Structure of the British Army

From Academic Kids

Template:British Army The structure of the British Army is complex, due to the different origins of its various constituent parts. In terms of the nature of its servicemen, it is divided into the Regular Army (full-time professional soldiers) and the Territorial Army (part-time paid soldiers). In terms of its military structure it is divided into corps (administrative groupings by common function), and divisions and brigades (large formations, somewhat fluid in nature).

The regiment is in some respects the most important unit of the British Army. It is the largest "permanent" tactical unit in most corps, although it is only an administrative and ceremonial grouping of battalions in the infantry. Typically, a regiment or battalion consists of around 700 soldiers and is commanded by a Lieutenant-Colonel. Many infantry regiments today consist of only one regular battalion, although many also contain another Territorial Army battalion.

A typical battalion or regiment follows a structure similar to the following:

Sections can be subdivided into two fire teams for tactical purposes.


Divisions and Brigades

Divisions and Brigades are the next smallest groupings after a Corps. The British Army comprises two active divisions and seven active manoeuvre brigades. The three remaining divisional headquarters act as regional commands in the UK itself, and would only become field formations in the event of a general war. Beyond the manoeuvre brigades, there are also a number of active brigades which have air defence, logistics and engineering functions. Finally, there are also a number of reserve manoeuvre brigades which command smaller regions than the reserve divisions. The numbering of the various brigades is not sequential, reflecting the rise and fall of various brigades over the years. The reserve brigades have often been divisions in times past, such as 51 (Scottish) Brigade being the direct descendant of the famous 51st (Highland) Division.



Deployable Formations

An additional formation, outside the operational control of the Army but containing a number of army units, is 3 Commando Brigade.

Brigade Organisation

Missing image

  • Key
    • 1) Armoured Regiment
    • 2) Armoured Infantry Battalion
    • 3) Artillery Regiment
    • 4) Army Air Corps Detachment
    • 5) Provost Unit
    • 6) Royal Logistic Corps Squadron
    • 7) Engineer Squadron
    • 8) Javelin Air Defence Battery
    • 9) Long-Range Anti-Tank Guided Weapons Troop
    • 10) Mechanised Infantry Battalion

Administrative Formations

Order of Precedence

As well as the divisions of infantry and the Royal Armoured Corps, cavalry and infantry regiments of the British Army are listed in what is called the order 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 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 descendent of the 2nd Regiment of Foot.

Cavalry Order of Precedence

Modern RegimentAntecedent Regiments
Horse Guards
The Life Guards1st Life Guards, 2nd Life Guards
The Blues and RoyalsRoyal Horse Guards, 1st Dragoons
Line Cavalry
1st The Queen's Dragoon Guards1st Dragoon Guards, 2nd Dragoon Guards
Royal Scots Dragoon Guards3rd Dragoon Guards, 6th Dragoon Guards, 2nd Dragoons
Royal Dragoon Guards4th Dragoon Guards, 5th Dragoon Guards, 7th Dragoon Guards, 6th Dragoons
The Queen's Royal Hussars3rd Hussars, 4th Hussars, 7th Hussars, 8th Hussars
9th/12th Royal Lancers9th Lancers, 12th Lancers
The King's Royal Hussars10th Hussars, 11th Hussars, 14th Hussars, 20th Hussars
The Light Dragoons13th Hussars, 15th Hussars, 18th Hussars, 19th Hussars
The Queen's Royal Lancers5th Lancers, 16th Lancers, 17th Lancers, 21st Lancers
  • Note: Although one of the antecedent regiments of the Queen's Royal Lancers was the 5th Lancers, this regiment was formed in the 1850s, resurrecting the number of an old regiment. Because it was formed so late, in the order of precedence it ranked after the 17th Lancers.
  • Note: Line cavalry is made up of Dragoon Guards, Dragoons, Hussars and Lancers. Dragoon Guards always come first, with the other three types lumped together; it is therefore possible to have in the order of precendence 1st Hussars, followed by 2nd Lancers, followed by 3rd Dragoons, and so on.

