|Arms of the British Army|
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The Guards Division is an administrative unit of the British Army responsible for the training and administration of the regiments of Foot Guards and the London Regiment. The Guards Division is responsible for providing two battalions for public duties to London District (plus three incremental companies); although the guards are most associated with ceremony, they are nevertheless operational infantry battalions, and as such perform all the various roles of infantry.
Before the Options for Change defence review in 1992, there were eight battalions:
- 1st and 2nd Battalions, Grenadier Guards
- 1st and 2nd Battalions, Coldstream Guards
- 1st and 2nd Battalions, Scots Guards
- 1st Battalion, Irish Guards
- 1st Battalion, 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.
- Guards Division Headquarters, at Wellington Barracks, Westminster
- Regular Army
- 1st Battalion, Grenadier Guards (Public Duties), at Lille Barracks, Aldershot Garrison
- 1st Battalion, Coldstream Guards (Light Infantry), at Victoria Barracks, Windsor
- 1st Battalion, Scots Guards (Mechanised Infantry), at Mons Barracks, Aldershot Garrison
- 1st Battalion, Irish Guards (Light Infantry), at Cavalry Barracks, Hounslow
- 1st Battalion, Welsh Guards (Public Duties), at Combermere Barracks, Windsor
- Nijmegen Company, Grenadier Guards (Permanent Public Duties), at Wellington Barracks, Westminster
- No 7 Company, Coldstream Guards (Permanent Public Duties), at Wellington Barracks, Westminster
- F Company, Scots Guards (Permanent Public Duties), at Wellington Barracks, Westminster
- Army Reserve
- 2nd Battalion, Grenadier Guards (1968–1994), reduced to Nijmegan Company
- 2nd Battalion, Coldstream Guards (1968–1993), reduced to No.7 Company
- 2nd Battalion, Scots Guards (1968–1971, reduced to 2 Scots Guards Company in 1st Battalion, re-instated 1972–1993), reduced to F Company
- Band of the Grenadier Guards (1968–1994), transferred to Royal Corps of Army Music (CAMUS) on formation of that corps
- Band of the Coldstream Guards (1968–1994), transferred to CAMUS
- Band of the Scots Guards (1968–1994), transferred to CAMUS
- Band of the Irish Guards (1968–1994), transferred to CAMUS
- Band of the Welsh Guards (1968–1994), transferred to CAMUS
Note: The three 2nd 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.
Telling the regiments apart
The five regiments of foot guards are most often seen in full dress uniform, comprising navy trousers, scarlet tunic and bearskin cap. From a distance they appear identical, but there are ways to distinguish between the regiments:
- The colour of the plume, and which side of the bearskin it is worn on
- The spacing of the tunic buttons
- The badge worn on the collar
- The badge worn on the shoulder
|Regiment||Plume||Plume colour||Button spacing||Collar badge||Shoulder badge|
|Grenadier Guards||Left||White||Singly||Grenade||Royal Cypher|
|Coldstream Guards||Right||Red||Pairs||Garter Star||Rose|
|Scots Guards||N/A||N/A||Threes||Thistle||Thistle Star|
|Irish Guards||Right||Blue||Fours||Shamrock||St Patrick Star|
- Guards Parachute Platoon (6 Platoon, B Company, 3rd Battalion, Parachute Regiment)
- G Squadron, 22nd Special Air Service Regiment (1968–Present)
- Household Cavalry
- Household Division
- King's Troop, Royal Horse Artillery
- Guards Division for the tactical formation active in World War I (and briefly at the end of World War II)
- Guards Armoured Division for the tactical formation active in World War II
List of Bands:
- Band of the Grenadier Guards
- Band of the Coldstream Guards
- Band of the Scots Guards
- Band of the Irish Guards
- Band of the Welsh Guards
- "Wellington Barracks Review". Retrieved 18 April 2014.
- Heyman, p.88
- "Army 2020 Report" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 10 June 2014. Retrieved 1 December 2015.
- Whitaker's Almanack 1969
- "Brigade of Guards [UK]". 18 December 2007. Archived from the original on 18 December 2007. Retrieved 25 July 2020.
- "2nd Bn, Scots Guards: Service". 18 December 2007. Archived from the original on 18 December 2007. Retrieved 25 July 2020.
- "The Parachute Regiment". www.facebook.com. Retrieved 25 July 2020.
- "Guards Parachute Platoon, 3 PARA |ParaData". www.paradata.org.uk. Retrieved 25 July 2020.
- "22nd Special Air Service Regiment: Service". 24 October 2007. Archived from the original on 24 October 2007. Retrieved 25 July 2020.
- Heyman, Charles (2012). The British Army: A Pocket Guide, 2012–2013. Pen & Sword. ISBN 9781848841079.