The British Army
is the land armed
branch of the British
. It came into being with the unification of
the Kingdoms of England and
Scotland into the Kingdom of Great
Britain in 1707. The new British Army incorporated Regiments
that had already existed in England and Scotland and was
administered by the War
Office from London.
has been managed by the Ministry of Defence
The British Army consists of 112,990 regular soldiers (which
includes 3,830 Gurkhas
) plus 35,500 Territorial Army
giving it a total of around 148,000 soldiers in October 2009. The
full-time element of the British Army has also been referred to as
the Regular Army
since the creation of the reservist
1908. The British Army is deployed in many of the world's war zones
as part of both Expeditionary
and in United Nations
forces. The British Army
is currently deployed in Kosovo
and many other places.
In contrast to the Royal Navy
, Royal Marines
and Royal Air Force
, the British Army does not
in its title. This is because historically,
British Armies were comprised of individually raised regiments and
corps. Nevertheless, many of its constituent Regiments and Corps
have been granted the Royal
prefix and have
members of the Royal Family
occupying senior positions within some regiments.
The professional head of the British Army is the Chief of the General
, currently Sir David Richards KCB CBE
British Army came into being with the merger of the Scottish Army and the English Army, following the unification of the
two countries' parliaments and the creation of the United Kingdom
of Great Britain in 1707. The new British Army incorporated existing
English and Scottish regiments, and was controlled from London.
From about 1763 the United Kingdom has been one of the leading
military and economic powers
the world. The British Empire
expanded in this time to include colonies
, and Dominions
throughout the Americas
Although the Royal Navy
regarded as having been vital for the rise of the British Empire
, and British dominance of the
world, the British Army played an important role in colonisation.
Typical tasks included garrisoning
colonies, capturing strategically important territories and
participating in actions to pacify colonial borders, provide
support to allied governments, suppress Britain's rivals, and
protect against foreign powers and hostile natives.
British troops also helped capture strategically important
territories, allowing their empire to expand throughout the globe.
The army also involved itself in numerous wars meant to pacify the
borders, or to prop-up friendly governments, and thereby keep
other, competitive, empires away from the British Empire's borders.
these actions were the Seven Years'
War, the American
Revolutionary War, the Napoleonic
Wars, the First and Second Opium Wars, the Boxer Rebellion, the New Zealand land wars, the Indian Rebellion of 1857, the
First and Second Boer Wars, the Fenian raids, the Irish War of Independence, its
serial interventions into Afghanistan (which were meant to maintain a friendly buffer
state between British India and the Russian Empire), and the Crimean War
(to keep the Russian Empire at a safe distance by coming to
As had its
predecessor, the English Army, the
British Army fought Spain, France, and the
Netherlands for supremacy in North
America and the West
With native and provincial assistance, the
Army conquered New France
in the Seven Years' War
suppressed a Native
uprising in Pontiac's
. The British Army suffered defeat in the
American War of
Independence, losing the Thirteen
Colonies but holding on to Canada.
British army was heavily involved in the Napoleonic Wars in which the army served in
Spain, across Europe, and in
The war between
the British and First French
stretched around the world. The British Army
finally came to defeat Napoleon at one of
Britain's greatest military victories at the battle of Waterloo.
Oliver Cromwell, the English Army
had been active in the conquest, and the settlement, of Ireland in the 1650s. The Cromwellian
campaign was characterised by its uncompromising treatment of the
Irish towns (most notably Drogheda) that had supported the Royalists during the
English Civil War.
It (and subsequently, the British Army)
have been almost continuously involved in Ireland ever since,
primarily in suppressing numerous Irish revolts and campaigns for
. It was faced
with the prospect of battling Anglo-Irish and Ulster Scots
settlers in Ireland, who alongside
their Irish countrymen had raised their own volunteer army and
threatened to emulate the American colonists if their conditions
(primarily concerning home rule and freedom of trade) were not met.