Infantry Order of Precedence

Modern RegimentAntecendent Regiments
Foot Guards
Grenadier GuardsKing's Royal Regt of Guards, Wentworth's Regt
Coldstream Guards
Scots Guards
Irish Guards
Welsh Guards
Line Infantry
Royal Scots1st Regt of Foot
Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment2nd, 3rd, 31st, 35th, 37th, 50th, 57th, 67th, 70th, 77th, 97th, 107th Regts of Foot
King's Own Royal Border Regiment4th, 34th, 55th Regts of Foot
Royal Regiment of Fusiliers5th, 6th, 7th, 20th Regts of Foot
The King's Regiment8th, 63rd, 96th Regts of Foot
Royal Anglian Regiment9th, 10th, 12th, 16th, 17th, 44th, 56th Regts of Foot
Devonshire and Dorset Regiment11th, 39th, 54th Regts of Foot
The Light Infantry13th, 32nd, 46th, 51st, 53rd, 85th Regts of Foot
Prince of Wales's Own Regiment of Yorkshire14th, 15th Regts of Foot
The Green Howards19th Regt of Foot
Royal Highland Fusiliers21st, 71st, 74th Regts of Foot
The Cheshire Regiment22nd Regt of Foot
Royal Welch Fusiliers23rd Regt of Foot
Royal Regiment of Wales24th, 41st, 69th Regts of Foot
King's Own Scottish Borderers25th Regt of Foot
Royal Irish Regiment27th, 83rd, 86th, 87th, 89th Regts of Foot, Ulster Defence Regiment
Royal Gloucestershire, Berkshire and Wiltshire Regiment28th, 49th, 61st, 62nd, 66th, 99th Regts of Foot
Royal Marines44th, 45th, 46th, 47th, 48th, 49th, 50th, 51st, 52nd, 53rd Regts of Foot (1st-10th Regts of Marines)
Worcestershire and Sherwood Foresters Regiment29th, 36th, 45th, 95th Regts of Foot
Queen's Lancashire Regiment30th, 40th, 47th, 59th, 81st, 82nd Regts of Foot
Duke of Wellington's Regiment33rd, 76th Regts of Foot
The Staffordshire Regiment38th, 64th, 80th, 98th Regts of Foot
The Black Watch42nd, 73rd Regts of Foot
The Highlanders72nd, 75th, 78th, 79th, 92nd Regts of Foot
Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders91st, 93rd Regts of Foot
The Parachute Regiment
Royal Gurkha Rifles2nd, 6th, 7th, 10th Gurkha Rifles
Royal Green Jackets43rd, 52nd, 60th Regts of Foot, The Rifle Brigade
Special Air Service Regiment21st SAS, The Malayan Scouts
  • Note: Although the Royal Green Jackets is descended from three 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 Royal Green Jackets because one of its predecessors (the 2nd Gurkhas) entered service before the Rifle Brigade ceased using its old number (95th). As both the Royal Gurkha Rifles and the Royal Green Jackets are rifle regiments they come last in the order of precedence, with only the SAS after them (the SAS does not fall into any of the other categories). This is why the Parachute Regiment, which is classed as a line infantry regiment, comes above both.
  • Note: The Royal Marines, as the descendent of the old Army marine regiments of the 17th and 18th centuries, is included in the Order of Precedence when not on parade with the Royal Navy.

Units of the Regular Army


In the modern British Army, the regiments classed as cavalry operate armoured vehicles. The majority of these units are grouped together in the Royal Armoured Corps, which are the old regiments of line cavalry; in addition there is the Household Cavalry Regiment. As well as the old cavalry regiments, there are also the 1st and 2nd Royal Tank Regiments, which were formed during the First World War. In their current roles, they either operate as armoured regiments with main battle tanks, or formation reconnaissance regiments.

Armoured RegimentsFormation Reconnaissance Regiments
Royal Scots Dragoon Guards (Carabiniers and Greys)Household Cavalry Regiment
Royal Dragoon Guards1st Queen's Dragoon Guards
Queen's Royal Hussars (Queen's Own and Royal Irish)9th/12th Royal Lancers (Prince of Wales's)
King's Royal HussarsLight Dragoons
2nd Royal Tank RegimentQueen's Royal Lancers

1st Royal Tank Regiment operates in a dual role; two squadrons serve in the NBC role as part of the Joint NBC Regiment, while the other is a main battle tank training squadron as part of the Combined Arms Training Centre.


For administrative purposes, the Infantry is divided into six divisions. These are not the same as the divisions that are sent into combat, which are a mixture of infantry, armoured and support units. Today, infantry battalions operate in one of four main roles:

A battalion will normally spend 2 years in one role, before re-training for another.

