Thursday, February 10, 2011

A New Colonel for the Irish Guards

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth has given her formal approval to the appointment of Prince William as Colonel of the Irish Guards. He will take over the appointment from Major General Sir Sebastian Roberts, KCVO OBE.This is Prince William’s first honorary appointment in the Army.

HM at the Ceremony of the Queen's and Regimental New Colours at Windsor Castle

Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip with the1st Battalion Irish Guards at Windsor Castle

"The current regiment was formed on 1 April 1900 by order of Queen Victoria in response to the many courageous actions performed by Irish regiments in the Second Boer War. The Irish Guards' first honorary Colonel-of-the-Regiment was Field Marshal Lord Roberts, known to many troops as "Bobs". Because of this, the regiment gained the nickname "Bob's Own" but are now known affectionately as "The Micks" (this term is not seen as offensive or derogatory by the regiment.)
The regiment's first Colours were presented by Edward VII in May 1902 at Horse Guards Parade. A few Irish Guardsmen saw action as mounted infantry in the final stages of the Boer War. Otherwise, the Irish Guards were stationed in the United Kingdom for the first fourteen years of its existence, performing ceremonial duties in London during that time until the beginning of World War I.
The Irish Guards played a major part in both World Wars, winning a total of six Victoria Crosses including the last to be presented in the Second World War and have seen armed conflict in many parts of the world since 1945.
In 2000, the 100th year of the creation of the Irish Guards, Liverpool granted them the freedom of the city. The following year the regiment took part in training exercises in Poland, BATUS in Canada and the large exercise in Oman called Saif Sareea II.
At the funeral of the Queen Mother in 2002, the coffin bearer-party was made up of Irish Guardsmen. This was a remarkable honour, given the fact that the late Queen Mother not only was not the regiment's colonel (she was, in fact, colonel-in-chief of the Black Watch), she had no official connection with the regiment at all, in spite of her long identification with it.
In 2003, the regiment deployed to Kuwait during the build-up to the Iraq War. The Irish Guards were part of the 7th Armoured Brigade (successor of the famed 7th Armoured Division, 'The Desert Rats') and began training for the war. The battalion was split up with companies, platoons and sections being attached to various units of the Desert Rats. Upon crossing the Iraq border, the Desert Rats began the journey towards the area around Basra, gradually taking control of much of the area that surrounded Iraq's second largest city.
In 2005, the 1st Battalion, Irish Guards became the first unit to be officially awarded battle honours for service in Iraq - this was to enable these to be displayed on the battalion's new regimental colour during the Sovereign's Birthday Parade."
Based in Victoria Barracks, Windsor, but currently deployed to Afghanistan, the Battalion is made up of five companies and a variety of supporting elements. This is Prince William’s first honorary appointment in the Army, and he will be the Irish Guards’ first Royal Colonel. The Queen is Colonel-in-Chief.

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