Guards Division


The Guards Division was established by redesignation of the Brigade of Guards in 1968. The depot was established at Wellington Barracks in London.[1]

Before the Options for Change defence review in 1992, there were eight battalions:

The cuts made to the infantry under Options for Change included three battalions of Guards. However, rather than disbanding them, the 2nd Battalions of each of the first three regiments were placed in "suspended animation" - although they would not be active, they would still be listed on the Army Roll, and could be reactivated should they be needed. In order to maintain the traditions of each battalion, and to keep custody of the colours, three companies were kept active, one to represent each battalion:

  • No 2 Company, 2nd Bn Grenadier Guards (renamed Nijmegen Company)
  • No 7 Company, 2nd Bn Coldstream Guards
  • F Company, 2nd Bn Scots Guards

These three units were based permanently at Chelsea Barracks in London on public duties until Chelsea Barracks was sold off by the army. They represent the suspended battalions at significant events, such as Trooping the Colour, and receive the battalion's new colours whenever they are presented. As such, each company is an independent unit of their regiment, separate from the operational battalions.

Current units

Currently units comprise:[2][3]

Past units

Past units include:[4]

  • 2nd Battalion, Grenadier Guards (1656–1994)
  • 2nd Battalion, Coldstream Guards (1711–1993)
  • 2nd Battalion, Scots Guards (1689–1993)

Note: The three 2nd battalions have technically not been disbanded; instead they are in "suspended animation" and, in theory, can be re-raised if needed. The colours and traditions of each battalion are kept and maintained by the incremental companies.

Telling the regiments apart

The five regiments of foot guards are most often seen in full dress uniform, comprising navy trousers, scarlet tunic and bearskin cap. From a distance they appear identical, but there are ways to distinguish between the regiments:

  • The colour of the plume, and which side of the bearskin it is worn on
  • The spacing of the tunic buttons
  • The badge worn on the collar
  • The badge worn on the shoulder
RegimentPlumePlume colourButton spacingCollar badgeShoulder badge
Grenadier GuardsLeftWhiteSinglyGrenadeRoyal Cypher
Coldstream GuardsRightRedPairsGarter StarRose
Scots GuardsN/AN/AThreesThistleThistle Star
Irish GuardsRightBlueFoursShamrockSt Patrick Star
Welsh GuardsLeftWhite-Green-WhiteFivesLeekLeek

See also

List of Bands:


  1. "Wellington Barracks Review". Retrieved 18 April 2014.
  2. Heyman, p.88
  3. "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 10 June 2014. Retrieved 1 December 2015.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  4. Whitaker's Almanack 1969


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