GRENADIER GUARDS BRIEF HISTORY
The Grenadier Guards (GREN GDS) is an infantry regiment of the British Army. It can trace its lineage back to 1656 when Lord Wentworth’s Regiment was raised in Bruges to protect the exiled Charles II. In 1665, this regiment was combined with John Russell’s Regiment of Guards to form the current regiment, known as the 1st Regiment of Foot Guards. Since then, the regiment has filled both a ceremonial and protective role as well as an operational one. In 1900, the regiment provided a cadre of personnel to form the Irish Guards; while later, in 1915 it also provided the basis of the Welsh Guards upon their formation.
The regiment’s early history saw it take part in numerous conflicts including the War of Spanish Succession, the War of Austrian Succession, the Seven Years’ War, and the Napoleonic Wars; at the end of this period, the regiment was granted the “Grenadier” designation by a Royal Proclamation. During the Victorian Era, the regiment took part in the Crimean War, the Anglo-Egyptian War, the Mahdist War, and the Second Boer War.
During the First World War, the Grenadier Guards was expanded from three battalions to five, of which four served on the Western Front, while later during the Second World War, six battalions were raised, and several were converted to an armoured role as part of the Guards Armoured Division. These units fought in France, North-West Europe, North Africa and Italy.
After the Second World War, the regiment was reduced first to three battalions, then to two, and finally to one battalion in the mid-1990s. Major deployments during this time have included operations in Palestine, Malaya, Cyprus, Northern Ireland, the Gulf War, Afghanistan and Iraq.
The Grenadier Guards Cap Badge is known as a Grenade Fired Proper, the regiment motto is “Honi Soit Qui Mal Y Pense” Evil Be To Him Who Evil Thinks.