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.
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.
Sword belts in the military are worn around the waist, their purpose being to hold a ceremonial sword. There are various styles of belts available, some which ore worn over the tunic, such as the Sam Browne, the RAF Officers and the Naval Officers. Sword belts can have several components; as well as the waist belt, there are also sword slings, or a sword frog for retaining the scabbard. Often there is a shoulder belt worn with the ensemble to prevent the weight of the sword pulling down the belt. This can also, be achieved by the belts being held in place by hooks on the tunic. Swords can be worn in two positions, raised or hooked up, where the scabbard or frog is attached to a hook to raise the sword to stop it trailing. Alternatively, they can be worn down hanging from the slings or the frog. Sword belt ensembles can be made from a number of materials, but are primarily made from leather, webbing, PVC, or a combination. Sword belt styles differ by the individual services and also often by rank or regiment.
The Royal Marines are the amphibious troops of the Royal Navy and one of the world’s most elite commando forces. They are held at a very high readiness in order to be able to respond quickly to events around the world. The Royal Marines were formed in 1755 as the infantry troops for the Royal Navy, however, they do have roots right back to the formation of the English Army’s Duke of York and Albany’s maritime regiment of Foot in 1664. The adaptable light infantry force are trained for rapid deployment and are capable of dealing with threats worldwide. The Royal Marines are split into different units: 3 Commando Brigade 1 Assault Group Royal Marines 43 Commando Royal Marines (or previously the Fleet Protection Group Royal Marines) Special Forces Support Group The Corps receive training on various things: amphibious warfare, arctic warfare, mountain warfare, expeditionary warfare and its commitment to the UK’s Rapid Reaction Force. Their training is the longest and one of the most physically demanding training regimes in the world. There is a 32 week training program for Marines and 60 weeks for Officers. Recruits must be aged between 16 and 32 and from the end of 2018, women will be permitted to apply. Their training ends with commando courses which are a set of physical and mental endurance tests that highlight their military professionalism. The rank structure within the Royal Marines is similar to that of the Army. Officers and other ranks are recruited and are initially trained separately from other naval personnel. On average there are 1,200 recruits and 2,000 potential recruits every year. It wasn’t until 2017 that women have been able to service in all Royal Marines roles. The modern Royal Marines uniform includes a green ‘Lovat’ service dress worn with a green beret. The scarlet and blue mess dress is worn by officers and senior non-commissioned officers and a white uniform is worn by the Royal Marines Band Service. The Royal Marines’ motto is the Latin ‘Per Mare Per Terram’ which translates to ‘By Sea By Land’ and describes the regiment’s ability to fight on land and aboard Royal Navy ships. We have a wide variety of Royal Marines uniform accessories and ceremonial accoutrement on our website. View our range here.
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 Royal Scots Borderers The Royal Highland Fusiliers The Black Watch The Highlanders Balaklava Company Reserve battalions 52nd Lowland 51st Highland The Royal Scots Borderers operate in a light infantry role and are based at Palace Barracks in Belfast. The battalion, however, is moving to Aldershot and converting to a specialised Infantry battalion, to contribute to counter-terrorism and building stability overseas. The uniform and dress of the battalions differs slightly: hackles are worn while in PCS combat dress, and each battalion wears a different colour. The Royal Scots Borderers wear a black plume while the Royal Highland Fusiliers’ is white. The new Dress Uniforms incorporate a number of traditions: all battalions wear the Lowland pattern Glengarry and all battalions wear Blackcock tail feathers in the No.1 and No.2 dress which are attached to the Glengarry. The Band of the Royal Regiment of Scotland wears the feather bonnet which has a red over white hackle and scarlet doublet in Full Dress uniform. The regiment’s new cap badge was unveiled at the Edinburgh Military Tattoo in 2005. The new badge incorporates the Saltire of St Andrew and the Lion Rampant of the Royal Standard of Scotland. These are two prominent nations’ symbols. The Royal Regiment of Scotland’s motto is Nemo Me Impune Lacessit (No One Assails Me With Impunity). This is the motto of the Order of the Thistle, Scotland’s highest order of chivalry, and was the motto for four of the pre-existing Scottish regiments. To view our range of uniform accessories for the Royal Regiment of Scotland click here.