Guards DivisionScottish DivisionKing's DivisionPrince of Wales' DivisionQueen's DivisionLight Division
1st Bn, Grenadier Guards1st Bn, The Royal Scots (The Royal Regiment)1st Bn, The King's Own Royal Border Regiment1st Bn, The 22nd (Cheshire) Regiment1st & 2nd Bn, The Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment (Queen's and Royal Hampshires)1st Bn, The Devonshire and Dorset Regiment Light Infantry
1st Bn, Coldstream Guards1st Bn, The Royal Highland Fusiliers (Princess Margaret's Own Glasgow and Ayrshire Regiment)1st Bn, The King's Regiment1st Bn, The Royal Welch Fusiliers1st & 2nd Bn, The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers1st & 2nd Bn, The Light Infantry
1st Bn, Scots Guards1st Bn, The King's Own Scottish Borderers1st Bn, The Prince of Wales's Own Regiment of Yorkshire1st Bn, The Royal Regiment of Wales (24th/41st Foot)1st & 2nd Bn, The Royal Anglian Regiment1st & 2nd Bn, The Royal Green Jackets
1st Bn, Irish Guards1st Bn, The Black Watch (The Royal Highland Regiment)1st Bn, The Green Howards (Alexandra, Princess of Wales's Own Yorkshire Regiment)1st Bn, The Royal Gloucestershire, Berkshire and Wiltshire Regiment
1st Bn, Welsh Guards1st Bn, The Highlanders (Seaforth, Gordons and Camerons)1st Bn, The Queen's Lancashire Regiment1st Bn, The Worcestershire and Sherwood Foresters Regiment (29th/45th Foot)
1st Bn, The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders (Princess Louise's)1st Bn, The Duke of Wellington's Regiment (West Riding)1st Bn, The Staffordshire Regiment (The Prince of Wales's)

There are three further units in the army that are classed as infantry, but are not grouped in the various infantry divisions:

The Royal Gibraltar Regiment can also be considered part of the infantry, although its primary responsibility is the home defence of Gibraltar.

The Royal Irish Regiment

The Royal Irish Regiment shares the status of the largest infantry regiment in the British Army with the Parachute Regiment. The Royal Irish has a total of four battalions. The 1st Battalion, as has been stated, is a general service battalion that is part of the main body of infantry. However, the 2nd, 3rd and 4th Battalions are home service battalions, purely for service in Northern Ireland.

Brigade of Gurkhas

The Royal Gurkha Rifles is the largest part of the Brigade of Gurkhas, which also has its own support arms. These units are affiliated to the equivalent British units, but have their own unique cap badges.

  • Support units of the Brigade of Gurkhas
    • Queen's Gurkha Engineers: The Queen's Gurkha Engineers consists of:
      • 69 Field Squadron, 36 Engineer Regiment, Royal Engineers
      • 70 Field Support Squadron, 36 Engineer Regiment, Royal Engineers
    • Queen's Gurkha Signals: The Queen's Gurkha Signals consists of:
      • 246 Gurkha Signal Squadron, 2 Signal Regiment, Royal Signals
      • 250 Gurkha Signal Squadron, 30 Signal Regiment, Royal Signals
    • Queen's Own Gurkha Logistic Regiment: The Queen's Own Gurkha Logistic Regiment consists of:
      • 28 Transport Squadron, 10 Transport Regiment, Royal Logistic Corps
      • 94 Stores Squadron, 9 Supply Regiment, Royal Logistic Corps.

Special Forces

Infantry Training Centre

As of 2001, infantry training is undertaken as a single 24 week course at the Infantry Training Centre at Catterick, as opposed to being divided into Phase 1 and Phase 2 training. The ITC is divided into four separate battalions; these are divided into companies, each of which are responsible for one of the infantry's administrative divisions:

  • 1st Battalion, Infantry Training Centre
    • Queen's Division Company
    • King's Division Company
    • Light Division Company
  • 2nd Battalion, Infantry Training Centre
    • Scottish Division Company
    • Prince of Wales's Division Company
    • Somme Company
  • 3rd Battalion, Infantry Training Centre
    • Guards Division Company
    • Parachute Regiment Company
    • Gurkha Company
    • Gurkha Language Wing
  • 4th Battalion, Infantry Training Centre
    • HQ Company
    • Williams Company
    • Hook Company
    • Army School of Ceremonial
    • Army School of Bagpipe Music & Highland Drums
    • Gym EL Wing

Combat Support Arms

There are six corps in the army that are classed as providing combat support and are known (along with the cavalry and infantry) as the 'Arms':

Royal Regiment of Artillery

The Royal Artillery, despite its name, is a corps sub-divided into 16 regiments. Of these, four retain the name, cap badge and traditions of the Royal Horse Artillery. The sixteen regiments are divided into eight specialities:

Home DefenceAir DefenceGeneral Support (MLRS)Close Support (AS90)Close Support (L118 Light Gun)Surveillance and Target AcquisitionTraining
King's Troop, RHA12 Regiment, RA39 Regiment, RA1 Regiment, RHA7 (Para) Regiment, RHA5 Regiment, RA14 Regiment, RA
16 Regiment, RA 3 Regiment, RHA29 (Cdo) Regiment, RA32 Regiment, RA
47 Regiment, RA 4 Regiment, RA40 Regiment, RA
19 Regiment, RA
26 Regiment, RA

