By Royal Warrant of King George I in 1716, two companies of Artillery were formed at Woolwich. In April of 1722 these joined with Companies in Gibraltar and the island of Minorca to form the Royal Regiment of Artillery. By 1757 there were 24 Companies divided into 2 Battalions. The Regiment continued to grow so that by 1771 there were 4 Battalions on strength. In the year of 1793 the Royal Horse Artillery was formed. In 1833, by the Royal Warrant of King William IV, the Battle honours and motto UBIQUE (Everywhere) followed by QUO FAS ET GLORIA DUCUNT (Whither Right and Glory Lead) were granted to the Regiment. By 1861 the regiments strength consisted of 29 Batteries of Royal Horse Artillery, 73 Field Batteries and 88 Garrison Batteries. In 1899, by Royal Warrant of Queen Victoria, the Royal Garrison Artillery was established as a separate corps, although in 1924 it was reunited with the Field Regiments to become the Royal Artillery. During the Great War (1914-1918) approximately 900,000 men, a quarter of the whole Army. In 1947 all Batteries except those of the Royal Horse Artillery were placed on a single roll. Since the end of the Second World War, major reorganisation has resulted in the Coast Artillery being disbanded, the Anti Tank role being discontinued and the Anti Aircraft Command abolished. The Regiment of today consists of 9 Batteries of Royal Horse Artillery and 71 other Batteries with a firepower of medium self propelled howitzers (AS90), rocket launchers (MLRS), light guns, Close and Area Air Defence systems (HVM and Rapier) and an array of targeting equipment, ranging from acoustic weapon locators, surveillance and target acquisition radars and unmanned air vehicles (Phoenix). In addition to all of this there is the Kings Troop Royal Horse Artillery, the Army's official saluting Battery, who have the distinguished honour of taking Right of the Line when they have their Guns on parade. The Royal Regiment has Regiments who are trained in the Commando and Airborne light role and Regiments who support the various armoured Brigades and which are based mainly in the UK and Germany. Origins of The Lanyard & The classic "Sapper Leg-pull" There has long been a tale-usually told by Sappers-about the Gunners wearing a white lanyard for cowardice, allegedly for deserting their guns. Of course, the story is nothing more than a piece of leg pulling. The tradition of ‘winding up’ stems from the age-old rivalry between the two ‘sister’ corps founded under the Board of Ordnance and trained together in Woolwich. However, I am still being asked by Gunners whether this story is true, so it is time it was put to rest. Lanyards associated with dress came into use in the late 19th Century, when field guns, such as the 12 and 15 ponders, used ammunition which had fuses set with a fuse key. The key was a simple device, and every man had one, attached to a lanyard worn around the neck. The key itself was kept in the breast pocket until needed. The lanyard was a simple piece of strong cord, but it was gradually turned into something a bit more decorative, smartened up with ‘Blanco’, and braided, taking its present form. Prior to the South African War, Gunners were issued with steel folding hoof picks, carried on the saddle or in the knife. In about 1903 these were withdrawn and replaced with jack knives, which were carried in the left breast pocket of the Service Dress attached to a lanyard over the left shoulder. In the war years that followed, the lanyard could be used as an emergency firing lanyard for those guns which had a trigger firing mechanism, allowing the gunner to stand clear of the gun's recoil. The question of which shoulder bore the lanyard depends on the date. There is no certainty about this, but the change from the left shoulder to the right probably took place at about the time of the Great War, when a bandolier was introduced, because it was worn over the left shoulder. But there are some who insist that 1924 was the date of change, when sloping of rifles over the left shoulder would soil the white lanyard. Eventually in 1933, the end of the lanyard was simply tucked into the breast pocket without the jack-knife, though many will remember that it was often kept in place with the soldier's pay book! On the demise of ‘Battle Dress’, the lanyard disappeared for a short time, but returned as part of the dress of the Royal Regiment of Artillery in 1973. It may surprise many readers that this particular piece if leg-pulling is repeated in various forms. The gold stripe in the Gunner stable belt stems from the colours of the uniform at the time the stable belt was introduced. It was not a question, as the jokers would have it, of yellow stripes for cowardice! Equally ludicrous is the suggestion that the Gunners has seven ‘flames’, as opposed to the sapper's nine, because we lost two guns at some point in history! For those still plagued by jokers, the simplest answer to this kind of leg-pulling is to invite the joker to produce his evidence. No change to any of the Army's dress regulations can take place without a formal order, and-let us be realistic! it is ridiculous to suppose that the Army Board in its wisdom would countenance the idea of a ‘badge of shame’ to be worn by any branch of the Service. It would guarantee that no one would ever join it! And since no such evidence exists, the joker's story falls flat on its face. One might even ask why other arms and corps wear lanyard.
!!! They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery !!!