Royal Guards (Thailand)
|Branch||Royal Thai Army|
|Nickname||Thahan Song Lo (ทหารสองโหล, Two-Dozen soldiers)
Mahat Lek Lai Ka (มหาดเล็กไล่กา, Scarecrow Corps)
|Chulalongkorn the Great|
The Royal Guards were established by King Chulalongkorn the Great of Thailand in 1859, when he was still crown prince. Initially, the Royal Guards were servants with duties such as scaring crows, which led to commoners referring to them as the "Mahat Lek Lai Ka," roughly translated as "Scarecrow Corps."
When he succeeded his father in 1868, King Chulalongkorn took his Royal Guard and formed a 24-strong Royal Bodyguard, referred to as the "Thahan Song Lo" (Two-Dozen soldiers"). In 1870, the Royal Guard regiment were given the name the "King's Guard" and their duties included escorting the king while he travelled around the country.
About the year 1875 the necessity for surveys in connection with improvements in the city of Bangkok, and for supervision in carrying out these improvements, led to the selection of certain officers of the royal bodyguard for training in this direction. These officers were formed into a special company called "Military Engineers of the Royal Bodyguard," in which Mr. James McCarthy held the rank of captain. A royal decree issued September 3, 1885, separated the surveyors from the royal bodyguard and created the Royal Survey Department, which is now the Royal Thai Survey Department (Thai: กรมแผนที่ทหาร, a Special Services Group of the Royal Thai Armed Forces Headquarters.
There are several dozen units within the Royal Thai Armed Forces which have been granted Royal Guards status; the most notable units, which participate at the annual Thai Royal Guards parade, are as follows:
- 1st Infantry Regiment, King's Own Bodyguard (a.k.a. "Ratchawanlop")
- 1st Infantry Battalion, 11th Infantry Regiment, King's Guard
- 21st Infantry Regiment, Queen's Guard (a.k.a. "Thahan Suea Rachini" Thai: ทหารเสือราชินี Queen's Tiger Soldiers)
- 31st Infantry Regiment, King's Guard
- 1st Artillery Battalion, King's Guard
- 1st Cavalry Squadron, King's Guard
- 1st Engineer Battalion, King's Guard
- 1st Marine Battalion, King's Guard (Royal Thai Marine Corps)
- 1st Security Force Battalion, King's Guard (Royal Thai Air Force)
- 2nd Infantry Battalion, 11th Infantry Regiment, King's Guard
- Naval Cadet Regiment, King's Guard
- CRMA Cadet Regiment, King's Guard
- Air Cadet Regiment, King's Guard
HRH Princess Sirindhorn with her royal guards, 2012.
Colours guards of the 1st Infantry Regiment, King's Own Bodyguard
Colours guards of the 1st Cavalry Squadron, King's Guard
The Royal Thai Army Band in uniforms of various royal guards unit, ranked in the shape of the flag of Thailand
Colours guards of the Naval Cadet Regiment, King's Guard, Royal Thai Naval Academy
Colours guards of the 1st Marine Battalion, King's Guard, Royal Thai Navy
Colours guards of the Air Cadet Regiment, King's Guard, Royal Thai Air Force Academy
Colours guards of the 1st Security Force Battalion, King's Guard, Royal Thai Air Force
- Giblin, R.W. (2006) . "Royal Survey Work." (65.3 MB). In Wright, Arnold; Breakspear, Oliver T. Twentieth century impressions of Siam. London&c: Lloyds Greater Britain Publishing Company. p. 121. Retrieved 7 October 2011.
- Kenneth Conboy, South-East Asian Special Forces (Osprey)
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