P.D. GRIFFIN
ENCYCLOPEDIA OF MODERN BRITISH ARMY REGIMENTS

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SG lieutenant (with cased colour) and the escorts to the colour at Waterloo for the 150th anniversary of the battle

SG lieutenant (with cased colour) and the escorts to the colour at Waterloo for the 150th anniversary of the battle. Guards cap peaks were less severe in 1965

SG pipers were issued with the feathered Highland bonnet in 1928 to level them up to the bearskins of the regiment. Otherwise their dress has not changed since Queen Victoria's day: a blue doublet with castellated wings, a kilt and plaid of Royal Stuart tartan, white hair sporran with three long black tails, and hose of red and green marl.

Pipers and drummers of the Scots Guards at Wellington Barracks

Pipers and drummers of the Scots Guards at Wellington Barracks, c. 1992

MUSIC

Regimental marches are the familiar Highland Laddie, which dates back to the seventeenth century, and The Garb of Old Gaul (1770) in slow time:

In the Garb of Old Gaul, with the fire of Old Rome,
From the heath-covered mountains of Scotia we come...

Musicians employed by the regiment in the early eighteenth century were replaced by a full band about 1816.

TRADITIONS

The principal day of celebration, St Andrew's (30 November), is celebrated in traditional manner wherever the regiment is stationed, with the piping in of the haggis. In the officers' mess the Picquet Officer leads the way in to dinner and there acts as mess president.

THE IRISH GUARDS

The regiment was created in 1900 on the wishes of Queen Victoria to mark the bravery of her Irish soldiers in the Boer War. It was known then as 'Bob's Own' after their colonel, Lord Roberts.

DRESS DISTINCTIONS

The Guards' blue cap, regimentally enhanced by a green band and welt, is badged with the Star of the Order of St Patrick.

Full dress is Foot Guards' pattern, the bearskin with a plume of St Patrick's blue on its right side, the scarlet tunic with a white shamrock collar badge. Buttons are stamped with a harp and crown, and worn in groups of four.

Pipers are dressed in traditional Irish green caubeen (with the blue hackle), green doublet, saffron kilt and green socks.

MUSIC

The regimental quick march is the popular St Patrick's Day, the slow march Let Erin Remember. Other airs of Irish extraction, some from the disbanded Irish regiments, are now played as company marches.

Irish Guardsmen in 2000

Irish Guardsmen in 2000: lance sergeant drummer (standing, left), colour sergeant (centre) and pipe major (standing, right). (Grenadier Publishing)

TRADITIONS

On St Patrick's Day (17 March) shamrock is distributed to all members of the regiment, a custom requested by Queen Victoria to commemorate its service in the South African war. The presentation ceremony was instituted by Queen Alexandra in 1901 and continued after her death in 1925 by Princess Mary. Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother presented the shamrock every year from 1968 until her death in 2003.

'The Micks' have paraded an Irish wolfhound mascot since 1902. The dogs are traditionally named after ancient Irish chieftains.

THE WELSH GUARDS

The regiment was formed by royal warrant in 1915, with 'Taffs' hurriedly drawn from other units to enable it to parade on St Davd's Day. The early nickname 'The Foreign Legion" was inspired by these Welshmen with their various cap badges.

DRESS DISTINCTIONS

The Guards' blue cap has a black figured braid band and leek badge.

Full dress is Foot Guards' pattern, the bearskin with a white/green/white plume on the left side, the scarlet tunic with a white leek collar badge. The Welsh Guards rank fifth in the Foot Guards and wear their buttons grouped in fives to show this. On the buttons are a crown and leek encompassed by a scroll inscribed Cymru Am Byth (Wales for ever). The senior NCOs' colour badge (right sleeve) has the Welsh dragon and motto.

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