The British Army found itself fighting Irish rebels, both
Protestant and Catholic, primarily in Ulster and Leinster (Wolfe Tone's United Irishmen
) in the 1798 rebellion
addition to battling the armies of other European Empires' (and of
its former colonies, the United States, in the American
War of 1812,) in the battle for global supremacy, the British
Army fought the Chinese in the First and
Second Opium Wars, and the Boxer Rebellion; Māori tribes in the first of the New Zealand Wars; Indian princely
forces and British East India
Company mutineers in the Indian
Mutiny; the Boers in the First
and Second Boer Wars; Irish Fenians in Canada during the Fenian raids; and Irish separatists in the Anglo-Irish War.
William and Mary's accession to the throne, England involved itself in the War of the Grand Alliance
primarily to prevent a French invasion restoring Mary's father,
James II. Following the 1707
union of England and Scotland,
and the 1801 creation of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and
Ireland, British foreign policy, on the continent, was to
contain expansion by its competitor powers such as France and Spain.
territorial ambitions of the French led to the War of the Spanish Succession
and the Napoleonic Wars
activity led to the Crimean War
The vastly increasing demands of imperial expansion, and the
inadequacies and inefficiencies of the underfunded, post-Napoleonic
Wars British Army, and of the Militia
, and Volunteer Force
, led to the
and Childers Reforms
of the late 19th century,
which gave the British Army its modern shape, and redefined its
. The Haldane Reforms
of 1907, formally created
the Territorial Force
Army's volunteer reserve component.
Britain's dominance of the world had been challenged by numerous
other powers, notably Germany.
The UK was allied with France (by the
) and Russia, and
when the First World War
in 1914, the British Army sent the British Expeditionary
to France and Belgium to prevent Germany from occupying
these countries. The War would be the most devastating in British
military history, with near 800,000 men killed and over
2 million wounded. In the early part of the war, the
professional force of the BEF was decimated and, by turns, a
volunteer (and then conscripted) force replaced it. Major battles
included the Battle of the
. Advances in technology saw advent of the tank
, with the creation of the Royal Tank Regiment
, and advances in
design, with the creation of the
Royal Flying Corps
, which were to
be decisive in future battles. Trench
dominated strategy on the Western Front
, and the use of
chemical and poison gases added to the devastation.
Second World War broke out in 1939 with
the German invasion of Poland.
British assurances to the Polish led the British Empire to declare
war on Germany. Again an Expeditionary
was sent to France, only to be hastily evacuated as the
German forces swept through the Low Countries and across France in
1940. Only the Dunkirk evacuation
saved the entire Expeditionary Force from capture. Later, however, the
British would have spectacular success defeating the Italians and
Germans at the Battle of El Alamein in North Africa, and in
the D-Day invasion of Normandy
with the help of American, Canadian, Australian and New Zealand
Contrary to popular (Hollywood influenced) belief,
over half of the Allied soldiers on D-day were British.
Far East, the British army battled the Japanese in Burma.
II saw the British army develop its Commando units, the Parachute Regiment and
the Special Air
During the war the British army was
one of the major fighting forces on the allied side.
After the end of World War II, the British Army was significantly
reduced in size, although National
continued until 1960. This period also saw the process
commence with the
end of the British Raj
, and the
independence of other colonies in Africa and Asia. Accordingly the
army's strength was further reduced, in recognition of Britain's
reduced role in world affairs, outlined in the 1957 Defence White Paper
. This was
despite major actions in Korea
in 1956. A large force of
British troops also
remained in Germany, facing the threat of Soviet
The Cold War
significant technological advances in warfare, the Army saw more
technologically advanced weapons systems come into service.
