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The Regiment
Subtitled “An Illustrated History of the Irish Guards” this book is one of the things that the Household Division do superbly. Their PR and media savvy is spot on and when an occasion comes along, they are not slow in publicising it. While the book has no one author and is very much a collective effort by the Regiment, the frontispiece does give credit to Colonel Sir William Mahon Bt who wrote the 100th anniversary book on which much of this illustrated book is based.

The Micks have a short history compared to some in the British Army but the heritage of the Household Division stretches back to 1660 and the Irish Guards fitted in very well to that tradition, filling the fourth Foot Guard spot in 1900. With such a short period to cover, the book is able to donate more time to the periods of its existence than other Regiments could and as such has produced a quite substantial history of the Micks. The book therefore is split into the early years prior to WW1, then WW1, the intervening years between wars then WW2, then post WW2 followed by the end of the Empire period leading up to the Regiment’s centenary in 2000. It finishes off the story with a look at the new Millennium up to 2007 and the operations thereof followed by Bearskins and Bayonets covering Afghanistan and life up to the date of publication.

There is a long list of Appendices listing various bits of Regimental history such a Battle Honours and Colours, VC winners through to listing the Commanding Officers, notable Senior IG Officers, RSMs, QMs, Bandmasters and LE officers. All in all a very comprehensive list of Regimental notables.

Being an illustrated history of the Regiment, as you would expect, the book is sumptuously supplied with photographs of Regimental life, paintings of events, scrolls and documents, newspaper cuttings, depictions and descriptions of medals such as the KGV Silver Jubilee Medal from 1935. Many in colour and all well captioned and described.

One point I would like to make here, and one I support completely, is the way that photographs and paintings have the people shown in the photographs or painting named, where possible, right down to the Guardsmen. This is not a practice carried out by many Regiments who only name officers, WOs and senior NCOs. This is an excellent practice which shows that the Regiment really values its soldiers.

To be honest though, this book has a niche audience of people who have an attachment to the Irish Guards and perhaps to military modellers who like to get detail correct; these photographs should help in this area. It is however a very well put together book which does great service to the Irish Guards and which any current or former IG would be very happy to own – although I suspect many will already do so. For these reasons I can only give this book a 3/5 but if you do have a Regimental connection then I suspect the rating would be more in the 4.5 mark.

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