Guard of honour
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A guard of honour (en-GB), guard of honor (en-US), also honour guard (en-GB), honor guard (en-US), also ceremonial guard, is a guard, usually military in nature, appointed to receive or guard a head of state or other dignitary, the fallen in war, or to attend at state ceremonials, especially funerals. In military weddings, especially those of commissioned officers, a guard, composed usually of service members of the same branch, form the Saber arch. In principle any military unit could act as a guard of honour. However, in some countries certain units are specially designated for guard of honour duty.
Guards of Honour also serve in the civilian world for fallen police officers and other civil servants. Certain religious bodies, especially Churches of the Anglican Communion and the Methodist movement, have the tradition of an Honour Guard at the funeral of an ordained elder, in which all other ordained elders present "guard the line" between the door of the church and the grave, or hearse if the deceased is to be buried elsewhere or cremated. The pratice of providing a guard of honour as a mark of respect also occurs in sports, especially throughout the Commonwealth of Nations.
- 1 Military
- 1.1 Guards of honour practice in different countries
- 1.1.1 Argentina
- 1.1.2 Australia
- 1.1.3 Brazil
- 1.1.4 Canada
- 1.1.5 Bulgaria
- 1.1.6 China (People's Republic of China)
- 1.1.7 Colombia
- 1.1.8 Croatia
- 1.1.9 Czech Republic
- 1.1.10 Denmark
- 1.1.11 East Germany
- 1.1.12 France
- 1.1.13 Germany
- 1.1.14 Greece
- 1.1.15 Hungary
- 1.1.16 India
- 1.1.17 Indonesia
- 1.1.18 Iran
- 1.1.19 Ireland
- 1.1.20 Italy
- 1.1.21 Kazakhstan
- 1.1.22 Macedonia
- 1.1.23 Malaysia
- 1.1.24 Mexico
- 1.1.25 Monaco
- 1.1.26 Netherlands
- 1.1.27 Pakistan
- 1.1.28 Philippines
- 1.1.29 Poland
- 1.1.30 Romania
- 1.1.31 Russia (Russian Empire)
- 1.1.32 Russia (Russian Federation)
- 1.1.33 Serbia
- 1.1.34 Singapore
- 1.1.35 South Africa
- 1.1.36 South Korea
- 1.1.37 Sri Lanka
- 1.1.38 Sweden
- 1.1.39 Taiwan (Republic of China)
- 1.1.40 Turkey
- 1.1.41 United States
- 1.1.42 United Kingdom
- 1.1.43 Vatican City
- 1.1.44 Vietnam
- 1.1 Guards of honour practice in different countries
- 2 Sports
- 3 See also
- 4 References
Guards of honour practice in different countries
Regiment of Mounted Grenadiers (Argentina). Still serving as part of the Argentine Army, they are the presidential guard and ceremonial companions. Two unmounted grenadiers are stationed in front of the Pink House as a symbol of the ceremonial and honour guard.
The tri-service Federation Guard, consisting of members of the Australian Army, the Royal Australian Air Force and the Royal Australian Navy provides guards of honour for various ceremonies. All members of the guard are enlisted in their respective areas before volunteering for service in the guard. The rifle of choice is the L1A1 SLR.
The Brazilian armed forces and police have several troops for ceremonial usages. The most important of them is the Brazilian president's honour guard. It is composed of the 1st Guards Cavalry Regiment (1o Regimento de Cavalaria de Guardas – RCG, in Portuguese) – "Independence Dragoons", the Presidential Guard Battalion (Batalhão da Guarda Presidencial – BGP, in Portuguese) and the Cayenne Battery.
The Canadian guard of honour is formed from members of the Ceremonial Guard, an ad hoc unit drawn from all branches of the Canadian Forces (CF). Although the unit's members are derived from a variety of military units, the Ceremonial Guard uses similar uniforms to Canada's two Foot Guards regiments as a reflection of their traditional connection with those regiments. The unit comprises 400 people, including a Foot Guard company and the Band of the Ceremonial Guard. The Ceremonial Guard typically execute public duties in Ottawa during the summer months of the year. The Guard is mounted on dates such as Canada Day and Remembrance Day, inspected by the most senior dignitary in attendance. They may also be formed for repatriation ceremonies for fallen soldiers returning from combat. Public duties in Ottawa were performed by the Canadian Guards before the unit's disbandment in 1970.
