Grenadier Guards: Wikis


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Grenadier Guards
Cap Badge of the Grenadier Guards
Active 1656-present
Country United Kingdom
Branch Army
Type Foot Guards
Role 1st Battalion - Light Role/Public Duties
Nijmegen Company - Public Duties
Size One battalion
one company
Part of Guards Division
Garrison/HQ RHQ - London
1st Battalion - London
Nijmegen Company - London
Nickname The Bill Browns
Motto Honi soit qui mal y pense (Evil be to he who evil thinks) (French)
March Quick: The British Grenadiers
Slow: Scipio
Engagements Waterloo
Colonel in Chief HM The Queen
Colonel of
the Regiment
HRH The Duke of Edinburgh KG, KT, GBE
Plume White
Left side of Bearskin cap
Abbreviation GREN GDS

The Grenadier Guards (GREN GDS) is the most senior regiment of the Guards Division of the British Army, and, as such, is the most senior regiment of infantry. It is not, however, the most senior regiment of the Army, this position being attributed to the Life Guards. The Coldstream Guards was formed before the Grenadier Guards, but that regiment is ranked after the Grenadiers in seniority as it was a regiment of the New Model Army.

The grouping of buttons on the tunic is a common way to distinguish between the regiments of Foot Guards. Grenadier Guards' buttons are equally spaced and embossed with the Royal Cypher reversed and interlaced surrounded by the Royal Garter bearing Honi soit qui mal y pense (Evil be to him who evil thinks ). Their “Buff Belt” brass clasped also carry the Royal Cypher, Modern Grenadier Guardsmen wear a cap badge of a "grenade fired proper" with seventeen flames. This cap badge has to be cleaned twice a day, once in the morning and once in the afternoon, as it is made from brass and a tarnished grenade is frowned upon by all in the regiment.



The Grenadier Guards celebrated its 350th anniversary in 2006.

In 1656, Lord Wentworth's Regiment was formed in Bruges, in the Spanish Netherlands, currently Belgium, forming a portion of exiled King Charles II's bodyguard. A few years later, a similar regiment known as John Russell's Regiment of Guards was formed. In 1665, these two regiments were combined to form the 1st Regiment of Foot Guards. As a result of their heroic actions in defeating the French Imperial Grenadiers at Waterloo, the 1st Guards were renamed by Royal Proclamation as the 1st or Grenadier Regiment of Foot Guards, thus becoming the only regiment in the British Army to win its name in battle.The 1st British Foot Guards never faced the French Grenadiers of the Imperial Guard. They in fact with the help of the adjacent British brigade of General Adam, beat and routed roughly three battalions of French Chasseurs of the Imperial (Middle) Guard; Source specifying who the British Guards defeated at Waterloo. One can even research the uniforms of the Imperial Guard and see that the British Grenadier adoption of the bearskin bonnet uses the Chasseur Imperial guards type that has no brassplate on the front. The Grenadiers of the Imperial Guard had this distinct brass plate on their bonnets. The nickname for the 2nd Battalion is the 'Models' and for the third battalion the 'Ribbs'.

The Grenadier Guards have served ten Kings and three Queens, including currently Queen Elizabeth II.


The Grenadier Guards serves as a light infantry battalion - following the reforms of 2004, this will be fixed. The regiment will alternate with the Welsh Guards in the public duties role. In recent years the 1st Battalion has deployed as part of Operation TELIC in Iraq, and Op Herrick in Afghanistan.

Battle honours

Illustration, 1889

The 1st Foot Guards have received 79 battle honours, including:

In 1994, under the Options for Change reforms, the Grenadier Guards was reduced to a single battalion. The 2nd Battalion was put into 'suspended animation', and its colours passed for safekeeping to a newly formed independent Company, which was named "The Nijmegen Company". The Inkerman Company, one of the three rifle companies that form the 1st Battalion, maintains the customs and traditions of the 3rd Battalion that went into 'suspended animation' back in 1962.


Recruits to the Grenadier Guards go through a twenty-eight week training course at the Infantry Training Centre. This is two weeks more than the training for regular line regiments of the British Army; the extra training, carried out throughout the course, is devoted to drill and ceremonies.

Following graduation from the ITC, guardsmen are assigned to Nijmegen Company for additional training and orientation before being posted to the 1st Battalion.


Sentry of the Grenadier Guards outside St James' Palace

The Grenadier Guards' various colonels-in-chief have generally been the British monarchs, including Edward VII, George V, Edward VIII, George VI, and currently Elizabeth II. The Colonel-in-Chief is always the reigning Sovereign. This applies to all regiments of the Household Division. Other Sovereigns have served in the regiment.



The Regimental Slow March is the march Scipio, from the opera of the same name by George Frideric Handel, inspired by the exploits of the Roman General Scipio Africanus. The first performance of Scipio was in 1726. Handel actually composed the eponymous slow march for the First Guards, presenting it to the regiment before he added it to the score of the opera.[1] The Quick March is The British Grenadiers.


Both the 2nd Grenadier Guards F.C. and the 3rd Grenadier Guards F.C. enjoyed considerable success in the London League, playing against the likes of West Ham United.

Order of Precedence

The Grenadier Guards is the most senior regiment of the Infantry in the British Army, and thus would parade at the extreme right of the line. However, since 2008, the Royal Marines, which formerly paraded on its own after the Royal Gloucestershire, Berkshire and Wiltshire Regiment, has been fully integrated into the Naval Service, and thus will take the position of precedence of the Royal Navy as the Senior Service on parade.

Preceded by:
Royal Marines (as part of Naval Service)
First in Order of Precedence of the Infantry
Infantry Order of Precedence Succeeded by:
Coldstream Guards

Cadet Force

The 78th Unit Grenadier Guards Cadet Force meets every Monday and Thursday at the Lorship Lane Cadet Centre near the Horniman Museum.

Lincs ACF

Newport Detachment and the Band Detachment of 1 Company, Lincs ACF are also affiliated to the grenadier guards. Newport Detachment, near Lincoln meet on a Tuesday and a Thursday night between 7pm - 9pm at Sobrone Barracks, Lincoln.[2]

Newport Detachments Website:

Lincs ACF Website:



  1. ^ Hanning, Henry (2006). The British Grenadiers: Three Hundred & Fifty Years of the First Regiment of Foot Guards 1656-2006. page 80: Pen and Sword Books Ltd, London. ISBN 1-84415-385-1. 
  2. ^ Lincs ACF

See also


  • Hanning, Henry (2006). The British Grenadiers: Three Hundred & Fifty Years of the First Regiment of Foot Guards 1656-2006. Pen and Sword Books Ltd, London. ISBN 1-84415-385-1. 

External links

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