From: Regimental Nicknames and Traditions of the British Army, Fifth Edition, 1915; printed by Gale & Polden, Ltd., Aldershot
The Royal Fusiliers (City of London Regiment)
Record Office: Hounslow
| Namur, 1695 |
| Vittoria |
| Inkerman |
Relief of Ladysmith
South Africa, 1899-1900
Headdress: Racoonskin cap, with white plume on right side. Cap, Blue, with scarlet band.
Regimental March: "British Grenadiers"
Until after the Crimean War there were no 2nd Lieutenants or Ensigns in the regiment. The regiment has the privilege of marching through the City of London with fixed bayonets, drums beating and colours flying.
Raised in 1685. In the Peninsular War it took a glorious part, and no troops hazarded their lives more freely for their country's cause, than the Royal Fusiliers. At Talavera, they met the storm od war with unshakable firmness, and captured seven of the enemy's guns, but the undying lustre of the glory they won at Albuhera, almost overshadows their other gallant exploits at this time. They had marched from Badajos at 2 a.m. the same day, and the night march of 20 miles, followed by the supreme effort which regained the lost heights of Albuhera, must rank as an unsurpassed feat of arms. During the Crimean War the conduct of the Royal Fusiliers won further glory.
It was once known as "The Hanoverian White Horse," and also as the "Elegant Extracts" from the fact that the officers were selected from other corps.
By Major T.J. Edward, M.B.E., F.R.Hist.S.
Fourth Edition, 1954, Gale & Polden, Ltd., Aldershot
No Loyal Toast:
There are some regiments which never honour the Loyal Toast; the usual reason given is that they have at some time obtained a dispensation from the Sovereign on the ground that their loyalty was above suspicion. But this is a fallacy, because, by inference, the loyalty of those regiments which do observe the custom is in question. Some of these regiments are The Queen's Bays, 3rd Carabiniers, 5th Royal Iniskilling Dragoon Guards, The Royal Dragoons, 3rd Hussars, 15th/19th Hussars, Grenadier Guards, Coldstream Guards, Welsh Guards and The Royal Fusiliers.
City of London Privilege:
Up to October, 1924, the privilege was enjoyed solely by the 6th Battalion, which was formerly the Royal London Militia and was recruited, on its formation, in the City of London under the usual Warrants. Its claim is strengthened by the fact that it is the lineal descendants of the London Trained Bands.
In October, 1924, the privilege was extended to all battalions of The Royal Fusiliers in view of the fact that it had been designated "City of London Regiment" and that a large proportion of its recruits are London men. Moreover, it is the only regiment which is representative of London.
The regiment was raised in 1695 as an "Ordnance Regiment," the nucleus being two old Independent Companies which had garrisoned the Tower of London for many years. This circumstance gave it a strong claim to the privilege.
Wide Red Stripe of Trousers:
At the time of the rebellion led by the Duke of Monmouth in 1685, James II raised several regiments of Horse and Foot to augment the small Royal army. The senior regiment of Foot then raised was under the colonelcy of George Legge, Lord Dartmouth, by Commission date 11th June, 1685. His Lordship was Master-General of the Ordnance at that time and was, therefore, responsible for the artillery. The guns were manned by specialists in this at, and the armament was transported by horses led by civilian drivers hired as occasion needed. No provision was made for the defence of the guns. Dartmouth's regiment was accordingly armed with fusils and given the duty of acting as escort to the artillery, or ordnance, from which circumstances it was sometimes described as "The Ordnance Regiment." However, in the Royal Warrant appointing Dartmouth to the colonelcy it is a designated "Our Royal Regiment of Fusiliers," thus taking its name from the weapon with which it was armed.
In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries it was possible to deduce the functions and organization of a regiment from its title—e.g., Horse, Dragoon, Marines—and it was in accordance with this system of nomenclature that the above-mentioned regiment was designated Fusiliers, because at the beginning of their service they were armed with fusils.
A reminder of the fact that the regiment was once closely associated with the artillery may be seen in the extra-wide red stripe down the outer seams of the officers' full-dress overalls and pantalons. Before the late war the usual width of stripe in infantry regiments was one-quarter inch, but in The Royal Fusiliers it was five-eighths inch. With the intrduction of No. 1 dress since the war the width of the red stripe for officers of the infantry generally is one inch, but in The Royal Fusiliers it is one and three-quarters inches, thus maintaining the distinction.
Owing to its special duty of guarding the artillery, The Royal Fusiliers did not carry Colours at the outset of their career, and consequently had no officers of the rank of Ensign, but had Lieutenants instead. A little later, however, their organization corresponded to a Foot Regiment and they carried Colours, but they did not have Ensigns until 1854.
Bandsman's Brass Scabbards:
For the past one hundred and sixty years it has ben the custom of the bandsmen of the 1st Battalion The Royal Fusiliers to wear brass scabbards for their swords (or dirks). H.R.H. The Duke of Kent, father of Queen Victoria, was Colonel of the Regiment from 1789 to 1801. In 1790 he presented these brass scabbards to the regiment and they are still in use, which speaks well for the durability of the material.