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The Royal Fusiliers

19th July 2021

The recruitment drive in 1914 brought thousands of men to the volunteering stations from their tedious offices in the City.... 

Can I join the Royal Fusiliers? 
Sorry, son, no regiment exists
by that name now. The Royal Regiment 
of Fusiliers is what they've been since nineteen
sixty-eight when they amalgamated
with the fusiliers of Warwickshire,
Northumberland and Lancashire. 
The Royal Fusiliers were London based.
They have a war memorial on Holborn
Viaduct in honour of the twenty
thousand of their ranks who died in World
War One. They drew recruits from banks, insurance
companies and other City firms
and gathered at the Tower of London where
they drilled and swore allegiance to the King
in grainy film, and formed a firing squad
to execute the foes of George the Fifth. 

The Fusilier Museum gives the hist'ry
warts and all of this battalion
which was founded in the last year of
King Charles the Second's reign by Baron
Dartmouth aka George Legge, the British
Admiral. He formed them from the Tower
of London guard and issued them with flintlock
fusils rather than the matchlock muskets
which the other soldiers had and which
were dangerous near tubs of gunpowder.
The Fusiliers accompanied big guns
to battles in The Nine Years' War, the Wars
of Independence in America,
Napoleonic Wars, colonial
engagements and the two world wars. Exhibits
are a golden eagle standard captured from
Napoleon and busts of Adolf Hitler and
Benito Mussolini on a window
sill. That's quite a shock. I took a snap
and posted it on Instagram but it
soon disappeared as images of either
are against the rules. Apologies.
Much better would have been the silver
wine refrigerator given to
the fusiliers by William the Fourth
but, friends, I took no photograph of that.