The Queen’s (Royal West Surrey) Regiment Re-enactment Society is recruiting and we are currently looking for more Guildford based members to join us as we begin planning and training for the 2014 re-enactment season!
Established in 2003, we are unique in portraying both the regular and volunteer battalions of one of the British Army’s oldest line regiments in the late Victorian era. For a more detailed history of our society and the West Surrey Regiment, please click HERE.
Based in Guildford, our aim is to ‘bring Victorian Surrey to life’ and we do this by attending events across the south east, setting up our living history camps to show the public just how the Victorian soldier lived. We train our soldiers regularly; one Sunday a month at Clandon Park (home of the regimental museum) using drill and training manuals from the period. After joining, each soldier is fitted out with a basic starting uniform before being trained in marching, foot, rifle and bayonet drill using the Martini-Henry rifle and socket bayonet.
We usually represent one or both of the following battalions:
- The 2nd Battalion, based in India in 1879
- The 2nd Volunteer Battalion, based in Guildford in 1883
This allows us to show the regiment both at home (as seen by the local townsfolk of the era) and the more iconic regiment on campaign, in their scarlet tunics which are instantly recognisable all across the world. We also portray other aspects of the regiment such as the soldier’s wives and sweethearts and the camp followers.
Our uniforms and equipment are carefully researched and a basic starting uniform can be purchased for under £50, allowing our new members to begin their training and start attending public events while they complete their full uniform (plus we do have some spare kit to lend out to get you started). Parts of our uniforms are hand made by our group members, other parts are replicas or even original artefacts that are over 130 years old. Once your training and uniform is complete, you will be able to take part in our firing displays, recreating those moments made famous by popular films such as Zulu.
“First rank, fire! Second rank, fire! Fix Bayonets!”
We eat the food the Victorian soldier ate, cooked using original army recipes and at longer events we live and sleep for several days in our Victorian camp. Alongside our military portrayals, we also have several accompanying ladies, resplendent in their colourful bustle dresses.
As well as our regular training weekends, each year we take part in several public events across the South East, both large and small. From living history camps, where we put our equipment and artefacts on public display, to joining up with other groups at larger events to put on a big arena display. Or providing an honour guard to Queen Victoria on an authentic Victorian steam railway and doing a 5 mile charity march in full kit- you can be sure that in joining us you will have a wide range of new experiences. Whilst we do focus on our training and historical accuracy when the public are around, there is also a great social atmosphere within our group and we can often be found gathered around the campfire at the end of the day once the public have gone home.
Although we are based in Guildford, we have members all across the country, even as far away as Staffordshire. This can sometimes make it difficult to get everyone together and so we are currently looking for more Guildford/Surrey based members to join us for the start of the 2014 re-enactment season. Everyone is welcome, so if you have a passion for history, want to try something different, or just make some new friends then why not get in touch? You can contact us through our WEBSITE, send us a message on FACEBOOK, email us at [email protected] or even come and meet us at one of our training days.