Her Majesty's Coldstream Regiment of Foot Guards
also known officially as the Coldstream Guards
(COLDM GDS), is a regiment
of the British Army
, part of the Guards Division
or Household Division.
It is the
oldest regiment in the Regular Army in
continuous active service, originating in Coldstream, Scotland in 1650 when General George Monck
founded the regiment.
It is one of two regiments of the
that can trace
its lineage to the New Model Army
the other being the Blues and
Traditions and role
The grouping of buttons on the tunic is a common way to distinguish
between the regiments of Foot Guards
Coldstream buttons are arranged in pairs, and a star of the garter
is marked on their brassware.
The regiment is ranked second in the order of precedence, behind
the Grenadier Guards
. This is
because the Grenadier Guards have served the Crown for a longer
period of time. However, the Coldstream Guards is an older
regiment, and because of this, has the motto Nulli
(Second to None). The regiment has never been termed
the "Second Regiment of Foot Guards" and, when parading with the
other four regiments, is always on the extreme left of the line,
with the Grenadier Guards on the extreme right. This ensures that
the regiment is indeed "Second to None".
The regiment's formal title is Her Majesty's Coldstream
Regiment of Foot Guards
. Their nickname is 'Lilywhites'.
An ordinary soldier of the regiment is called a Guardsman, a
designation granted by King George V
after the First
World War. The regiment is always referred to as the Coldstream,
never as the Coldstreams, likewise a member of the regiment is
referred to as a Coldstreamer.
Currently the most prominent role of the 1st Battalion and No.
is the performance of ceremonial duties in London and Windsor as part of the Household Division.
No. 7 Company
serves as an incremental Company in London and amongst other duties
provides a Guard for the Queen's
. Duties include the State Opening of Parliament
Trooping the Colour
, and the
parade. No. 7
company is involved in the Changing of
In the 1954 film Carrington V.C.
President of the Court-martial
comments on the "foot stamping" of the Sergeant orderly by
referring to the Coldstream Guards. "A vile habit, introduced quite
recently by Her Majesty's foot guards." The foot stamping referring
to stamping the boot to punctuate the end of each movement of foot
Companies that make up the regiment are traditionally numbered -
the 1st Battalion contains HQ Coy, plus No. 1, No. 2, No. 3 and No.
4 (Support) Coys. The Coldstream
and the staff of RHQ constitute No. 15 Coy. No. 7
Coy is the incremental company that is used for public duties and
maintains the traditions of the 2nd Battalion. New officers destined
for the regiment that are at Sandhurst or at ATR
Pirbright form No.
13 Coy, while Guardsmen under
training at ITC Catterick
make up No. 14 Coy.
Operationally, the Coldstream Guards currently perform the role of
. The 1st Battalion is
based in Aldershot as an operational light infantry battalion.
Under the reforms
2004, the Coldstream Guards will be given this as a fixed role,
alternating the public duties task with the Irish Guards
The Corps of Drums, in addition to their ceremonial role, has the
role of machine gun
Guardsmen for public duties wear the 'Home Service' Dress tunic in
summer or greatcoat in winter and bearskin with a red plume. The
Coldstream Guards regimental band plays at Changing of The Guard,
state visits and many other events. All of the regiments' musicians
were trained as medical orderlies
they now undertake a role in Nuclear, Biological and Chemical
other four regiments of foot guards, which recruit from each of the
four home nations, the Coldstream
Guards has a specific recruiting area, which encompasses the
counties that Monck's Regiment passed through on its march from
Coldstream to London.
The origin of the Coldstream Guards lies in the English Civil War
when Oliver Cromwell
gave Colonel George Monck
permission to form his own
regiment as part of the New Model
. Monck took men from the regiments of George Fenwick
and Sir Arthur Haselrig
, five companies each, and on
23 August 1650 formed Monck's Regiment of Foot
part in the Battle of Dunbar, where the Roundheads
defeated forces of Charles
Stuart. Monck's regiment was left in Scotland.
Cromwell's death, Monck turned to support the monarchy and on 1
January 1660 crossed the River Tweed
into England at the
village of Coldstream and began a five-week march to London.
arrived in London on 2 February and helped in the Restoration
of the monarchy. For his
help, Monck was given the Order of
and his regiment was assigned to keep order in
London. However, the new parliament soon ordered his regiment to be
disbanded with the other regiments of the New Model Army.
