Why not the Royal Army?

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Delta Tank
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Why not the Royal Army?

Post by Delta Tank » 14 Aug 2019 02:50

I hope this has not been asked before, but why does Great Britain have a Royal Navy, a Royal Air Force and Royal Marines, but the British Army does not have Royal in its title?

Thanks in advance.

Mike

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Re: Why not the Royal Army?

Post by Alanmccoubrey » 14 Aug 2019 08:20

Because the Army is a collection of Regiments and Corps many of which are "Royal". Or maybe because the Army was never considered to be of any great social standing in Britain, nor was it trusted by the ruling classes after the Civil War.

Or best of all, perhaps like "The Open" in golf it isn't necessary to call it anything but "The Army" :D
Alan

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Sheldrake
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Re: Why not the Royal Army?

Post by Sheldrake » 14 Aug 2019 09:08

Delta Tank wrote:
14 Aug 2019 02:50
I hope this has not been asked before, but why does Great Britain have a Royal Navy, a Royal Air Force and Royal Marines, but the British Army does not have Royal in its title?

Thanks in advance.

Mike
Probably because of the English Civil war. The "Royal" or "King's Army" describes the forces of the Stuart kings Charles and later James.

The modern British Army was formed around regiments that served King and Parliament. The 1st Foot (Grenadier) Guards and the Life Guards were King Charles IInd's personal guard and formed in Belgium in Exile. The 2nd Foot (Coldstream) Guards and the Blues (now part of the Blues and Royals) were part of Cromwell's forces. The name Coldstream refers to the river crossed by General Monk's men after they changed sides in 1660(ish).

Other old infantry regiments trace their origins to the Scottish army (1st of foot) or the army of William III who deposed James II
In 1688 these allegiances were still sharp. Patrick Sarsfield and some of the the Life Guards remained loyal to James II and served him in Ireland. For the first half of the C18th there were two claimants to the throne and English, Irish and Scots men serving Kings James III and Charles III.

My old reservist unit was never Royal, but Honourable. The entrance hallway to Armoury House has the coats of arms of the various Captain Generals mostly Royal, but also including Phillip Skipon the Sergeant Major General of Foot of Parliament's army.

Delta Tank
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Re: Why not the Royal Army?

Post by Delta Tank » 14 Aug 2019 12:38

I want to thank you guys for your replies. We just finished a three day “Staff Ride” of some of the battlefields of the War of 1812 along the Niagara River, and this question came up while we were relaxing with adult beverages and cigars. One member of our group actually gave the answer that Sheldrake responded with.

Thanks to all!

Mike

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Loïc
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Re: Honourable

Post by Loïc » 14 Aug 2019 14:06

Honourable... the Honourable Artillery Company, this oldest unit of the British Army raised in 1537 who was an Infantry Battalion and a light cavalry squadron :)

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Sheldrake
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Re: Honourable

Post by Sheldrake » 14 Aug 2019 17:49

Loïc wrote:
14 Aug 2019 14:06
Honourable... the Honourable Artillery Company, this oldest unit of the British Army raised in 1537 who was an Infantry Battalion and a light cavalry squadron :)
Not quite. The Yeomen of the Guard claim seniority. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yeomen_of_the_Guard

The HAC was formed long enough ago to have been equipped with the war bow. They were the City of London's own officer corps for the Trained Bands of London. They were on parade for Queen Bess when she gave her Heart of an English King speech, fought mainly for Parliament in the English Civil War and on both sides of the American War of Independence. The Ancient and Honourable company of Artillery of Boston Ma is an offshoot.

Two infantry battalions and an artillery battery (and 12,000 trained officers) in WW1. One of them was Regimand Haine https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/80000033 If you have seen Peter Jackson's They Shall Grown not Old you have heard part of his story.

Four artillery regiments and an independent battery In WW2. One of these landed on D Day.

Currenlty a special forces unit and an artillery battery. Pikeman and Musketeers and Light Cavalry form the guards for Lord Mayor of London.

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Re: Why not the Royal Army?

Post by Delta Tank » 15 Aug 2019 00:31

To all,

One more question from a buddy of mine.

“Thanks, Mike. This is helpful...similar to what we discussed last night. But I wonder if there’s ever been a consideration of consolidation of these various regimental affiliations into a ‘Royal Army’....while still protecting all the privileges and traditions of those regiments.”

Mike

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Re: Why not the Royal Army?

Post by Sheldrake » 15 Aug 2019 14:24

Delta Tank wrote:
15 Aug 2019 00:31
To all,

One more question from a buddy of mine.

“Thanks, Mike. This is helpful...similar to what we discussed last night. But I wonder if there’s ever been a consideration of consolidation of these various regimental affiliations into a ‘Royal Army’....while still protecting all the privileges and traditions of those regiments.”

Mike
As our Army has shrunk that is an issue that has exercised the brains of the infantry in particular.

So most of the old line infantry Regiments have been merged into a handful of big ones. Some of these are organised geographically. e.g. The Royal Regiment of Scotland, Royal Irish, Royal Welsh, Duke of Lancaster's Regiment, Mercians, Yorkshire Regiment, the Royal Anglian Regiment and of course (Squidgee's Own) The Princess of Wales' Royal Regiment ,which is South and south east England. Others are defined by what they did in the Napoleonic wars: The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers: The Rifles (which absorbed the Light Infantry as well as the south west of England) and the Brigade of Guards.

Some of the merged Regiments are big on retaining the customs and traditions within individual battalions or even Companies. So each of the Battalions of the Royal Regiment of Scotland is associated with a specific historic Regiment e.g.1 Scots is the Royal Scots and the KOSB. 2 Royal Anglian (The Poachers) carries opn the traditions of the Lincolnshire, Leicestershire, Northamptonshire and Bedfordshire Regiments, with each company adopting a former regiment and hosting e.g. veterans.

Others mix everyone up and pick and choose the traditions collectively with little effort at regional affiliation. e.g. the Rifles claim to be the descendants of Sharps Rifles, but wear the Croix de Guerre flash from the Devons. None of this makes a difference for posting officers or senior NCOs

As an institution the British Army has not been averse to creating new regiments and Corps - Royal Tank Corps then Regiment, The Parachute Regiment, The Special Air Service, and the mighty Army Catering Corps survived the end of the wars in which they were created.

We also happy to disbanded them too. The Machine Gun Corps, Long Range Desert Group, Popski's private Army, The Reconnaissance Corps and the Army Commandos did not survive the wars which spawned them. The Intelligence Corps was created in WW1 and the disbanded ten years later. The Royal Flying Corps absconded to form its own Royal Air Force , but the expereince of WW2 led to the creation of the Army Air Corps.

To disguise a lack of real defence strategy we are happy to reshuffle the cards. So various logistic functions have been provided by the Royal Army Service Corps and Royal Army Ordnance Corps, Army Catering Corps, Royal Pioneer Corps have now become the Really Large Corps - the Royal Logistic Corps whjciuh has also absorbed the postal services of the Royal Engineers (Postal and Courier Branch). The Royal Engineers spawned the Royal Signals. Our Adjutant Generals Corps sprung from the staff clerks of the Royal Army Ordnance Corps, the Royal Pay Corps, Royal Military Police, Royal Army Educational Corps, Royal Military Provost Staff Corps and both the ASGC and RLC taking a large element of the Womens Royal Army Corps disbanded in 1990 before the Army was overwhelmed by equal opportunities legislation - or the army forced to look into the institutionalised sexual abuse of recruits in all female units.

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