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The Adjutant Generals Corps (AGC) was formed in 1992 for the overall management of the army's human resources, through administration, education and discipline. The title comes from the chief administrative officer on the General Staff, whose office goes back to 1673.
The work of the AGC is carried out through four distinct branches, each of which has its own identity and history. The Staff and Personnel Support Branch (SPS) (62 per cent of the AGC) derives from the Royal Army Pay Corps (RAPC), the staff clerks of the Royal Army Ordnance Corps and the major part of the Women's Royal Army Corps (WRAC), which was dissolved in 1992. The large number of female clerks in the SPS Branch has led to AGC being read as 4All Girls Corps'. The Provost Branch (32 per cent) is made up of the Royal Military Police (RMP) and the Military Provost Staff Corps (MPSC). The Educational and Training Services Branch (ETS) (5 per cent) was formerly the Royal Army Educational Corps (RAEC) and the Army Legal Services Branch (ALS) (1 per cent), the Army Legal Corps (ALC).
AGC headquarters and training centre are at Worthy Down in Hampshire, the former home of the Royal Army Pay Corps.
A blue peaked cap with the royal scarlet band honours the four predecessor corps that held a royal title. The Royal Military Police, however, are allowed to keep their distinctive red caps (with black band) for recognition purposes. Berets of green, in a lighter shade than those worn in the WRAC, were chosen for the new corps, except the RMP again, which retains its scarlet berets.
The corps badge consists of a crowned laurel wreath (from the WRAC badge) with the royal crest within, on a scroll worded Animo et fide (With resolution and fidelity). The lion and crown that comprise the royal crest arrived by tradition of the Adjutant Generals Department, the Pay Corps, the Provost Marshal and officers of the Military Police. The Provost Branch is allowed to deviate from corps insignia with the old crown and cypher badges of the RMP and the MPSC, though the new Military Provost Guard Service (MPGS) is represented by the royal crest and title scroll on crossed keys. The Army Legal Services retain the ALC badge - a blindfolded figure of Justice holding a sword and scales, superimposed on a globe and crossed swords surmounted by the royal crest, all contained in a circle inscribed JUSTITIA IN ARMIS. Members of the ETS Branch wear the old torch (of learning) collar badge of the RAEC.
In 1996 AGC musicians' uniform was laid down as infantry pattern: blue helmet and scarlet tunic with blue facings. Mess dress continues the theme with scarlet jackets and blue facings, the standing collar modelled on that worn in the AG Department of the 1890s.
AGC Field Admin Office. (MoD)
The corps quick march, A Pride of Lions, written for the AGC in 1992, draws on the badges of the WRAC, RAPC, the former AG Department, the SPS Branch and the MPGS, all of which contain a lion emblem. The AGC slow march, Greensleeves, came from the WRAC, whose members wore uniforms of green.
The four branches of the corps manifest their independence with official marches of their own. The SPS Branch uses Safroni's Imperial Echoes, the march of the Pay Corps from 1952. Before this date The Inkslingers' marched to Primrose and Blue, the poetic representation of corps colours. Former WRAC marches (authorised in 1959) number The Lass of Richmond Hill, Early One Morning and the pipe tune Nut Brown Maiden.
The Provost Branch has three marches: The Watchtower (RMP), The New Colonial (MPS) and Steadfast and True (MPGS).
The Educational and Training Services Branch lists Gaudeamus Igitur (RAEC from 1952) and The Good Comrade.
The ALS Branch is represented by the Army Legal Corps' Scales of Justice, an arrangement of the folk tunes The Soldier Hath No Bedfellows and Stop Poor Sinner, Stop and Think.
'Redcaps' in service dress checking the papers of a Para corporal in battle dress, Aldershot during the 1950s. Mounted RMP patrols for training areas, military events and garrisons were stood down in 1995 in favour of motorcycle patrols. (Aldershot Military Museum)
The Band of the Adjutant General's Corps was formed on a nucleus of musicians from the WRAC band in 1992, which was dissolved when female soldiers were integrated into the other corps of the army. The WRAC Staff Band was formed in 1949, shortly after the formation of the corps, and prided itself on being the only all-girl band. The first girl band was that of the ATS, formed during the Second World War, when the Royal Army Pay Corps managed to raise unofficial bands.