Trisha Shetty (Editor)

1st Infantry Regiment (Thailand)

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Covid-19
Active  1859-present
Branch  Royal Thai Army
Size  Regiment
Country  Thailand
Type  Infantry
1st Infantry Regiment (Thailand)
Allegiance  King Bhumibol Adulyadej

The 1st Infantry Regiment, King's Own Bodyguard (Thai: กรมทหารราบที่ 1 มหาดเล็กรักษาพระองค์ ) (ร.1 รอ.) is a King's Guard regiment under the 1st Infantry Division, King's Guard of the Royal Thai Army. The regiment is divided into four battalions, all of them based in Bangkok. The regiment is the only unit of the Royal Thai Armed Forces with the designation Mahat Lek Rajawallop (Thai: มหาดเล็กราชวัลลภ); meaning the king's close bodyguards, translated as the King's Own Bodyguards. The unit was first established by King Chulalongkorn (Rama V) in 1859, whilst he was still a young prince. One of the primary role of the regiment is to provide security and protection to members of the Thai Royal Family as well as the ceremonial escort and guarding of the royal palaces. The unit is the oldest regiment of the Thai army.

Contents

History

The Royal Guards were established by King Chulalongkorn (Rama V) of Siam in 1859, when he was still a young prince. Initially, the Royal Guards were servants with duties such as scaring crows, which led to commoners referring to them as the "Mahat Lek Lai Ka," roughly translated as "Scarecrow Corps."

When he succeeded his father in 1868, King Chulalongkorn took his Royal Guard and formed a 24-strong Royal Bodyguard, referred to as the "Thahan Song Lo" (Two-Dozen soldiers"). In 1870, the unit was upgraded into a full army regiment and was given the name the "King's Guard" and their duties included escorting the king while he travelled around the country.

The king commanded the regiment himself until 1873, when he appointed Lieutenant General Chao Phraya Phasakornwongse as its first military commander.

The Royal Guards still exist down to the present and serve as protectors of the Royal Family of Thailand.

Organization

The regiment is divided into four infantry battalions:

  • 1st Infantry Battalion, 1st Infantry Regiment, King's Own Bodyguard (King Chulalongkorn's Own Guards)
  • 2nd Infantry Battalion, 1st Infantry Regiment, King's Own Bodyguard (King Chulalongkorn's Own Guards)
  • 3rd Infantry Battalion, 1st Infantry Regiment, King's Own Bodyguard (King Vajiravudh's Own Guards)
  • 4th Infantry Battalion, 1st Infantry Regiment, King's Own Bodyguard (King Chulalongkorn's Own Guards)
  • Uniforms

    The 1st, 2nd and 4th battalions wears a ceremonial uniform of scarlet red and black facings and a bearskin-styled cap based on the British Army Foot Guards. The 3rd Battalion however wears a ceremonial uniform of white and shocking pink facings and plumed helmet, by the orders of King Vajiravudh (Rama VI) who founded the battalion. The ceremonial uniform is worn only when the regiment is on duty in a public royal ceremony with a member of the royal family present, and has single buttons (similar to those used in the British Grenadier Guards). When providing guard on royal premises, such as the Grand Palace, the soldiers wear a white uniform with a pith helmet.

    Notable members

  • Prince Bhanurangsi Savangwongse Commander of the regiment 1879-1885
  • Prince Damrong Rajanubhab Commander of the regiment 1885-1892
  • Crown Prince Maha Vajiravudh (later King Rama VI) Commander of the regiment 1901-1910
  • Prince Chakrabongse Bhuvanath Commander of the regiment 1910-1919
  • Prince Paribatra Sukhumbhand Commander of the regiment 1923-1932
  • Field Marshal Sarit Thanarat Commander of the regiment 1945-1948, Prime Minister of Thailand 1958-1963
  • Field Marshal Praphas Charusathien Commander of the regiment 1948-1951, Commander in Chief of the Army 1964-1973
  • Prince Mahidol Adulyadej as a special Colonel of the regiment
  • Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn as a battalion commander in 1980
  • Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn, the Princess Royal an honorary Captain of the regiment
  • References

    1st Infantry Regiment (Thailand) Wikipedia


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