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P.D. GRIFFIN
ENCYCLOPEDIA OF MODERN BRITISH ARMY REGIMENTS

DRESS DISTINCTIONS

The blue peaked cap with scarlet band was worn in the forming regiments, though the Fusiliers confined it to officers' uniforms. Other ranks of the RWR now conform to fusilier fashion and wear the regimental khaki beret with the Prince of Wales' badge on a green backing, with the white hackle of the Fusiliers. The Prince of Wales' crest, which was adopted by the RWF in 1714 and the 41st in 1831, became the cap badge of the Welsh Regiment in 1881 and the RRW in 1969. The beret hackle, adopted by the RWF after the Second World War, replicates the white plume that had been worn on their full dress caps since 1768.

RWR collar badges incorporate the wreath of immortelles that displaced the sphinx on Borderers' collar badges in 1958, the Welsh dragon collar badge of the Welch Regiment (which was combined with the wreath for the RRW) and the Fusiliers' grenade. The ancient Welsh dragon badge was adopted by Welsh militia regiments and passed on to the Welsh regulars in 1881.

The Neuville's painting of the 24th at Rorke's Drift, 22 January 1879

The Neuville's painting of the 24th at Rorke's Drift, 22 January 1879

The unique flash of five black swallow-tail ribbons that hangs from the back of the collar in No. Is, No. 2s and mess dress, is an eighteenth-century relic originally worn to tie the queue bag that kept the powdered wig from staining the red coat. When queues were abolished in 1808 officers of the 23rd Fusiliers continued to wear the ribbons, but Lt Col Harrison had to defend their use in 1834 and dashed off to seek permission from the King, who granted the flash as a 'peculiarity whereby to mark the dress of that distinguished regiment'. The distinction was later extended to senior sergeants of the RWF, and to other ranks in 1900.

Band and drums of the Royal Regiment of Wales

Band and drums of the Royal Regiment of Wales, c. 1990. (MoD)

The green half of the regimental stable belt relates to the green belts of the RRW, which were based on the green facings of the 24th and 69th Regiments - and the SWB from 1905. Shoulder belts worn by ensigns, goat majors and drum majors bear the motto taken by Lt Col Williams from the Mackworths of Usk for his 41st Regiment in 1831 - Gwell angau na chywillyd (Death rather than dishonour).

RWF goat major with regimental goat at Caernarvon Castle, the ceremonial pioneers on parade

RWF goat major with regimental goat at Caernarvon Castle, the ceremonial pioneers on parade. (RWF Museum)

Full dress scarlet is issued to drummers, goat handlers and RWF pioneers. A white Victorian tropical helmet adopted by the RRWT around the 100th anniversary of the Zulu War of 1879 invokes a famous episode in the history of the South Wales Borderers brought to public attention in the film Zulu.

MUSIC

The British Grenadiers was imposed on all fusilier regiments around 1835 because of the grenadier bearskins which adorned these regiments at the time.

The War Song of the Men of Glamorgan together with Forth to the Battle form the RWF slow march. The contrary reference to southern Wales here vies with Men of Harlech in the RRW.

The Royal Welch Fusiliers, penned by John Philip Sousa, was presented to the regiment of that name in 1930 to mark its fellowship with the US Marine Corps forged in the Boxer Rebellion of 1900.

Men of Harlech, the RRW quick march, was inherited from the South Wales Borderers, who came by it through their militia battalions.

Scipio, written by Handel when the 41st was filling with disabled veterans from Marlborough's wars, was chosen to be the RRW slow march.

The youngest private in the 1st Welch eating the leek on St David's Day, 1952, on active service in Korea

The youngest private in the 1st Welch eating the leek on St David's Day, 1952, on active service in Korea; mascot Taffy VII held in check by Goat Maj Williams. (RRW Museum)

Other marches of the regiment are God Bless the Prince of Wales, Ap Shenkin (1st Welch), The Lincolnshire Poacher (2nd Welch, ex-69th) and Warwickshire Lads (24th Regiment).

On dinner nights hymns played in the 41st Regiment during the Afghan War of 1842 are traditionally aired. Sun of my Soul, Spanish Chant and Vesper Hymn were played by the band of the Welch Regiment on Sunday evenings.

TRADITIONS

All battalions keep a goat to take pride of place on parades. The earliest recorded example was that of the 23rd (Royal Regiment of Welch Fuziliers), whose goats preceded the mascots of other regiments by many decades. The first goat from the royal herd was presented to the 23rd by Queen Victoria in 1844, a decade before the 41st acquired its first. The animals are the essence of the regiment, and once accompanied their battalion on campaign and even into battle. The Borderers had few Welsh traditions and never took goats, but the RRW continued the Welch Regiment tradition and named its goats Taffy, Shenkin, Dewi or Sospan according to battalion custom.

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