Corps of Royal Engineers

Engineering support for the army is provided by the Royal Engineers, of which there are a total of 15 regiments in the regular army. Of these, 25 Engineer Regiment is a field regiment dedicated to service in Northern Ireland, 33 Engineer Regiment is an Explosive Ordnance Disposal unit, 39 Engineer Regiment provides engineering support to the RAF, and 42 Engineer Regiment is a dedicated Geographic unit. The Royal School of Military Engineering (RSME), also has two regiments, which are the parent units for recruits to the RSME:

  • 1 RSME Regiment - Construction Engineer School
  • 3 RSME Regiment - Combat Engineer School

The remainder are field regiments attached to various deployable formations:

  • 21 Engineer Regiment - 4th Armoured Brigade
  • 22 Engineer Regiment - 1st Mechanised Brigade
  • 23 Engineer Regiment - 16th Air Assault Brigade
  • 26 Engineer Regiment - 12th Mechanised Brigade
  • 28 Engineer Regiment - 1 (UK) Division
  • 32 Engineer Regiment - 7th Armoured Brigade
  • 35 Engineer Regiment - 20th Armoured Brigade
  • 36 Engineer Regiment - 3 (UK) Division
  • 38 Engineer Regiment - 19th Light Brigade

In addition, there are three independent squadrons in the Royal Engineers:

  • 9 Parachute Squadron - 9 Para provides engineering support to the parachute operations of 16 Air Assault Brigade, and is attached to 23 Engineer Regiment.
  • 59 Independent Commando Squadron - 59 Squadron is the engineers unit assigned to 3 Commando Brigade.
  • 62 Cyprus Squadron - 62 Squadron provides the engineering support for British Forces in Cyprus.
  • Within the structure of the Royal Engineers are two squadrons that are cap-badged as the Queen's Gurkha Engineers, manned predominantly by Gurkhas.

As well as the operational regiments and squadrons, there also exists within the structure of the Royal Engineers an organisation called the Military Works Force. This has responsibility for both permanent and temporary infrastructure development in several areas, including water, fuel, communications and utilities. Within the MWF are four works groups, which are the equivilant of regiments:

  • HQ Works Group, RE
  • 62 Works Group, RE - Water Infrastructure
  • 63 Works Group, RE - Utilities Infrastructure
  • 64 Works Group, RE - Fuel Infrastructure

Royal Corps of Signals

In the British Army, communications below brigade level are maintained by individual units. For formations of Brigade level and above, communications and ICT are provided by the Royal Signals, which has a total of ten regiments, and 13 separate squadrons:

  • Regiments
    • 1 (UK) Division HQ and Signal Regiment
    • 2 Signal Regiment (Joint Rapid Reaction Force)
    • 3 (UK) Division HQ and Signal Regiment
    • 7 (Allied Rapid Reaction Corps) Signal Regiment
    • 10 Signal Regiment
    • 11 Signal Regiment (Training)
    • 14 Signal Regiment (Electronic Warfare)
    • 15 Signal Regiment (HQ Northern Ireland)
    • 16 Signal Regiment
    • 21 Signal Regiment (RAF Support)
    • 30 Signal Regiment
  • Squadrons
    • 200 Signal Squadron - 20 Armoured Brigade
    • 204 Signal Squadron - 4 Armoured Brigade
    • 207 Signal Squadron - 7 Armoured Brigade
    • 209 Signal Squadron - 19 Mechanised Brigade
    • 213 Signal Squadron - 39 Infantry Brigade (NI)
    • 215 Signal Squadron - 1 Mechanised Brigade
    • 216 Signal Squadron - 16 Air Assault Brigade
    • 218 Signal Squadron - 8 Infantry Brigade (NI)
    • 228 Signal Squadron - 12 Mechanised Brigade
    • 261 Signal Squadron - 101 Logistic Brigade
    • 262 Signal Squadron - 102 Logistic Brigade
    • 264 Signal Squadron - SAS
    • 280 (UK) Signal Squadron - Allied Forces North (AFNORTH)
    • Cyprus Communications Unit
  • Within the structure of the Royal Signals are two squadrons that are cap-badged as the Queen's Gurkha Signals, manned predominantly by Gurkhas.

Army Air Corps

The Army Air Corps provides the battlefield support element of the army's aviation needs (the heavy transport element comes from the helicopters of the RAF, while the amphibious element is provided by the FAA). The AAC has six regiments, and a number of independent squadrons and flights:

  • 1 Regiment, AAC - Divisional Aviation Regiment to 1 (UK) Division.
  • 2 Regiment, AAC - Training Regiment
  • 3 Regiment, AAC - Attack Regiment
  • 4 Regiment, AAC - Attack Regiment
  • 5 Regiment, AAC - Aviation support to the army in Northern Ireland
  • 9 Regiment, AAC - Attack Regiment
  • 657 Squadron, AAC
  • 7 Flight - Aviation support to British Forces in Brunei
  • 8 Flight - Aviation support for the SAS
  • 12 Flight - Part of 1 Regiment, AAC
  • 25 Flight - Aviation support to British Forces in Belize

Intelligence Corps

The Intelligence Corps is the army's main tool for the gathering and collating of intelligence, and for the organisation of the army's counter-intelligence apparatus.

