Regimental and Company Marches
The March from Scipio
The Duke of York's March
The British Grenadiers
The Grenadiers' March (in certain cases also used as a Slow March).
The March from Scipio was composed for the First Guards by Handel, and was presented by him to the Regiment before its inclusion in the opera which was first performed in 1726.
There is no particular tradition to the Duke of York's March, which was adopted as a Slow March by the Regiment during the Colonelcy of the Duke of York in 1805. It is known that this march was written by Ely who was a Hanoverian Bandmaster brought to this country by the Duke of York.
The British Grenadiers and The Grenadiers' March were the marching tunes of the Grenadier Companies of the whole Army. They were adopted by the First Guards on becoming a Regiment of Grenadiers in 1815. The Grenadier Companies were the right flank Companies of Infantry Battalions. Their association with these two marches is perpetuated in the ceremony of Trooping the Colour when, whatever the Regiment, The Escort for the Colour (the right flank company on parade) marches out to receive the Colour to the tune of "The British Grenadiers" and troops it along the line in slow time to the tune of The Grenadiers' March.
The Regiment marches past in quick time to The British Grenadiers, and into camp or Barracks to The Grenadiers' March.
The Queen's Company
Queen's Company (Bashford)
This march was composed for The Queen’s inspection of Her company in 1966, by Lieutenant Colonel Rodney Bashford OBE, Director of Music Grenadier Guards 1960-1970. As with most of Colonel Bashford’s marches it makes effective use of appropriate themes, with the melody of The British Grenadiers being used in various guises throughout the march, sometimes obviously and sometimes less so.
Number 2 Company
The Old Grey Mare (Warner arr. Panella)
‘The Old Grey Mare Ain’t What She Used to Be’ is believed to have originated as ‘Down in Alabam’, composed by J. Warner in 1858. This march arrangement by Frank A. Panella, sub-titled ‘The Whiffle-Tree’, was published in 1915 and has proved immensely popular, perhaps in no small part due to the trombone glissando which characterises it and is, perhaps, one of the main reasons for its popularity.
King Cotton (Sousa)
A march from the pen of the American march composer John Philip Sousa (1854-1932), written for the Cotton States Exposition of 1895 in Atlanta. For many years it was the signature tune to the BBC’s radio programme ‘Marching and Waltzing’ which frequently featured bands from the Household Division. ‘The Two Ronnies’ once included King Cotton in a sketch with a military band which parodied the Army Catering Corps with comic words added to the march, the bridge passage rather lending itself to the use of the word ‘rissoles’!
The Liberty Bell (Sousa)
Another march composed by Sousa, this one in 1893 and one of the first to bring a substantial financial reward. The inspiration for the march was twofold. Firstly, Sousa witnessed a spectacle called ‘America’ where the huge backdrop contained a painting of the Liberty Bell, coupled with him receiving a letter from his wife the following morning saying that their son had marched in a parade honouring the return of the Liberty Bell, a symbol of American independence which is located in Philadelphia.
It was the first of Sousa’s marches to be played at a Queen’s Birthday Parade (1895) and was well known to a generation as the theme tune to the television programme, Monty Python’s Flying Circus, which perhaps gives us the reason it was chosen.
Inkerman March (Bashford)
Another fine march by Lieutenant Colonel Rodney Bashford. This makes use of music appropriate to both sides at the Battle of Inkerman during the Crimean War, with the first section based on The British Grenadiers while the trombones boldly state the Imperial Russian Anthem as the second section. The march also includes the 2nd Battalion bugle call and Rule, Britannia! which commemorates the 3rd Battalion Grenadier Guards having served as marines during the 17th century wars against the Dutch.
Nijmegen Company (Hills)
Composed by Lieutenant Colonel Philip Hills, Director of Music Grenadier Guards 1992-2002 and first played when Nijmegen Company, Grenadier Guards, mounted its first Queen’s Guard in 1994 after being inspected at Wellington Barracks by HRH The Colonel. The trio of the march uses the melody, the Nijmegen Song.