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P.D. GRIFFIN
ENCYCLOPEDIA OF MODERN BRITISH ARMY REGIMENTS

Fusiliers back in the trenches for the re-burial of Pte Henry Wilkinson of the 2nd Lancashire Fusiliers, killed on 10 November 1914

Fusiliers back in the trenches for the re-burial of Pte Henry Wilkinson of the 2nd Lancashire Fusiliers, killed on 10 November 1914. (AloD)

The 20th Regiment anticipated the fusilier title in 1813 when attached to the Fusilier Brigade on campaign and was accepted by it as 'The Young Fusiliers". They became officially transformed as the Lancashire Fusiliers (LF) in 1881.

RRF headquarters and museum are in the Tower of London.

DRESS DISTINCTIONS

The drummer's colour with roses on St George's Day, 1990

The drummer's colour with roses on St George's Day, 1990. (Brian L. Dayis)

All ranks wear a beret with grenade badge and regimental hackle, a feature of fusilier regiments from 1946. Officers swapped caps for berets after amalgamation. The various grenade badges worn by the old fusilier regiments were adapted for the RRF, which took the Royal Fusiliers' grenade and replaced its Tudor Rose with St George and Dragon (Royal Northumberland Fusiliers (RNF)), enveloped by the Minden Wreath (LF). The red over white feather hackle comes from the RNF. It originated in the white plumes plucked from French hats by the 'Old Fifth' after the battle for St Lucia in 1778 and worn as a mark of victors' until 1829, when white plumes became standard wear in the infantry. The 5th then changed to red and white plumes to conform to the colours of St George, and when raccoon-skin caps were ordered to fusilier regiments in 1868 only the 5th Northumberland Fusiliers were permitted to wear them with a plume attached.

The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers

In 1900 the Royal Fusiliers were allowed the use of their old white plume and the Lancashire Fusiliers a plume of yellow (former facing colour) to honour their losses at the Battle of Spion Kop. The Royal Warwicks adopted a blue over deep yellow hackle in 1963, yellow to represent the facings colour of the 6th Regiment before 1832 and blue for the facings after that year.

RRF buttons are graced with an antelope within a crowned Garter belt, a design previously found on uniforms of the Royal Warwickshire Regiment. The ancient badge of an antelope 'gorged with a ducal coronet and a rope flexed over its back' was first borne by the 6th Regiment, though the reason has vet to be established. The animal appeared among the royal badges of Henry VI, but it has also been attributed to an antelope found on a Moorish flag taken by the regiment in battle at Saragossa in 1710. No. 1 dress 'blues' are defined by the beret and hackle, and a broad scarlet stripe on the trousers. This peculiarity of the Royal Fusiliers links the RRF with the dress of the Royal Artillery and thereby commemorates its origin as a guard for the train of artillery.

Musicians dedicated to the Northumbrian pipes, a custom of the Royal Northumberland Fusiliers, wear a black and white check 'Shepherd's tartan' over their uniform. Pipers are schooled in the ancient instrument by the TA battalion in Northumberland.

MUSIC

The regimental quick march, British Grenadiers, was ordered to all regiments badged with a grenade in 1835. The fusiliers' connection with the grenade badge came from their fur (grenadier) caps. Marches traditionally played after British Grenadiers are Blaydon Races (RNF), Fighting with the 7th Royal Fusiliers (a popular music-hall ballad used by the RF) and Minden March, an arrangement of the old hymn Lammas Day adopted by the LF in commemoration of the Battle of Minden, which was fought on Lammas Day in 1759. Warwickshire Lads was adapted from a song score written in 1769 for Shakespeare celebrations at Stratford.

The official RRF slow marches are Rule Britannia and De Normandie. The former ('Britannia rule the waves') was considered appropriate in the RNF and RF to recount seagoing expeditions of the 5th and the 7th Regiments in the eighteenth century. Other slow marches of the regiment are played when appropriate: St George in Northumberland, MacBean's (written by a lieutenant of that name in 1782) in Warwickshire and The Lancashire Fusiliers' Slow March, an adaptation of The Minden Waltzes.

TRADITIONS

The Colonel-in-Chief of the regiment, the Duke of Kent, upholds a tradition going back to 1789, when Prince Edward, later Duke of Kent, was appointed colonel of the 7th Royal Fusiliers. The regiment's privileged connections with the royal family were established by William IV, who sometimes dined with the 7th and bade its officers to dispense with the usual protocol that surrounds the drinking of the loyal toast.

The regimental mascot, an Indian blackbuck antelope, is kept in the care of two handlers and paraded at the head of the regiment. Wild antelopes of this variety were kept by the Royal Warwickshires from 1871, when the regiment first adopted one in India to complement its antelope badge.

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