HC(M)R structure and terminology

Discussion in 'RAC' started by Snoreador, Oct 1, 2010.

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  1. With my ridicule shield well and truly up, and the sarcasm filter on, I would welcome some advice: I am booked onto a PO visit to the HCR at Combermere Barracks, and would obviously like to avoid looking like a tool, as much as that is possible for someone making their first inroads into the Army. I have a couple of questions on structure and terminology.

    Firstly, HCR and HCMR are both (and the 'R' is a big giveaway) termed regiments. However, within these are the two regiments, LG and RHG/D. I presume the resulting regiment-within-a-regiment structure is an artifact of the merger under Options for Change? I understand that the cavalry name some things differently to the infantry in general (e.g. Infantry battalion vs. Cavalry regiment), that bit's fine, but I'd welcome any further insight into the fine-grained structure of the HC(M)R in particular.

    Secondly, about RHG/D / Blues and Royals terminology. Having seen people pilloried here for referring to said regiment as B&R, I am keen to not make a faux pas if discussing the regiments in person with others. So, what is the correct terminology in this case - would mentioning the Blues and Royals get one laughed out of Windsor, or is it accepted when speaking to others (the Royal Horse Guards and 1st Dragoons feels like a bit of a mouthful)?

    Many thanks in advance,
  2. The regiment within a regiment isn't an artifact of Options, it was a well thought out union, which would allow the 2 regiments go their separate ways should the Army expand again. The structure of both units isn't as difficult to grasp as it would appear. Within both units you'll find a HQ element made of from both LG and RHG/D personalities, then the Sabre Sqns made up from the 2 separate entities. HCR= 2 Sqns of LG, 2 Sqns of RHG/D. HCMR 1 Sqn of each. The only difference being, you'll find, more often than not, that you'll get Tins (LG) serving in Dink (RHG/D) Sqns, and vice versa, this will be due to operational manning requirements, as, at the end of the day a CVR/T crewman is a CVR/T crewman, irrespective of capbadge.
    With regards to terminology, You can shorten Blues and Royals to just "Blues", you'll be on pretty safe ground with that. You could call them Dinks, but you'll probably get leathered :)
  3. Very useful, thank you.
  4. And maybe try and get your head around the Rank structure of the Rank & File
  5. Boxy, yes, this bit I have got sorted out, given that it is another of the cavalry differences. Thanks for the advice.
  6. AlienFTM

    AlienFTM LE Book Reviewer

    I think you have had the answers you need. Here's some additional reading.

    Allan Mallinson (former CO of 13/18H) has written a series of books about an officer, Matthew Hervey, in a fictional Light Dragoons regiment between about 1808 and 1830.

    Obviously it is a work of fiction and you are not interested in line cavalry, but most of the books include an appendix (the same one every time) describing life in a cavalry regiment during Napoleonic times. Man and horse haven't changed in 200 years, so the insight he gives into daily routines ought to be at least slightly valuable.

    If nothing else it will give you something to read on the train.
  7. Do they really ask you: 'Which hunt do you go out with?'
  8. One of my interests is the historical development of equitation, and of course we are indebted to the fact that horses were instruments of war, right from the times of Xenophon (and before). I have some interesting works from around that time, but nothing relating to military horsemanship then; I'll take a look.
  9. Don´t know your background Nemesis, but referring to the regiment as "The Blues" was a big no no in my day and probably still is if you know the lineage of the current Silver Stick. You refer to the regiment as the Blues and Royals.
  10. Thanks Jorrocks, will stick to Blues and Royals. a_t_g - I have indeed taken all I can from those two sites, and others. I just wanted to check that I hadn't missed something with the regiment-within-a-regiment structure (as loose as that may be within squadrons), as HCR / HCMR are also referred to as units on the Army website, ignoring their regimental suffix. Thanks for the input, all.
  11. Wasn't the HCR just a formalised enactment of something that had been done before?

    During WW2 the two regiments formed a HCR which saw action (IIRC) with a mob left behind to do the guards bit.
  12. Perhaps I can shed some light on the original question, from the perspective of a (hopefully) reletively well informed outsider.

    There are a number of different "layers of identity" to consider when it comes to the Household Cavalry.

    Firstly there are two cap-badges (or regiments, if you prefer): the Life Guards (LG) and the Blues and Royals (I believe technically the Royal Horse Guards/Dragoons hence abreviated to RHG/D). On joining the Household Cavalry, regardless of where a soldier or officer will be initially posted, he will join either LG or RHG/D and wear that cap-badge in perpituity.

    To confuse matters further for the outsider, in addition to the two distinct cap-badges that make up the Household Cavalry as a whole, there are two Regiments which are each composed of officers and soldiers from the two cap-badges. The first is the Household Cavalry Regiment (HCR), which is a Formantion Recce regiment, based in Windsor and made up (roughly) of two squadrons of LG and two squadrons of RHG/D, it is commanded by a Lt Col from either LG or RHG/D. The second is the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment (HCMR), this is a ceremonial mounted (i.e. on horses) regiment based in Kightsbridge in London, consisting of one squadron each of LG and RHG/D. This is also commanded by a Lt Col from either LG or RHG/D.

    Therefore when joining "the Household Cavalry" an officer or soldier would join either LG or RHG/D and expect to spend time in both the HCR and HCMR (clearly an officer would also expect to spend much of his career at jobs outside either regiment).

    As a final element of identity confusion, the Household Cavalry (in its entirety) falls under the authority of both the Director Royal Armoured Corps (DRAC) and also for some issues under Headquarters Household Division (in addition to its functional chains of command). Officially the Household Cavalry are not part of the Royal Armoured Corps (RAC) hence the RAC is more accurately titled the "HCAV & RAC". It remains to be seen how these relationships will fair come the results of the SDSR.

    The reasons for the dual cap-badge/dual regiment system are varied. While the optimist (or fervent Household Divisionist) might suggest it is so, that when the Army once more expands to take on the threat of a future enemy, the Household Cavalry will be the first to disolve their union and expand (same idea as the Foot Guards Incremental Companies existing as the 2nd Battalions of those regiments). More realistically, the "union" between LG and RHG/D came about in order to preserve two different uniforms among the mounted troops on the Queen's Birthday Parade and also as a way of supporting both a ceremonial mounted and an FR regiment, while maintaining sensible career structures.
  13. I was mid 90's and sorry to say Jorrocks, but Blues was used now and again, but the term B&R, I though would have gone down like a lead ballon! Saying that, RHG/D tended to refer to themselves as "The dark side" more than anything else!
  14. Donkey Man, I see from your signature block that you were a Life Guard and that explains a lot. The only people who ever referred to us as "The Blues" were generally Life Guards, who don´t have such a feel for our history. When I joined in 1982, the CO and nearly all the Sqn Ldrs were ex Royals. Since then, sons of Royals have tended to dominate the Regiment (including the present Silver Stick). At Knightsbridge, it was very common for the LGs to refer to the "Blues Squadron" - there was no disrespect intended, it was just their way.

    I totally agree about the B&Rs, never never never - as at least one PO has found out.