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The 1st Infantry Regiment, King's Close Bodyguard (Thai: กรมทหารราบที่ 1 มหาดเล็กราชวัลลภรักษาพระองค์) (ร.1 ทม.รอ.) is a King's Guard regiment under the 1st Infantry Division, King's Guard of the Royal Thai Army. The regiment is divided into three battalions, all of them based in Bangkok. The regiment is the only unit of the Royal Thai Armed Forces with the designation Mahat Lek Rajawallop (Thai: มหาดเล็กราชวัลลภ); meaning the king's close bodyguards, translated as the King's Own Bodyguards. The unit was first established by King Chulalongkorn (Rama V) in 1859, whilst he was still a young prince. One of the primary role of the regiment is to provide security and protection to members of the Thai Royal Family as well as the ceremonial escort and guarding of the royal palaces. The unit is the oldest regiment of the Thai army.

1st Infantry Regiment, King's Close Bodyguard
กรมทหารราบที่ ๑ มหาดเล็กราชวัลลภรักษาพระองค์
Emblem of the 1st Infantry Regiment, King's Own Bodyguard.svg
Rajawallop insignia, the official emblem of the 1st Infantry Regiment, King's Close Bodyguard
Active1859-present
CountryThailand
Branch Royal Thai Army
TypeRoyal Guard
SizeRegiment
Part ofEmblem of the 1st Infantry Division, King's Guard.svg 1st Division, King's Guard
Garrison/HQPhaya Thai District, Bangkok
Nickname(s)Thahan Mahat Lek Rajawallop
(มหาดเล็กราชวัลลภ, King's close bodyguards)
Thahan Song Lo
(ทหารสองโหล, Two-Dozen soldiers)
Mahat Lek Lai Ka
(มหาดเล็กไล่กา, Scarecrow Corps)
ColorsRed-White
MarchRoyal Guards March
(มาร์ชราชวัลลภ, March Raja Vanlok)
EngagementsFranco-Thai War
Pacific War
Korean War
Vietnam War
Websitewww.1stinfantryreg.in.th
Insignia
Unit colours
Colours of the 1st Infantry Battalion, 1st Infantry Regiment, King's Own Bodyguard.svg

Contents

HistoryEdit

The Royal Guards were established by King Chulalongkorn (Rama V) of Siam in 1859, when he was still a young prince. Initially, the Royal Guards were servants with duties such as scaring crows, which led to commoners referring to them as the "Mahat Lek Lai Ka," roughly translated as "Scarecrow Corps."

When he succeeded his father in 1868, King Chulalongkorn took his Royal Guard and formed a 24-strong Royal Bodyguard, referred to as the "Thahan Song Lo" (Two-Dozen soldiers"). In 1870, the unit was upgraded into a full army regiment and was given the name the "King's Guard" and their duties included escorting the king while he travelled around the country. The king commanded the regiment himself until 1873, when he appointed Lieutenant General Chao Phraya Phasakornwongse as its first military commander.

The Royal Guards still exist down to the present and serve as protectors of the Royal Family of Thailand.[1][2]

On 18 January 2019, The unit has renamed to 1st King's Own Bodyguard Regiment.[3] Then, on 23 April 2019, The unit has renamed again to 1st Infantry Regiment, King's Close Bodyguard.[4]

OrganizationEdit

ActiveEdit

  • 1st Infantry Battalion, 1st King's Own Bodyguard Regiment (King Vajiralongkorn's Own Guards)
  • 2nd Infantry Battalion, 1st King's Own Bodyguard Regiment (King Vajiralongkorn's Own Guards)
  • 3rd Infantry Battalion, 1st King's Own Bodyguard Regiment (King Vajiralongkorn's Own Guards)

DissolvedEdit

  • 4th Infantry Battalion, 1st King's Own Bodyguard Regiment (King Chulalongkorn's Own Guards) (amalgamated with the Royal Security Command and renamed to King's Own Bodyguard Command in 2017)

UniformsEdit

The 1st and 2nd battalions wears a ceremonial uniform of scarlet red and black facings and a bearskin-styled cap based on the British Army Foot Guards with a row of single buttons (similar to those used by the British Grenadier Guards). The 3rd Battalion however wears a ceremonial uniform of white and shocking pink facings and pink plumed bearskin helmet, by the orders of King Vajiravudh (Rama VI) who founded the battalion as a separate unit in 1912, but with the same single buttons. The ceremonial uniform is worn only when the regiment is on duty in a public royal ceremony with a member of the royal family present. When providing guard on royal premises, such as the Grand Palace, the soldiers wear a white uniform with a pith helmet.

Notable membersEdit

GalleryEdit

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

External linksEdit