Despite the decline of the British
, the Army was still deployed around the world, fighting
colonial wars in Aden
. In 1982 the British
Army, alongside the Royal Marines,
helped to recapture the Falkland Islands during the war against
three decades following 1969, the Army was heavily deployed in
Ireland, to support the Royal Ulster Constabulary (later
the Police Service of
Northern Ireland) in their conflict with loyalist and
republican paramilitary groups, called Operation Banner.
locally-recruited Ulster Defence
was formed, later becoming the
Royal Irish Regiment
in 1992. Over 700 soldiers were killed
during the Troubles
. Following the IRA
1994 and 1996 and since 1997, demilitarisation has taken place as
part of the peace process, reducing the military presence from
30,000 to 5,000 troops. On 25 June 2007, the Second Battalion
Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment vacated the Army complex at
Bessbrook Mill in Armagh. This is part of the 'normalisation'
programme in Northern Ireland in response to the IRA's declared end
to its activities.
Recent and current conflicts
The ending of the Cold War
saw a 40% cut in
manpower, as outlined in the Options
review. Despite this, the Army has been deployed in
an increasingly global role. In 1991, the United Kingdom was the second
largest contributor to the coalition force that fought Iraq in the
Gulf War. The nation supplied
just under 50,000 personnel and was put in control of Kuwait after it was
The British Army was deployed to Yugoslavia
in 1992. Initially this force formed
part of the United
Nations Protection Force
. In 1995 command was transferred to
and then to SFOR
Currently troops are under the command of EUFOR
. Over 10,000 troops were sent. In 1999 British
forces under the command of SFOR were sent to
Kosovo during the
Command was subsequently transferred to
the United Kingdom, as a part of Operation Enduring Freedom with
the United States, invaded Afghanistan to topple the Taliban. The 3rd Division Signal Regiment
were deployed in Kabul, to assist
in the liberation of the troubled capital. The Royal Marines'
Brigade (part of the Royal Navy
but including a number of Army units), also swept the
The British Army is today concentrating on
forces and bringing
security to Helmand province. Approximately 8,100 British troops
(including marines, airmen and sailors) are currently in
Afghanistan, making it the second largest force after the US. Up to
2,000 extra British troops are likely to deploy in 2009, bringing
the total up to 10,100.
In 2003, the United Kingdom was a major contributor to the United
States-led invasion of Iraq
There was major disagreement amongst the domestic populace but the
House of Commons voted for the conflict, sending 46,000 army
personnel to the region, the second largest force after the US.
British Army controlled the southern regions of Iraq and
maintained a peace keeping presence in the city of Basra until their
withdrawal on April 30, 2009.
British Army was initially deployed in Northern Ireland in the wake of Catholic rioting in Derry and
Belfast and to prevent Protestant Loyalist attacks on
Catholic communities, under Operation
Banner between 1969 and 2007 in support of the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC)
and its successor, the Police Service of Northern
There has been a steady reduction in the
number of troops deployed in Northern Ireland since the Good Friday Agreement
was signed in
1998. In 2005, after the Provisional Irish Republican
announced an end to its armed conflict in Northern
Ireland, the British Army dismantled posts and withdrew many
troops, and restored troop levels to that of a peace-time
Operation Banner ended at midnight on 31 July 2007, making it the
longest continuous deployment in the British Army's history,
lasting some thirty-eight years. An internal British Army document
released in 2007 stated an expert opinion that the British Army had
failed to defeat the IRA but had made it impossible for them to win
through the use of violence. Operation Helvetic replaced Operation
Banner in 2007 maintaining fewer servicemen in a much more benign
Tommy Atkins and other nicknames
A long established nickname for a British soldier has been
for short. The origins are obscure but most probably derive from a
specimen army form circulated by the Adjutant-General Sir Harry
Calvert to all units in 1815 where the blanks had been filled in
with the particulars of a Private Thomas Atkins, No 6 Company, 23rd
Regiment of Foot. German soldiers in both World Wars would usually
refer to their British opponents as Tommys
. Present- day
British soldiers are often referred to as Toms
. Outside the services soldiers are generally known as
by the British
. The British Army magazine Soldier
regular cartoon strip, Tom
, featuring the everyday life of
a British soldier.
