Foot Guards

Foot guards is a term used to describe elite infantry regiments.


British and Commonwealth Units

British Army

The Foot Guards is a group of regiments in the Household Division of the British Army

While regiments may have other distinguishing features, a simple method of identification is by observing the spacing of buttons on the tunic. The ascending number of buttons also indicates the order in which the regiments were formed, although the 1st Regiment of Foot Guards, an ancestor of the Grenadier Guards, is younger than the regiment that now takes the name of the Coldstream Guards; the oldest continuously serving regiment in the British Army. There are various other methods of telling apart the different regiments - the colour of the plume, and what side it is worn on the bearskin, the collar badge and the shoulder badge. When all five regiments parade together, they are in the order Grenadier Guards on the right flank, then Scots Guards, Welsh Guards, Irish Guards and Coldstream Guards on the left flank. This is because, although the Coldstream are ranked second in seniority, their motto is 'Nulli Secundus' ('Second to None').

Units of the Foot Guards

  • Grenadier Guards
    • 1st Battalion, Grenadier Guards
    • Nijmegen Company, Grenadier Guards
  • Coldstream Guards
    • 1st Battalion, Coldstream Guards
    • No 7 Company, Coldstream Guards
  • Scots Guards
    • 1st Battalion, Scots Guards
    • F Company, Scots Guards
  • Irish Guards
    • 1st Battalion, Irish Guards
  • Welsh Guards
    • 1st Battalion, Welsh Guards
  • G Squadron, 22nd SAS Regiment: This is not strictly a Guards unit; it is a unit of the Special Air Service made up of volunteers from the Household Division.

The first three regiments each have a separate incremental company which keep custody of the colours and traditions of the currently dormant 2nd Battalions. These companies perform ceremonial duties whenever the regiment is quartered in London.

The Guards Division will receive a new battalion following the restructuring of the army in 2004, when the London Regiment becomes the first ever TA Guards unit.

Canadian Army

There are two foot guards regiments in the Canadian Army, the Governor General's Foot Guards and The Canadian Grenadier Guards. There used to be a regiment known as the Canadian Guards but which was disbanded in ca. 1960. Although the Governor General's Foot Guards has its buttons in pairs, compared to the single buttons of The Canadian Grenadier Guards, it is the more senior regiment; it is affiliated to the Coldstream Guards, and so wears a similar uniform.

RegimentPlumePlume colourButton spacingCollar badgeShoulder badge
British Army
Grenadier GuardsLeftWhiteSinglyGrenadeRoyal Cypher
Coldstream GuardsRightScarletPairsGarter StarRose
Scots GuardsNoneN/AThreesThistle StarThistle
Irish GuardsRightBlueFoursShamrockSt Patrick Star
Welsh GuardsLeftWhite-Green-WhiteFivesLeekLeek
Canadian Army
Governor General's Foot GuardsLeftScarletPairsCap StarCap Star
The Canadian Grenadier GuardsLeftWhiteSinglyGrenadeRoyal Cypher


The Federation Guard is a tri-service Australian ceremonial unit that performs similar functions to the five British and two Canadian regiments of foot guards.


The Brigade of the Guards is the Indian Army's foot guards regiment, formed through the regimentation of battalions from four of India's senior line infantry regiments.

Other nations

Many other nations have regiments of guards in their armies, as the term 'guards' is an honorific to mark out the best soldiers. Most monarchies have at least one regiment of guards, part of whose duties is to guard the Royal Family. The Royal Life Guards (Den Kongelige Livgarde) and His Majesty The King's Guard (Hans Majestet Kongens Garde) are regiments of the Royal Danish Army and Norwegian Army that perform the same role as the five British regiments perform in London, while the Guard Regiment Grenadiers (Garderegiment Grenadiers en Jagers) and Guard Regiment Fusiliers (Garderegiment Fusiliers Prinses Irene) are the two guards regiments of the Royal Netherlands Army. The Royal Guards (Högvakten) is a Swedish tri-service unit similar to the Australian Federation Guard, which has responsibilities identical to those of the Danish and Norwegian regiments. The President's Guard is the guard unit for the President of Greece.

See also

External links

British and Commonwealth

Other Nations


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