Sure, they may not be able to meet recruitment and retention goals, and they may be stuck with the worst Enfield ever adopted, but the one thing the British Army isn’t short of is history. With so many regiments that have been distilled and amalgamated over the years, the force includes a very diverse series of official mascots, all with a key tie to past history. After all, in the past, regiments had official tigers and donkeys so today’s critters pale by comparison.
As noted by the British Army:
Regimental mascots are awarded a regimental number, given a proper rank, with prospects of promotion and get fair share of Army rations. They are looked after by the Regiments, and receive their medical care from the Royal Army Veterinary Corps. In return, the mascot needs to be judged to be able to take part in ceremonial occasions as well as have a connection to the history and traditions of it’s regiment.
Not any animal can become a mascot, and there are quite a few Regimental Pets, who are not recognised by the Army, but are used as unofficial battalion mascots. These include two ferrets belonging to the 1st Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment.
With that, a great opportunity recently occurred when the force was staged for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee:
A unique secret gathering of Army mascots took place at Edinburgh Castle earlier this year, in order to capture a photographic memoir as part of Her Majesty the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations.
The animals, most of which have their own rank and service numbers, came from all corners of the UK to create the memorable photograph, which will be presented to Her Majesty.
In the below film, Pony Major Mark Wilkinson, handler of Shetland pony Corporal Cruachan IV, of the Royal Regiment of Scotland, explains how the gathering came about and the role of the regimental mascot.
Mascots of the British Army:
– Corporal Cruachan IV – Shetland pony mascot Royal Regiment of Scotland
– Turlough Mor (aka Seamus) – Irish Wolfhound mascot of the Irish Guards
– Lance Corporal Emrys Forlan Jones – Welsh mountain pony mascot of 1st Queen’s Dragoon Guards
– Private Derby XXXII – Regimental ram of the Mercian Regiment
– Lance Corporal Shenkin IV, Regimental goat of the 3rd Battalion The Royal Welsh
– Brian Boru X – Irish Wolfhound mascot of the Royal Irish Regiment
– Lance Corporal Pegasus V – Shetland pony mascot of the Parachute Regiment