REGIMENTAL DRESS

The Cap Badge.anglianbadge

The cap badge of the Royal Anglian Regiment embodies the eight-pointed star formerly worn by the Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire Regiment with the Castle of Gibraltar. The Castle was worn by the Suffolk Regiment, the Northamptonshire Regiment and the Essex Regiment.

The Collar Badges.collar-left collar-right

The Brittannia and Castle Collar Badges are worn with the Britannias facing inwards. The Britannia was formerly worn by the Royal Norfolk Regiment. (The Collar Badges are frequently described as ‘Collar Dogs’.)

The Button.

tigerbutton

The button worn throughout the Regiment is the Tiger of the former Royal Leicestershire Regiment. The Tiger is surrounded by an unbroken laurel wreath. On the formation of the East Anglian Brigade in 1958, the Britannia button of the Royal Norfolk Regiment was adopted by all Regiments of the Brigade. When the Royal Anglian Regiment was formed in 1964 a star pattern button, the same as the cap badge, was introduced and worn. This was replaced by the Tiger button in 1970 to commemorate the Royal Leicestershire Regiment following the disbandment of the 4th Battalion.

The Lanyard.

The 1st Battalion wear the primrose yellow lanyard of the Royal Norfolk Regiment. The lanyard is worn on the left arm.

The Khaki Beret.

beret

The khaki beret in its present form was first adopted during the Second World War. Nobody wore a beret (except the RTC) before 1940, but most of the Army went into khaki serge berets and later the standard dark blue beret during the war. The 1st Battalion, The Royal Norfolk Regiment joined 24th Guards Independent Brigade Group under “Boy” Browning in 1942; the Guards Officers wore a khaki beret and the 1st Battalion adopted it at the time, adding the distinctive black patch. The beret went out of use after the war but was readopted in 1960, and has continued in use ever since. It was adopted by the rest of the Royal Anglian Regiment in 1970 and the wearing of it extended to Warrant Officers. The Regiment complete went into khaki berets in 1976. The black patch behind the badge commemorates the burial of Sir John Moore at Corruna in 1709 by Officers and men of the 9th Foot, the rearguard of the withdrawing British expeditionary force. The beret should be worn with the cap badge over the left eye.

Roses.

roses

Roses are worn on two occasions in the year, for two separate reasons explained below. The roses are red and yellow rosebuds variously referred to as “Minden” or “Dettingen” roses; there is or was an actual type of rosebush named “Dettingen” which produced both red and yellow flowers on the same branch. When roses are worn on parade, the Colours also carry a rose wreath on the pikes, and the Drums are decorated with roses.

The two occasions when roses are worn:

Minden Day. On the 1st August 1759 the 12th Foot marched through rose gardens before the Battle of Minden and the soldiers picked roses and stuck them in their hats (see notes on Minden for an account of the Battle). On Minden Day from Reveille to Last Post red and yellow rosebuds are worn by all ranks of the 1st Battalion; the roses are artificial for all ranks less the officers who are expected to wear real roses. They are worn centrally behind the cap badge with the red rose to the right as worn, and to the front in the case of the side-hat.

The Queen’s (or Sovereign’s) Birthday. Roses are worn on parade, on the occasion of the Sovereign’s official birthday. This custom dates from the Battle of Dettingen, 1743, which was the last occasion on which a reigning monarch led his army on the field of battle. King George II placed himself in front of the British line, the position of the 12th Foot. To mark his approval of the Regiment’s conduct throughout the Battle (which was a resounding victory for the allies) the King granted them the distinction of wearing laurel wreaths on the Colours whenever the Sovereign was present on parade and on his birthday; roses were later substituted for laurels and continue in use to the present day. The Queen’s Birthday differs from Minden Day in that roses are worn only by those actually on parade, and not by all ranks of the Battalion in station; if no parade is held then the roses are not worn.

The Minden Flash.

mindenflash

The Minden Flash was first worn by the 1st Battalion, The Suffolk Regiment in 1940. Following the chaos at Dunkirk, where line infantry units wore battledress with no markings, it was decided that a single identification flash to distinguish friend from foe was required. Lieutenant WA Heal as Adjutant suggested that a piece of flannelette 4 x 2 dyed red and yellow in the colours of the Suffolk Regiment be worn on the upper right arm.

The custom was adopted by the 4th and 5th Battalions who were stationed in England at the same time. However the 2nd Battalion who were serving in the Far East did not adopt the custom as it was felt that the flash would be inappropriate to wear on jungle greens. The Minden Flash today is worn on the right arm of all service of dress by all ranks serving in the Battalion and by 1st Battalion personnel who are away from the unit on attachment.