  • 1 Military Intelligence Battalion
  • 2 Military Intelligence Battalion
  • 4 Military Intelligence Battalion
  • 15 (United Kingdom) Psychological Operations Group

Joint NBC Regiment

The Joint NBC Regiment is a specialised corps of the army tasked with defence against nuclear, biological and chemical weapons. The regiment is a joint Army/RAF unit, made up of the following regular units:


The remaining corps of the British Army are classed as the 'Services'. While they are all trained soldiers and can fight as infantry if necessary, they provide the essential services that keep the army running.

Royal Logistic Corps

The Royal Logistic Corps is the largest single corps in the British Army, and is responsible for the supply and movement of material to all units. Within the corps there are 21 separate regiments:

1 General Support Regiment12 Supply Regiment
2 Close Support Regiment13 Air Assault Support Regiment
3 Close Support Regiment14 Supply Regiment
4 General Support Regiment17 Port and Maritime Regiment
6 Support Regiment21 Logistic Support Regiment
7 Transport Regiment23 Pioneer Regiment
8 Artillery Support Regiment24 Regiment
9 Supply Regiment27 Transport Regiment
10 Transport Regiment29 Regiment
11 Explosive Ordnance Disposal Regiment89 Postal and Courier Regiment
5 Training Regiment

Within the structure of the Royal Logistic Corps are two squadrons that are cap-badged as the Queen's Own Gurkha Logistic Regiment, manned predominantly by Gurkhas.

Corps of Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers

The Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers have responsibility for the maintenance of all of the British Army's equipment. The corps provides detachments to each formation of brigade level and higher from its total of seven battalions:

  • 1st Battalion, REME
  • 2nd Battalion, REME
  • 3rd Battalion, REME
  • 4th Battalion, REME
  • 5th Battalion, REME
  • 6th Battalion, REME
  • 7th Battalion, REME

Other Services


There are two phases in the training for recruits into the army:

  • Phase 1
    • The initial phase features the basic training for all new recruits. There are two main strands, one for officers and one for other ranks.
      • Officers: Prospective officers first attend the Regular Commissions Board to determine whether they are suited to become officers. Once they pass the RCB, they attend the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, where they undergo basic training, not just in the elements of soldiering, but also leadership. The Commissioning Course, which is the standard course for new officers, lasts 44 weeks. However, there are also short course for those with professional qualifications joining one of the services (Medicine, Law etc) that provides basic military training.
      • Soldiers: Prospective ordinary soldiers (other than the infantry) attend one of five Army Training Regiments spread around the country:
        • ATR Bassingbourn
        • ATR Glencorse
        • ATR Lichfield
        • ATR Pirbright
        • ATR Winchester
      • Here they undergo basic training, learning how to become soldiers. The basic course is the Army Development Course, which lasts for 20 weeks.

Once new recruits have passed their initial courses, either at RMAS or an ATR, then they move to Phase 2 Training.

  • Phase 2
    • Phase 2 involves the new officer or soldier choosing which branch of the service they wish to specialise in, and then undergoing the specific training. This is with one of the specialist schools located around the country:
      • Infantry Training Centre - the ITC is responsible for both Phase 1 and Phase 2 infantry training for soldiers. Officers undergo their Phase 1 training at Sandhurst.
      • Armour Centre
      • Royal School of Artillery
      • School of Army Aviation
      • Royal School of Military Engineering
      • Royal School of Signals
      • Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineering Training Group
      • Defence Logistic Support Training Group
      • AGC Training Group
      • Royal Military School of Music

Units of the Territorial Army

Armour (TA)

The four armoured regiments of the Territorial Army operate in two roles - provision of crew replacements for armoured and NBC regiments, and formation reconnaissance:

Infantry (TA)

The 1999 reorganisation of the Territorial Army saw a number of new, multi-cap badge battalions take the place of the old territorial battalions of regular regiments:

A further infantry unit, not officially on the British Army list but still technically a British unit, is The Bermuda Regiment. This is a territorial infantry battalion which is responsible for the internal security of Bermuda.