The Royal Air Force Regiment (RAF) is the ground fighting force for the Royal Air Force and provides a range of force protection. The Royal Air Force Regiment functions as a specialist airfield defence corps and was founded by Royal Warrant in 1942. The regiment’s members are known within the RAF by a number of names: ‘The Regiment’, ‘Rock Apes’ and ‘Rocks’. The regiment trains in CBRN (chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear) defence. They are equipped with advanced vehicles and detection methods. Each member undertakes a 32-week gunner course and is trained to prevent a successful enemy attack in the first instance, minimise the damage caused by a successful attack, and ensure that air operations can continue without delay in the aftermath of an attack. The regiment was formed in 1942 and had 66,000 personnel drawn in from the former Defence Squadrons No.’s 701-850. The role of the new regiment was to seize, secure and defend airfields to enable air operations to take place. The regiment was made up of both field squadrons and light anti-aircraft squadrons. The Royal Air Force Regiment is under command of the 2 Group, Air Command. There are eight regular squadrons within the regiment: Nos 1, 2, 15, 26, 27, 34, 51 and 63 Queen’s colour Squadron. The Field Squadrons are divided into flights which are a similar size to an army platoon. Each field squadron has rifle flights who are to engage enemy at close range, and a support weapons flight, which provides fire support to her rifle flights using machine guns, mortars and snipers. The RAF regiment became the first branch of the British Armed Forces to allow women into all of its roles. To view our RAF Regiment products and accessories click here.
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. This is due to their motto being ‘Nulli Secundus’ (Second to None) The role of the Foot Guards is to act as the primary garrison for the capital and for ceremonial duties. Two battalions are appointed for public duties. They provide the Queen’s Guard, the Tower of London Guards and sometimes the Windsor Castle Guard. On Public Dates, the Guards Battalions are located in barracks close to Buckingham Palace. In the future the Foot Guards will serve in a ceremonial role and the Reaction and Adaptable Forces. There are many other Foot Guards in armies over the world. The term ‘Guards’ is considered an honorific term to distinguish elite soldiers. Most monarchies have at least one regiment of guards and their duties to guard the Royal Family. We stock Foot Guards Military Uniform Accoutrement and Accessories on our webshop. Click here to see the items.
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 of the Yeomen Warders is called the Yeoman Warder Ravenmaster and has responsibility to maintain the welfare of the ravens of the Tower of London. The Ravenmaster lets the bird out of their cages each day and feeds them. The ravens have been there long before King Charles II. Legend says that if the ravens ever leave the Tower, the White Tower will fall and disaster will befall the kingdom. When King Charles received complaints that the ravens were interfering with observatory work, he ordered the re-siting of the Royal Observatory to Greenwich rather than remove the ravens. Until 2009, sailors could not become Yeomen Warders as they swear an oath of allegiance to the Admiralty rather than the monarch personally. In 2009, due to a petition from the Governor of the Tower, to allow Royal Navy senor ratings to serve, the Queen allowed them to become Yeomen Guards. In 2007 Moira Cameron because the first female to become a Yeoman Warder. The Yeomen Warders wear an ‘undress’ uniform which has dark blue with red trimmings. When on duty they wear a red and gold uniform. Click here for a selection of metallic laces similar to those used on these military uniforms. The Beefeaters and their families live in accommodation inside the fortress. They pay council tax and rent. They must also own a home outside the fortress for their retirement. Some of the accommodation that they are living in dates as far back as the 13th century. The Tower of London community is made up of Yeoman Warders and their families, the Resident Governor and officers, a chaplain and a doctor.