Before that could happen, Parliament was forced to rely on the help
of the regiment against an army mutiny on 6 January 1661. The
regiment successfully defeated the rebels. On 14 February the men
of the regiment symbolically laid down their arms as part of the
New Model Army and were immediately ordered to take them up again
as a royal regiment of The Lord General's Regiment of Foot
, a part of the Household Troops
The regiment was placed as the second senior regiment of Household
Troops, but they answered to that by adopting the motto Nulli
, Second to None
, due to the fact that the
regiment is older than the senior regiment. The regiment always
stands on the left of the line when on parade with rest of the Foot
Guards, so standing "second to none". When Monck died in 1670, the
Earl of Craven
took command of the
regiment and it adopted a new name, the Coldstream Regiment
of Foot Guards
regiment saw active service in Flanders and
in the Monmouth Rebellion,
including the decisive Battle of Sedgemoor in 1685. After 1688 they fought in the Battle of
Walcourt in 1689, the Battle of
Landen and the Siege of Namur.
n 1760, the 2nd Battalion was sent to Germany to campaign under
Prince Ferdinand of Brunswick
and fought in the Battle of
and at the Castle of Arnoneberg. Three Guards
companies of 307 men under Coldstream commander Colonel Matthew
fought in the American War of
The Coldstream Regiment saw extensive service in the wars against
the French Revolution
and in the
. Under the command of
Sir Ralph Abercrombie they
defeated French troops in Egypt.
they took part in the investment of Copenhagen. In January 1809 they sailed to Portugal to join the forces under the Duke of
The 2nd Battalion joined the Walcheren Expedition
. Later it served as
part of the 2nd Guards Brigade in the chateau of Hougoumont on the outskirts of the Battle of
This defence is considered one of the
greatest achievements of the regiment, and an annual ceremony of
"Hanging the Brick" is performed each year in the Sergeants' Mess
to commemorate the efforts of Cpl
and Lt-Col James
, who shut the North Gate after a French attack.
himself declared after the battle that "the success of the battle
turned upon closing the gates at Hougoumont".
regiment was later part of the British occupation forces of
Paris until 1816.
the Crimean War, the Coldstream Guards
fought in the battles of Alma,
Inkerman and Sevastopol.
return, four of the guardsmen were awarded the newly-instituted
The regiment received its current name, The Coldstream
, in 1855. In 1882 they were sent to Egypt against
the rebels of Ahmed 'Urabi
and in 1885
in the Suakin Campaign. In 1897, the Coldstreamers were reinforced
with the addition of the 3rd battalion. The 1st and 2nd battalions
were dispatched to South Africa
outbreak of the Second Boer
Recruitment poster for the Coldstream
At the outbreak of the First World War
Coldstreamers were among the first British regiments to arrive in
France after Britain declared war on Germany. In the following
battles, they suffered heavy losses, in two cases losing all their
officers. At the first Battle of Ypres the 1st battalion was
virtually annihilated - by 1 November down to 150 men and the Lt
Quartermaster. They fought in Mons, Loos, Somme, Ginchy and in the 3rd Battle of Ypres.
They also formed the 4th (Pioneer)
Battalion, which was disbanded after the war, in 1919. The 5th
Reserve battalion never left Britain before it was disbanded.
When the Second World War
the 1st and 3rd battalions of the Coldstream Guards were part of
in France. They also formed additional 4th
and 5th battalions for the duration of the war. They fought
extensively in North Africa and Europe as dismounted infantry and
the 1st battalion in the Guards
. The 4th battalion first became a motorized
battalion in 1940 and then an armoured battalion in 1943. The 4th
and 5th served as part of the Guards Armoured Division. 6th
battalion was also formed in 1941 but was disbanded in 1943 without
seeing any action.
Coldstreamers gave up their tanks at the end of the war, the new
battalions were disbanded and the troops distributed to the 1st and
2nd Guard Training Battalions.
After the war, the 1st and 3rd battalions served in Palestine
. The 2nd battalion
served in the Malayan Emergency
The 3rd battalion was placed in suspended animation in 1959.
remaining battalions served during the Mau
Mau rebellion, in Aden, Mauritius in 1965, in the Cyprus
Emergency in 1974 and several times in Northern
Ireland after 1969.
