As I explained in a post earlier this year, each regiment in the British Army has a regimental standard around which the regiment spiritually builds itself. Historically, it was literally carried into battle and became the rallying point for the soldiers of that regiment, as well as acting as a recognisable indicator for the top brass watching from a nearby hillside. It is normally known by the word ‘colours’ in the infantry and most of the rest of the army, but in cavalry units, the standard is known as a ‘guidon’.
It is given directly to the officers and soldiers by the Sovereign and Commander-in-Chief, HM The Queen, in a colours or guidon parade. Of course, the Sovereign is to whom all members of the military swear a direct oath of allegiance and is obviously held in very high regard by her military. Sometimes she presents colours and guidons in person, but more usually by a royal representative, who carries the designation of Honorary Colonel of that particular regiment.
The standard, usually a flag of elaborate embroidered silk represents the physical embodiment of the Sovereign and is thus held as an immediate substitution of her by the regiment to whom it belongs. With that comes an unexpectedly high degree of ceremony – such as saluting the guidon at various moments and ensuring their safety at all times. The upshot of all of this is that they are very precious things to the men and women of that regiment.
As an aside and to create further confusion, the Royal Artillery don’t have colours in the form of a flag, but instead use their actual artillery pieces as their colours, and accord them a similar degree of respect… The rest of the army finds this pretty peculiar, but then, they are gunners!
With the amalgamation of antecedent regiments, colours and guidons occasionally need to be merged as well. The Queen’s Own Yeomanry comes from a number of cavalry and yeomanry regiments from the north of England, and collectively those units have a long and distinguished service to the Crown. As the regiments amalgamated and unified, the number of guidons reduced, until finally we are left with only one. That one Guidon usually is in service for between 15-20 years and then a new Guidon is commissioned and blessed in a Guidon Parade of this kind, presented to its regimented by the Royal Honorary Colonel; in this case HRH Prince Charles, The Prince of Wales.
]Every detail is planned, including the hoovering of the red carpet!
HRH The Prince of Wales presented the Guidon and then met with the families and soldiers of his regiment in the grounds of Bramham Park, Yorkshire.
To view the full set of images from the whole weekend, please click the button below:
Directly from Wikipedia: The Queen’s Own Yeomanry was initially formed on 1 April 1971 as the 2nd Armoured Car Regiment from five of the yeomanry units across the North and Middle of England and South West Scotland. During the Cold War, The Queen’s Own Yeomanry were a British Army of the Rhine Regiment with an Armoured Reconnaissance role in Germany. With the Strategic Defence Review in 1999 the geographical locations of the regiment changed to encompass East Scotland and Northern Ireland. Soldiers from the regiment have served both in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Under Army 2020, three squadrons transferred to the Scottish and North Irish Yeomanry and it gained two squadrons from the Royal Mercian and Lancastrian Yeomanry. The unit is paired with the Light Dragoons and uses the Land Rover
A FEW IMAGES FROM THE DAY:
It was clear to all who watched the Guidon Parade that a huge amount of work had gone into making it a really special day. Not just the parading troops and their attention to uniforms and drill, but everything from the design of the program, the band, the seating plans, the mounted elements, the security provided by the Light Dragoons, the catering tent and the military demo teams (to name but a few) had all done themselves proud.
I would like to thank the Weather Gods for being kind – the last time I did this, the temperature was 35 and rising (see the RWxY Guidon Parade photos!) – a touch cooler this time!
Of course I’d also like to thank the Commanding Officer for asking me to join you all as the official photographer and I do hope you enjoy what I’ve produced in this gallery. I’d also like to thank all of you, the serving officers and soldiers of the QOY for looking after me and putting up with me running around with a camera – something I know soldiers generally loathe at the best of times!
The Regimental Photograph is still yet to come but please do have a look at the photos and when we’ve worked out how it is going to happen, I’ll be in touch with you all.
Thank you again, and very well done! I look forward to seeing some of you on Ex SNOWFOX in the Alps this winter, where I’m sure the Royal Wessex Yeomanry will give you all a lesson in downhill skiing! 😉
Check out the full set of images from the weekend and the official website of the QOY: