Svea Life Guards

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Coordinates: 59°30′56″N 17°46′10″E / 59.51556°N 17.76944°E / 59.51556; 17.76944

Svea Life Guards
Svea livgarde
Heraldic arms
Active 1521–2000
Country  Sweden
Allegiance Swedish Armed Forces
Branch Swedish Army
Type Infantry regiment
Size Regiment
Part of
Garrison/HQ Stockholm (1843–1946)
Solna (1947–1970)
Kungsängen (1970–2000)
Motto(s) Possunt nec posse videntur
("They do what appears to be impossible")[note 1]
Colors Yellow
March "Kungl. Svea Livgardes Marsch" (W. Körner)[3]
"Kungl. Svea Livgardes Defileringsmarsch" (I. Gustavsson)
"Kungl. Svea Livgardes Gamla Marsch, Inspektionsmarsch" (unknown)
Battle honours Swedish War of Liberation 1521
Rhine 1631
Lützen 1632
Warsaw 1656
March Across the Belts 1658
Halmstad 1676
Lund 1676
Landskrona 1677
Narva 1700
Düna 1701
Kliszów 1702
Holowczyn 1708
Svensksund 1790

The Svea Life Guards (Swedish: Svea livgarde), also I 1, was a Swedish Army infantry regiment that was active in various forms 1521–2000. The unit was based in the Stockholm garrison in Stockholm and belonged to the King's Life and Household Troops (Kungl. Maj:ts Liv- och Hustrupper) until 1974.[4]



Svea Life Guards, the Swedish Army's first guard infantry regiment, originated from the Trabant Corps that surrounded the first Vasa Kings and is said to have been formed in 1526. The Trabant Corps seems to have, at least in part, been included in the enlisted regiment established in 1613, which consisted mostly of Germans, which under the names of the King's Life and Court Regiment (Konungens liv- och hovregemente), the Yellow Regiment (Gula regementet) and the Yellow Brigade (Gula brigaden) participated in Gustavus Adolphus' campaign in Germany. The regiment's first two companies formed the king's lifeguard and consisted mostly of Swedes. The 60 survivors of the guard after the Battle of Lützen, followed the king's corpse to Sweden, after which the guard, whose staff has been increased to 148 men, united in 1644 with one established regiment in the Baltic governorates and one established regiment in Svealand into a large court regiment of which Magnus Gabriel De la Gardie was the commander.[5]

Most of the regiment was disbanded after 1660, but the part still in Sweden was developed into a Guard or Court Regiment. Eventually increased to 24 companies, it participated in Charles XII's War and was lost after the Battle of Poltava, but was then reestablished. The Life Guards as the regiment then was commonly known, was given the name Svea Guards (Svea garde) in 1792.[5] The regiment had its barracks at Fredrikshov Castle in Östermalm, Stockholm from 1802.[6] In 1808 it lost for a short time its dignity of being a guard and was then called Fleetwood's Enlisted Regiment (Fleetwoodska värvade regementet). It was in 1809 again called Svea Guards (Svea garde) and received the name Svea Life Guards (Svea livgarde) the same year. From having been divided into 10 companies of 80 men, the regiment was in 1831 divides into eight companies with a total of 820 men. After the Defence Act of 1901, it increased into 12 companies (three battalions) and 1 machine gun company, but its number strength of volunteers was reduced to 555 men (music staff included) and after the Defence Act of 1914 further to 540 men.[5]

The barracks of Svea Life Guards and Göta Life Guards at Linnégatan, Stockholm, circa 1890.

Svea Life Guards was an enlisted regiment and its staff, which was stationed in the barracks at Fredrikshov, was permanently employed. In the early 1800s compulsory military service in Sweden was introduced on a modest scale.[7] As a result of the increased multiform unrest in Europe during the 1850s, it increased the conscripts appropriated exercise period from 12 to 30 days, spread over the first two years of conscript military service. These exercises took place during the summer. However, when the space in the barracks was too small to accommodate these conscripts, they were placed in bivouac shelters at Ladugårdsgärdet.[7] The cramped space at Fredrikshov and the unhygienic conditions there and the ever-increasing need to place conscripts in barracks, forced the decision on the construction of modern barracks for the two foot guards regiments, Svea Life Guards and Göta Life Guards. It was decided that the plateau above Fredrikshov, was the most well-situated location for the barracks, adjacent to the large practice field, which northern Djurgården then still was.[7] Palace intendant, Professor Ernst Jacobsson, was instructed to carry out the drawings and in the autumn of 1888 Svea Life Guards could during great celebrations, led by their head, King Oscar II, take possession of their new barracks.[7]


Administration building in Sörentorp, Solna. Today part of the Swedish National Police Academy.

