British Army order of precedence

The British Army is listed according to an order of precedence for the purposes of parading. This is the order in which the various corps of the army parade, from right to left, with the unit at the extreme right being highest. Under ordinary circumstances, the Household Cavalry parades at the extreme right of the line. Militia and Army Reserve units take precedence after Regular units with the exception of The Honourable Artillery Company and The Royal Monmouthshire Royal Engineers.[1]

Order of precedence edit

In the British Army's Order of Precedence, the Household Cavalry is always listed first and parades at the extreme right of the line. However, when the Royal Horse Artillery is on parade with its guns it takes precedence.

Household Cavalry, Royal Armoured Corps and Infantry orders of precedence edit

1937 Order
1945 Order

Cavalry, Tank and infantry regiments of the British Army are listed in their own orders of precedence, which dates back to when regiments had numbers rather than names. The order comes from the start of the regiment's service under the Crown, up to 1881 and the "Cardwell Reforms", when the use of numbers was abolished in favour of linking with and using county names. The regiments of the Household Division are always listed first, as they are the most senior, followed by the line regiments. In today's army, which has many regiments formed through amalgamations of other regiments, the rank in the order of precedence is that of the more senior of the amalgamated units. It is for this reason that the Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment, one of the youngest in the army, is ranked second in the line infantry order – it is the direct descendant of the 2nd Regiment of Foot.

Cavalry and RTR order of precedence edit

The majority of line cavalry regiments in the British Army now form part of a wider administrative formation called the Royal Armoured Corps, along with the Royal Tank Regiment. The two cavalry guards regiments are part of a separate administrative formation called the Household Cavalry.

Modern regiment Formation Antecedent regiments
Household Cavalry[note 1]
The Life Guards 1922 1st Life Guards, 2nd Life Guards
The Blues and Royals (Royal Horse Guards and 1st Dragoons) 1969 Royal Horse Guards, 1st Dragoons
Royal Armoured Corps
Dragoon Guards[note 2]
1st The Queen's Dragoon Guards 1959 1st Dragoon Guards, 2nd Dragoon Guards
The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards (Carabiniers and Greys) 1971 3rd Dragoon Guards, 6th Dragoon Guards, 2nd Dragoons
The Royal Dragoon Guards 1992 4th Dragoon Guards, 5th Dragoon Guards, 7th Dragoon Guards, 6th Dragoons
Light cavalry
The Queen's Royal Hussars (The Queen's Own and Royal Irish) 1993 3rd Hussars, 4th Hussars, 7th Hussars, 8th Hussars
The Royal Lancers (Queen Elizabeth's Own)[note 3] 2015 9th Lancers, 12th Lancers, 16th Lancers, 17th Lancers, 5th Lancers, 21st Lancers
The King's Royal Hussars 1992 10th Hussars, 11th Hussars, 14th Hussars, 20th Hussars
The Light Dragoons 1992 13th Hussars, 15th Hussars, 18th Hussars, 19th Hussars
Royal Tank Regiment[note 4]
The Royal Tank Regiment 2014 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th Royal Tank Regiments

Infantry order of precedence edit

The infantry is ranked in the order of Foot Guards, Line infantry,[note 5] Rifles. The Royal Marines, as the descendant of the old Army marine regiments of the 17th and 18th centuries, were included in the Order of Precedence after the descendant of the 49th Foot (the Royal Gloucestershire, Berkshire and Wiltshire Light Infantry (RGBWLI)), which was the last line regiment of foot formed prior to the formation of the Royal Marines, when not on parade with the Royal Navy. On the completion of the infantry reorganisation in 2007, the RGBWLI, along with the Devonshire and Dorset Light Infantry, the Light Infantry and the Royal Green Jackets, were absorbed into what has become part of The Rifles, and moved last in the Order of Precedence. As of April 2008 the Royal Marines are considered to no longer be a separate arm of the Royal Navy, but rather an integral part of it. Therefore, they no longer have a place amongst the (Army) infantry regiments and now take their place as part of the Royal Navy and parade on the right of the line. Even if there is no other Naval contingent present they are the senior formation on ceremonial occasions. If other contingents of the Royal Navy are on parade, the Royal Marines take their place after them, but before all army regiments and corps.[1]