Another nickname which applies only to soldiers in Scottish
regiments is Jocks
, derived from the fact that in Scotland
the common Christian name John is often changed to Jock in the
vernacular.Welsh soldiers are occasionally referred to as
or just Taff
. This most likely only applies
to those from the Taff-Ely Valley in South Wales, where a large
portion of men, left unemployed from the decline of the coal
industry in the area, enlisted during WW I and II. Of course it
might also be a vernacular form of Dave or Davey, the patron Saint
of Wales being Saint David.Irish soldiers are referred to as
, this from the days when many
Irish recruits had the name Patrick or Michael.
Junior officers in the army are generally known as Ruperts
by the Other ranks
. This nickname is
believed to be derived from the children's comic book character
who epitomizes traditional
public school values.
The term Pongo
, as in "where the army goes, the pong
goes", or Perce
is often used by Sailors and Royal Marines
to refer to soldiers. It is not considered complimentary.
High intensity operations
||British troops have been based in Afghanistan since the
invasion there in 2001. Currently, under Operation Herrick, the Army maintains
troops in Camp Souter, Kabul and a
brigade on 6-monthly rotation in the southern province of Helmand, mostly based in Camp Bastion and
forward operating bases. In late 2009, the resident brigade
is 11 Brigade. This brigade has previously served tours in
Afghanistan. In June 2008, British Defence Secretary Des Browne
announced British troop numbers in Afghanistan to increase by 230
to a new high of more than 8,000 by Spring 2009.
Low intensity operations
||Two resident infantry battalions, Royal Engineers, 16 Flight Army Air Corps and Joint
Service Signals Unit at Ayios
Nikolaos as a part of British
||The UK retains two Sovereign
Base Areas in Cyprus after the island's independence. The bases
serve as forward bases for deployments in the Middle East. British
forces are also deployed separately with UN peacekeeping forces on the island.
Principal facilities are Alexander Barracks at Dhekelia and
Salamanca Barracks at Episkopi.
||An infantry company group and an Engineer Squadron
||Previously a platoon-sized Royal
Marines Naval Party acted as the military presence.
1982 the garrison was enlarged and bolstered with an RAF base at
Pleasant on East Falkland.
||One infantry battalion, Joint Provost and Security Unit as a
part of British Forces
||British Army garrison is provided by an
indigenous regiment, the Royal Gibraltar Regiment, which has been on the Army regular establishment
since the last British battalion left in 1991.
|Rest of the Middle East
||Since the Gulf War in 1991, the UK has
had a considerable military presence in the Middle East.
Iraq, there are also an additional 3,500 troops in Saudi Arabia and Camp Beuhring, Kuwait, as well as
regular training Exercises in Oman.
||About 1,000 troops
||The British Army were deployed to Sierra Leone, a former
British colony on Operation
Palliser in 1999 to aid the government in quelling violent
uprisings by militiamen, under United
Nations resolutions. Troops (Royal
Marines) remain in the region to provide military support and
training to the Sierra Leonean government.
||24 instructors from the British Army along with 6 American Army
personnel will be training Pakistan’s paramilitary Frontier Corps
over a period of 3 years
Permanent overseas postings
||British Army Training and Support Unit Belize and 25 Flight Army Air Corps
||British troops have been based in Belize since the
country gained independence from the UK in 1981.
1994 Belize's neighbour, Guatemala claimed the territory and there were numerous
border disputes. At the request of the Belizean government,
British troops remained in Belize after independence in 1981 to
provide a defence force.
battalion from the Royal Gurkha
Garrison, Training Team Brunei and 7 Flight
Army Air Corps
||A Gurkha battalion has been maintained in Brunei since the
Brunei Revolt in 1962 at the request
of Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddin III. The Training
Team Brunei (TTB) is the Army's jungle warfare school, while the
small number of garrison troops support the battalion. 7 Flight
Army Air Corps provides helicopter support to both the Gurkha
battalion and the TTB.
