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The Grenadier Guards
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The Grenadier GuardsIn 1656 Charles II, while in exile, raised a Regiment from his followers at Bruges. It was called the 'Royal Regiment of Guards' and the King appointed Lord Wentworth as the first colonel.

On the King's return to the Throne he disbanded the old Parliamentarian army and commissioned Colonel John Russell to raise another Regiment of twelve companies for his personal protection.

In 1665, following Lord Wentworth's death, both Regiments were incorporated into one, the 'King's Regiment of Foot Guards'. By 1685 the Regiment had become 'The First Regiment of Foot Guards' which it remained until 1815 when the title was changed for the last time to "The First or Grenadier Regiment of Foot Guards'.
The actions which have built up the reputation of the Regiment over three hundred years are recorded by a total of 76 Battle Honours. Since Tangier in 1680, the Regiment has taken part in nearly every major campaign.

Under their Colonel, the Duke of Marlborough, the First Guards fought in all his great battles, and the Regiment played a major part in another victory over the French at Dettingen in 1743.

The First Guards were in the retreat to Corunna during the winter of 1808-09, and they remained in Spain throughout Wellington's Peninsula Campaign. At the Battle of Waterloo the Regiment defeated the Grenadiers of Napoleon's Imperial Guard.

For this they were given the title "The First or Grenadier Regiment of Foot Guards", usually shortened to Grenadier Guards. At the same time they became the first of the Guards Regiments to wear the bearskin cap.

The 3rd Battalion took part in all the battles of the Crimean War when four of the first Victorian Crosses were awarded to members of the Regiment.

The 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards was present at Kitchener's relief of Khartoum in 1898 and in the next year the 2nd and 3rd Battalions went to South Africa.

In the First World War the Regiment raised a fourth battalion and all four fought in France. Thirty-four Battle Honours were awarded and seven members of the Regiment won the Victoria Cross.

All three regular battalions fought with the British Expeditionary Force in France and Flanders at the beginning of the Second World War. After Dunkirk, three more battalions were formed. The 1st and 2nd Battalions became part of the Guards Armoured Division, while the 4th Battalion formed part of the 6th Guards Independent Tank Brigade. All three battalions fought throughout the Northwest Europe campaign. The 3rd and 5th Battalions fought in Africa and Italy while the 6th Battalion went to Syria before joining the English Army in Tunisia. After the war the Guards Armoured Division disbanded and the Regiment reverted to three battalions until 1961, when the 3rd Battalion was placed in suspended animation.

Since the Second World War battalions of the Regiment have served worldwide including the Far East, Middle East, Africa, the Mediterranean, Central America and the European mainland. The Regiment has taken its share of tours in Northern Ireland, and has continued to have the honour of performing duties for Her Majesty The Queen when serving in London.

The Uniforms
From a distance the full dress uniforms worn by the officers and men of the five Regiments of Foot Guards look identical. All noncommissioned Officers and Guardsmen wear the black bearskin cap; the scarlet tunic has a dark blue collar, epaulettes piped in white, and cuffs of dark blue and white; the dark blue trousers have a red stripe down the seam of each leg and a white leather buff belt completes the uniform. The Officers' uniforms differ slightly in that a crimson or gold sash replaces the white belt; tunic collars, epaulettes and cuffs are dark blue with gold embroidery; the bearskin cap is larger; the stripe on the trousers is wider than that worn by other ranks. Officers and Warrant Officers also have gold embroidery on the skirts and sleeve flaps of their tunics.

All ranks in the Grenadier Guards wear their tunic and cuff buttons evenly spaced. The bearskins have a white plume on the left-hand side. The 'grenade fired proper' emblem is worn on their tunic collars.

When wearing their 'blues' or Khaki Service Dress, NCOs and Guardsmen from the Regiment can be recognized by the red band around their peaked forage cap.


The Grenadier Guards

Captain of the Grenadier Guards in Frock Coat. Dating from the 1830s, this garment is worn only by Officers holding particular appointments.


The Grenadier Guards

Grenadier Guardsman in Full Dress. The regimental emblem on the tunic collar also decorates the locket of the belt.


The Grenadier Guards

Grenadiers of the First Regiment of Foot Guards dislodging French troops from their fortified position before the village of Vason, at the Battle of Fontenoy, 30 April 1745.


The Grenadier Guards

The Court sword of the 1st Duke of Marlborough, Colonel of the First Guards, presented to him in 1702 by Queen Anne.

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