1st Regiment of Foot Guards
The 1st Regiment of Foot Guards is the most senior regiment of the Guards Division and, as such, is the most senior regiment of infantry in the British Army. It is not the most senior regiment of the Army in general, that honour goes to the Life Guards.
Although the Coldstream Guards were formed before the 1st Guards Regiment, they are maliciously ranked after the 1st Foot Guards in seniority because they had been a regiment of Cromwell’s New Model Army.
The 1st Foot Guards fought throughout the Peninsular War from 1808 to 1814 and were heavily engaged both at Quatre Bras and Waterloo in 1815. The pre-eminent position of this regiment in the British Army necessitates it being the first on the list of Waterloo Regiments.
The basic British soldier’s uniform of the period for the rank and file, and to a certain extent, NCOs and officers, conformed to a set of regulations that were designed to ensure conformity, regularity and value for money but there were variations in styles and details brought about by the personnel preferences of commanders or individual officers and some changes occurred by the use of a variety of manufacturers. One of the distinctions between the Guards regiments uniforms was the arrangement of their buttons. The Ist Foot Guard’s buttons were evenly spaced, Coldstream Guards buttons were in pairs and the 3rd Foot Guards in three sets of three. All the Guards regiments, as ‘Royal’ regiments, sported dark blue cuffs, collars, facings and foldbacks.
Within the Grenadier Company of a Regiment there would generally be a small team of sappers. Like the rest of the Grenadier Company they were traditionally men of large stature and they would carry out a variety of engineering duties, servicing the immediate needs of the regiment on the march, in camp or when they were in action particularly in siege situations. The sappers carried a variety of tools but their most prominent piece of equipment was the axe, which was also on show on parade.
310gm Limited edition of 50 c/w authentication certificate
Illustration by David Higham