Training Unit Suffield and 29 Flight Army Air
training centre in the Alberta prairie which is provided for the use of British
Army and Canadian Forces under
agreement with the government of
Canada. British forces conduct regular, major armoured
training exercises here every year, with helicopter support
provided by 29 (BATUS) Flight AAC.
||1st (UK) Armoured Division as part of British Forces Germany and 12 Flight Army Air Corps
||British forces remained in Germany after the end of World War II. Forces declined considerably
after the end of the Cold War, although the
lack of accommodation in the UK means forces will continue to be
based in Germany.
||British Army Training Unit Kenya
||The Army has a training centre in Kenya, under agreement with
the Kenyan government. It provides training facilities for three
infantry battalions per year
The basic infantry weapons of the British Army are the SA80
assault rifle family, with several variants such
as the L86A2
, the Light Support Weapon (LSW)
and the short stock variant, issued to tank crews. No sidearm is
issued to infantry soldiers. However, some officers and snipers are
issued with a sidearm, generally the Browning L9A1
or the Sig Sauer P226
or the Colt 1911
, though a search is currently underway
to find a replacement. Support fire is provided by the FN Minimi
light machine gun and the L7 General Purpose Machine Gun
indirect fire by 51
81 mm mortars
, as well as the
, mounted under the barrel of the SA80
rifle. Sniper rifles used include the L96A1
7.62 mm, the L115A1
and the AW50F
produced by Accuracy
. Some units use the L82A1
.50 calibre Barrett sniper
The British Army's Armoured vehicles include Supacat "Jackal" MWMIK
and the Iveco "Panther" CLV
. The Challenger 2
is its main battle tank
. The Warrior Infantry Fighting
is the primary armoured personnel carrier
although many variants of the Combat Vehicle
are used, as well as the Saxon APC
now being re-engined and uparmoured and returned to
front line service as Bulldog
British Army commonly uses the Land
and Land Rover
The Army uses three main artillery systems; the MLRS
. The MLRS (Multi Launch Rocket System) was first
used operationally in Operation
and has a range of 70 km. The AS-90 is a
155 mm self-propelled gun. The L118 Light Gun is a 105 mm
towed gun used primarily in support of 16 Air Assault Brigade, 19
Light Brigade and 3 Commando Brigade (Royal Marines
The Rapier FSC Missile System
Army's primary battlefield air defence system, widely deployed
since the Falklands War
; and the
Missile) is a surface-to-air weapon, launched either by a single
soldier or from a vehicle-mounted launcher. The Starstreak fills a
similar role to the American FIM-92
The Army Air Corps
provide direct aviation support for the Army, although the RAF also
assist in this role. The primary attack helicopter is the Westland WAH-64 Apache
license-built, modified version of the AH-64 Apache
that will replace the Westland
Lynx AH7 in the anti-tank role. The Westland Lynx performs several
roles including tactical transport, armed escort, reconnaissance
and evacuation. It was also used in the anti-armour role; it could
carry eight TOW
anti-tank missiles. The
TOW missile system for the Lynx was withdrawn from service by the
MOD in December 2005.
The Bell 212
is used as a specialist
utility and transport helicopter, with a crew of two and a
transport capacity of twelve troops.
The Westland Gazelle
a light helicopter, primarily used for battlefield reconnaissance
and control of artillery and aircraft.
The Eurocopter AS 365N Dauphin
used for Special Operations Aviation, along with the Gazelle.
The Britten-Norman Islander
is a light aircraft used for airborne reconnaissance and
Formation and structure
The structure of the British Army is complex, due to the different
origins of its various constituent parts. It is broadly split into
the Regular Army (full-time soldiers and units) and the Territorial Army
(part-time soldiers and units).
In terms of its military structure, it has two parallel
organisations, one administrative and one operational.
administrating all military units, both Regular and TA, within a
geographical area (e.g., 5 Div. based in Shrewsbury).
The major operational command is Headquarters Land Forces
(incorporating Land Command
Corps made up of two or more divisions (now unlikely
to be deployed as a purely national formation due to the size of
the British Army); e.g., the ARRC.
- Division made up of two or
three brigades with an HQ element and support troops. Commanded by
- Brigade made up of between three and
five battalions, an HQ element and associated support troops.
Commanded by a Brigadier.
