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London for Ceremonial
Band of the Irish Guards

Band of the Irish Guards

Regimental History


1st Battallion Irish Guards, St. Patrick's Day, Cavalry Barracks, 2016

The Irish Regiment of Foot Guards was raised on 1st April 1900 by command of Queen Victoria to commemorate the bravery shown by the Irish regiments in the South African Wars. It inherited the great heritage of the three existing regiments of Foot Guards, while soon adding its own character, customs and traditions to establish its unique identity.

The custom of receiving ‘royal’ shamrock on St. Patrick’s Day began in 1901 and has taken place every year except where prohibited by operations.

In August 1902 the Irish Kennel Club presented an Irish Wolfhound to the regiment as the regimental pet and this tradition continues to the present day and marks out the battalion whenever it is led on parade by the wolfhound.

The battalion embarked for France on 11th August 1914 and took part in nearly every major battle, earning four Victoria Crosses. A total of 293 officers and 9,430 other ranks fought in the Great War, of which 115 officers and 2,235 other ranks lost their lives.

The regiment again fought with distinction during the Second World War, the 1st Battalion serving in Norway, North Africa and Italy, taking part in particularly bitter fighting at Anzio, whilst the 2nd and 3rd Battalions formed part of the Guards Armoured Division which led the way in liberating Belgium and The Netherlands in 1944, and fought its way deep into Germany by the end of the war. A further two Victoria Crosses were awarded during this time.

1st Battalion Irish Guards carried out internal security duties in Palestine both before and after the Second World War and, in recent years, has been involved in many operational tours including Cyprus, Aden, Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan.

Universally known as ‘The Micks’, the Irish Guards are distinguished on parade by wearing tunic buttons bearing the Harp of Ireland, arranged in two groups of four, with a shamrock on the collar and a blue plume worn on the right side of the bearskin.

Their regimental motto is the Latin question: Quis Separabit - Who Shall Separate Us

This is symbolic of the cohesiveness and brotherhood that exists within the regiment.

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