The Guards Division is an administrative unit of the British Army responsible for the administration of the regiments of Foot Guards and the London Regiment. The Guards Division is responsible for providing two public duties battalions to London District (plus three incremental companies); although the guards are most associated with ceremonial, they remain as operational infantry battalions, and as such perform in all the various roles of infantry.
Before the Options for Change defence review in 1992, there were eight battalions:
- 1st and 2nd Bn, Grenadier Guards
- 1st and 2nd Bn, Coldstream Guards
- 1st and 2nd Bn, Scots Guards
- 1st Bn, Irish Guards
- 1st Bn, Welsh Guards
The cuts made to the infantry under Options for Change included three battalions of Guards. However, rather than disbanding them, the 2nd Battalions of each of the first three regiments were placed in "suspended animation" - although they would not be active, they would still be listed on the Army Roll, and could be reactivated should they be needed. In order to maintain the traditions of each battalion, and to keep custody of the colours, three companies were kept active, one to represent each battalion:
- No 2 Company, 2nd Bn Grenadier Guards (renamed Nijmegen Company)
- No 7 Company, 2nd Bn Coldstream Guards
- F Company, 2nd Bn Scots Guards
These three units were based permanently at Chelsea Barracks in London on public duties until Chelsea Barracks was sold off by the army. They represent the suspended battalions at significant events, such as Trooping the Colour, and receive the battalion's new colours whenever they are presented. As such, each company is an independent unit of their regiment, separate from the operational battalions.
Current units comprise:
- Regular Army Units
- 1st Battalion, Grenadier Guards (light infantry role)
- Nijmegen Company, Grenadier Guards
- 1st Battalion, Coldstream Guards (public duties role)
- No 7 Company, Coldstream Guards
- 1st Battalion, Scots Guards (armoured infantry role)
- F Company, Scots Guards
- 1st Battalion, Irish Guards (light infantry role)
- 1st Battalion, Welsh Guards (public duties role)
- Territorial Army Units
Past units include:
- 2nd Battalion, Grenadier Guards (1656–1994)
- 2nd Battalion, Coldstream Guards (1711–1993)
- 2nd Battalion, Scots Guards (1689–1993)
- Guards Independent Parachute Company (1948–1975)
- The Royal Guards Reserve Regiment (1900-1901)
- The Guards Machine Gun Regiment (1917-1920).
Note: The three battalions have technically not been disbanded; instead they are in "suspended animation" and, in theory, can be re-raised if needed. The colours and traditions of each battalion are kept and maintained by the incremental companies. Also the heritage of the Guards Independent Parachute Company has now been continued through the Guards Parachute Platoon that is attached to the 3rd Battalion of the Parachute Regiment.
List of Bands:
- "Wellington Barracks Review". Retrieved 18 April 2014.
- Heyman, p.88
- Whitaker's Almanack 1969
- Heyman, Charles (2012). The British Army: A Pocket Guide, 2012-2013. Pen & Sword.