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Why do Troops Salute

Salutes are primarily used in the Armed Forces to show respect. There are numerous methods for performing the salute including: hand gestures, rifle shots, hoisting flags and the removal of headgear. The salute is to acknowledge the Queen’s commission. The subordinate salutes first and holds it until their superior has responded. It is thought that the salute originated when knights greeted each other to show friendly intention by lifting their visor to show their faces. Medieval visors were equipped with a spike which allowed the visor to be lifted in a saluting motion. A British order book in 1745 stated that ‘The men are ordered not to pull off their hats when they pass an officer, or to speak to them, but only to clap up their hands to their hats and bow as they pass.’ This, overtime, evolved into a modern salute. The naval salute is a different gesture, again, as sailors salute with their palm downwards. This is said to be because naval ratings usually had dirty hands. The British Army and Royal Air Force salute has been given with the right-hand palm facing forwards since 1917 and was given with the hand furthest from the person being saluted. View the videos below to see how a salute is done in the Royal Air Force, Royal Navy and British Army.

2021-03-30T16:39:24+01:0022 November 2016|

Remembrance Day 2016

Soldier Wearing Poppy and Afghanistan MedalBritain will fall silent for two minutes to remember the end of the First World War on Friday the 11th of November. This tradition of holding a silence was started by King George V to ensure that the ‘thoughts of everyone may be concentrated on reverent remembrance of the glorious dead.’ This day is called Armistice Day, Remembrance Day or sometimes more informally Poppy Day. From 2014 to 2018 this day has an added significance from the fact that this period marks the centenary of the First World War. From 1919 until 1945, Armistice Day was always on the 11th of November. In 1946 it was moved to Remembrance Sunday. Since the 50th anniversary of the end of World War II in 1995 it became usual to have ceremonies on both days. In 2006 Veterans Day was also created to help celebrate the achievements of the veterans. Today this is named Armed Forces Day and held annually. This year Remembrance Sunday falls on the Sunday nearest the 11th of November, which is the 13th. Every year memorial services and two minute silences are held at 11am all over the country at cenotaphs and churches. It is a time to remember the dead from all wars, not just WWI. During the war when the soil was churned up by endless fighting, poppies still managed to flourish leading the red poppy becoming a symbol of remembrance for the First World War. The poppy is also seen as a symbol to honour the millions of current servicemen and women who fight in our Armed Forces. John McCrae recognises the poppy in the Poem ‘In Flanders Fields’.   In Flanders Fields, John McCrae (1872-1918) In Flanders fields the poppies blow Between the crosses, row on row, That mark our place: and in the sky The larks, still bravely singing, fly Scarce heard amid the guns below. We are the Dead. Short days ago We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow, Loved and were loved, and now we lie, In Flanders fields. Take up our quarrel with the foe: To you from failing hands we throw The torch: be yours to hold it high. If ye break faith with us who die We shall not sleep, though poppies grow In Flanders fields. The Cenotaph Whitehall, London Following the Remembrance Day Parade in 2010 The first wreath is laid by the Queen on behalf of the nation and before other senior members of the Royal Family, including the Duke of Edinburgh, Prince of Wales and Prince Harry follow suit. Wreaths are then laid by the Prime Minister and leaders of major political parties, and lastly, by representatives from the Armed Forces: Royal Navy, Royal Air Force and the Army. The British Legion also organises a cenotaph service and parade at Whitehall. Groups such as the British Red Cross, St John Ambulance, Civil Defence Association and the Salvation Army, as well as a huge parade of veterans also pass the [...]

2021-03-30T16:41:03+01:002 November 2016|

The Household Cavalry

The Household Cavalry (HCav) is made up of the Life Guards and the Blue and Royals - the most senior regiments of the British Army. These two regiments are the Queen’s official bodyguard and are divided into two with the Armoured Regiment (HCR) being stationed at the Combermere Barracks in Windsor and the Mounted Regiment (HCMR) at Hyde Park Barracks in London. The Household Cavalry is classed as a corps and dates back to the 1660s. With the Life Guards being formed by King Charles II in 1660 and the Blues and Royals both being formed in 1661. The Blues and Royals were amalgamated into one unit in 1969. The two units of the Household Cavalry have very different roles: The first is the Household Cavalry regiment (HCR). This has an active operational role and serves using armoured fighting vehicles meaning the HCR are often at the forefront of the nation’s conflicts. The Household Division have been required to take part in special tasks as the Sovereign’s personal troops. The second unit is the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment (HCMR). As the name suggests they are a mounted troop and carry out ceremonial duties on Royal occasions. They are most commonly known for the Trooping of the Colour ceremony on the Queen’s birthday. The regiment has been based at Hyde Park Barracks since 1795. Before World War II, recruits were required to be at least 5 feet 10 inches tall but could be no taller than 6 feet 1 inch. Non-commissioned officers (NCOs) and warrant officers (WOs) in the Household Cavalry do not wear rank insignia on their full dress uniforms. Rank is indicated by the style of the aiguillettes. The ceremonial uniform for the Household Cavalry is different to that of other soldiers. They wear a shiny silver helmet with a long horsehair plume. When they are on mounted guard duty they also wear metal chest armour called a cuirass. The two regiments can be distinguished between by their jackets and the plumes on their helmets. The Life Guards wear red tunics or jackets with a white plume. The Blues and Royals wear blue tunics and have red plumes to their helmets. The Household Cavalry is regarded as the most prestigious unit in the British Army. Officers and soldiers were often drawn from the British aristocracy as they were in such close proximity to the reigning sovereign. The Household Cavalry still maintains a connection with the Royal Family and in recent years both Prince William and Prince Harry were commissioned into the Blues and Royals.

2021-03-30T16:43:24+01:0025 October 2016|
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