Prior to 2007, membership with the Ceremonial Guard was restricted to the Foot Guards of the Canadian Army. The Household Division of the Canadian Army had traditionally performed ceremonial duties, such as guard mounting or Trooping the Colour. The Household Division consists of two regiments of Foot Guards (the Canadian Grenadier Guards and the Governor General's Foot Guards) as well as one cavalry regiment (the Governor General's Horse Guards). Several other Canadian regimental units have also performed guard of honour duties, including the Royal 22nd Regiment.
National Guards Unit (Bulgarian: Национална гвардейска част), established 1878, includes military units for army salute ceremonials, a band and a wind orchestra. In 2001 the National Guards Unit was declared the official military unit representing the Bulgarian Army and one of the symbols of modern state authority along with the flag, the coat of arms and the national anthem.
China (People's Republic of China)
Honour guards, as known as Combined Honour Guard of the People's Liberation Army, are provided by the Beijing Capital Garrison Command in Beijing, under the Central Theater Command and reporting directly to the General Staff. They marched as the first division in the military parade of the 35th, 50th, and 60th anniversaries of the People's Republic of China. They are often on parades led by a color guard detail carrying the PLA flag.
The 37th Infantry Presidential Guard Battalion, composed of five companies, a historical company and one artillery battery plus a military band, a fanfare trumpet section and Corps of Drums, is the President of Colombia's honour guard service regiment under the National Army of Colombia. It is stationed at the Casa de Nariño in Bogota and carries the traditions of Simon Bolivar's infantry guards company raised in the midst of the Spanish American wars of independence in 1815.
In Croatia, the Honour Guard Battalion (Croatian: Počasno-zaštitna bojna) serves as the guard of honour. The Honour Guard Battalion performs protocol tasks for the needs of top-level state and military officials, as well as tasks related to the protection and security of the Commander-in-Chief (President of the Republic of Croatia). It consist of up to 300 members. The unit is under direct command of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Croatia.
Ceremonial duties are usually served by the Castle Guard, a special unit of the armed forces of the Czech Republic, organized under the Military Office of the President of the Czech Republic, directly subordinate to the President of the Republic.
The Royal Life Guards is an infantry regiment of the Danish Army. It serves in two roles: as a front line combat unit, and as a guard/ceremonial unit to the Danish monarchy. Danish Amalienborg palace is guarded by this unit day and night.
The primary mission of the Wachbataillon is to perform the military honours for the German Federal President, Federal Chancellor, Federal Minister of Defense and the Inspector General of the Bundeswehr during state visits or on similar occasions. In addition, the Wachbataillon takes part in military events and ceremonies of major importance. A secondary mission is to perform ceremonial guard duty at the Ministry of Defense and other high-profile public places, and protect and guard the members of the German government and the Ministry of Defense.
In Greece, the Presidential Guard is a unit of the Greek Army guarding the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and the Presidential Palace. Its members, known as Evzones, must be taller than 1.85m and are trained hard as their duty includes standing completely still for more than an hour 4 times a day. They are famous for their military discipline, the ability to stand motionless without even blinking, their stylish walking and the uniform which derives from traditional Greek dress.
The Honour Guard in Hungary was the HDF 32nd Budapest Guard and Ceremonial Regiment (Hungarian: 'MH 32. Budapest Őr- és Díszezred') until 31 December 2006, at which time it was disbanded. From 1 January 2007 was the Ceremonial Battalion branch, part of the MH Támogató Dandár (MH TD, HDF Support Brigade) until 31 December 2010. Converted from 1 January 2011 to Nemzeti Honvéd Díszegység (National Home Defense Ceremonial Band) as part of the MH TD and achieved the service from 25 April. The official honour guard of the Hungarian People's Republic was the Hungarian People's Army's 7015th Ceremonial Regiment (Hungarian: Magyar Néphadsereg 7015 Dísz -és őrezred).