- Battalion of about 700 soldiers, made
up of five companies commanded by a Lieutenant Colonel,
- Battlegroup. This is a mixed
formation of armour, infantry, artillery, engineers and support
units, and its structure is task specific. It is formed around the
core of either an armoured regiment or infantry battalion, and has
other units added or removed from it as necessary. A battlegroup
will typically consist of between 600 and 700 soldiers under the
command of a Lieutenant Colonel.
- Company of about 100
soldiers, typically in three platoons, commanded by a Major.
A number of elements of the British Army use alternative terms for
battalion, company and platoon. These include the Royal Armoured Corps
, Corps of Royal Engineers
, Royal Logistic Corps
, and the Royal Corps of Signals
regiment (battalion), squadron
(platoon). The Royal Artillery
are unique in using the term
regiment in place of both corps
, they also replace company with battery
and platoon with troop.
The British Army currently has 6 divisions with two (1st Armoured
Division and 3rd Infantry Division) being deployable.
The British Army operates alongside the Royal Air Force
as part of a Joint Force,
but the army also has its own Army Air Corps
British Army contributes two of the three special forces formations within the United Kingdom Special Forces
Command; the Special
Air Service Regiment and the Special Reconnaissance
famous formation is the Special Air Service Regiment.
Formed in 1941, the SAS is
considered the role model for many other special forces
units in the world.
comprises one regular Regiment and two Territorial Army Regiments
and is headquartered at Duke of York Barracks, London.
regular Regiment, 22 SAS, has its headquarters and depot located in
Hereford and consists of five squadrons: A, B, D, G and
Reserve with a training wing.
The regiment has battlespace
roles in deep reconnaissance, target identification and indication
and target destruction and denial. In its Counter Terrorism role it
is seen as one of the prime anti-terrorist, hostage rescue and
target capture units in the world.
The two reserve SAS Regiments; 21 SAS
and 23 SAS
more limited role, to provide depth to the UKSF
group through the provision of Individual and collective
augmentation to the regular component of UKSF and standalone
elements up to task group (Regimental) level focused on support and
influence (S&I) operations to assist conflict
(SRR) which was formed in 2005, from
existing assets, undertakes close reconnaissance and special
around 1st Battalion the Parachute Regiment, with
attached Royal Marines and RAF Regiment assets, the Special
Forces Support Group are under the Operational Control of Director
Special Forces to provide operational manoeuvre support to the
elements of United Kingdom Special Forces.
The Army mainly recruits within the United Kingdom, it normally has
a recruitment target of around 25,000 soldiers per year.
Low unemployment in Britain has resulted in the Army having
difficulty in meeting its target, in the early years of the 21st
century there has been a marked increase in the number of recruits
from other (mostly Commonwealth
) countries. In 2008
volunteers comprised approximately 6.7% of the Army's total
strength. In total 6,600 foreign soldiers from 42 countries were
represented in the Army, not including Gurkhas
. After the Gurkhas (who are from Nepal), the
nation with most citizens in the British Army is Fiji, with
2,185, followed by Jamaica and Ghana with 600
each; many soldiers also come from more prosperous countries such
Zealand, South Africa and the
The Ministry of
is now considering capping the number of recruits from
Commonwealth countries, although this will not affect the Gurkhas.
If the trend continues 10% of the army will be from Commonwealth
countries before 2012. The cap is being debated, as some fear the
army's British character
diluted, and employing too many could make the army seen as
The minimum recruitment age is 16 years (after the end of GCSEs
), although soldiers may not serve on operations
below 18 years; the maximum recruitment age was raised in January
2007 from 26 to 33 years. The normal term of engagement is 22
years, and, once enlisted, soldiers are not normally permitted to
leave until they have served at least 4 years.
been a strong and continuing tradition of recruiting from Ireland
including what is now the Republic of Ireland.
Almost 150,000 Irish soldiers fought in the
First World War; 49,000 died. More than 60,000 Irishmen, more than from
Ireland, also saw action in the Second World War; like
their compatriots in the Great War, all were
There were more than 400 men serving from the
Republic in 2003.