Royal Artillery (TA)

Air DefenceGeneral Support (MLRS)Close Support (Light Gun)Surveillance and Target Acquisition
104 Regiment, RA(V)101 Regiment, RA(V)100 Regiment, RA(V)Honourable Artillery Company
105 Regiment, RA(V) 103 Regiment, RA(V)
106 Regiment, RA(V)

Royal Engineers (TA)

  • 71 Engineer Regiment (Volunteers) - Air Support Regiment
  • 73 Engineer Regiment (Volunteers) - Air Support Regiment
  • 75 Engineer Regiment (Volunteers) - Field Regiment
  • 101 (City of London) Engineer Regiment (Volunteers) - Explosive Ordnance Disposal Regiment
  • Royal Monmouthshire Royal Engineers (Militia) - Field Regiment
  • 131 Independent Commando Squadron (Volunteers) - Commando Support
  • 135 Independent Geographic Squadron (Volunteers) - Topography
  • 65 Works Group, RE (Volunteers) - Communications Infrastructure

Note: Although the Royal Monmouthshire Royal Engineers is part of the Royal Engineers order of battle, it is a separate regiment with its own cap badge, regimental colours and traditions.

Royal Signals (TA)

  • 31 (City of London) Signal Regiment
  • 32 (Scottish) Signal Regiment
  • 33 (Lancashire and Cheshire) Signal Regiment
  • 34 (Northern) Signal Regiment
  • 35 (South Midlands) Signal Regiment
  • 36 (Eastern) Signal Regiment
  • 37 (Wessex and Welsh) Signal Regiment
  • 38 (City of Sheffield) Signal Regiment
  • 39 (Skinners) Signal Regiment
  • 40 (Ulster) Signal Regiment
  • 71 (Yeomanry) Signal Regiment

Intelligence Corps (TA)

  • 3 Military Intelligence Battalion (Volunteer)

Army Air Corps (TA)

  • 7 Regiment, Army Air Corps (Volunteers)

Services (TA)

In addition to the combat units, there are Territorial Army units in:

  • Adjutant General's Corps
  • Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers
    • 101 Battalion (V), REME
    • 102 Battalion (V), REME
    • 103 Battalion (V), REME
    • 104 Battalion (V), REME
  • Royal Logistic Corps
    • 150 Transport Regiment
    • 151 Logistic Support Regiment
    • 156 Transport Regiment
    • 157 Logistic Support Regiment
    • The Scottish Transport Regiment
    • 158 (Royal Anglian) Transport Regiment
    • 168 Pioneer Regiment
    • Catering Support Regiment
  • Army Medical Services
    • 144 Field Ambulance
    • 152 Ambulance Regiment
    • 201 (Northern) Field Hospital
    • 202 (Midlands) Field Hospital
    • 203 (Welsh) Field Hospital
    • 204 (North Irish) Field Hospital
    • 205 (Scottish) Field Hospital
    • 207 (Manchester) Field Hospital
    • 208 (Liverpool) Field Hospital
    • 212 (Yorkshire) Field Hospital
    • 220 (1st Home Counties) Field Ambulance
    • 222 (East Midlands) Field Ambulance
    • 243 (The Wessex) Field Hospital
    • 253 (North Irish) Field Ambulance
    • 254 (City of Cambridge) Field Ambulance
    • 256 (City of London) Field Hospital
    • 306 Field Hospital
    • First Aid Nursing Yeomanry

Ceremonial Units

Although the majority of the British Army performs both operational and ceremonial roles, there are some units that are purely ceremonial. These are manned by fully trained soldiers who are periodically transferred from operational units.

Queen's Guard/Queen's Life Guard

The following are units of the regular army that most regularly mount the guard at Buckingham Palace, Horse Guards and Windsor Castle:

Gun Salutes

The following are units that provide gun salutes in various parts of London:

Sovereign's Bodyguard

The following are not part of the army, but perform the ceremonial role of Sovereign's Bodyguard. They tend to be made up of retired officers and NCOs:

One of the significant duties that all of the above units (with the exception of the King's Troop and the Honourable Artillery Company) perform is to guard the catafalque upon which the coffin of a state funeral rests in Westminster Hall.



In July 2004, the Government announced its proposals for restructuring of the armed forces. The main points concerning the army included:

  • Cutting four infantry battalions (three English and one Scottish) with the remaining single battalion regiments of the Scottish Division, King's Division and Prince of Wales's Division amalgamating. These will see either one regiment of four or more battalions, or two regiments of between two and three battalions in each division.
  • One armoured regiment being re-roled as force reconnaissance, with seven Challenger 2 squadrons being cut.
  • One heavy artillery regiment being re-roled as light artillery, with six AS-90 batteries being cut.
  • A reduction in the number of Ground Based Air Defence units, with the disbandment of the RAF Regiment squadrons, and a reduction in the size of the Royal Artillery batteries.