Modern regiment Formation Antecedent regiments
Foot Guards[note 6][note 7]
Grenadier Guards 1656 Royal Regt of Guards, King's Royal Regt of Guards
Coldstream Guards 1650
Scots Guards 1642 Marquis of Argyll's Royal Regiment
Irish Guards 1900
Welsh Guards 1915
Line Infantry[note 8]
The Royal Regiment of Scotland 2006 1st, 21st, 25th, 42nd, 71st, 72nd, 73rd, 74th, 75th, 78th, 79th, 91st, 92nd, 93rd Regts of Foot
The Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment (Queen's and Royal Hampshires) 1992 2nd, 3rd, 31st, 35th, 37th, 50th, 57th, 67th, 70th, 77th, 97th, 107th Regts of Foot
The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment (King's, Lancashire and Border) 2006 4th, 8th, 30th, 34th, 40th, 47th, 55th, 59th, 63rd, 81st, 82nd, 96th Regts of Foot
The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers 1968 5th, 6th, 7th, 20th Regts of Foot
The Royal Anglian Regiment 1964 9th, 10th, 12th, 16th, 17th, 44th, 48th, 56th, 58th Regts of Foot
The Royal Yorkshire Regiment (14th/15th, 19th and 33rd/76th Foot) 2006 14th, 15th, 19th, 33rd, 76th Regts of Foot
The Mercian Regiment (Cheshire, Worcesters and Foresters, and Staffords) 2007 22nd, 29th, 36th, 38th, 45th, 64th, 80th, 95th, 98th Regts of Foot
The Royal Welsh 2006 23rd, 24th, 41st, 69th Regts of Foot
The Royal Irish Regiment (27th (Inniskilling) 83rd and 87th and Ulster Defence Regiment) 1992 27th, 83rd, 86th, 87th, 89th, 108th Regts of Foot, Ulster Defence Regiment
The Parachute Regiment 1942 Army Commandos
The Royal Gurkha Rifles 1994 2nd, 6th, 7th, 10th Gurkha Rifles
The Rifles[note 9] 2007 11th, 13th, 28th, 32nd, 39th, 43rd, 46th, 49th, 51st, 52nd, 53rd, 54th, 60th, 61st, 62nd, 66th, 68th, 85th, 99th, 105th, 106th Regts of Foot, The Rifle Brigade
Ranger Regiment 2021 1 SCOTS, 2 PWRR, 2 LANCS, 4 RIFLES

Precedence within the Army Reserve edit

  1. The Royal Monmouthshire Royal Engineers (Militia)[3]
  2. The Honourable Artillery Company[4]
  3. Royal Armoured Corps
  4. Royal Regiment of Artillery
  5. Corps of Royal Engineers
  6. Royal Corps of Signals
  7. Infantry[note 10]
  8. Special Air Service
  9. Army Air Corps
  10. The Royal Logistic Corps
  11. Royal Army Medical Corps
  12. Corps of Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers
  13. Adjutant General's Corps
  14. Intelligence Corps

Precedence of the UK Auxiliary Forces edit

Reserve Forces (generally known, after the 1859 creation and re-organisation under the Reserve Force Act, 1867 of the Regular Reserve of the British Army, as Local Forces or Auxiliary Forces), including the Militia (or Constitutional Force), Yeomanry, Volunteer Force, and Fencibles, were not originally considered parts of the British Army (which, prior to the 1855 abolishment of the Board of Ordnance was not the only Regular Force, being composed primarily of cavalry and infantry units while the Royal Artillery, Royal Engineers, and Royal Sappers and Miners belonged to the Board of Ordnance and were known collectively as the Ordnance Military Corps in distinction to the board's civilian Commissariat, ordnance stores, transport and other departments).

During the latter 19th Century and early 20th Century, the auxiliary forces (each of which had its own order or precedence: Yeomanry order-of-precedence; Militia order-of-precedence; Volunteer Force order-of-precedence) in the UK were increasingly integrated with British Army units, while maintaining separate force hierarchies. In the process, they were removed from the control of the Lords-Lieutenant of Counties and administered directly by the War Office. The only point of distinction between a British Army unit and an auxiliary, whether in the UK-proper or a colony, was whether or not it was wholly or partly funded by the War Office (from Army funds). As Militia Tax and other funds were replaced for UK auxiliary units, they were added to the British Army order of precedence.

Although most auxiliary units had in 1881 (after the Cardwell and Childers Reforms) become companies or battalions of regular army corps or regiments, they were not grouped with their regular companies or battalions in the British Army order of precedence. Instead, each entire force was added separately to the order of precedence of the British Army, with its respective units retaining their original orders of precedence within that (where the force contained units of more than one corps, they were grouped and took precedence also in accordance with their parent corps of the regular army; eg., Militia Artillery units took precedence ahead of Militia Infantry, with Militia Artillery units having their own internal order of precedence, starting with the Antrim Artillery Militia, numbered 1st, whereas for the Militia Infantry of England and Wales the 3rd West York (Light Infantry) numbered 1st (in 1855), and was also titled the First Regiment of Militia.

The most senior Volunteer Force artillery corps was the 1st Northumberland Artillery Volunteer Corps formed on 2 August, 1859. The Exeter and South Devon Volunteers numbered first in the order of precedence of the Volunteer Infantry. The senior Yeomanry unit, numbering 1st, was the Royal Wiltshire Yeomanry. None of these were to be confused with, by example, the 1st Foot Guards (Grenadier Guards), 1st Regiment of Foot of the British Army (Royal Scots)). The Yeomanry, as cavalry, took precedence over the Militia, despite being far younger. The older Militia took precedence over the younger Volunteer Force. In 1908, the auxiliary forces in the UK were reorganised, with the Yeomanry and Volunteer Force becoming the Territorial Force (in 1921 renamed the Territorial Army), and the Militia becoming the Special Reserve (which was allowed to lapse after 1921).[5]