In the early 1940s the decades ago planned relocation of the regiment to Järvafältet became reality. On 5 October 1946 the Svea Life Guards officially left its barracks at Linnégatan in Östermalm, Stockholm and this took place at a ceremony in the park at the memorial stone. The then executive officer, colonel Gösta von Stedingk handed the memorial stone over to the City of Stockholm, represented by the municipal commissioner of the Stockholm Central Board of Administration (Stadskollegium), Yngve Larsson. It then left Stockholm which had been its location for more than 400 years.[8] The regiment moved in 1947 to Sörentorp in Solna. The design of the area was carried out by the Royal Fortifications Administration. The area was given a relatively free pooled plan, and Bertil Karlén was the architect of the buildings.[9] In 1970 Svea Life Guards moved again, this time to an area at Granhammar Castle in Kungsängen.[9]

From 1975 to 1984, the regiment's duties were maintain a number of military units in the war organization and conduct war planning for these. The regiment was also responsible for Kungsängen's barracks area with associated exercise and firing range as well as some support to other units in the garrison.[10] Included in the maintenance of war units were basic recruitment of officers but internal officer training and education of the conscripts. Officer training was also carried out to maintain the war units. The regimental staff and training units also participated extensively in state ceremonial activities on behalf of the Commandant General and the Commandant in Stockholm.[10] The regiment consisted mainly of a staff, a training unit, including a training battalion and department for management of exercises and firing range, and a support unit with subdivisions. The Swedish Armed Forces ABC-Defence School was located in Kungsängen and was included as a section in the unit.[10]

On 1 October 1984 the Life Guard Dragoons with Stockholm Defence Area (K 1/Fo 44) was disbanded, and Svea Life Guards was renamed Svea Life Guards with Stockholm's Defense Area (I 1/Fo 44). The regiment took over the task as lower regional head of the Stockholm Defense Area as well as the maintenance of cavalry troops in war organization. The regimental commander was the Commandant in Stockholm. The regiment consisted of a staff, a unit of territorial management, a training unit, including two training battalions and one support unit with subdivisions. The duties of the regimental commander as the Commandant in Stockholm, notably to state ceremonial activities, were coordinated by a garrison unit located at the Stockholm Palace in Stockholm.[10] On 1 July 1994 the Life Guard Dragoons were separated and again became an independent unit.[10] The unit was disbanded in 2000 as a result of the disarmament policies set forward in that year's Defence Act, and re-emerged the same year as the Life Guards (LG).

Heraldry and traditions

Colours, standards and guidons

The Life Guards present one regimental colour, one regimental standard and one company colour:

Colour of the Life Guards

The 1964 colour, which had been presented at the Stockholm Palace by His Majesty the King Gustaf VI Adolf.[11] This colour was from 1 July 1994 been carried by both the Svea Life Guards and the Life Guards Brigade.[11] A new colour was presented to the Svea Life Guards and the Life Guards Brigade on 30 April 2000 by His Majesty the King Carl XVI Gustaf at the Stockholm Palace in connection with his birthday.[12] It was used by the two units until the amalgamation with the Life Guard Dragoons (K 1) on 1 July 2000. The colour is also carried by the Guards Battalion of the Life Guards.[12] The colour is drawn by Bengt Olof Kälde and embroidered by hand in insertion technique by Maj-Britt Salander/company Blå Kusten. Blazon: "On white cloth in the centre the greater coat of arms of Sweden as to the law without mantle. In each corner a royal crown proper with red lining. Battle honours (Swedish War of Liberation 1521, Rhine 1631, Lützen 1632, Warsaw 1656, March Across the Belts 1658, Halmstad 1676, Lund 1676, Landskrona 1677, Narva 1700, Düna 1701, Kliszów 1702, Holowczyn 1708, Svensksund 1790) in yellow horizontally placed above and below the coat of arms."[12]