Salamanca Eagle Sleeve Badge.

eagle

The Salamanca Eagle on Pompadour purple backing is worn today on the upper left sleeve arm of No1 and No2 Service Dress, by all Royal Anglian’s. It commemorates the 3rd Battalion, The Royal Anglian Regiment (Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire and Essex) disbanded in October 1992.

eagle2

The 3rd Battalion 44th (East Essex) Regiment won great glory for itself at the Battle of Salamanca in 1812 when it captured The Eagle, the equivalent of a British Regiment’s Colours, of the French 62nd Regiment. The Salamanca Eagle was used on the Mess Dress and Blues Collar Badges of the Essex Regiment 1898-1958, on the buttons 1902-1958 and as a collar badge by the 3rd East Anglia Regiment 1958-64 and 3rd Battalion, The Royal Anglian Regiment 1964-68 and 1980-92.

The Stable Belt.

stablebeltold

The stable belt originated from the Cavalry “Surcingle,” a strap either made of leather or webbing, placed over the saddle for extra security in keeping the saddle in place. While the girth went under the horse in it’s normal fashion, the Surcingle went over the saddle, over the girth, to provide extra security. Somewhere during the mid 19th Century Cavalry Troopers noted that taking bits of these surcingles, shortening them, and adding smaller buckles, were very handy at providing lower back support on long marches. As time passed different regiments got them in Regimental Colours, and they gradually became more decorative and tribal. However, to this very day, the two buckled stable belt can’t be beaten for its historic purpose – cinching you in and giving support.

Old Model Stable Belt

Originally, stable belts were mainly worn by cavalrymen in the working dress they used for cleaning the stables and tending to their horses, but after the Second World War they spread to all branches of the armed forces, adding a splash of colour and individuality to the drab khaki working uniforms.

Today every regiment and corps of the British Army has its own stable belt, often very colourful. The Royal Navy, Royal Marines and Royal Air Force also have their own. They are worn with most styles of informal dress.

The colours of the present Regimental stable belt are blue with a central scarlet band, divided by a narrow yellow centre stripe.

It seems that stable belts began to become popular across the Army as a whole around the turn of the 20th century, although they probably originated with the cavalry a little earlier sometime in the 1880s/1890s. All units at that time had horses on their establishment and those soldiers told off to attend them reported for Stable Parade in Stable Dress which consisted of very high waisted and pocket less breeches, or trousers, held up by braces and collarless, woollen flannel shirts with sleeves rolled up. This was to facilitate the rigorous physical effort and flexibility of movement necessary for mucking out and grooming.

Later Model with Badge Plate

stablebeltbuckled

Braces at that time had no elastic as rubber was expensive, they were made of cotton with no ‘give’ whatsoever and so soldiers commonly allowed the braces to flop down from the waist so that they could bend over freely. For trousers that fitted loosely (due to the high waist) this meant that they tended to slip down and at first soldiers cinched them in with leather belts. Later on the regimental saddlers began to make belts from the same, plain canvas or wool strapping used for the horses Surcingle and utilising the same double leather strap and buckle arrangement for security (if one strap broke the other would hold and prevent the saddle from coming unseated). One particular feature of these early stable belts was a sewn on (or in) pocket, secured by a stud or clip, within which loose change could be kept as there were no pockets in the breeches. As you might imagine these became very popular as the pocket was useful ad the extra breadth afforded by the canvas strapping made them very comfortable.

Around about the turn of the 20th century it began to be popular for officers to wear neckties in regimental colours both for sport and less formal country dress.
This habit probably began with the Queens Household troops and Line Cavalry, but quickly spread throughout the Army and it appears as if this use of regimental colours spread to the canvas or wool strapping used to make stable belts.

Present Stable Belt

stablebeltnow

For this reason the stable belts invariably followed the same colour scheme (but not always the same pattern arrangement) of regimental neck ties. Initially the pocket continued to be fitted to the now coloured stable belts, but as trousers began to be fitted with pockets, by the 1950s this feature had dropped out of common use.

The Rank Structure

The following badges of rank will be well known to those serving today and those who have served in the past. However, for civilians or members of the other services they can be totally alien. After the badges a light hearted description of the ranks and appointments has been produced, hopefully nobody will take offence as none is intended.