Oath of allegiance
All soldiers must take an oath of allegiance upon joining the Army,
a process known as attestation
. Those who believe in
use the following words:
Others replace the words "swear by Almighty God" with "solemnly,
sincerely and truly declare and affirm".
Flags and ensigns
Flag Ratio: 3:5.
The official flag of the Army.
The non-ceremonial flag of the British
Sometimes the word Army in gold letters appears below
The British Army does not have its own specific ensign, unlike the
Royal Navy, which uses the White
, and the RAF, which uses the Royal Air Force Ensign
. Instead, the
Army has different flags and ensigns, for the entire army and the
different regiments and corps. The official flag of the Army as a
whole is the Union Flag
, flown in a ratio
of 3:5. A non-ceremonial flag also exists, which is used at
recruiting events, military events and exhibitions. It also flies
from the MOD building in Whitehall.
war, the Union Flag is always used, and this flag represents the
Army on the Cenotaph in Whitehall, London (the UK's
memorial to its war dead).
A British Army ensign also exists
for vessels commanded by a commissioned officer, the Blue Ensign
defaced with the Army badge. Army
Vessels are operated by the Maritime element of the Royal Logistic Corps
Each Foot Guards
and line regiment
(which does not include The Rifles
Royal Gurkha Rifles
has its own flags, known as Colours
—normally a Regimental
Colour and a Queen's Colour. The design of different Regimental
Colours. vary but typically the colour has the Regiment's badge in
the centre. The RGR carry the Queen's
in place of Colours.
Ranks, specialisms and insignia
- 1Now an honorary or wartime rank only.
Every regiment and corps has its own distinctive insignia, such as
and stable belt
Throughout the army there are many official specialisms. They do
not affect rank, but they do affect pay bands.
|Band 2 Specialisms:
||Band 3 Specialisms:
|Driver Tank Transporter
||Registered General Nurse
||Telcom Op (Special)
|Bomb Disposal Engineer
|Telcom Op (Linguist)
|Operator Special Intelligence
|Construction Materials Technician
Royal Navy and RAF ground units
The other armed services have their own infantry units which are
not part of the British Army. The Royal
are amphibious light
forming part of the Royal
, and the Royal Air Force
has the RAF Regiment
used for airfield
defence, force protection duties and Forward Air Control.
Overseas territories military units
Numerous military units were raised historically in British
territories, including self-governing and Crown colonies, and
protectorates. Few of these have appeared on the Army List, and
their relationship to the British Army has been ambiguous. Whereas
Dominions, such as Canada and Australia, raised their own armies,
the defence of Crown possessions (like the Channel Islands), and
colonies (now called Overseas
) was, and is, the responsibility of the UK (due to
their status as territories of Britain, not British protectorates).
All military forces of overseas territories are, therefore, under
the direct command of the UK Government, via the local Governor and
Many of the units in colonies, or former colonies, were also
actually formed at the behest of the UK Government as it sought to
reduce the deployment of the British Army on garrison duties around
the world at the latter end of the 19th century. Today, three overseas
territories retain locally-raised military units, Bermuda, Gibraltar, and the Falkland Islands.
The units are patterned on the British
Army, are subject to review by the Ministry of Defence, and are
ultimately under the control of the British government, not the
local governments of the territories (though day-to-day control may
be delegated to Ministers of the territorial governments). Despite
this, the units may have no tasking or funding from the MOD, and
are generally raised under acts of the territorial
- UK Armed Forces: Full Time Strengths and
Requirements at 1 June 2009, dasa.mod.uk. Numbers in article to
nearest hundred for readability.
- Bloomfield, K Stormont in Crisis (Belfast
1994) p 114
- PRONI: Cabinet
conclusions file CAB/4/1460
- See "Inside the British Army" by Antony Beevor ISBN 071134658
- Armed forces.co.uk
- ‘Ian's death brought people together' in
the Daily Telegraph 19 March 2003
- britishflags.net- British Army