Standard of the Life Guards

The standard is drawn by Bengt Olof Kälde and embroidered by hand in insertion technique by Maj-Britt Salander/company Blå Kusten. The standard was presented to the then Life Guard Dragoons (K 1) at the regimental barracks in Stockholm by His Majesty the King Carl XVI Gustaf on 4 December 1995 - the regimental memorial day of the battle of Lund in 1676. It was used by the regiment until the amalgamation with the Svea Life Guards on 1 July 2000. The standard is also carried by the Dragoon Battalion (Livgardets dragonbataljon) of the Life Guards. Blazon: "On white cloth in the centre the Swedish Royal coat-of-arms as to the law without mantle. In each corner a royal crown proper with red lining. On the reverse battle honours horizontally placed and in each corner three open crowns placed two and one (a legacy from the former Royal Life Regiment Dragoons, K 2), all yellow. White fringe."[13]

Colour of the Life Company

The colour of the Svea Life Guards' Life company was presented in 1868 by Her Majesty the Queen Lovisa who also embroidered it by hand together with her ladies-in-waiting. Blazon: "On white cloth in the centre the Royal monogram of His Majesty the King Carl XV between three open crowns, all yellow and with red lining in the crowns. Fringe of golden threads."[12]


Unlike the other infantry and armor regiments, which have a constant unit insignia, the Svea Life Guards has the Swedish monarch's monogram.[11]


In 1921, the Kungliga Svea livgardes 400-åriga jubileumsmedalj i silver ("Royal Svea Life Guards 400-year Anniversary Medal") in silver (SLMSM) was established. This medal was established as a commemorative medal when the regiment was disbanded on 30 June 2000.[14] In 1999, the Svea livgardes (I 1) och Livgardesbrigadens (IB 1) förtjänstmedalj ("Svea Life Guards (I 1) and Life Guard Brigade (IB 1) Medal of Merit") in gold and silver (SvealivgLivgbrigGM/SM) was established. The medal ribbon is of yellow moiré with a white stripe on each side both followed on both sides by a blue line. His Majesty the King's monogram is attached to the ribbon. In 2000, when Svea Life Guards was disbanded and the Life Guards was raised, this medal was renamed Livgardets (LG) förtjänstmedalj ("Life Guards (LG) Medal of Merit I") (LGIGM/SM).[15]

Commanding officers

Regimental commanders and executive officers (Sekundchef) active at the regiment. On 11 March 1774, King Gustav III himself took over as commanding officer of the regiment, but left the actual command of it to the executive officer. This was subsequently done to all units within the King's Life and Household Troops (Kungl. Maj:ts Liv- och Hustrupper) which until 1974 had each an executive officer and the king as joint commander. Sekundchef was a title which was used until 31 December 1974 at the regiments that were part of the King's Life and Household Troops.[4]

Commanding officers (1657–1774)

Uniforms of the Svea Life Guards.
  • 1696–1706: Knut Posse
  • 1706–1712: Carl Magnus Posse
  • 1712–1712: Jakob Grundel
  • 1712–1717: Gabriel Ribbing
  • 1717–1727: Michael Törnflycht
  • 1727–1739: Arvid Posse
  • 1739–1744: Otto Wrangel
  • 1744–1751: Adolf Frederick
  • 1751–1756: Per Gustaf Pfeiff
  • 1756–1772: Axel von Fersen
  • 1772–1772: Carl Ehrenkrook (acting)
  • 1772–1774: Jacob Magnus Sprengtporten

Executive officers (1774–1974)

  • 1774–1774: Carl Ehrenkrook (acting)
  • 1774–1776: Jakob Leonard König
  • 1776–1788: Carl Aminoff
  • 1788–1796: Bror Cederström
  • 1796–1796: Fabian von Fersen
  • 1796–1797: Wilhelm Bennet
  • 1797–1802: Adolf von Friesendorff
  • 1802–1808: Carl Carlsson Mörner
  • 1808–1809: Carl Johan Fleetwood (regimental commander)[note 2]
  • 1809–1811: Carl Carlsson Mörner
  • 1811–1815: Johan August Sandels
  • 1815–1837: Carl Lovisin
  • 1837–1843: Sixten Sparre
  • 1843–1849: Adolf Axel Lovisin
  • 1849–1853: Nils Gyldenstolpe
  • 1853–1862: Carl Henric Möllerswärd
  • 1862–1873: Gösta Leijonhufvud
  • 1873–1887: Roger Björnstjerna
  • 1888–1892: Henric Ankarcrona
  • 1892–1896: Hemming Gadd
  • 1896–1897: Carl Lagercrantz
  • 1897–1902: Gustaf Uggla
  • 1902–1909: Carl Rosenblad
  • 1909–1915: Hugo Hult
  • 1915–1920: John Montgomery
  • 1920–1923: Ernst Silfverswärd
  • 1923–1928: Oscar Nygren
  • 1928–1936: Carl Tersmeden
  • 1936–1938: Hugo Cederschiöld
  • 1938–1942: Henry Tottie
  • 1941–1942: Einar Björk (acting)
  • 1942–1943: Einar Björk
  • 1943–1946: Sven Ramström
  • 1946–1950: Gösta von Stedingk
  • 1950–1953: Thord Bonde
  • 1953–1957: Malcolm Murray
  • 1957–1965: Sten Langéen
  • 1965–1966: Fredrik Löwenhielm
  • 1966–1972: Sten Ljungqvist
  • 1972–1974: Bengt Hallenberg
  • 1974–1974: Bengt Selander

