The Welsh Guards came into existence on February 26 1915 by order of His Majesty King George V in order to include Wales in the national component to the Foot Guards. They were the last of the Guards to be created, with the Irish Guards coming into being in 1900. Just two days later, the battalion of the Welsh Guards mounted it's first King's Guard at Buckingham Palace on 1st March 1915 - St David's Day.
On March 17 1915 the 1st Battalion, Welsh Guards sailed for France to join the Guards Division. Its first battle was some months after its initial arrival, at Loos on September 27 1915. The regiment's first Victoria Cross came two years later in July 1917 awarded to Sergeant Robert Bye at Pilckemin. Between the two World Wars the 1st Battalion were stationed in such diverse locations as Cologne, Egypt and Gibraltar, where it was stationed at the outbreak of war in 1939.
The regiment was increased to three Battalions during World War II. The 1st Battalion fought valiantly in all the campaigns of the North-West European Theatre. The 2nd Battalion fought in Boulogne in 1940 whilst the 1st fought in was in Belgium as part of the British Expeditionary Force. In May 1940 at the Battle of Arras, the Welsh Guards gained their second Victoria Cross by Lieutenant The Hon. Christopher Furness who was killed in the action. In 1943 the 3rd Battalion fought throughout the arduous Tunisian and Italian Campaigns.
While they battled on in those theatres the 1st and 2nd joined the Guards Armoured Division, with the 1st Battalion being infantry and the 2nd armoured. The two battalions worked closely, being the first troops to re-enter Brussels on 3rd September 1944 after an astonishing advance of 100 miles in one day in what was described as 'an armoured lash unequalled for speed in this or any other war'.
Shortly after the end of the war the 3rd Battalion was disbanded while the 2nd Battalion was placed in suspended animation. Since 1945, the 1st Battalion has served in many exotic and diverse countries including Northern Ireland, Palestine, Egypt, Germany, Aden, Cyprus, Belize and Bosnia. They also train in such divere places as Canada, Greece, Norway, Kenya, Belize, Macedonia and Poland.
In recent years wars and violence continue to flare up, continuing the need for the Welsh Guards to be deployed to various locations across the world. The Welsh Guards have carried out five six-month and one two-year deployments to Northern Ireland.
In 1982, the Welsh Guards formed part of the Task Force sent to liberate the Falkland Islands from Argentinean occupation during the Falklands War. On the 7th of June they were onboard the ill-fated Sir Galahad, which was accompanied by Sir Tristram, waiting to be landed at Bluff Cove. The landing craft were spotted by Argentinean observers. At 2:00pm, five Daggers and five Skyhawks are seen over the Falklands. Shortly afterwards, the Daggers were the first to attack. They hit the frigate Plymouth with cannon fire as well as bombs, igniting a deat charge aboard the ship, causing slight damage. She survived this engagement, indeed the conflict itself, and is now a museum ship at Birkenhead.
Only a short time later, the Skyhawks reach Fitzroy, with three of the aircraft hitting the Sir Galahad two or more times with truly horrific consequences, Sir Tristram is also hit killing two crewmen, setting both ships ablaze. The attack on Sir Galahad culminated in dreadfully high casualties, 48 dead, 32 of them Welsh Guards, 11 other army personnel and five crewmen from Sir Galahad herself. There was many wounded, many suffering from horrendous burns, caused by fire from the burning ships and most notably, Simon Weston. The burnt-out Sir Galahad was later scuttled at sea to allow her to become a war grave. Sir Tristram herself was repaired and rebuilt in 1985.
World War I:
Loos, Bapaume 1918, Somme 1916-18, Arras 1918, Ginchy Albert 1918, Lers-Courcelette, Drocourt-Queant, Orval, Hindenburg Line, Ypres 1917, Havrincourt, Pilckem, Canal Du Nord, Poelcappelle, Celle, Passchendaele, Sambre, Cambrai 1917-18, France and Flanders 1915-18
'World War II
Defence of Arras, Djebel el Rhorab, Boulogne 1940, Tunis, St Omer-La-Bassee, Hammam Lif, Bourguebus Ridge, North Africa 1943, Cagny, Monte Ornito, Mont Pincon, Liri Valley, Brussels, Monte Piccolo, Hechtel, Capture of Peruggia, Nederrijn, Arezzo, Lingen, Advance to Florence, Rhineland, Gothic Line, North West Europe 1940 44-45, Battaglia, Fondouk, Italy 1944-45
The Colonel-In-Chief of the Regiment is Queen Elizabeth II.
The Colonel of the Regiment is Charles, Prince of Wales.
The Motto of the regiment is CYMRU AM BYTH (Wales for Ever).
The Regimental Quick March is the 'Rising of the Lark'.
The Regimental Slow March is 'Men of Harlech'.