Britain’s Coldstream Guards ‘facing the axe’ after 360 years

July 24th, 2011 - 11:51 pm ICT by IANS  

London, July 24 (IANS) The Coldstream Guards, the British Army’s oldest regiment and loved by tourists for their red tunics and bearskin hats, are facing the axe after 360 years due to major defence cuts, a media report said Sunday.

Soldiers of the regiment are expected to be sacrificed as part of the defence ministry’s plans to reduce the army from 101,000 to 80,000 troops, Daily Mail reported.

The Irish, Scottish and Welsh guards have been saved for reasons of “regional sensitivity” and the Grenardier Guards are more famous than their Coldstream counterparts.

The move is said to have been reluctantly agreed by the queen, who is the regiment’s colonel-in-chief, according to the Sunday Express.

The Coldstream Guards, whose motto is Second To None, have served in Iraq and Afghanistan, and returned from the frontline in last April.

Millions of tourists watch them Trooping the Colour, marching on Remembrance Sunday and providing the guard for the Queen’s Birthday Parade and the state opening of parliament.

Member of Parliament Patrick Mercer said he was “appalled” at the threat to the historic regiment, whose former members include actor Edward Fox.

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