Bearskins, Bayonets and Body Armour

Bearskins, Bayonets and Body Armour is the title of a new book from Pen and Sword about the Welsh Guards in their 100th year anniversary

During the First World War, their ranks never broke. Other regiments slept more easily knowing the Guards were in the line. At the start of the Second World War, the Welsh Guards returned from Dunkirk with their boots clean and their weapons all present and correct. After the Sir Galahad was bombed during the Falklands Campaign, a calm and orderly line of Guardsmen waited patiently to disembark the burning ship.

This is a story of discipline, of courage and of sacrifice. This is the story of the Welsh Guards, one of the British Army’s most renowned and respected regiments. Written by Trevor Royle, the celebrated military author and broadcaster, it traces the Regiment’s history from its foundation and bloody baptism at the Battle of Loos in 1915 to its most recent deployment to Helmand Province, Afghanistan in 2012.

Bearskins, Bayonets & Body Armour provides a unique insight into the standards of excellence that distinguish the Foot Guards regiments. It is also a remarkably complete account of the British Army over the past century. Containing more than 300 photographs, many of which have never been published before, this is a stunning official record of the Welsh Guards in war and peace. It is a book that adeptly contrasts the colour and pageantry of ceremonial duties with immense bravery and resilience in combat, making it essential reading for anyone with regimental connections or an interest in military history.

Our very own Monty helped with the book, selecting over 500 images from regimental archives.

Click the image to get a copy, at £15 its a bargain and all profits go to the Welsh Guards charity.



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Red Trousers
Red Trousers
February 15, 2015 9:07 pm

Good stuff, and the sheep shaggers always were good fellers.

But the blurb above does them no real favour. It sort of suggests that they are better than others, which is going to cause punch ups.

Put it this way: the Royal Welch Fusiliers*** were offered the chance of becoming the Welsh Guards. And the Colonel quite rightly refused, not wishing to demean his Regiment.

*** EDIT. Might have that wrong, could have been the South Wales Borderers. Either way, both fine line infantry regiments with several hundred years of tradition, and neither needing to be relentlessly barracked in Chelsea playing parade ground ninnies to feel proud of themselves.

Peter Elliott
February 15, 2015 9:33 pm

Regimental histories are always a bit dubious because of the relentless Way they talk – up their chosen subject.

When was the last time you read one that said: “the regiment could have done better in this battle but the CO was a pillock and the lads hadn’t trained right and didn’t have the right kit.”

February 15, 2015 9:51 pm

Red Trousers,

I wrote the blurb, so any responsibility for suggesting that the Welsh Guards are superior to any other Regiment lies with me. Perhaps you will allow me to say that they were / are the equal of any other regiment within the British Army and usually superior to any enemy faced in combat?

I have always believed that every regiment in the British Army thinks it is better than the rest – I am sure that this what makes our regimental system so good: it generates total belief in the organisation to which you happen to belong.

This is why no regiment was ever offered to become the Welsh Guards. To have suggested that any of the existing Welsh Regiment’s should lose their own established identity to create a new one would have been offensive to them. it would have implied they weren’t good enough to be who they were, which is untrue. Do read the book and find out what really happened.

Hope you and any TDers who read it enjoy it.

February 15, 2015 9:54 pm

It’s important for every formation in the British military to be utterly convinced it’s better than every other formation in the British military. Keeps’um scrappy.

EDIT: Beat me to it Monty.

Red Trousers
Red Trousers
February 15, 2015 11:06 pm

Generous stuff Monty.

Interesting about no other Regiment being offered the chance…. I have heard the story several times, and its the sort of thing the War Office would have done. Perhaps it was thought about, but feedback received meant that it was never formalised.

Anyway, I can retire to my bed knowing with absolute certainty that I was once a member of the very finest recce Regiment, ever, at the peak of its’ efficiency and élan, with the world’s coolest uniform while posted to the top totty capital of Europe.

Christ alone knows why they let me in, for amusement value probably. :)

February 15, 2015 11:36 pm

@ Red Trousers
Surely you mean the second finest!
On second thoughts the time you are referring to you might actually be right

February 16, 2015 9:20 am

Not a lot of people are ever in a position to see different units in action from amongst it, and hence be in a position to pass judgement. These fortunates are – – – Ubique

I’ve done my bit with Gurkhas, Scotsmen, Green cloaks and Australians, all competent but the Gukhs can get a bit idle if there isn’t a Brit offr around. After one campaign (10 month tour) were counted some 28 different infantry bns the regt had supported, incl SAS. Made for some interesting comparative discussions in the bar!