In India, the guard of honour is provided by men or women drawn from three services of the Indian military: the Indian Army, Indian Air Force, and Indian Navy. A national guard of honour unit is based at New Delhi and is of company size, present only during state visits.
In Indonesia the unit institutionally intended to act as an honour guard for the President of Indonesia and towards foreign state visitors is the Paspampres, a special branch of the Indonesian National Armed Forces. The Paspampres are responsible for the security of the President and vice president and are also responsible for the internal security of the Residence of the President. In addition to the Paspampres, there are other honour units known as Pasukan Jajar Kehormatan chosen from the different units within the Indonesian Armed Forces and Police force, specifically for representation purposes.
During the ceremony commemorating the independence day of Indonesia in the Merdeka Palace at every 17th of August, honour guards which line-up during the ceremony are part of the combined-forces honour guard which includes the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Police force. Paspampres honour guards in this occasion, join the Paskibraka troops for escorting the national flag of Indonesia.
In Italy the unit institutionally intended to act as an honour guard to the President of the Italian Republic is the Corazzieri Regiment, a special branch of the Carabinieri. The Corazzieri follow the President during official occasions and are also partly responsible for the internal security of the Quirinal Palace. In addition to the Corazzieri, there are other honour units chosen from the different Armed Forces, specifically for representation purposes. These units have to stand guard at important places, such as the gates of the seats of the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate, at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in the Altar of the Homeland, and at the gates of the Quirinal Palace.
Example of honour units from the different Armed Forces are:
- Italian Army:
- Italian Navy:
- Italian Air Force:
During state funerals, honour guards are granted to the departed by the protocol. The guards are positioned at the entrance and the exit of the place in which the ceremony is held. Aside from the aforementioned services, honour guards are also found within the Guardia di Finanza and the Polizia di Stato. They perform the same duties mentioned above.
The Macedonian Guard (македонска гарда, makedonska garda) is part of the Army of the Republic of Macedonia which is mainly used for ceremonial purposes. It is the personal guard of the President of the Republic of Macedonia. The National Guard can be often seen near the presidential palace, during official visits of foreign presidents or delegations, ceremonies and during the days of the flag. In 2010 the Ministry of Defence proposed and designed new uniforms for the guards. Both, the old and the new uniforms, are based on the uniforms of the Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization (IMRO) revolutionaries with some details of the other periods of the history of the Republic of Macedonia. Influence over the new design were based on the uniform worn by revolutionary Dedo Iljo Maleshevski and the uniforms of the 19th century Ukrainian Macedonian regiment which served in the Imperial Russian Army.
The guard of honour in Malaysia usually consists of the 1st Battalion, Royal Malay Regiment, which performs most ceremonial duties in Malaysia, such as Heroes' Day, visitation of diplomats and state leaders, National Day, guard duties at the Royal Palace of Malaysia, and many more, in the national level. The RMR also mounts the guard during state visits to the Ministry of Defense.
- Royal Ranger Regiment - Perlis
- Royal Armoured Corps - Terengganu
- Royal Johor Military Force - Johor (the only state level defense formation and one of Malaysia's oldest military units)
- Royal Artillery Regiment - Kelantan
- Royal Regiment of Engineers - Perak
- Royal Signals Regiment - Negeri Sembilan
Units of the Royal Malaysia Police in Melaka, Penang, Sabah and Sarawak, as well as the Royal Malay Regiment and the Royal Rangers, mount guards of honour of the governors of these states. Guard of honour units are also found in the Royal Malaysia Police, the Fire and Rescue Department, and the Malaysia Civil Defence Force.
Honour guards units of the Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN Honour Guard Battalion, Lumut) and the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF Honour Guard Battalion or the RMAF College) are mounted in the presence of the Sultan of Selangor and the Sultan of Pahang, respectively, in events where each of the two service branches are involved. Visits to the MoD building by naval and air general and flag officers are also accompanied by the guard of honour units of these services.
