Hussars are a regiment with cavalry traditions and an interesting history. The King’s Royal Hussars were established in 1992, however the four original cavalry regiments which make up the modern King’s Royal Hussars have a long history of service with their own customs and traditions. The origins of the regiment stretch right back to 1715 when the 10th, 11th and 14th Hussars were raised to serve in the two Jacobite Rebellions. In 1854 the 11th Hussars took part in the infamous Charge of the Light Brigade during the Crimea campaign. The various regimens went through numerous changes over the years culminating in 1992 with the merging of the Royal Hussars and the 14th/20th Hussars into the Kings Royal Hussars we see today. The regiment is located at Aliwal Barracks in Tidworth, they are experts in operating a range of armored vehicles including the Challenger 2 battle tank which is used to support troops on close combat operations and the Scimitar reconnaissance vehicle which are used as scout vehicles ahead of the main troop. Overall their job is to form aggressive action against any enemy targets using their armoured vehicles. Their skills include; reconnaissance, conducting patrols, close combat, shock action and surveillance. We stock a variety of the Regiment's badges. Click here to view the range.
Military colours, standards or guidons are carried to act as a rallying point for troops and to mark the location of the commander. During the High Middle Ages, it became a regular practice to have their commander’s coat of arms on their standards. It was decided that during the chaos of battle, the soldiers needed to be able to determine which their regiment was. Regimental flags were awarded by the head of state and were inscribed with the names of battles of other symbols representing achievements. They were treated with honour. It became considered a great feat of arms if the enemy’s standard was captured. Colour Guards were enlisted to protect their colours. These were often elite soldiers. If the colours are ever in jeopardy of being captured by the enemy, they must be destroyed. The Colour Guards are a group of soldiers assigned to protect the regimental colours. This duty is usually carried out by a young officer as it is considered so prestigious and experiences non-commissioned officers are assigned to the protection of the flag. The NCO’s re usually armed with either rifles or sabres to protect the colour. When standing orders become too old to use they are never destroyed, but laid up in museums or places of significance to the regiment. In more modern battles, colours are no longer carried into battle due to the changes in tactics. They are still used at events. In the United Kingdom the infantry regiments of the Army carry two colours which together are called a stand. These are two large flags which are mounted on a half pike with the regiments insignia placed in the centre. The Rifle regiments traditionally do not carry colours. The two rifle regiments in the British Army; The Rifles and the Royal Gurkha Rifles carry their battle honours on their drums. In place of Regimental colours, the Gurkhas carry the Queen’s Truncheon. The Royal Navy and the Royal Air Force also have colours. The Royal Navy colours consist of a White Ensign with a Union Jack and a Masthead pennant. Unlike the colours of regiments in the Army, every colour of the Royal Navy is identical. Units in the Royal Navy to hold a Queen’s colour are- - Naval Aviation Command - Submarines Command- Fleet -Britannia Royal Naval College - Surface Flotilla - Royal Naval Reserve. The Royal Air Force colours are made from sky blue silk and the Royal Cypher with a crown above is in the middle.
The Household Cavalry Regiment, who are made up of the Blues and Royals Regiment and the Life Guards Regiment, have been based in Windsor for more than 200 years. Over 250 soldiers marched through the town to mark their departure to Bulford Camp in Wiltshire on Salisbury Plain. The parade included marching troops, mounted troops and the Band of the Household Cavalry and started at Combermere Barracks and headed to Guildhall for a salute. The Princess Royal addressed The Household Cavalry and their families. The Welsh Guards will be taking over the Combermere barracks. This is all part of a major restructuring of the British Army.
[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text] The Grenadier Guards have been active since 1656 and are one of the British Army’s most iconic and oldest regiments. The members of the Regiment are renowned for their determination, loyalty and grit. Since its formation over 360 years ago, the Regiment, then named the Royal Regiment of Guards, has fought in all major battles in which the UK has been involved. Specializing in Light Role Infantry, they often use light vehicles such as quad bikes. They have to be fast and mobile and ready to deploy anywhere in the world at short notice. Their dual roles; serving on the battlefield and providing precision whilst carrying out ceremonial duties in London and Windsor Castle. The training of a Grenadier Guard is, at the beginning versatile. Once they have completed basic training, they can specialize as a Sniper, Reconnaissance Operator, Machine Gunner or other roles including logistical support and guarding royal palaces. Past deployments include; Operation Herrick and Operation Telic. Currently they are training for Operation Shader, Operation Trenton and Operation Toral which are all in either South Sudan, Afghanistan or Iraq. Their motto is ‘Honi soit qui mal y pense’ which means 'Shame to him who thinks evil of it,' popularly rendered as ‘Evil be to him who evil thinks’ and are recognized for their white plume on the left side of their bearskin cap. View our range of Grenadier Guards uniform accessories here. [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]