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Band of the Queen's Regiment, c. 1990, now part of The Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment
Balaklava Day (25 October) commemorates the 'thin red line' of the 93rd (Sutherland) Highlanders, who stood between the Crimean port of Balaklava and a horde of 3,000 Russian cavalry in 1854. It was William Russell of The Times who coined the sobriquet for the battalion - a strand of hope in a seemingly hopeless situation. The 93rd faced the overwhelming odds with Sir Colin Campbell's exhortation that 'each man must the where he stands', but as the cavalry lumbered over the plain the Highlanders sent a disciplined volley into its midst and halted the assault.
Regimental pet mascots were popular from the reign of George III, with some Highland regiments adopting a stag. Today the Argylls' Shetland pony is the only example in the regiment. Its name Cruachan came from the old war cry of the Clan Campbell; Duncan Campbell of Lochnell was the first colonel of the 91st Highlanders. The first Shetland pony was presented to the 1st Argylls in 1929 by Princess Louise, Duchess of Argyll.
Cameronians Day (12 May) commemorates the regiment that began life in the religious sect known as the Covenanters and joined the army of William III on condition that it would be allowed to keep chaplains of its own persuasion. On 12 May (Founders' Day) a conventicle would be held in the open and picquets posted around the service to symbolise life under the Stuarts, when the Covenanters were persecuted. Rifles were always carried on church parades when suitable racks were available and the march to and from church would be made in silence. Drinking the loyal toast was against the Presbyterian code, so Cameronian officers devised a method of passing a glass round the table without pausing to drink from it.
The Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment (PWRR) was formed in 1992 by the merger of the Queen's Regiment (the 1966 host to the four regiments of the Home Counties Brigade) and the Royal Hampshire Regiment. The PWRR title was inspired by Diana, Princess of Wales, Colonel-in-Chief of the Royal Hampshires from 1985 and of the PWRR until her untimely death in 1997. By coincidence the old Queen's Regiment (1661-1959) went under the same PWRR title between 1715 and 1727.
PWRR private in No. 2 dress, 1995. Bronzed buttons are a regimental custom inherited from officers of the Royal Hampshire Regiment. The bronzed badge is pinned to a black/yellow/black patch, the colours of the Hampshires now used on the PWRR stable belt too. (Grenadier Publishing)
The old Queen's and the Buffs (so called from their flesh-coloured facings) date back to the reign of Charles II, making the PWRR the senior English regiment in the infantry. The old Queen's were raised for the garrison of Tangier, part of Catherine of Braganza's dowry to Charles II in 1661; the Buffs, who claimed descent from the London trained bands that went to fight for the Dutch in 1572, were accepted by Charles when Holland repatriated mercenaries loyal to England as the two countries came to war in 1665.
Headquarters are at Howe Barracks in Canterbury, the old depot of the Buffs.
Diana, Princess of Wales, with the Royal Hampshires. The different cap badges are regimental officers' pattern (front row), other ranks (centre) and Army Physical Training Corps (right)
The blue peaked cap has the scarlet band of a royal regiment and the badge of the 1966 Queen's Regiment modified to accept the Hampshire rose. It has four parts: the Prince of Wales's crest, conferred on the 77th Regiment in 1810 (an appropriate ingredient for the PWRR); the Garter belt confirmed to the 35th (Royal Sussex) in 1879 through its connection with the 4th Duke of Richmond KG; a dragon from the arms of the City of London and Elizabeth I, conferred on the Buffs by Queen Anne as a symbol of their antecedence in that place and time; and the Tudor rose of the Hampshire Militia, conferred on the trained bands of Hampshire by Henry V to mark the support given him at Agincourt in 1415, which was adopted by the Hampshire Regiment.
The collar badge, designed for the Queen's Regiment in 1967, embodies the Garter Star (backed by an upright plume) of the Royal Sussex Regiment with the rearing Horse of Kent at its centre. The Roussillon plume represents hat plumes of the French Roussillon Regiment taken by Otway's Regiment (the 35th) as a symbol of victory at the Battle of Quebec in 1759. The White Horse of Kent, with its motto Invicta (Unconquered), is the county emblem once worn by the Kent Militia and adopted by the Queen's Own Royal West Kent Regiment for its cap badge.
The Buffs' 1st Volunteer Battalion camp, c. 1904, green rifles uniform (centre) and khaki service dress (outer). (Military Historical Society)