The Honour Guard in Mexico consists of members selected from the Navy, Army or Air Force, and report to the Secretariats of National Defense and the Navy, while the Estado Mayor Presidencial maintains, through the Army Presidential Guards Corps, a dedicated guards brigade. Some of their duties include protection of the Mexican flag in Zocalo, and the raising and lowering of it, as well as providing ceremonial guards during state visits to Mexico. There are also those selected from other organizations, such as historic societies, schools, sports centers, celebrities, etc, but these are for national holiday events within the country. Escolta de la bandera or Escolta de guerra or Escolta de honores or simply La escolta is the term in Spanish for color guards and flag parties.
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In Pakistan, the guard of honour is provided by men drawn from three services of the Pakistan Armed Forces: The Pakistan Army, Pakistan Air Force, and the Pakistan Navy.
The Presidential Security Group provide honour guard services to the President of the Philippines in Malacanang Palace, especially during state visits to the country. The PSG is the only presidential guard service in Asia that is composed of men and women from the various uniformed organizations of the Philippines: the Armed Forces of the Philippines, the Philippine National Police, the Bureau of Fire Protection and the Philippine Coast Guard.
The AFP has 5 designated honour guard battalions mandated for public duties for events concerning the Armed Forces. They are:
- General Headquarters Security & Escort Battalion, AFP General Headquarters and Headquarters Service Command
- Security and Escort Battalion, Philippine Army
- Headquarters Philippine Navy & Headquarters Support Group, Philippine Navy
- Marine Security and Escort Group, Philippine Marine Corps
- Air Force Special Security Group, Philippine Air Force
Honour Guard units are also present in the PNP and the PCG, and are mounted on important occasions of these two services.
The Honour Guard unit in Poland is the Batalion Reprezentacyjny Wojska Polskiego (Representative Honour Guard Battalion of the Polish Armed Forces) from 1 January 2001.
Also posted within its ranks is the Mounted Ceremonial Troop of the Armed Forces, which also acts as an honour guard and horse guard unit. Service branches of the Armed Forces and other civil uniformed services maintain honour guard units of their own.
The Brigada 30 Gardă „Mihai Viteazul” (Michael the Brave 30th Guards Brigade) of the Romanian Land Forces serves as the honour guard brigade of the Romanian Armed Forces. The brigade is present at ceremonial events and during visits from international officials. The Romanian Gendarmerie maintains an honour guard unit, called Unitatea Specială de Gardă de Onoare și Protecție Instituțională București (Bucharest Institutional Protection and Honour Guard Special Unit), and a horse guards troop acting during state ceremonies and celebrations of the service.
Russia (Russian Empire)
Russia (Russian Federation)
Russia's primary honour guard is the Kremlin Regiment of the Federal Protective Service of the Russian Federation, established in 1936. The 154th Preobrazhensky Independent Commandant's Regiment, established in 1979, serves as the official honour guard regiment of the Russian Armed Forces and serves as the main honour guard unit of the armed forces. Military districts and fleet formations of the Russian Navy also have their own honour guard companies.
The Serbian Guard Unit is an elite unit within the Serbian Army, of brigade size, under the direct command of Serbian Armed Forces Chief of Staff. Its purpose to secure vital facilities of the defense system and performing military honours to highest foreign, domestic and military officials.
For the needs of Ministry of Defence and the Serbian Army General Staff, the Guard Unit performs tasks within the scope of the military police work and the tasks in the field of logistics and security. Guard continues the tradition of Serbian Guard units which is now almost two centuries long. The first Guard unit formed in Serbia was created on the order of Prince Milos Obrenovic on St. George Day in 1830 in Pozarevac. The Guard Unit also sports the official military band of the Serbian Armed Forces - the Guards Band.
The guards of honour of Singapore are handpicked from all three services and the police to be at the forefront of major parades and state events, such as the National Day. They dress in ceremonial attire and will have bayonets attached to their rifles. They will usually be contrasted by one or more contingents of men in regular uniform.
The guard of honour unit in South Africa is the State Presidents Guard (Staatspresidentseenheid) until 1990. The unit has been replaced by the National Ceremonial Guard in the South African National Defence Force.
