The Royal Anglian Regiment, like all British Army Regiments, has a long and colourful history and is enriched by a wealth of customs. Many of these are inherited from its Former Regiments and originate from acts of heroism, distinguished conduct, honours and events over 300 years of history.
The Colours of a Regiment were carried into battle, paraded in front of the troops so that they could be recognised and used as a rallying point and were defended from falling into enemy hands at all costs. Today they are paraded on ceremonial occasions and treated with great pride and respect. The Queen's Colour, always paraded on the right and based on the Union Flag, carries Battle Honours awarded to the Regiment's forebears in World Wars I and II. The dark blue Regimental Colour carries Battle Honours from before World War I and after World War II. The Colours on display in the Regimental Museum are the former Colours of the 2nd Battalion. Also on display are the Colour Belts of the 3rd Battalion.
The 2nd Battalion 44th (East Essex) Regiment won great glory for itself at the Battle of Salamanca in 1812 when it captured the Eagle, the equivalent of a British Regiment's Colours, of the French 62nd Regiment. The Eagle was carried on parade by the Essex Regiment, a tradition inherited by the 3rd Battalion The Royal Anglian Regiment and now the 1st Battalion. The Eagle displayed in the Regimental Museum is a replica. The original is in the Essex Regimental Museum in Chelmsford.
At the Battle of Minden in 1759 The 12th Foot, later The Suffolk Regiment, won one of the most prestigious Honours held by The Royal Anglian Regiment. The 12th Foot, in company with five other Line Regiments and six Hanoverian Battalions, advanced upon the enemy, repulsing charge after charge of massed cavalry to win the day. As they passed through gardens that morning, the soldiers picked roses and wore them in their hats. Minden Day, 1st August, is celebrated by The Royal Anglian Regiment as a special Regimental Day. The 1st Battalion celebrate it by wearing red and yellow roses in their head-dress and a rose-wreath decorating their Colours.
Picture: Eastern Daily Press
1st August - Minden Day
1st September - The Royal Anglian Regiment Formation Day
The following days are also celebrated by the Battalions:
17th March - St Patrick's Day
25th April - Almanza Day
27th June - Dettingen Day
22nd July - Salamanca Day
10th February - Sobraon Day
25th June - Hindoostan Day
27th July - Talavera Day
13th August - Blenheim Day
The Royal Anglian Regiment, like all Regiments, holds in trust a quantity of Regimental silver and other important property, much of which has been handed down to them by the Former Regiments. Some pieces are of great age and have accompanied The Regiments on their campaigns overseas; these are treasured with great pride. The silver is still used on a daily basis by the Officers and the Warrant Officers and Sergeants in their Messes.
The modern soldier wears a variety of uniforms for use in the field, in barracks or on ceremonial occasions; of particlur note are the blues and scarlets of members of the Band and Corps of Drums. Many of the emblems and honours of battle have been embodied in the uniform of the present day soldier, illustrating the pride in which the Former Regiments are held. The display in the Museum illustrates the variety of uniforms worn by the Regiment.
The history and traditions of the Former Regiments have not been forgotten and live on in the ceremonial, customs and uniform details of the present Regiment.
The cap badge, which is worn by all members of The Regiment, consists of the silver star of the Garter, (formerly used by The Royal Lincolnshire and Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire Regiments), with the Castle and Key of Gibraltar (of The Suffolk, Essex and Northamptonshire Regiments). These latter Regiments took part in the siege of Gibraltar 1779 - 1783.
(The 12th Foot (Suffolk Regiment) was based in Gibraltar for fourteen years and were part of the Garrison during the Great Siege of 1779 - 83. As a result of their outstanding service in defence of the Rock they were given the Honour 'Gibraltar' with the badge of the Castle and the key, which now forms part of the Royal Anglian cap badge).
The Regimental buttons bear the "Tiger" badge and the unbroken laurel wreath of The Royal Leicestershire Regiment.
The Royal Tiger - When the 17th (Leicestershire) Regiment returned from India in June 1825 King George IV gave permission for The Regiment to carry the figure of the Royal Tiger with the word “Hindoostan” on their Colours in recognition of the Regiment’s exemplary conduct during their service in India 1804-1823.
The Laurel wreath around the Tiger - The 17th (Leicestershire Regiment) fought in the Battle of Princetown in 1777, during which their rapid reaction prevented an American force outflanking the British. As a result of their exemplary conduct, they were allowed to display an unbroken laurel wreath, which was later to surround the Tiger on the Regimental collar badges.
The 1st Battalion (nicknamed the "Vikings") wear The Royal Norfolk Regiment's Britannia superimposed on The Suffolk Regiment's Castle and Key of Gibraltar.
The 2nd Battalion (nicknamed the "Poachers") wear the Royal Lincolnshire Regiment's Sphinx over the Northamptonshire Regiment's Battle of Honour TALAVERA.
Before its merger in 1992, the former Regular Army 3rd Battalion wore the Essex Regiment’s Eagle and the Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire Regiment’s Garter.
The current 3rd Battalion wears the Regimental Cap Badge as its collar badge.
To commemorate the former Regular Army 3rd Battalion, all ranks wear The Essex Regiment's Salamanca Eagle on a Pompadour purple background on the upper left sleeve of No. 2 Dress.
The 1st Battalion wear The Royal Norfolk Regiment's yellow lanyard. The 2nd Battalion wear the black Northamptonshire Regiment lanyard. Before their merger the Regular Army 3rd Battalion wore The Essex Regiment's Pompadour purple lanyard.
The 6th Battalion wore a lanyard combining the black and primrose of The Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire Regiment with The Essex Regiment's purple. The 7th Battalion wore The Royal Leicestershire Regiment's black, red and grey lanyard. The present 3rd Battalion wears the black and primrose lanyard of the former Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire Regiment.
The 1st Battalion is nicknamed "The Vikings" after the influence of the Nordic Warriors on the Eastern part of the Regimental area.
The 2nd Battalion’s nickname, “The Poachers” is inherited from the Royal Lincolnshire Regiment, who took it from the title of their Regimental march, “The Lincolnshire Poacher”.
The Regular Army 3rd Battalion was known as ''The Pompadours'', the nickname given to the 56th Foot who adopted 'Pompadour Purple' as the facing colour on their uniforms. Before its disbandment, the 4th Battalion was known as “The Tigers” and that nickname was taken on by the 7th (Volunteer) Battalion until its merger In 1999.
Similarly, the 5th Battalion adopted the nickname of The Northamptonshire Regiment and were known as “The Steelbacks” (not a murmur under the lash) until the former re-roled in 1996. The current 3rd Battalion re-adopted the nickname "The Steelbacks" on formation in 2005.
The Regimental Quick March is “Rule Britannia and Speed the Plough”. This is an amalgamation of the Quick Marches of the former Royal Norfolk and the Suffolk Regiments. The Regimental Slow March is ”The Northamptonshire”, unsurprisingly the Slow March of the former Northamptonshire Regiment.
Listen to The Regimental Quick March by clicking the link below: