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P.D. GRIFFIN
ENCYCLOPEDIA OF MODERN BRITISH ARMY REGIMENTS

DRESS DISTINCTIONS

The blue peaked cap with scarlet band bears the regimental badge, the castle and key of Gibraltar on an eight-pointed star, basically the badge of the East Anglian Brigade prior to 1964 in the smaller form favoured by the officers. The castle and key emblem was worn as a battle honour by four regiments of the British Army, three of which were destined for the Anglians: the Suffolk, Essex and Northamptons. The castle's accompanying motto, Montis insignia Calpe (By the sign of the Rock), was also included in the badge of the Suffolk Regiment. The castle and its motto were originally allowed to be borne by the 12th (Suffolk), 56th (West Essex) and the 58th (Rutlandshire) Regiments in 1836 to affirm their battle honour 'Gibraltar 1779-83', awarded just after the great siege in which a handful of British regiments held out against the combined French and Spanish armies and navies for four years. The star part of the badge, minus a cross and hart, was taken from the Beds and Herts' badge and resembles the Star of the Order of the Bath which appeared (with laurel wreath) on officers' belt plates of the 16th (Bedfordshire) Regiment from 1830.

Collar badges are worn to battalion pattern in this regiment. Members of the 1st Battalion wear the Suffolks' castle badge with the Norfolks' figure of Britannia superimposed, whereas soldiers of the 2nd sport the Lincolns' sphinx with the Northamptons' 'Talavera' scroll.

Royal Anglian Regiment (RAR) buttons were impressed with the regimental castle and star until the demise of the 4th (Leicestershire) Battalion in 1970, when it was decided to perpetuate the memory of the Leicestershire Regiment by showing its tiger and wreath badge on the buttons. The complete laurel wreath dates back to 1777 and represents the encirclement of the 17th Foot by Washington's army at Princeton, and Lt-Col Mawhood's reckless charge to break out of the Americans' cordon.

With the passing of the 3rd Battalion in 1992 its eagle badge, inherited from the Essex Regiment, was transferred to the remaining battalions in the form of a sleeve badge, worn near the left shoulder in the style of that of the Blues and Royals'. The Imperial Eagle, displayed on buttons of the Essex Regiment from 1902 and as a collar badge from 1954, is symbolic of the regimental eagle of the French 62nd Regiment captured by the 44th (East Essex) at the Battle of Salamanca in 1812.

1st Battalion uniforms are identifiable by a red and yellow Minden flash on the right sleeve, worn to honour the memory of the 12th Regiment at the Battle of Minden in 1759. Lanyards are worn in battalion colours: 1st Battalion wear a yellow lanyard to reflect the yellow facings of the 9th and 12th Regiments, a distinction restored to the Suffolks in 1899 and the Norfolks in 1905. The 2nd Battalion lanyards are black, the facing colour of the 58th from 1755 to 1881. Lanyards worn in the 3rd Battalion were rose purple, the facing colour of the 56th, returned to the Essex in 1936. TA battalions wear lanyards of two or three colours; companies based in Leicester wore the red/grey/black twist of the Royal Leicesters - grey for the old facings of the 17th Regiment, which were returned to the Leicesters in 1931, and black as a sign of mourning for the death of Gen Wolfe.

Colours of the 1st and 2nd Battalions at Duxford in 1995

Colours of the 1st and 2nd Battalions at Duxford in 1995. (Grenadier Publishing)

MUSIC

The regimental quick march, Rule Britannia/Speed the Plough, from the Norfolks and Suffolks respectively, is sometimes played with The Lincolnshire Poacher. In this instance, Rule Britannia is not evidence of a link with the Royal Navy; it was chosen for the Norfolk Regiment to complement its Britannia badge. Speed the Plough, particularly apt for a regiment sometimes known as 'The Carrot Crunchers', is based on a seventeenth-century East Anglian folk tune.

The regimental slow march is that formerly played in the Northamptonshire Regiment, whose custom it was to play Rule Britannia and God Bless the Prince of Wales in the officers' mess.

The waltz, Destiny, was regarded with sacred respect in the Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire Regiment because it was a favourite of the 1st Battalion band just before the embarkation to France in 1914, where its destiny was to witness the destruction of the regiment at Mons, Le Cateau, the Marne, the Aisne and Ypres. The Pilgrim's Hymn was adopted in 1941 to commemorate Bedford's link with John Bunyan, author of A Pilgrim's Progress.

The quick march, A Hunting Call, which evoked the fox-hunting traditions of Leicestershire, was played in the county militia from 1860 and adopted as the regimental march of the Leicesters in 1933. Their slow march, General Monckton 1762, indicated the colonel of the 17th Foot and the date he composed the piece.

The 44th Regiment re-enactment group in 2005

The 44th Regiment re-enactment group in 2005, displaying drills and tactics of the 2nd Battalion the 44th (East Essex) Regiment in the Peninsular War

TRADITIONS

Formation Day (1 September) celebrates the 1964 amalgamation, which brought the eastern county regiments together as Royal Anglian on parade grounds in England, Germany and Arabia.

The 1st Battalion anniversaries are headed by Minden Day (1 August), when roses are worn on headgear in the custom of the Suffolk Regiment, whose forebears stopped to pick roses for their hats en route to the battle line at Minden in 1759. A red and a yellow rose were worn in the Suffolk on Minden Day in remembrance of this and also on the sovereign's birthday, a tradition that began in an earlier battle on German soil. At Dettingen, Duroure's Regiment (the 12th) accompanied King George II on the field and chose to remember the honour by wearing fern leaves on his birthday. Dettingen Day (27 June) is also celebrated in 1st Royal Anglian.

St Patrick's Day (17 March) and Salamanca Day (22 July) are observed in memory of the capture of a French eagle standard by the 2nd Battalion of the 44th (East Essex) Regiment at the Battle of Salamanca in 1812. It was customary for the Essex Regiment's Corps of Drums to play Irish airs at reveille in honour of this Irish battalion, raised for war in 1804 and disbanded at its end, in 1816. The eagle trophy was consigned to the Royal Hospital at Chelsea and entrusted to the regiment in the twentieth century.

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