Portal:British Army

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The British Army

Flag of the British Army (1938-present).svg

The British Army is the land armed forces branch of the British Armed Forces. It came into being with unification of the governments and armed forces of England and Scotland into the Kingdom of Great Britain in the Acts of Union 1707. The new British Army incorporated regiments that had already existed in England and Scotland and was controlled by the War Office from London. As of 2006, the British Army includes roughly 107,730 active members and 38,460 Territorial Army members. The professional British Army has also been referred to as the Regular Army since the creation of the Territorial Army. The British Army is deployed in many of the world's war zones as part of a fighting force and in United Nations peacekeeping forces.

In contrast to the Royal Navy, Royal Marines and Royal Air Force, the British Army does not include "Royal" in its title, because of its roots as a collection of disparate units, many of which do bear the "Royal" prefix, such as the Royal Artillery and the Royal Engineers.

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The Victoria Cross (VC) is the highest recognition for valour "in the face of the enemy" that can be awarded to members of the British and Commonwealth armed forces of any rank in any service, and civilians under military command. It is also the highest military award in the British honours system. The decoration is a cross pattée, 1.375 inches (35 mm) wide, bearing a crown surmounted by a lion, and the inscription "FOR VALOUR". This was originally to have been "FOR BRAVERY", until it was changed on the recommendation of Queen Victoria, who thought some might erroneously consider that only the recipients of the VC were brave in battle. The decoration, suspension bar and link weigh about 0.87 troy ounces (27 g). The VC was introduced on 29 January 1856 by Queen Victoria to reward acts of valour during the Crimean War. Since then the medal has been awarded 1,356 times to 1,353 individual recipients. Only 13 medals, nine to the British Army and four to the Australian Army have been awarded since the start of the Korean War. The traditional explanation of the source of the gunmetal from which the medals are struck is that it derives from Russian cannon captured at the siege of Sevastopol. Recent research has thrown doubt on this story, suggesting a variety of origins. Due to its rarity, the VC is highly prized and the medal can reach over £400,000 at auction.

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Selected biography

Arthur Edward Jeune (James) Collins (18 August 1885–11 November 1914), typically known by his initials AEJ Collins, was an English cricketer and soldier. He is most famous for achieving the highest-ever recorded score in cricket: as a 13-year-old schoolboy, he scored 628 not out over four afternoons in June 1899. Collins' record-making innings drew a large crowd and increasing media interest; spectators at the Old Cliftonian match being played nearby were drawn away to watch the junior school house cricket match in which Collins was playing.

Collins chose to follow an army career, passing his entrance exams to the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich in September 1901 and representing the Royal Military Academy at both football and rugby as well as cricket, scoring a century in a match against Sandhurst. He joined the British Army the following year, being commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the Royal Engineers in 1904. He played at Lord's in 1913 for Royal Engineers against Royal Artillery, scoring 58 and 36 runs in the two innings, but he never played first-class cricket. He also joined Clifton Rugby Football Club in February 1905, but never rose above the 2nd XV. of Clifton RFC. He served with the 2nd Sappers and Miners in India, and was promoted to Lieutenant in 1907. He married Ethel Slater in the spring of 1914, and was sent to France when World War I broke out later that year.

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TRF of the Royal Gurkha Rifles
The Royal Gurkha Rifles (RGR) is a regiment of the British Army, forming part of the Brigade of Gurkhas. The Royal Gurkha Rifles are now the sole infantry regiment of the British Army Gurkhas. Like the other Gurkha regiments of the British and Indian armies, the regiment is recruited from Gurkhas from Nepal, which is a nation independent of the United Kingdom and not a member of the Commonwealth. The regiment was formed in 1994 from the amalgamation of the four separate Gurkha regiments in the British Army:

The Royal Gurkha Rifles are considered to be some of the finest soldiers in the world, as is evidenced by the high regard they are held in for both their fighting skill, and their smartness of turnout on parade. Their standard of drill is considered to be on a par with that of the Foot Guards, so much so that on many occasions the regiment has mounted the guard at Buckingham Palace.

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Selected equipment

Starstreak.JPG

Starstreak is a British short range surface-to-air missile manufactured by Thales Air Defence Limited (originally Shorts Missile Systems), in Belfast. It is also known as Starstreak HVM where HVM stands for "High Velocity Missile". After launch the missile accelerates to approximately Mach 3.5, at which point it launches three laser beam riding submunitions. The use of three submunitions increases the likelihood of a successful hit on the target. Starstreak has been in service with the British Army since 1997.

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Sentries of the Worcestershire and Sherwood Foresters Regiment
Credit: Philip Allfrey
Sentries of the Worcestershire and Sherwood Foresters Regiment in No.1 Dress Uniform being posted at Windsor.


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