South Korea operates several honour guards - one each from the Republic of Korea Army, Republic of Korea Navy, Republic of Korea Air Force and Republic of Korea Marine Corps, along with a traditional honour guard unit. The traditional guard in particular was founded in 1991 after president Roh Tae-woo reviewed The Old Guard of the United States. Since then the traditional honour guards have taken the role of officially welcoming heads of state and other dignitaries. Roles of the honour guards as a whole include funeral honours for the fallen, ensuring the security of various military headquarters, and acting as ceremonial guards to Gyeongbok Palace.
For ceremonial purposes the guards carry various rifles - the Army, Navy and Air Force carry the M16 rifle; the Marine Corps carry M1 Garands and the traditional guards carry ceremonial swords, arrows, spears and lances, keeping with the traditions of the Korean military and as a tribute to the guards units of the Imperial era. While the service guards units maintain their respective military bands based on the US and UK practices, the traditional guard unit also contains a Daechwita, a form of military band playing Korean traditional music for military ceremonies and events, and as such wears uniforms used by similar ensembles in the 19th century.
In Sri Lanka, the guard of honour is provided by men drawn from three services of the Sri Lankan Armed Forces. The Sri Lanka Army, the Sri Lanka Navy, and the Sri Lanka Air Force. During the colonial era, the Lascarins provided the local guards of honour, apart from British Army, British Indian Army, or Ceylon Defence Force personal.
Honour guard service is carried out by all units of the Swedish Armed Forces, although the Life Guards regiment (Livgardet) in the Swedish Army accounts for the main part of honour guard services. The Royal Guards (Högvakten) at the Stockholm Palace and the Drottningholm Palace is the honour guard to the King of Sweden. The service is carried out by the Life Guards as well as other units of the Swedish Armed Forces including the Home Guard and other voluntary defence organisations.
The Grenadier company of the Life Guards is used as an honour guard at state visit welcoming ceremonies. A detachment of grenadiers is also used as honour guard at the opening of the Riksdag, when an incoming foreign ambassador meets with the King at an audience to present letters of credence and when the King attends an annual meeting of one of the Royal Academies.
Drabantvakt ("Royal Bodyguard"), commonly known as Karl XI:s drabanter ("The Bodyguard of Charles XI") and Karl XII:s drabanter ("The Bodyguard of Charles XII") is a ceremonial guard used at state occasions such as state visits, investiture of a monarch, royal weddings and funerals etc. The guard was formed in 1860 based on historical royal bodyguards. The design of the uniforms of the guard is inspired by, but not identical to uniforms used during the reign of Carles XI and Charles XII respectively. The guard consists of 24 soldiers and one officer selected from the Life Guards.
Taiwan (Republic of China)
In the Republic of China, the honour guard is provided by members from the three service branches of the Republic of China Armed Forces, including the ROC Army, ROC Navy and the ROC Air Force, usually present at the places as follows:
- The Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall in Taipei
- The Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall in Taipei
- The National Revolutionary Martyrs' Shrine in Taipei
- The Cihu Presidential Burial Place in Taoyuan
- The Daxi Presidential Burial Place in Taoyuan
Each uniformed service branch in the U.S. Armed Forces has its own official honour guard: Army, Marines, Navy, Air Force, and Coast Guard. Most state national guard units have a ceremonial guard as well. The official honour guard of every branch is located in the National Capital Region, though nearly every military installation will have its own honour guard for local ceremonies and events. The honour guard units in National Capital Region represent the military as a whole and the United States as a nation, and perform numerous ceremonies on behalf of the President of the United States. Since World War II, The Old Guard has served as the official Army Honor Guard and escort to the President, and it also provides security for Washington, D.C., in time of national emergency or civil disturbance.
Many local, state/provincial, national and federal public safety agencies maintain Honour Guards, Pipes & Drums and Buglers, including fire departments, law enforcement agencies, emergency medical services, and search and rescue, who typically use adaptations of military honour guards, and honour those who die in the line of duty (LODD-Line of Duty Death), off-duty but still on the job, and retirees, as well as participating in support of other agencies, and parades. Some Law Enforcement agencies are able to maintain a Rifle Team for 'three volley' salutes. Most, even those within major career paid agencies, are not paid for performing and preparing for the honor guard duty.
