Household Cavalry

From Academic Kids

The term Household Cavalry is used across the Commonwealth of Nations to describe the cavalry of the Household Divisions.

The British Household Cavalry is described below. Australia's Federation Guard includes a small ceremonial Household Cavalry unit. Canada's Governor General's Horse Guards is a pure Household Cavalry regiment, with armoured vehicles for combat duties and horses for ceremonial functions.

United Kingdom

When used without national qualification, the term generally refers to the Household Cavalry of the British Army, which is made up of two regiments: The Life Guards and The Blues and Royals (Royal Horse Guards and 1st The Royal Dragoons). They are amongst the oldest and most senior regiments in the British Army with traditions dating from 1660. The regiments are Guards regiments and form Britain's Household Division with the five Foot Guards regiments.

RegimentTunic ColourPlume ColourCollar Colour
The Life GuardsRedWhiteBlack
The Blues and RoyalsBlueRedRed

The Household Cavalry as a whole is split into two different units which fulfil two very distinct roles. These are both joint units, made up of personnel from both regiments. Like other Cavalry regiments, the Household Cavalry is divided into squadrons (companies) and troops (platoons).

The first unit, generally known as the Household Cavalry Regiment, has an active operational role in armoured fighting vehicles which has seen them at the forefront of the nation's conflicts. The regiment is not part of the Royal Armoured Corps, but serves alongside the line cavalry regiments as one of the five formation reconnaissance regiments. The regiment is made up of two squadrons each from the Life Guards and the Blues and Royals. One squadron is assigned to the airborne role with 16 Air Assault Brigade.

The second unit is the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment, which is horsed and carries out mounted (and some dismounted) ceremonial duties on State and Royal occasions. These include the provision of a Sovereign's Escort, most commonly seen at the present Queen's Birthday Parade (Trooping the Colour) in June each year. Other occasions include those during State Visits by visiting Heads of State, or whenever required by the British monarch. The regiment also mounts the guard at Horse Guards. It consists of one squadron from each regiment.

Rank structure

The rank names and insignia of non-commissioned officers in the Household Cavalry are unique in the British Army:

Staff Corporal/Squadron Quartermaster Corporal = Staff Sergeant/Squadron Quartermaster Sergeant: Four chevrons, point up, with crown above, worn on lower sleeve
Corporal of Horse = Sergeant: Three chevrons, point down, with metal crown above, worn on upper sleeve
Lance Corporal of Horse = Corporal: Three chevrons, point down, with cloth crown above, worn on upper sleeve
Lance Corporal: Two chevrons, point down, with crown above, worn on upper sleeve

Technically, Lance Corporal of Horse is an appointment rather than a rank: a new Household Cavalry corporal is automatically and immediately appointed lance corporal of horse, and is referred to as such thereafter.

The Warrant Officer ranks are the same as the rest of the army, but appointments include Regimental Quartermaster Corporal and Squadron Corporal Major (WO2) and Farrier Corporal Major and Regimental Corporal Major (WO1), again excluding the word sergeant.

Formerly, sergeant was exclusively an infantry rank: no cavalry regiment had sergeants. Only the Household Cavalry now maintains this tradition, possibly because sergeant derives from the Latin serviens (meaning servant) and members of the Household Cavalry, once drawn exclusively from the gentry and aristocracy, could not be expected to have such a title.

Uniquely, non-commissioned officers and warrant officers of the Household Cavalry do not wear rank insignia on their full dress uniforms (although officers do). Rank is indicated by a system of aiguillettes.

Private soldiers in the Household Cavalry, as in other cavalry regiments, are called Troopers.

See also


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