Regimental Band of the Coldstream Guards were the first act on
stage at the Wembley leg of the 1985 Live Aid
They played for the Prince
and Princess of Wales
. More recently, the band's
Fanfare team opened Live 8 in Hyde Park in the summer of
After the Cold War
, the 1st battalion was
dispatched to the first Gulf War
was involved in prisoner of war handling and other roles. In 1993,
due to defence cutbacks
, the 2nd
battalion was placed in suspended animation and its colours are
maintained by No 7 Company, which is permanently stationed in
London on ceremonial duties.
For much of the 1990s, the 1st Battalion was stationed in Munster,
Germany in the Armoured Infantry Role with Warrior APC's as part of
4th Armoured Brigade
1993-1994 the battalion served as an armoured infantry battalion in
peacekeeping duties in Bosnia as part of UNPROFOR with
the Battalion Headquarters in Vitez with additional outposts in
Gornji Vakuf and Sarajevo.
battalion was posted to Londonderry, Northern Ireland on a 2-year deployment in
It deployed to Iraq in April 2005 for a 6 month tour
with the rest of 12th Mechanised Brigade, based in the south of the
county. The battalion lost two of its soldiers - on
2 May, near Al
Amarah and on 18 October at Basra.
, Secretary of State for
, announced on 19 July 2007 that the battalion was to be
sent, as part of 52 Infantry
, to Afghanistan in October 2007. In March 2008 while on
patrol with the ANA members of the Regiment
discovered a Taliban torture chamber.
There are 117 battle honours:
- Tangier 1680, Namur 1695, Gibraltar 1704-05, Oudenarde, Malplaquet,
Dettingen, Lincelles, Egypt, Talavera, Barrosa, Fuentes d'Onor,
Salamanca, Nive, Peninsula, Waterloo, Alma, Inkerman, Sevastopol,
Tel-el-Kebir, Egypt 1882, Suakin 1885,
Modder River, South Africa
Great War (5 battalions): Mons, Retreat from Mons, Marne 1914, Aisne 1914,
1914 '17, Langemarck
1914, Gheluvelt, Nonne Bosschen, Givenchy 1914, Neuve Chapelle, Aubers,
Festubert 1915, Loos, Mount Sorrel, Somme
1916 '18, Flers-Courcelette, Morval, Pilckem, Menin Road, Poelcappelle, Passchendaele, Cambrai 1917 '18, St. Quentin, Bapaume 1918, Arras
1918, Lys, Hazebrouck, Albert 1918,
Scarpe 1918, Drocourt-Qu√©ant, Hindenburg
Line, Havrincourt, Canal du Nord, Selle, Sambre, France and Flanders
Second World War: Dyle, Defence of Escaut, Dunkirk 1940, Cagny, Mont Pincon, Quarry Hill,
Estry, Heppen, Nederrijn, Venraij, Meijel, Roer, Rhineland,
Reichswald, Cleve, Goch, Moyland, Hochwald, Rhine, Lingen, Uelzen,
North-West Europe 1940
'44-45, Egyptian Frontier
1940, Sidi Barrani, Halfaya 1941, Tobruk 1941 '42, Msus,
Knightsbridge, Defence of Alamein Line, Medenine, Mareth, Longstop Hill 1942, Sbiba, Steamroller Farm, Tunis, Hammam Lif,
North Africa 1940-43, Salerno,
Battipaglia, Cappezano, Volturno Crossing, Monte Camino,
Calabritto, Garigliano Crossing, Monte Ornito, Monte Piccolo,
Capture of Perugia, Arezzo, Advance to Florence, Monte Domini,
Catarelto Ridge, Argenta Gap, Italy
- Gulf 1991
Order of Precedence
- Roberts, p 58
- Battalions placed in 'suspended animation' have not formally
been disbanded, but effectively they cease to exist. 'Suspended
animation' is an officially used British Army term.
Original information from the 1911 Encyclop√¶dia
- Sir Julian Paget, Bt - Second to none : the Coldstream Guards,
1650-2000 (2000) ISBN 0-85052-769-4
- Roberts, Andrew; Waterloo:
Napoleon's Last Gamble, 2005, London: HarperCollins
Publishers, ISBN 0007190751