The Welsh Guards was raised on 26 February 1915 by order of King George V, in order to complete the national complement of regiments of Foot Guards identified with the countries of the United Kingdom.

On inception the Regiment took its place alongside the English Grenadier Guards and Coldstream Guards, the Scots Guards and the Irish Guards. Two days later, the Battalion mounted its first King's Guard at Buckingham Palace on 1 March 1915 - St David's Day.

Welsh Guards in a reserve trench on the Somme, September 1916.

On 17 August 1915 the 1st Battalion sailed for France and formed part of the Guards Division. Its first battle was fought at Loos on 27 September 1915 and the Regiment's first Victoria Cross was won by Sergeant Robert Bye at Pilckem in July 1917.

first battle was fought at Loos
Sherman tank of the 2nd Lothian and Border Horse taking 8 Platoon, 3 Company, 3rd Battalion Welsh Guards out of battle, Arce, Italy.  Lt Philip Brutton, author of Ensign in Italy, A Platoon Commander's Story, is seated second from the left.

Between the wars the 1st Battalion was stationed in Cologne, Egypt and Gibraltar, where it was at the outbreak of war in 1939.

The Regiment was expanded to three Battalions during World War II. The 1st Battalion fought in all the campaigns of North West Europe. The 2nd Battalion was formed in 1939 and fought in Boulogne in 1940, whilst the 1st Battalion was in Belgium as part of the British Expeditionary Force.

Photograph by Lieutenant Anthony Upfill-Brown, 2nd Battalion Welsh Guards.   Welsh Guardsmen, gathered around a Cromwell tank soon after arriving in Normandy in 1944.

In May 1940, at the Battle of Arras, the Regiment's second Victoria Cross was won by Lieutenant the Hon Christopher Furness, who was killed in action. In 1941, a 3rd Battalion was raised and fought throughout the Tunisian and Italian Campaigns.

History image 2
Dutch civilians offer drinks to the crew of a Cromwell tank of 2nd Welsh Guards during the liberation of Eindhoven, 19 September 1944

Meanwhile, the 1st and 2nd Battalion formed part of the Guards Armoured Division - the 1st Battalion as infantry and the 2nd Battalion as an Armoured Battalion. The two Battalions working together were the first troops to re-enter Brussels on 3 September 1944 after an advance of 100 miles in one day, in what was described as "an armoured dash unequalled for speed in this or any other war".

The crew of a Cromwell Mk IV tank of 2nd Welsh Guards on the drive into Brussels, 3 September 1944. Despite sporadic resistance from the Royal Palace and Gestapo HQ, the city’s capture went smoothly, ‘the chief difficulty being to cope with the populace who were very effusive in their welcome’, as the Battalion’s war diary put it with typical understatement.

Shortly after the war, the 3rd Battalion was disbanded and the 2nd Battalion was placed in suspended animation. In the second half of the last century the 1st Battalion served in Great Britain, Northern Ireland, Palestine, Egypt, Germany, Aden, Cyprus and Belize, as well as forming part of the task force that fought in the Falklands campaign in 1982. The Battle Honour for which is now borne on the colours.


Exercises have been conducted all around the world, including in the USA, Canada, Greece, Belize, Norway, Kenya, Morocco, Gibraltar, Macedonia, Poland and France.

More recently the 1st Battalion has deployed on Operations on two tours of Bosnia and tours of Northern Ireland, Iraq, Kosovo as well as three operational tours in Afghanistan in 2009, 2012 and 2018.

An electronic version of the History of the Welsh Guards by C H Dudley Ward DSO MC, first published in 1920 is available here

Welsh Guards on Wikipedia
Although not an official history of the Regiment, the Welsh Guards Wikipedia page contains a wide range of WG historical resources