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P.D. GRIFFIN
ENCYCLOPEDIA OF MODERN BRITISH ARMY REGIMENTS

TRADITIONS

Corps Day (6 April) celebrates the time in 1992 when six corps came together under the colonel commandant of the Adjutant General's Corps. The custom of making a special toast to the corps commandant was inherited from the WRAC, where officers would drink a health to their Commandant-in-Chief, HRH Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother.

The Staff and Personnel Support Branch (currently 4,500 all ranks) is composed of military clerks whose work embraces the various duties of army clerks prior to 1993. This involves the administration of field records, soldiers' records, casualty reports and disciplinary documents; clerical detachments giving admin support to headquarters and other units; the issue of pay and allowances; the maintenance of MoD public accounts for local suppliers, agencies and Post Office receipts; and operational tasks with other units.

The Provost Branch continues the work of the Royal Military Police and the Military Provost Staff Corps, currently requiring over 2,000 personnel. The Redcaps' deal with the maintenance of discipline and crime prevention, detection and investigation. They need to possess interpersonal skills and professional integrity while being physically strong enough to handle harsh situations. RMP operational support duties range from large-scale traffic control to advising commanders in the field on the movement of front-line troops and supply columns. The Military Provost Staff are stationed mainly at the Military Corrective Training Centre at Colchester Garrison, where they re-train 'soldiers under sentence' in the army's ways, and motivate their prisoners back to a mental and physical readiness for service life before their return to unit. The Military Provost Guard Service, formed in 1997, provides security guards for selected MoD sites.

The Educational and Training Services Branch combines the old teaching practices of the Royal Army Educational Corps with new developmental training, support and resettlement services. They assist all ranks to achieve their academic potential and cover international affairs, war studies, languages, and the general education of young soldiers and the children of service families.

The Army Legal Services Branch follows the duties of the commissioned solicitors and barristers of the Army Legal Corps that was set up after the Second World War. Its officers advise the chain of command on disciplinary matters and prosecute/defend at courts martial. They give legal advice and assistance to serving soldiers and their families, instruct on military law and administer the army's legal system. Their skills cover the complex issues to be found in military, civil and operational law.

THE ROYAL ARMY VETERINARY CORPS

The Royal Army Veterinary Corps (RAVC) dates back to 1858 when veterinary surgeons attached to cavalry regiments were brought together as the Veterinary Medical Department (VMD). Prior to the Napoleonic Wars, care for army horses was entrusted to regimental farriers. In 1881 the VMD was renamed Army Veterinary Department and ten years later its surgeons were given substantive military ranks. Lower ranks were recruited in 1903 for an Army Veterinary Corps and three years later the two factions were consolidated as one corps.

Dog-handlers from a variety of regiments and services at the Defence Animal Centre

Dog-handlers from a variety of regiments and services at the Defence Animal Centre. (MoD)

The First World War made great demands on army horses and the AVC grew in proportion to try to provide care for the huge number of animals used and injured in the conflict. In the last year of the war the 'Vets' were honoured with the royal prefix to their title.

In 1946 the RAVC was merged with the Army Remount Service (ARS) and moved from its base at Doncaster Racecourse to the Remount Depot at Melton Mowbray, where equines were to coexist with canines. RAVC headquarters are now located with the Army Medical Services in Camberley but the Melton depot still holds and trains dogs and horses as the Defence Animal Centre.

DRESS DISTINCTIONS

The blue peaked cap is distinguished with the maroon band first seen in the Army Veterinary Department of Queen Victoria's army. The field service cap is maroon with blue flaps and gold or yellow piping. No. 1 dress is similarly defined with a double maroon stripe down the overalls.

The crowned laurel wreath badge, which contained the corps' AVC monogram, was transplanted with the mythical man/horse figure of Chiron when the title was altered in 1918.

The corps stable belt is blue, with a central maroon band between yellow stripes.

MUSIC

The corps quick march is a combination of Drink Puppy Drink and A Hunting We Will Go, the latter a reference to the Leicestershire depot and the county sport, which was happily indulged in by ARS and RAVC alike. The slow march is Golden Spurs.

TRADITIONS

The corps deals with military dog care and training (detecting and guarding) and the procurement, stabling, schooling and caring of army horses. The old pack-horse techniques are learned for the odd occasion when the army needs to supply units in difficult and mountainous terrain.

THE SMALL ARMS SCHOOL CORPS

This small corps was created in 1919 with the Corps of Small Arms and Machine Gun Schools. The two were brought together in 1923 to give instruction in weaponry and assumed the Small Arms School Corps (SASC) title six years later. Corps headquarters were relocated from Hythe to the School of Infantry at Warminster in 1969.

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