Portal:British Army

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The British Army

Flag of the British Army (1938-present).svg

The British Army is the land armed forces branch of the British Armed Forces. It came into being with unification of the governments and armed forces of England and Scotland into the Kingdom of Great Britain in the Acts of Union 1707. The new British Army incorporated regiments that had already existed in England and Scotland and was controlled by the War Office from London. As of 2006, the British Army includes roughly 107,730 active members and 38,460 Territorial Army members. The professional British Army has also been referred to as the Regular Army since the creation of the Territorial Army. The British Army is deployed in many of the world's war zones as part of a fighting force and in United Nations peacekeeping forces.

In contrast to the Royal Navy, Royal Marines and Royal Air Force, the British Army does not include "Royal" in its title, because of its roots as a collection of disparate units, many of which do bear the "Royal" prefix, such as the Royal Artillery and the Royal Engineers.

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Map Showing Location of the Falkland Islands
The Falklands War (Spanish: Guerra de las Malvinas/Guerra del Atlántico Sur), also called the Falklands Conflict/Crisis, was fought in 1982 between Argentina and the United Kingdom over the disputed Falkland Islands, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands. The Falkland Islands consist of two large and many small islands in the South Atlantic Ocean east of Argentina; their name and sovereignty over them have long been disputed.

The war was triggered by the occupation of South Georgia by Argentina on 19 March 1982 followed by the occupation of the Falklands, and ended when Argentina surrendered on 14 June 1982. War was not actually declared by either side. The initial invasion was considered by Argentina as the re-occupation of its own territory, and by Britain as an invasion of a British overseas territory, and the most recent invasion of British territory by a foreign power.

In the period leading up to the war, Argentina was in the midst of a devastating economic crisis and large-scale civil unrest against the military junta that had been governing the country since 1976. The Argentine military government, headed by General Leopoldo Galtieri, sought to maintain power by diverting public attention playing off long-standing feelings of the Argentines towards the islands, although they never thought that the United Kingdom would respond militarily. The ongoing tension between the two countries over the islands increased on 19 March when a group of hired Argentinian scrap metal merchants raised their flag at South Georgia, an act that would later be seen as the first offensive action in the war.

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Selected biography

T. E. Lawrence at the arrival of Sir Herbert Samuel, H.B.M. (High Commissioner)
Lieutenant-Colonel Thomas Edward Lawrence, CB, DSO (16 August 1888 – 19 May 1935), known professionally as T. E. Lawrence, was a British soldier renowned especially for his liaison role during the Arab Revolt of 1916–18. His vivid writings and extroverted personality, along with the extraordinary breadth and variety of his activities and associations, have made him the object of fascination throughout the world as "Lawrence of Arabia".

At the outbreak of World War I Lawrence was a university post-graduate researcher who had for years travelled extensively within the Ottoman Empire provinces of the Levant (Transjordan and Palestine) and Mesopotamia (Syria and Iraq) under his own name. As such he became known to the Turkish Interior Ministry authorities and their German technical advisors. Lawrence came into contact with the Ottoman-German technical advisers, travelling over the German-designed, -built and -financed railways during the course of his researches.

Thus on the eve of World War I, the Ottoman authorities would have already regarded Lawrence as a foreigner who was known to have detailed knowledge of Ottoman frontier territories bordering on the British sphere of influence at Suez and in the Anglo-Egyptian Sudan. Once the Ottoman Empire joined the war as a German ally, the Ottoman Interior Ministry would have regarded Lawrence and men like him as suspect enemy aliens who might be spies working for their governments.

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Selected unit

Irish Guards, wearing bearskins, march to the Cenotaph (Whitehall, London, England) on June 12th 2005, for a service of remembrance for British soldiers
The Irish Guards is a regiment of the British Army, which is part of the Guards Division. The regiment has seen some truly "non-traditional" recruits, notably Zimbabwean Christopher Muzvuru, who qualified as a piper before becoming one of the regiment's two fatal casualties in Iraq in 2003.

Irish Guards officers tend to be drawn from the ranks of graduates of elite British public schools, particularly those with a Roman Catholic affiliation, such as Ampleforth College and Stonyhurst College.

One way to distinguish between the regiments of Foot Guards is the spacing of buttons on the tunic. The Irish Guards have buttons arranged in groups of four. They also have a prominent blue plume on the right side of their bear skins.

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Selected equipment

ApacheWAH64.jpg

The Westland WAH-64 Apache is a licence-built version of the Boeing AH-64D Apache Longbow attack helicopter, for the British Army. The first eight helicopters were built by Boeing, the remaining 59 were assembled by Westland at Yeovil from kits purchased from Boeing. The WAH-64 is designated Apache AH Mk 1 or AH1 by the UK's Ministry of Defence.

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Pikemen escorting John Stuttard, Lord Mayor of London during the 2006 Lord Mayor's Show.
Credit: David Illiff
Pikemen escorting John Stuttard, Lord Mayor of London during the 2006 Lord Mayor's Show. The Pikemen and Musketeers (formed 1925, given a Royal Warrant 1955) are made up of veteran members of the Active Unit they are the personal bodyguard of the Lord Mayor of London and form his Guard on ceremonial occasions.


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