The Territorial Army remained nominally a separate force from the British Army until renamed under the Defence Reform Act (2014) as the Army Reserve. Its units remain grouped together separately in the British Army order of precedence from their regular army companies and battalions as 26th in order of precedence.[citation needed]

Precedence of the Colonial and Crown Dominion units edit

Not all colonial and Crown Dominion regular or reserve units had been considered part of the British Army and placed on the order of precedence (although those of the Channel Islands and the Imperial fortress colonies generally were), and Imperial reserve units did not follow the same process of re-organisation and consolidation as the UK ones. Originally, the part-time reserve units in Bermuda, the Channel Islands and Malta had (in 1945) numbered collectively as 28th in order of precedence, but were ordered within that according to the order of their parent corps in the regular army. This meant, by example, that the Bermuda Militia Artillery (BMA), raised in 1895, as part of the Royal Regiment of Artillery, preceded the Bermuda Volunteer Rifle Corps (BVRC), raised in 1894. Today, the Royal Bermuda Regiment, an amalgam of the BMA and BVRC, is ordered 28th.[6]

  1. (27th) The Royal Gibraltar Regiment (As a Colonial Force The Royal Gibraltar Regiment comes after the Army Reserve)
  2. (28th) The Royal Bermuda Regiment

Notes edit

  1. ^ The 1st Life Guards, 2nd Life Guards and the Royal Horse Guards, were originally termed Horse Guards and given precedence over the Cavalry regiments of the Line. The 1st Royal Dragoons was a line regiment.
  2. ^ In the sequence for Cavalry of the Line, Cavalry, consisting of Dragoon Guards, come first in the order of precedence with their own numbering sequence. Light Cavalry, consisting of Dragoons, Hussars and Lancers, have their own (single) sequence, hence 1st Dragoons, 3rd Hussars, 5th Lancers, 6th Dragoons, 8th Hussars, 9th Lancers, etc.
  3. ^ Although one of the antecedent regiments of the Royal Lancers was the 5th Lancers, this regiment was formed in the 1850s, resurrecting the number of an old regiment and thus ranked in precedence after the 17th Lancers.
  4. ^ The RTR (which was formed during the First World War) takes final place in the RAC order.
  5. ^ The infantry order of precedence has several missing numbers, due to infantry regiments being disbanded:
  6. ^ Although the Grenadier Guards traces its formation to a date after both the Coldstream Guards and Scots Guards, it stands as the senior foot guards regiment by virtue of being on the English establishment in the service of the Crown for the longest. The Coldstream Guards formed part of the New Model Army until 1661, while the Scots Guards became part of the English Army in 1686.
  7. ^ A sixth regiment of foot guards, the Guards Machine Gun Regiment, existed between 1918 and 1920, and was formed through the regimentation of the foot guards' machine gun companies, and the conversion of the three regiments of Household Cavalry. The Guards Machine Gun Regiment was ranked as the sixth regiment of foot guards, placing it behind the other foot guards regiments, but ahead of all regiments of line infantry and rifles.
  8. ^ Up to 2006, five line infantry regiments had never been amalgamated in their entire history. In 2006 and 2007, these were amalgamated into large regiments under the planned reorganisation of the infantry:
  9. ^ Although The Rifles is descended from many numbered regiments, it is last in the order of precedence because the unnumbered regiment The Rifle Brigade has served longest as a rifle regiment. The Royal Gurkha Rifles comes before The Rifles because one of its predecessors (the 2nd Gurkha Rifles) entered service before the Rifle Brigade ceased using its old number (95th). As both the Royal Gurkha Rifles and The Rifles are rifle regiments they come last in the order of precedence; thus the Parachute Regiment, which is classed as a line infantry regiment, comes before both.
  10. ^ In 2022, the London Regiment was dissolved and its personnel transferred to reserve companies of foot guards regiments which were administratively grouped as 1st Battalion, London Guards. thus it was removed from the order of precedence.

References edit

  1. ^ a b c MoDPS12(A) (1 September 2007). "The Precedence of Regiments and Corps in the Army and within the Infantry". 2007DIN09-027. Retrieved 4 June 2012. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  2. ^ Queen's Regulations for the Army 1975 Amdt 30, Paragraph 8.001, Ser 11, Publisher HMSO
  3. ^ Queen's Regulations for the Army 1975 Amdt 30, Paragraph 8.001, Ser 25, Publisher HMSO
  4. ^ Queen's Regulations for the Army 1975 Amdt 30, Paragraph 8.001, Ser 26, Publisher HMSO
  5. ^ Goodenough, Royal Artillery, CB, Lieutenant-General WH; Dalton (HP), Royal Artillery, Lieutenant-Colonel JC (1893). The Army Book For The British Empire. London: Her Majesty's Stationery Office.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  6. ^ The Quarterly Army List, DECEMBER, 1946. Corrected generally to 8th October, 1946. Volume 1. Page 14. ORDER OF PRECEDENCE OF REGIMENTS, ETC., IN THE ARMY. His Majesty's Stationery Office, London.