On 16 December 2004, Geoff Hoon announced restructuring plans. The new operational structure of the army will feature:

  • Two Armoured Brigades - these will be 7 Armoured Brigade and 20 Armoured Brigade.
  • Three Mechanised Brigades - these will be 1 Mechanised Brigade and 12 Mechanised Brigade, to be joined by the current 4 Armoured Brigade, which will convert to mechanised by 2006.
  • One Light Role Brigade - this will see 19 Mechanised Brigade convert to the light role, beginning at the start of 2005.
  • One Air Assault Brigade - 16 Air Assault Brigade.

Rumours were also confirmed, with the restructuring of the infantry along the large regiment lines. This will involve the Royal Scots and the King's Own Scottish Borderers amalgamating into a single battalion, and this then amalgamating with the other four regiments into a large Royal Regiment of Scotland, with battalions retaining their former titles. The regiments of the King's Division and the Prince of Wales's Division will also merge, with one battalion lost from the King's Division, and two from the Prince of Wales's. Thus, each will have one regiment of three battalions and one regiment of two battalions.

The restructuring will be as follows:


In 2005, the Queen's Royal Lancers will begin conversion from the Armoured role, equipped with Challenger 2, to the Formation Reconnaissance role, equipped with Scimitar.


In 2005, 40 Regiment, Royal Artillery will begin conversion to the 105mm Light Gun from the AS-90.


Engineering support for 3 Commando Brigade to be expanded to a full regiment with the establishment of 24 Commando Engineer Regiment. This brings it into line with the other brigade sized formations.


Establishment of a new signals regiment, 22 Signal Regiment.


Guards Division

Although there will remain five single battalion Guards regiments, operationally these will conform to the new structure, with each battalion being given a specific role. Operationally therefore, the Guards will be a single large regiment.

The London Regiment will become the Guards Battalion of the TA, and may be titled 6th Bn, the Foot Guards.

Scottish Division

  • Royal Scots and King's Own Scottish Borderers to amalgamate into a single battalion. The combined Royal Scots/KOSB to merge with the Royal Highland Fusiliers, Black Watch, Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders and The Highlanders into the Royal Regiment of Scotland.
    • The Royal Scots and King's Own Scottish Borderers (1st Bn, Royal Regiment of Scotland)
    • The Royal Highland Fusiliers (2nd Bn, Royal Regiment of Scotland)
    • The Black Watch (3rd Bn, Royal Regiment of Scotland)
    • The Highlanders (4th Bn, Royal Regiment of Scotland)
    • The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders (5th Bn, Royal Regiment of Scotland)
  • The 52nd Lowland Regiment with form the 6th Bn, and the 51st Highland the 7th.

Prince of Wales's Division

  • The breakup of the Royal Gloucestershire, Berkshire and Wiltshire Regiment has been cancelled. It will merge directly with the Devonshire and Dorset Regiment to form 1st Battalion, The Light Infantry.
  • The Staffordshire Regiment, 22nd (Cheshire) Regiment and Worcestershire and Sherwood Foresters Regiment to merge into the Mercian Regiment.
    • 1st Bn, Mercian Regiment (Cheshires)
    • 2nd Bn, Mercian Regiment (Worcesters and Foresters)
    • 3rd Bn, Mercian Regiment (Staffords)
  • A 4th Bn will be formed from the TA West Midlands Regiment and the Cheshires element of the Kings and Cheshire Regiment
  • The Royal Welch Fusiliers and Royal Regiment of Wales to merge into the Royal Welsh.
    • 1st Bn, Royal Welsh (Royal Welch Fusiliers)
    • 2nd Bn, Royal Welsh (Royal Regiment of Wales)
  • The TA Royal Welsh Regiment will become 3rd Battalion, Royal Welsh

King's Division

  • The King's Own Royal Border Regiment, King's Regiment and Queen's Lancashire Regiment to merge into the King's Lancashire and Border Regiment.
    • 1st Bn, King's Lancashire and Border Regiment
    • 2nd Bn, King's Lancashire and Border Regiment
  • 3rd Bn, King's Lancashire and Border Regiment will be formed from the Kings Regiment elements of the TA Kings and Cheshire Regiment and Lancastrian and Cumbrian Volunteers Regiment.
  • The Duke of Wellington's Regiment, Prince of Wales's Own Regiment of Yorkshire and the Green Howards to merge into the Yorkshire Regiment.
    • 1st Bn, Yorkshire Regiment (Prince of Wales's Own)
    • 2nd Bn, Yorkshire Regiment (Green Howards)
    • 3rd Bn, Yorkshire Regiment (Duke of Wellington's)
  • 4th Bn, Yorkshire Regiment will be formed from the TA East and West Riding Regiment and the Green Howards elements of the Tyne Tees Regiment.

Queen's Division

  • The Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment (Queen's and Royal Hampshires), Royal Regiment of Fusiliers and the Royal Anglian Regiment are unaffected.
  • The RRF and R ANGLIAN gain a Territorial Army Battalion (in both cases 3rd Bn).