A guard of honour is formed to present formal ceremonial compliments to royal or presidential dignitaries by a guard not exceeding 100 personnel (including three officers, one with a colour) with other particular distinguished individuals saluted by a guard not exceeding 50 personnel. A half guard is a colloquial term describing a guard of honour of not more than 50 personnel (including two officers, one with a colour). A guard of honour could have a single service contingent (e.g. army) or it could be a tri service (inter-service) affair. The guard commander, after saluting the dignitary (usually head of state), marches up to him or her and escorts him or her to inspect the guard (soldiers in formation). During the salute, the national anthems of both the dignitary's country and the host country are usually played by a ceremonial band.
Only a standard, guidon, Queen's Colour, or a banner presented by either a member of the Royal Family or the governor-general may be carried by a royal guard of honour. Only a regimental colour or a banner presented by a personage other than a member of the Royal Family may be carried on a half guard of honour. A smaller unit honouring distinguished visitors at a military installation is known as a quarter guard. The commander is three paces in front of the second file from the right and accompanies the personage for whom the guard is mounted. An officer carrying the Colour stands three paces in front of the centre; if there is a third officer he will be three paces in front of the second file from the other flank.
Units that traditionally perform ceremonial duties, such as Guard Mounting (changing of the Queen's Guard) or Trooping the Colour, are the five regiments of Foot Guards and the Household Cavalry (Blues and Royals and Life Guards), which form the Household Division. The Royal Air Force's ceremonial unit is the Queen's Colour Squadron. The British Armed Forces do not have dedicated ceremonial units, although some units such as the Scots Guards have a battalion designated to perform public duties. Generally, units from all three services not deployed overseas will rotate and share public duties at various major historic landmarks (e.g. royal palaces and castles) through the country.
The Queen's Guard is primarily made up of units from the Household Division for royal palaces and public monuments—namely Buckingham Palace, St James's Palace, Windsor Castle, and the Tower of London—and other units from all three services of the British Armed Forces filling in when not deployed; in Scotland, Holyrood Palace and Edinburgh Castle are usually the responsibility of Scottish regiments or units based in Edinburgh. Occasionally units from Commonwealth militaries are given the honour.
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Two honour guard units fall under the People's Army of Vietnam:
- General Staff of the Vietnam People's Army:
- Unit of Military Honour Guard: honour guard during visits of foreign leaders, National Day parade, Military Memory days...
- Ministry of Defense:
In cricket, the guard of honour is used to celebrate the achievement of a player (usually as a batsman), normally used during a player's final game. The players' team mates or opposition form a cordon, with their bats at the second count of the draw saber forming an arch, and the successful player walks through. It may also be performed to mark a milestone, such as when a player breaks a world record. A player can receive guard of honour multiple times as they retire from different forms of the game separately. When a bowler retires, it would generally be when they leave the field for the final time, or when they play their final match in a certain venue of importance (away match, home ground, retiring on the same day a ground is due to be demolished).
In recent years, association football teams have shown their appreciation to the champions of their own division by the players of one team applauding the league winners (the other team) as they appear onto the pitch. The applauding team forms two lines to make a corridor and the league winners run through the corridor, single file. The same has been done for an individual player—such as when Scottish Premier league team Rangers squad did so for departing tallisman Dado Prso—or when a team reaches a milestone—a guard of honour was held on 28 April 2013 by the Arsenal players after Manchester United won the league title for 20th time.
Australian rules football
In Australian rules football, players will often form a guard of honour for those who are leaving the field after a landmark game or on their retirement game. For example, Fremantle formed a guard of honour for Fitzroy's last match in 1996. Melbourne and Essendon formed a guard in 2005 to honour Indian Ocean tsunami victim Troy Broadbridge. Collingwood and North Melbourne formed a guard of honour in 2006 for retiring player Saverio Rocca, who forged a successful goalkicking career at both clubs. After playing in the little league at half time of senior matches, the junior players line up to form a guard of honour for when the players return to the field.
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