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Regimental Customs

Wherever the Regiment was stationed, placed outside the Guardroom was a large ship’s bell. This bell was presented to the Regiment by HMS VERNON, a Naval shore establishment in Portsmouth, with whom there was an affiliation. This affiliation was at the request of the Duke of Edinburgh, who wished to continue the association of the Wiltshire Regiment and the Royal Berkshire Regiment with the Royal Navy, which had existed for over two hundred years.

Throughout the day the bell was struck by the Regimental Police or Guard Commander to indicate the time of day, in the same manner as is the custom in the Royal Navy. The Regiment was the only Regiment to observe this custom. This custom of striking ship’s time stems from the Wiltshire Regiment. Just two years after their formation, the 62nd were employed as Marines and were in action as such when they formed part of the force of the sea-borne attack on French Canada, gaining the Battle Honour of Louisburg.

To commemorate their service as Marines, the band was permitted to play Rule Britannia on special occasions.

Later the Regiment acquired a ship’s bell and started to strike time throughout the day. This developed into a custom which became unique in the British Army.

Officers Mess Customs:

The Royal Berkshire Regiment’s custom of “ROLLING IN” on Officers’ Mess Guest Night, was still observed in the Duke of Edinburgh’s Royal Regiment. The custom was observed in the following manner:

“When the band played ‘The Roast Beef of Old England’, two Drummers, dressed in the scarlet jackets and blue helmets of the pre-1914 period, lead the Officers and their guests from the ante-room to the dining room beating a roll upon their drums. One drummer went to one side of the table whilst the other took the opposite side.

On arriving opposite the middle of the table they halted but continued playing until all the officers were placed, whereupon they ceased playing and withdrew.”

The drums used were both trophies. One was a small Russian drum acquired by the old 49th Foot when in the Crimea known as the Inkerman Drum. The other was a German drum captured by the Royal Berkshire Regiment during the 1914-18 war.

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