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Oldest British Regiments
Now an engineering Field Squadron in the Territorial Army, the militia can be traced to the Anglo-Saxon fyrd of the ninth century, although most of the units were formed in the eighteenth century. A forty-year disbandment after 1946 technically disqualifies them from the title of oldest regiment.
2. The Honourable Artillery Company (1537)
Although formed in 1296, they received the Royal Charter only in 1537. Their record of service to the Crown is not considered unbroken, as they fought on the side of the Roundheads during the English Civil War.
3. Royal Monmouthshire Royal Engineers (Militia) (1539)
Although founded 2 years after the Honourable Artillery Company, the RMonRE takes precedence due to its unbroken loyalty to the Crown.
4. The Buffs (1572)
Formed from London's urban militia to support the Protestants in Holland, where they remained until the outbreak of the Anglo-Dutch war in 1665, at which point they were disbanded for refusing the oath of loyalty to the Dutch States General. They fled to England and reformed as 'The Holland Regiment' in the British Army. The unit is now part of the Princess Of Wales's Royal Regiment.
5. The Connaught Rangers/Scots Brigade (1568-1922)
Formed for Dutch service but took the 1665 oath of alleigance to the Dutch States General, declining to return home. They joined the the British Army as the 94th Foot after rebelling against taking orders in the Dutch language. In 1881 they merged with the Connaught Rangers in Ireland and were disbanded when Ireland gained its independence in 1922.
6. The Royal Scots (1633)
Formed by Charles I to fight for France in the Thirty Years' War, the Scots are the oldest Regiment in the regular Army. During a good-natured argument over seniority with the French Picardie regiment in the seventeenth century, the Scots claimed to be descended from the Roman unit that guarded Jesus' tomb. Not to be bettered, the French replied that had they been on guard instead, Jesus' body would not have gone missing. Thus they gained the nickname 'Pontius Pilate's Bodyguard'.
7. The Coldstream Guards (1650)
A Parliamentary unit formed during the English Civil War that entered royal service under Charles II. They ar named after General Monck's march from Coldstream to London in 1660 and boast the longest continuous service of any regular regiment in the British Army.
8. Royal Horse Guards (1650)
Formed to fight for the Roundhead cause, they are the oldest cavalry regiment and later became The Blues and Royals.
9. First Footguards (1656)
Formed a Parliamentary unit and a troop raised for the exiled Charles II.