BRITISH ARMY BADGES OF RANK

NON COMMISSIONED OFFICERS (NCO's)
LANCE CORPORAL lcpl
CORPORAL cpl
SERGEANT sgt
COLOUR SERGEANT ssgt
WARRANT OFFICERS (WO'S)
WARRANT OFFICER CLASS 2 wo2
WARRANT OFFICER CLASS 2 RQMS rqms
WARRANT OFFICER CLASS 1 wo1
COMMISSIONED OFFICERS
2nd LIEUTENANT 2lt
1st LIEUTENANT 1stlt
CAPTAIN capt
MAJOR maj
LIEUTENANT COLONEL ltcol
COLONEL col
OFFICERS 1 STAR AND ABOVE
BRIGADIER 1 STAR brig
MAJOR GENERAL 2 STAR majgen
LIEUTENANT GENERAL 3 STAR ltgen
GENERAL 4 STAR gen
GENERAL STAFF CAP BADGE & GORGETS genstaff

Rank is an important part of the regimental system and through the years within the military it has generated it’s own traditions and folklore. Soldiers joining the Royal Anglian Regiment will be known as Privates, however in other units they could be known as Guardsmen, Troopers, Fusiliers, Kingsmen, Riflemen, Air Troopers, Signallers, Gunners, Sappers, Craftsmen and Drivers.

The first step up on the ladder in most organisations will see the soldier elevated to Lance Corporal and he will wear one stripe, in the Brigade of Guards however he will start at Corporal and wear two stripes. Same job but apparently Queen Victoria thought that one stripe looked lonely!

After Lance Corporal the infanteer will rise to Corporal and real responsibility will start, at this stage the equivalent in the Guards will be wearing three stripes as a Lance Sergeant, although he doesn’t get to wear a red sash. He will also get certain use of the Warrant Officers and Sergeant Mess and that certainly is a privilege, although his bank manager may not agree.

Promotion to Sergeant in the Infantry follows and he will get the three stripes, the sash and entry to the WO’s and Sergeants Mess as a job lot. At this rank the Infantry and the Guards should equal out though you will never get either to admit it!

Should you be in the Royal Artillery substitute Bombardier for Corporal and it should all fall into place.

Within the Infantry the next step up is Colour Sergeant but in non Infantry units that will be Staff Sergeant and, just in case it is getting easy to understand, the Green Jackets and Light Infantry will spell Sergeant as Serjeant for good historic reasons.

Promotion to Warrant Officer comes with many advantages and the opportunity to spend a bit of money on the many additions to normal regimental dress; sword belt, officer’s shirts, officer’s collar dogs, brown shoes and a pace stick, presumably to defend yourself should someone try to acquire your kit. In fairness it certainly raises the image and all looks very nice. Within the Royal Anglians you will then be addressed as Sergeant Major and treated rather like Windsor Davis by the majority of people. This is also very nice. Of course in the Guards only the RSM is known as Sergeant Major and Company Sergeant Majors will be addressed as such.

Running parallel to the rank structure will be the appointment system and, if you have realised by this stage, there is a theme of security running through everything. If we can’t understand it then it’s highly likely that the Russians won’t either!

Within the Infantry the Lance Corporal will command a fire team and be the second in command of a section. The section will be broken into 2 fire teams. A Corporal will command the section and his own fire team.

There will be three sections within a platoon and that will normally be commanded by a Lieutenant with a Sergeant as his support.

After Sergeant a lot of the fun stops., Ppromotion to Colour Sergeant will normally result in some sort of logistics appointment and the title of CQMS, although there are normally a couple of more attractive positions to keep the enthusiasm going.

A Lieutenant will rise to the rank of Captain and will have all sorts of jolly organisations and posts to have a crack at; Support Weapon Platoon, Company Second in Command, Signals Platoon, Operations Officer and for those with good looks and a bit of panache there is the Reconnaissance Platoon. Those destined for greatness a shot at Adjutant may be on the books or ADC can be a nice career move, if you have a nice General to look after. I will say in my experience they are all usually nice and as they are running the show it shouldn’t do one any harm.

As a Warrant Officer Class 2, known as WO2., You could be a Company Sergeant Major known as a CSM, equally in the same rank you could be the Weapon Training Warrant Officer (WTWO), Regimental Signals Warrant Officer (RSWO), Regimental Quartermaster Sergeant (RQMS) and so on.

Non Infantry organisations may well have Troops instead of Platoons and Squadrons instead of Companies, and substituting a S for a C will normally answer most of the problems identified with abbreviations.

Should you end up with an appointment that won’t fold down to an abbreviation that rolls off the tongue it is advisable to swiftly change jobs or your title. As a civilian in Afghanistan the editor is running a cell dealing with the Contractors Deployed on Operations (CONDO) and as the manager he has had to negotiate away from becoming CONDOM!

An Infantry Battalion will have a certain amount of attached personnel to support the war machine and they will bring with them their own traditions. In the good old days when we had Regimental Bands it would always provide good entertainment when the band played the Regimental Marches of all attendees at a formal dinner. Dependent upon your numbers you could normally get it right, if you were a little unsure, by following someone elses lead, although this does present a golden opportunity for a wind up! The problem is a lot of the military marches sound similar and tend to blend into each other with the partaking of alcohol. If you are the lone member of the Army Physical Training Corps then you need to have an ear for music in addition to the muscles.

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