MINDEN DAY – 1st AUGUST
Minden Day is the principle Regimental Day of the Regiment, as it was in the Suffolk Regiment from 1759 onwards. Minden Day is the 1st August.
The parades, activities and social functions which customarily mark the day are described below.
Regimental Reveille and Gunfire. The Minden Day ceremonies start at Reveille with the Corps of Drums playing Regimental Reveille from the Guardroom round all Company Blocks. The Corps of Drums may also play around those Married Quarters adjacent to the barracks and at the Officers’ and Sergeants’ messes. All Officer’s, Warrant Officers’ and Sergeants’ of each Company accompany the Band and Drums, or Drums, to their respective Company Block where they serve tea to the living-in Non-commissioned Officers’ and Soldiers. The tea is laced with rum on a scale authorised at the time by the Commanding Officer. It should be noted that the same procedure is followed on Christmas Day when the Battalion is on duty on 25th December.
Roses. All ranks don Minden Roses in their headgear from Reveille onwards. The red and yellow roses are worn with the red rosebud parade right, or to the front in the case of the sidehat.
Orders. An account of the Battle of Minden 1759 is published as a Special Order of the Day as an Annex to Part 1 Orders for 1st August. The purpose of this is to remind all of the historical origin of Minden Day.
Parade. A Battalion Parade should normally be held in the morning of Minden Day. This should take the form of Trooping the Regimental Colour but may be modified at the Commanding Officer’s discretion. The salute may be taken by an appropriate senior officer or the Commanding Officer. The salute could also be taken by a suitable civic dignitary such as a Mayor of a City in the Regimental area. The time of the parade depends on the climate and station, but would normally precede any further activities. The flags of all the Minden Regiments should be flown at the parade ground.
Fete. Minden Day Open Day and Fete may be organised, mainly for the benefit of the Battalion’s families. It customarily includes; military stalls and specialist demonstrations, stalls to rise money for Regimental and Company funds or Wives Clubs, amusements for children and appropriate refreshments, all as directed by the Commanding Officer.
Soldiers Lunch. A special lunch may be served to living-in junior non-commissioned Officers’ and soldiers at which free beer is provided by the President of the Regimental Institutes to a scale as directed by the Commanding Officer.
Beating Retreat. The final parade of the Day should be a Beating Retreat and for this reason the Corps of Drums, and if possible the Minden Band, should not be committed to any other engagements on 1st August. Two soldiers in the uniform of Minden soldiers, or more if uniforms are available, may be on parade as Keepers of the Ground.
Mess Functions on Minden Day
Warrant Officers’ and Sergeants’ Mess. The Warrant Officers and Sergeants customarily hold their major annual Ball on the occasion of Minden Day. The Ball is normally held on the nearest convenient day after 1st August.
Corporals’ Mess. The Corporals may hold a Ball, in whatever form is decided by their committee and the Officer-in-Charge of their Mess.
All Ranks’ Ball. An All Ranks’ Ball may be held on Minden Day itself at which Officers and SNCO are expected to attend.
ALMANZA DAY – 25th APRIL
Almanza Day was the Regimental Day of the Royal Norfolk Regiment. The main Battalion Day is now Minden Day and most of the Battalion activities used to mark Almanza day have been transferred to 1st August. Nevertheless, the day should be marked as described below.
Orders. An account of the Battle of Almanza 1707 is published as a Special Order of the Day in an Annex to Part 1 Orders. The purpose of this is to remind all ranks of the historical basis for Almanza Day.
Parade. The Commanding Officer may hold a Commanding Officer’s Battalion parade at which the Regimental Colours may be trooped, if it is anticipated that it will not be possible to hold a Trooping on Minden Day.
Beating Retreat. It may be convenient to hold a Beating Retreat in the evening.
Officers’ Mess Guest Night. It may be convenient to hold a Guest Night on Almanza Day or on the nearest convenient evening.
SALAMANCA DAY – 22nd JULY
Salamanca Day was the Regimental Day of the Essex regiment. It is, however, still celebrated by the Officers’ Mess and the Warrant Officers’ and Sergeants’ Mess.
Orders. An account of the battle at Salamanca is published as a Special Order of the Day in an Annex to Part 1 Orders. The purpose of this is to remind all ranks of the historical importance of Salamanca Day.
It is customary for the Officers’ Mess to invite the Warrant Officers to dine with them to celebrate Salamanca Day.
The way in which Christmas is celebrated will largely depend on the Battalion’s station at the time. Whether the Battalion is in station, on block leave, or even on active service, the customary festivities should be observed as far as possible.
Gunfire. Gunfire (tea, laced with rum as directed by the Commanding Officer at the time) is served to all living-in Junior Non-commissioned Officers and soldiers in their barrack rooms, at Reveille on Christmas Day, by the Officers and Sergeants of each Company. All the Officers, Warrant Officers and SNCO’s of the Company are expected to be present unless they are out of station. If the Battalion is away on leave over the Christmas period, the officers of the party remaining in barracks serve gunfire to the soldiers. Gunfire is not brought forward to an earlier date or put back. Gunfire may be accompanied by the Corps of Drums.
Carol Service. There is always a Christmas Carol Service attended by all ranks and by those families who wish to take part at a convenient day before the Battalion goes on leave.
Soldiers Christmas Dinner. The Officers, Warrant Officers and Sergeants customarily serve Christmas Dinner to the Junior Non-commissioned Officers and soldiers at lunchtime on Christmas Day, or on an earlier date just before the Battalion departs on leave. It is customary for both Messes to assemble at the Officers’ Mess an hour before serving lunch to the soldiers, when the Warrant Officers and Sergeants take seasonal refreshments as guests of the Officers. Should it not be practicable for this occasion to coincide with the day of the soldiers’ Christmas Dinner, then the Warrant Officers and Sergeants are asked to the Officers’ Mess on the nearest convenient date.
Battalion Concert Party. It is customary to hold a Concert Party for all members of the Battalion and their families over the Christmas period. It may in the form of a pantomime; the Officers’, Sergeants’ and Corporals Messes and each Company are all expected to produce a turn in addition to a performance by the Band and individual talents. The Concert Party is known as “The Viking Star Show”
All Ranks’ Ball. An All Ranks’ Ball may be held in addition to the Concert Party. Officers, SNCO’s and their wives are expected to attend.
Football. It is customary for the Officers’ and the Warrant Officers’ and Sergeants’ Messes to play a football match on Boxing Day, or on the nearest convenient date. Each team is normally played on to the field by the Band or Corps of Drums or by such elements of either as are available. The rules of conduct are left to those taking part; however the Medical Section should be present and must be sober.
Regardless of the Officers’ Mess tendency to drift into the more familiar game of Rugby, this match normally ends in a victory for the Warrant Officers and Sergeants Mess. Any rare victory by the Officers’ Mess can usually be attributed to careful selection and posting of LE Officers.
Mess Functions at Christmas.
The normal Mess functions at Christmas are:
Officers’ Mess Ladies’ Guest Night. The Officers’ mess holds a Guest Night for their ladies on one evening before Christmas. The form of the Toast is described in the section on Toasts. The most recently married wife is normally seated on the right of the Commanding Officer.
Warrant Officers’ and Sergeants’ Mess to the Officers’ Mess. This occasion is described under the heading “Soldiers Christmas Dinner”.
Warrant Officers’ and Sergeants’ Mess Christmas Draw. The Warrant Officers’ and Sergeants’ Mess customarily hold a Draw at some time over the Christmas period.
Corporals’ Mess Dance. The Corporals’ Mess customarily holds a Christmas Dance, normally after Christmas.