British Army incremental infantry companies
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The British Army maintains a total of four incremental companies to serve as permanent public duties units in London and Edinburgh. Of these, three are from regiments of foot guards, with the fourth from a line infantry regiment.
The Guards Division of the British Army contains a total of five battalions, one from each of the five regiments of Foot Guards. However, 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 after the location where the Grenadier Guards parachuted into during the Second World War)
- 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. In 2010, with the closure of Chelsea Barracks, the three companies were moved. F Company Scots Guards are now permanently based at Wellington Barracks alongside the resident infantry battalion, while Nijmegen Company Grenadier Guards and No 7 Company Coldstream Guards are stationed at the Royal Artillery Barracks in Woolwich.
As part of the Army 2020 reforms outlined by the Strategic Defence and Security Review, an additional incremental company was formed in 2013 through the reduction of the 5th Battalion, Royal Regiment of Scotland to company strength to serve as a public duties unit in Scotland. The new unit, Balaklava Company, is intended to move to Edinburgh by 2014.