LETTERS CONFIRMING THE DATE OF FORMATION AND PRECEDENCE OF THE REGIMENT
From:-Sir Edward Playfair, K.C.B.
To:-Lieut.-Colonel The Right Hon. Sir Michael Adeane, K.C.B., K.C.V.O., Private Secretary to the Queen.
20/Engrs/7219-Royal Monmouthshire R.E. (Militia)
8th March, 1957.
1. We have given consideration recently to the relative place of the Royal Monmouthshire Royal Engineers (Militia) in the table of precedence of Army regiments and corps which is contained in the Queen's Regulations for the Army, 1955, para. 931, where the regiment is included with the Territorial Army as a unit of that force. The reason I am writing to you about this matter is that our investigations have immediately brought us up against the relative precedence of the Royal Monmouthshire Royal Engineers and the Honorable Artillery Company of which Her Majesty is Captain General and which, of course, has such a long traditional link with the City of London.
2. Perhaps I could best explain the problem by giving you a sketch of the past history of the precedence of the two Regiments.
3. In 1883 when the R.M.R.E. were Militia Engineers, Queen Victoria approved a proposal that "the Honorable Artillery Company shaIl, in consideration of its antiquity, take precedence next after the Regular Forces. The order of precedence of the AuxiIliary Forces after the Honorable Artillery Company will be (1) Militia (2) Yeomanry, (3) Volunteers." The R.M.R.E. had therefore at this time, as Militia, a status below that of the H.A.C.
4. In 1908, on the introduction of the Special Reserve, the R.M.R.E. were converted into a unit of the Special Reserve which, as part of the regular forces, took precedence next after the regular army corps in the table. Thus the R.M.R.E. became senior in that table to the H.A.C. who then formed part, although shown separately in the table, of the Territorial Force.
5. Under the Territorial Army and Militia Act, 1921, the title of the Special Reserve was changed to "Militia," but this alteration involved no change in the table of precedence
6. In 1924, the Supplementary Reserve (now named the Army Emergency Reserve) was formed, but the Reserve did not form part of the regular forces and, therefore, took precedence after the Territorial Army. However, the R.M.R.E., to preserve their continuity, became a unit of that Reserve. It was decided that the R.M.R.E. should retain their status as a former Militia unit and they were therefore placed in the tangle of precedence next after the Militia and senior to the H.A.C. and the Territorial Army.
7. In 1930, the whole of the precedence table was reviewed by the Army Council and a number of changes were proposed by them. His late Majesty King George V approved the recommendations which placed the reserves and auxilliary forces, after units of the regular army, in the following order:-
21. Royal Monmouthshire Royal Engineers (Militia Supplementary Reserve).
22. Supplementary Reserve (except as in 21).
24. The Honourable Artillery Company.
25. The Territorial Army (except H.A.C.).
The place given to the R.M.R.E. preserved their status in the matter of precedence.
8. The position of the R.M.R.E. in recent years has been somewhat unique as although a unit of the Supplementary Reserve (or Army Emergency Reserve) they have been partly administered as a T.A. unit. In 1953 it was decided that, for administrative convenience, the unit should be fully administered in accordance with Territorial Army Regulations and that all commissionings and enlistments should be into the T.A. The words "supplementary Reserve" were dropped from the title of the unit which became and is at present "The Royal Monmouthshire Royal Engineers (Militia)." No change was made in the unit's place in the table of precedence which was retained because of their former status as a militia unit.
9. When the last (revised) edition of the Queen's Regulations for the Army was produced, which was submitted to and received Her Majesty's approval in March 1955, the R.M.R.E. were omitted as a separate unit from the table of precedence shown in para. 931. Thus they were covered by the term" Territorial Army" and the H.A.C. was shown separately immediately before the Territorial Army. This action overlooked the status enjoyed by the R.M.R.E. since 1908.
10. We have been into the historical background of both the R.M.R.E. and the H.A.C. and the problem of their relative precedence has been considered by the Honours and Distinctions Committee, which came to the conclusion that the R.M.R.E. should be restored to the precedence which it had enjoyed since 1908. This conclusion was arrived at after taking into consideration the dates on which the two Units were first raised and the variations in the precedence of the two Regiments which have taken place since 1885.
11. Before we implement the recommendation of the Honours and Distinction Committee, we should be glad to know that it meets with Her Majesty's approval.
Lieut.-Colonel The Rt. Hon. Sir Michael Adeane, K.C.B., K.C.V.O ..
Private Secretary to the Queen, Buckingham Palace, S.W.1.
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12th March, 1957.
My dear Playfair,
Thank you for your letter of 8th March which I have laid before The Queen and which Her Majesty has read with interest.
I am to say that the recommendation of the Honours and Distinctions Committee with regard to the relative precedence of the Royal Monmouthshire Royal Engineers and the Honourable ArtiIlery Company meets with the Queen's approval.
M. E. ADEANE.
Sir Edward Playfair, K.C.B.