P.D. GRIFFIN
ENCYCLOPEDIA OF MODERN BRITISH ARMY REGIMENTS

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DRESS DISTINCTIONS

The blue peaked cap has the royal scarlet band and welt, and the regimental cap badge, which is based on that of the Gibraltar Defence Force of 1915-21: the castle and key, from the arms of Gibraltar, on a shield superimposed on a crowned decorative backing (depicting the Mediterranean) with a scroll labelled Nulli expugnabilis hosti, which roughly translates as 'Never taken by an enemy'.

Royal Artillery grenade collar badges and buttons are marked with the castle and key. The castle represents the fortified Rock, the key its strategic position - the gateway to the Mediterranean Sea.

Service dress is worn with a lanyard on the right shoulder, scarlet and grey for officers and RA white for other ranks. A cloth patch bearing the key emblem is worn on the upper sleeve.

Stable belts are scarlet with twin grey stripes running through.

Full dress uniform is infantry pattern, the helmet of the white, hot weather type. The scarlet tunic has slate grey facings.

MUSIC

Regimental marches were adopted when the force was largely Royal Artillery controlled: British Grenadiers and the RA Slow March.

TRADITIONS

The Regimental Day (28 April) celebrates the first parade by the volunteers of the Gibraltar Defence Force at the RA base on Europa Point. The men paraded in civilian clothes to begin their training in foot, rifle and gun drill.

Sortie Day (27 November) commemorates an episode in 1781 when Gibraltarian volunteers joined British units in action during the Great Siege.

The port sergeant of the Gibraltar Regiment in No. 3 dress, 2004, holding the keys to the garrison

The port sergeant of the Gibraltar Regiment in No. 3 dress, 2004, holding the keys to the garrison. (Grenadier Publishing)

The Ceremony of the Keys originated in the Great Siege of 1779-83, when the governor's daily routine was to commend the keys of the garrison to the safe-keeping of his port sergeant at the sound of the sunset gun. After the siege the custom continued with a ceremony that involved fifes and drums to warn aliens to leave before the gates were locked for the night. In 1978 the governor suggested that the post of port sergeant be found in a senior NCO of the Gibraltar Regiment. At official banquets the sergeant reports to the governor's table with the assurance 'Your Excellency, the fortress is secure and all's well', before passing the keys over.

Alliances were made with four regiments whose connection with Gibraltar go back to the eighteenth century: the Royal Anglian in 1968, the Royal Artillery in 1993, the Royal Engineers in 1996 and the Royal Irish in 1999.

When the last RA units left the Rock in 1958 the gunner troop of the Gibraltar Regiment inherited two responsibilities - the firing of royal salutes and the care of the Rock's apes. The gun troop is the only unit able to exchange gun salutes with the Honourable Artillery Company in London.

THE ROYAL MARINES

Although the Royal Marines (RM) have not been a part of the army for over 250 years, their army roots strike down deep and are evident today.

'Marine' is defined as 'of the sea', and the first regiment of marines was formed during the Second Anglo-Dutch Maritime War of 1664-6, to serve aboard navy ships. Subsequent wars brought new regiments of sea soldiers 'to make landings or otherwise', but these too were disbanded at the end of each conflict.

In 1755 a permanent Corps of Marines was established under the Admiralty. It achieved the royal title in 1802.

Royal Marines drummers in full dress, 1995

Royal Marines drummers in full dress, 1995

Twenty-first-century marines are regarded as an elite fighting force with their feared commando units. The Special Boat Squadron was formed for covert raiding operations.

The Royal Marines have special connections with Deal, Chatham, Plymouth, Portsmouth and Poole.

DRESS DISTINCTIONS

The white naval peaked cap is worn with a scarlet band and the 1827 globe and laurel wreath badge surmounted by the royal crest. The globe represents the marines' worldwide service, the laurel their achievements in Britain's affairs in nearly every country on the globe. As a crest the badge is combined with its eighteenth- century forerunners, a fouled anchor, the motto Per mare per terrain (By sea by land), and the single battle honour Gibraltar 1704.

Full dress is issued to musicians and drummers. It consists of the white 1912 Wolseley helmet, and the blue uniform of the Royal Marine Artillery with the cuffs of the Royal Marine Light Infantry. These two sections developed in the nineteenth century and came together in 1923.

No. 1 dress may be worn with cap or helmet. The officers' jacket, adopted after the First World War, is Royal Navy pattern with an open neck collar to reveal a shirt and tie. Members of the King's Squad, the title given to the senior training unit by George V, wear a white lanyard, and the helmet chinstrap down.

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