On Sunday 10 November 2019, Dame Mandy East, Officer Johnny East and our Director of Membership Chevalier Keith Homewood, represented the Order at Remembrance Sunday in Guildford, Surrey. The service was held at Holy Trinity Church in Guildford’s historic High Street, followed by wreath laying at the memorials in the Castle Grounds,
So why was the Order of St George represented at Guildford? To answer that question we need to go back in time to 1661. The Queen’s Royal Regiment (West Surrey), the 2nd of Foot was England’s oldest infantry regiment formed in 1661. The East Surrey Regiment was formed in 1881 by the amalgamation of the 31st who paraded in 1702 as a Marine Regiment and the 70th who were raised in 1758. These two regiments were amalgamated in 1959 to form the Queen’s Royal Surrey Regiment. In 1966, The Queen’s Royal Surrey Regiment became part of the Queen’s Regiment and as a result of reductions of infantry in 1992 The Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment was formed by the amalgamation of the Queen’s Regiment and the Royal Hampshire Regiment. As we all know, the PWRR is ‘our’ regiment.
For the last five years, Colonel (Retd) Patrick Crowley DL of the PWRR has used part of the Remembrance Day service to remind the congregation about ‘Guildford’s’ regiment. The Queen’s West Surrey Regiment, which was based just outside Guildford at Stoughton barracks (the entrance arch, the Regimental Motif and quarters (now flats) are preserved and still visible today in Stoughton Road, Guildford) through to the work and service of the PWRR today.
During the Great War, the Queen’s raised 31 battalions and 29 Young Soldiers and Labour units. 23 battalions saw active service. The East Surrey raised 24 battalions, 21 saw active service. As Col A.C Ward OBE DL has written, the casualties were horrendous’ the Queen’s lost 7399 officers, NCOs and men killed. The Surreys had lost 6223 officers and rank and file killed.
During the Second World War the combined casualty figures for both Regiments was 3788 Officers, NCOs and men. Their names can be seen in the Book of Remembrance in the Regimental Chapels and on War Memorials throughout Surrey.
At Holy Trinity Church, an impressive Memorial and Book of Remembrance are dedicated to and record those who gave their lives. The Regiment’s Standards and Battle Honours proudly atop the memorial. Each year Colonel Crowley has placed a wreath of poppies on the memorial.
The Order is proud and humbled by its association with the Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment and the history behind it from 1661. We continue to support the PWRR Welfare Fund and we look forward to developing and strengthening our association with the regiment further. We remember those who gave and give their lives in conflict for our freedom and also we give thanks for the strong links with the Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment – ‘The Tigers’.
In Remembrance of our Fallen Heroes
Pristinae Virtutis Memor – Mindful Of Former Valour