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The Irish Guards Drums and Pipes



The Irish Guards were formed on 1st April 1900 by order of HRH Queen Victoria to commemorate the bravery of the Irish people who fought in the Boer war. The Irish Guards played a major part in both World Wars, winning a total of six Victoria Crosses including the last to be presented in the Second World War and have seen armed conflict in many parts of the world since 1945.

On 21st April 1900, the first recruit, James O'Brien of Limerick, was enlisted and many followed as a free transfer was offered to all Irishmen serving not only in the Guards Brigade but also from the line Regiments.

The Irish Guards are presented with shamrock on every St Patrick's day (17th March) by a member of the Royal Family. This dates back to 1901 when HRH Princess Alexandra presented the Battalion with it for the first time. Until recent years this duty has been carried out by HM Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother but the honor has now been passed to other members of the Royal family.

The Irish Guards, originally nicknamed "Bob's Own" after Lord Roberts, the First Colonel of the Regiment, are affectionately and widely known as "The Micks". No other Regiment of Foot Guards has such a widely accepted nickname.

Since the end of World War 2 the Irish Guards have been involved in active service all over the world in places such as Aden, Northern Ireland, Belize, Palestine and Hong Kong . Below is what the Irish Guards have been up to since 1980.

In 1980, the Irish Guards sent a small force to join the Commonwealth monitoring team in Rhodesia. Their job was to oversea the handing in of weapons by the "Rhodesia Freedom Fighters". The Irish Guards were stationed at Chelsea Barracks, and in 1981 St Patrick's Day was celebrated a day early on the 16th March due to the State visit by the President of Nigeria on the 17th. The Regiment purchased the final Victoria Cross from the family of Sgt O'Leary to become the only Regiment in the Army to hold all it's Victoria Crosses.

On the 10th September 1981 the Irish Guards were the target of a vicious attack by the IRA. When dismounting Tower of London Guard, the bus was approaching Chelsea barracks when a nail bomb made of heavy metal coach bolts was exploded at close range to their bus. Twenty three NCO'S and Guardsmen were hurt. Sgt Cullen and Gdsm Trafford were awarded the MBE for their actions that day, the latter performing an emergency tracheotomy on another causality.

In February 1982 the Battalion moved to Oxford Barracks, Münster, Germany to join 4th Armoured Brigade. In 1983/4 the Battalion visited Alberta, Canada twice, Once in the extreme heat and once in the extreme cold. This was the most realistic training the Battalion had done for some time and while it was out there it trialed the new APC the Army was using, The MCV 8,(now known as the Warrior). Sadly, in 1984, during our time in BAOR, the Colonel of the Regiment, General Sir Basil Eugster died. In his place, Her Majesty The Queen, appointed His Royal Highness, The Grand Duke of Luxenburg KG, who served with the Regiment during the Second World War.

The Battalion returned to Chelsea Barracks in 1986, being fully committed to public duties and Guards of Honour. Operational tasks included deployment to Heathrow Airport on anti-terrorist tasks and to Salisbury Plain in support of our American Allies. The Battalion received New Colours from The Queen in May 1988 and trooped them on the Queen's Birthday the following month. In 1988/89 the Battalion found itself completing a tour of duty in Belize, South America.

In 1990 the Battalion was posted to Berlin, Germany and was privileged to be on hand to see the removal of the Berlin wall and the improved East/West relations. They returned to the UK in 1992 and were stationed at Elizabeth Barracks, Pirbright, and it was from here that the Battalion supported by a Company from the 1st Battalion the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers, embarked on it's first Tour of Northern Ireland in the County of Fermanagh.

On the 21st February 1994, the Battalion again moved up to Chelsea Barracks for another stint of Public Duties. It was from here that they carried out their second tour of Northern Ireland in 1995, this time serving in East Tyrone. Two years on they moved back to Pirbright and conducted Exercises to Kenya, the Oman and The Falkland Islands from there. In February 1998 the Battalion moved over to Münster, Germany, where they became part of 4th Armoured Brigade once again and are still stationed there today. During their time in Münster they were deployed over to Kosovo as part of NATO and carried out full Brigade and Divisional exercises in Poland, Canada and Oman.

At the start of 2003, the Battalion was split up and attached to 7th Armoured Brigade (The Desert Rats) for the pending deployment to the Gulf on Op Telic. Numbers One and Two Company boosted in numbers from elements of Support company were attached to the Scots Dragoon Guards Battle Group. A Platoon from Four Company plus elements of the Anti-Tank Platoon were attached to the First Fusiliers with the final attachment of another Platoon from Four Company and two Sections from the Mortar Platoon attached to the Black Watch.

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