Light Division

  • The amalgamation of the whole of the Royal Gloucestershire, Berkshire and Wiltshire Regiment and the Devonshire and Dorset Regiment with elements of the Light Infantry will produce a new battalion. This will be numbered as 1st Bn, The Light Infantry. The two exisitng battalions will be renumbered as 2nd and 3rd Bns, The Light Infantry.
  • The Royal Green Jackets will be unaffected by the new structure.
  • The Light Infantry, Royal Green Jackets, Devonshire and Doreset, and RGBW companies in the London Regiment, Rifle Volunteers and Royal Rifle Volunteers will amalgamate into TA battalions of the Light Infantry and Royal Green Jackets.
  • A further proposal (which has not yet been confirmed) is to amalgamate the Light Infantry and Royal Green Jackets into a single large regiment with five regular and two TA battalions.

The Parachute Regiment

  • 1st Battalion, the Parachute Regiment will be stay in the infantry order of battle. It will be roled as the new tri-service Ranger battalion, to serve as support to the SAS.
  • 2nd and 3rd Battalions, the Parachute Regiment remain unaffected.
  • 4th Battalion will conform it the new TA infantry structure but is otherwise unaffected.

Royal Irish Regiment

  • In order to retain an 'infantry footprint' in Northern Ireland, the Royal Irish Regiment will retain its single general service battalion and three home service battalions.
  • The Royal Irish Rangers will become the 5th Bn, Royal Irish Regiment.

Royal Gurkha Rifles

  • The Royal Gurkha Rifles remain unaffected by the changes to the infantry structure.

Special Forces

Territorial Army

  • With the exception of the Royal Gurkha Rifles, every infantry regiment will receive at least one Territorial Army battalion, with the exception of the Royal Regiment of Scotland, which will receive two. The Guards Division will gain an affiliated TA battalion.


  • The British Army has 29 military bands of varying strength. The seven bands of the Household Division each have 49 musicians, whereas the other bands each have 35 musicians. All bands can play in many different formats, but primarily as a marching band or a concert band.

Brief comment

While the Government maintains that regimental traditions will remain through the addition of subtitles to battalions, it should be noted that in the reforms of the 1960s, which brought the likes of the Queen's Regiment, Royal Regiment of Fusiliers, Royal Green Jackets and Light Infantry, the individual regiments that made them up also retained their individual titles for a brief period, before these were removed to promote the harmonisation of the new regiments.

New Infantry Structure and Order of Precedence

Guards DivisionScottish DivisionKing's DivisionPrince of Wales' DivisionQueen's DivisionLight Division
1st Bn, Grenadier Guards1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th & 5th Bn, Royal Regiment of Scotland1st & 2nd Bn, King's Lancashire and Border Regiment1st & 2nd Bn, Royal Welsh1st & 2nd Bn Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment1st, 2nd & 3rd Bn, The Light Infantry
1st Bn, Coldstream Guards 1st, 2nd & 3rd Bn, Yorkshire Regiment1st, 2nd & 3rd Bn, Mercian Regiment1st & 2nd Bn, Royal Regiment of Fusiliers1st & 2nd Bn, Royal Green Jackets
1st Bn, Scots Guards 1st & 2nd Bn, Royal Anglian RegimentNB: proposal that LI and RGJ amalgamate into single regiment of five battalions
1st Bn, Irish Guards
1st Bn, Welsh Guards

Modern RegimentAntecendent Regiments
Foot Guards
Grenadier Guards
Coldstream Guards
Scots Guards
Irish Guards
Welsh Guards
Line Infantry Regiments
Royal Regiment of ScotlandRoyal Scots, Royal Highland Fusiliers, King's Own Scottish Borderers, Black Watch, The Highlanders, Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders
Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment
King's Lancashire and Border RegimentKing's Own Royal Border Regiment, King's Regiment, Queen's Lancashire Regiment
Royal Regiment of Fusiliers
Royal Anglian Regiment
Light InfantryDevonshire and Dorset Regiment, Light Infantry, Royal Gloucestershire, Berkshire and Wiltshire Regiment
Royal Marines
Yorkshire RegimentPrince of Wales's Own Regiment of Yorkshire, Green Howards, Duke of Wellington's Regiment
Mercian Regiment22nd (Cheshire) Regiment, Worcestershire and Sherwood Foresters Regiment, Staffordshire Regiment
Royal WelshRoyal Welch Fusiliers, Royal Regiment of Wales
Royal Irish Regiment
Parachute Regiment
Rifle Regiments
Royal Gurkha Rifles
Royal Green Jackets
Special Air Service

See also

Other Corps of the British Armed Forces

British Army Restructuring

The British Army


External links


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