The King's Own, The Duke's Own, etc

I’ve read in various accounts of British army groups about “The King’s Own” or “The Duke Of York’s Own” soldiers. Is this just nominal, or do these particular groups have any elite significance?

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Only that the regiment was founded by the person mentioned

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Absolutely not.

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The significance lies way back in their history. Regiments bearing these prefixes belong to what was called “the infantry of the line” as opposed to the Guards regiments which were raised by the monarch (although the Coldstream Guards were originally Moncks Regiment). Those bearing royal titles, such as the Kings Shopshire Light Infantry (KSLI) or Queens Own Royal West Kents received their titles from some significant service in their past, their performance in a battle or campaign for example. The Duke of Wellington’s Regiment (Yorkshire) is a unique example of a regiment named after a non-royal. The Duke, as Sir Arthur Wellesley, was colonel of the regiment at the end of the 18th Century. Other dukedoms, such as that of York, Cambridge, Cornwall and Clarence are royal dukedoms granted as titles to children of a monarch.
Most the names stem from post the Cardwell Reforms of 1881, where the old numbered Regiments of Foot were linked as 1st and 2nd Battalions of geographical regions, usually counties (e.g. “Wiltshire”, “Devonshire”, “Middlesex”, “Manchester”, “Notts and Derbyshire”). Sometimes regiments became attached to the title of their Royal Colonel in Chief (e.g. The Rifle Brigade, the Prince Consort’s Own - i.e. Prince Albert, Victoria’s husband; also 11th Hussars, Prince Albert’s Own).

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Units with names like that would rotate into Berlin on a regular basis. If you were ever in the mood to watch a good fight all you had to do was go the the Irish Pub in the Europa Center and watch them fight one another.

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Or the Navy, or the Air Force.

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Or being part of a Queens Own Highlanders battlegroup in BATUS that had a company of Kings own Scottish Borderers attached … whoever thought that was a good idea didnt know their history … at one point, Crowfoot camp was a battle zone and had a cordon around it by RMP, Canadian MP’s and Mounties so no one could get out … total chaos …

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One of my first lessons, on inter unit rivalry,

Yeah, but if an outsider were to say something derogatory about the Queen they’d put aside their differences for the moment, kick hs arse, and then continue their feud amongst themselves.

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Apparently the lone tree is no longer standing…… someone ran it over.

My son is know as the “prairie dog whisperer”. Everytime he went there they would follow him and hang, supposedly not good when you’re a DM. The prairie dogs behaved differently around him and weren’t be so skitish.

Another bone of contention is seniority, the oldest regiments have an aura of being “elite”, at least in their own eyes. Thus the Royal Scots, formerly the 1st Foot, now part of the Royal Regiment of Scotland and raised in 1636 (“Pontius Pilate’s Bodyguard”); or the Queens Regiment, 2nd Foot, formerly the Tangier Regiment, raised 1661. Or alternatively there are the Rifle Regiments and the Light Infantry, all now part of the Rifles, but the original Rifle Brigade and 60th Foot (Royal Americans, then Kings Royal Rifle Corps), were viewed as “elite”, as their men were trained to fight in open order in pairs, giving them something of an independence of thought and action denied to the “lumpen masses” of the line infantry (although, subsequent to the Indian Wars and War of Independence, each battalion formed a Light Company of skirmishers). To be honest, much of the difference has been watered down by constant amalgamations to the point that “tribal” items from the component regiments are retained (e.g. badges and traditions), but that’s about all.

All history and tradition aside, these days if your motto isn’t Who Dares Wins or By Strength and Guile, those particular warriors will not consider you elite no matter whom you belong to.

This too can increase confusion, for example in the current Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment the rank of Private is substituted by “Kingsman”. This is because when Henry of Monmouth (the last to legally bear the title) became Henry V all his honours were subsumed by the crown, but Lancastrians regard the current Monarch as their Duke…

Cheers,

M