English Civil War
The origin of The Coldstream Guards lies in the English Civil War when Oliver Cromwell gave Colonel George Monck permission to form his own regiment as part of the New Model Army. Monck took men from the regiments of George Fenwick and Sir Arthur Haselrig, five companies each, and on 13 August 1650 formed Monck's Regiment of Foot. Less than two weeks later, this force took part in the Battle of Dunbar, at which the Roundheads defeated the forces of Charles Stuart.
After Richard Cromwell's abdication, Monck gave his support to the Stuarts, and on 1 January 1660 he crossed the River Tweed into England at the village of Coldstream, from where he made a five-week march to London. He arrived in London on 2 February and helped in the Restoration of the monarchy. For his help, Monck was given the Order of the Garter and his regiment was assigned to keep order in London. However, the new parliament soon ordered his regiment to be disbanded with the other regiments of the New Model Army.
Before that could happen, Parliament was forced to rely on the help of the regiment against the rebellion by the Fifth Monarchists led by Thomas Venner on 6 January 1661. The regiment defeated the rebels and on 14 February the men of the regiment symbolically laid down their arms as part of the New Model Army and were immediately ordered to take them up again as a royal regiment of The Lord General's Regiment of Foot Guards, a part of the Household Troops.
Lt Robert Orme (1756) by Sir Joshua Reynolds
The regiment was placed as the second senior regiment of Household Troops, as it entered the service of the Crown after the 1st Regiment of Foot Guards, but it answered to that by adopting the motto Nulli Secundus (Second to None) as the regiment is older than the senior regiment. The regiment always stands on the left of the line when on parade with the rest of the Foot Guards, so standing "second to none". When Monck died in 1670, the Earl of Craven took command of the regiment and it adopted a new name, the Coldstream Regiment of Foot Guards.
Crimean War: Joseph Numa, John Potter and James Deal of the Coldstream Guards
Overseas service from the 17th century to the 19th century
The regiment saw active service in Flanders and in the Monmouth Rebellion, including the decisive Battle of Sedgemoor in 1685. It fought in the Battle of Walcourt in 1689, the Battle of Landen and the Siege of Namur.
In 1760, the 2nd Battalion was sent to Germany to campaign under Prince Ferdinand of Brunswick and fought in the Battle of Wilhelmstal and at the Castle of Amöneburg. Three Guards companies of 307 men under Coldstream commander Colonel Edward Mathew fought in the American Revolutionary War.
The Coldstream Regiment saw extensive service in the wars against the French Revolution and in the Napoleonic Wars. Under the command of Sir Ralph Abercrombie, it defeated French troops in Egypt. In 1807, it took part in the investment of Copenhagen. In January 1809, it sailed to Portugal to join the forces under Sir Arthur Wellesley. In 1814, it took part in the Battle of Bayonne, in France, where a cemetery keeps their memory. The 2nd Battalion joined the Walcheren Expedition. Later, it served as part of the 2nd Guards Brigade in the chateau of Hougoumont on the outskirts of the Battle of Waterloo. This defence is considered one of the greatest achievements of the regiment, and an annual ceremony of "Hanging the Brick" is performed each year in the Sergeants' Mess to commemorate the efforts of Cpl James Graham and Lt-Col James Macdonnell, who shut the North Gate after a French attack. The Duke of Wellington himself declared after the battle that "the success of the battle turned upon closing the gates at Hougoumont".
The regiment was later part of the British occupation forces of Paris until 1816.
During the Crimean War, the Coldstream Regiment fought in the battles of Alma, Inkerman and Sevastopol. On its return, four men of the regiment were awarded the newly instituted Victoria Cross.
The regiment received its current name, The Coldstream Guards, in 1855. In 1882, it was sent to Egypt against the rebels of Ahmed 'Urabi and in 1885 in the Suakin Campaign. In 1897, the Coldstreamers were reinforced with the addition of a 3rd battalion. The 1st and 2nd battalions were dispatched to South Africa at the outbreak of the Second Boer War.
At the outbreak of the First World War, the Coldstreamers was among the first British regiments to arrive in France after Britain declared war on Germany. In the following battles, it suffered heavy losses, in two cases losing all of its officers. At the First Battle of Ypres, the 1st battalion was virtually annihilated: by 1 November down to 150 men and the Lt Quartermaster. The regiment fought at Mons, Loos, the Somme, Ginchy and in the 3rd Battle of Ypres. The regiment also formed the 4th (Pioneer) Battalion, which was disbanded after the war, in 1919. The 5th Reserve battalion never left Britain before it was disbanded.
When the Second World War began, the 1st and 2nd battalions of The Coldstream Guards were part of the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) in France; whilst the 3rd Battalion was on overseas service in the Middle East. Additional 4th and 5th battalions were also formed for the duration of the war. They fought extensively, as part of the Guards Armoured Division, in North Africa and Europe as dismounted infantry. The 4th battalion first became a motorized battalion in 1940 and then an armoured battalion in 1943.
Coldstreamers gave up their tanks at the end of the war, the new battalions were disbanded, and the troops distributed to the 1st and 2nd Guard Training Battalions.
After the war, the 1st and 3rd battalions served in Palestine. The 2nd battalion served in the Malayan Emergency. The 3rd battalion was placed in suspended animation in 1959. The remaining battalions served during the Mau Mau rebellion from 1959 to 1962, in Aden in 1964, in Mauritius in 1965, in the Cyprus Emergency in 1974 and several times in Northern Ireland after 1969.
The Regimental Band of The Coldstream Guards was the first act on stage at the Wembley leg of the 1985 Live Aid charity concert. It played for the Prince and Princess of Wales.
In 1991, the 1st battalion was dispatched to the first Gulf War, where it was involved in prisoner of war handling and other roles. In 1993, due to defence cutbacks, the 2nd battalion was placed in suspended animation.
For much of the 1990s, the 1st Battalion was stationed in Münster, Germany, in the Armoured Infantry Role with Warrior APCs as part of the 4th Armoured Brigade. In 1993–1994, the battalion served as an armoured infantry battalion in peacekeeping duties in Bosnia as part of UNPROFOR.
The battalion was posted to Londonderry, Northern Ireland on a two-year deployment in 2001. It then deployed to Iraq in April 2005 for a six-month tour with the rest of 12th Mechanised Brigade, based in the south of the country. The battalion lost two of its soldiers, on 2 May, near Al Amarah and on 18 October at Basra.
Des Browne, Secretary of State for Defence, announced on 19 July 2007 that in October 2007 the battalion was to be sent to Afghanistan as part of 52 Infantry Brigade. In March 2008, while on patrol with the ANA, members of the Regiment discovered a Taliban torture chamber.
In October 2009, the battalion was deployed on Operation Herrick 11, with units deploying to the Babaji area of central Helmand Province, Afghanistan, playing a major role in Operation Moshtarak in February 2010.