1st Foot Guards (1815)

In 1656 King Charles II while in exile after the execution of his father, raised a regiment from his loyal exiles at Bruges in Flanders.  It was called The Royal Regiment of Guards.  On the King’s return to the throne in 1660 he disbanded the old Parliamentarian Army and commissioned another Regiment of twelve companies for his personal protection, the first of which he called the Kings Company.  In 1664 the Royal Regiment of Guards was recalled from Flanders and merged with the Kings Company to form the King’s Regiment of Foot Guards.  By 1665 this had become the First Regiment of Foot Guards, which title it retained until 1815 when, on the order of the Prince Regent, the title was changed to The First, or Grenadier, Regiment of Foot Guards.

The Regiment has fought in almost every major campaign of the British Army since that time.  During the 17th century it served in Morocco and in the naval wars against the Dutch.  It later played a distinguished part in the Wars of the Spanish Succession under the Duke of Marlborough, being present at his brilliant victories of Blenheim, Ramillies, Oudenarde and Malplaquet.  


During the American Revolution, the Regiment formed part of the force, which occupied New York after the battle of Long Island in September 1776.  It was prominent in the Battle of White Plains in October of that year.  The following year the Regiment fought in Pennsylvania, and played an important part in the British victory at Brandywine.  In 1779 the Regiment was sent on an expedition to the South and in February 1781 crossed the Catawba River in the van of the British force under heavy fire.  Later that year, the Regiment fought at the battle of Guilford Court House in which the British army defeated a rebel force more than tree times its size.  Unfortunately the Guards were part of the army that was trapped and forced to surrender at Yorktown in September of 1781.

The title Grenadier was added to the name of the Regiment as a result of bravery shown at the battle of Waterloo in 1815.  It is the only Regiment of the British Army to have earned its title directly as a result of the part it played in action.  The Grenadier Guards remain a vital part of the British army both on active service and ceremonially.


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