Commanding officers (1975–2000)

  • 1975–1980 – Bengt Selander
  • 1980–1987 – Rolf Frykhammar
  • 1987–1992 – Jan-Olof Borgén
  • 1992–1994 – Göran De Geer
  • 1994–1997 – Markku Sieppi
  • 1997–2000 – Kim Åkerman

Names, designations and locations

Name Translation From To
Kungl Drabanterna Royal Trabants 1523 1618
Kungl Hovregementet Royal Court Regiment 1618 1649
Kungl Maj:ts garde och livregemente Royal Majesty Guards and Life Regiment 1649 1655
Kungl Maj:ts livgarde till häst och fot Royal Majesty Life Guards of Horse and Foot 1655 1675
Kungl Maj:ts livgarde till häst och fot Royal Majesty Life Guards of Horse and Foot 1675 1700
Kungl Maj:ts Livgarde till fot Royal Majesty Life Guards of Foot 1700 1709-07-01
Kungl Maj:ts Livgarde till fot Royal Majesty Life Guards of Foot 1709 1792
Kungl Maj:ts första livgarde Royal Majesty First Life Guards 1791 1792-08-09
Kungl Svea livgarde Royal Svea Life Guards 1792-08-10 1806-06-14
Kungl Livgardet till fots Royal Life Guards of Foot 1806-06-15 1808-10-12
Kungl Fleetwoodska regementet Royal Fleetwood Regiment 1808-10-13 1809-03-12
Kungl Svea livgarde Royal Svea Life Guards 1809-03-13 1974-12-31
Svea livgarde Svea Life Guards 1975-01-01 1984-09-30
Svea livgarde med Stockholms försvarsområde Svea Life Guards and Stockholm Defence Area 1984-10-01 2000-06-30
Designation From To
№ 1 1816-10-01 1914-09-30
I 1 1914-10-01 1984-09-30
I 1/Fo 44 1984-10-01 2000-06-30
Locations From To
Stockholm/Fredrikshov Castle 1803-10-01 1888-10-30
Stockholm/Garnisonen 1888-10-31 1946-09-30
Solna/Sörentorp 1946-04-04 1970-06-30
Kungsängen Garrison 1970-07-01 2000-06-30

See also


  1. ^ Svea Life Guards' motto is Possunt nec posse videntur and is translated by the Svea Life Guards to "modern Swedish" as De gör det som syns vara omöjligt ("They do what appears to be impossible").[1] A more literal translation is De kan, de ser inte bara ut att kunna or De kunna, ehuru de synas icke kunna ("They could, though they seem to not be able").[2]
  2. ^ Carl Johan Fleetwood was the regimental commander from 12 October 1808 to 9 April 1809 because the regiment was deprived of the rank of a guard regiment.[4]



  1. ^ "Valspråk". Livgardets historik (in Swedish). Swedish Armed Forces. Archived from the original on 2010-08-26. Retrieved 2011-01-01.
  2. ^ Sveagardesföreningen.
  3. ^ Sandberg 2007, p. 208
  4. ^ a b c Kjellander 2003, p. 313
  5. ^ a b c Westrin 1918, pp. 888–889
  6. ^ Mellin 1841, p. 89
  7. ^ a b c d Lagerberg 1967, pp. 47–48
  8. ^ Lagerberg 1967, p. 54
  9. ^ a b Malmlöf 1989
  10. ^ a b c d e Ihrén 2001
  11. ^ a b c Braunstein 2003, pp. 25–29
  12. ^ a b c d Braunstein 2004, pp. 38–40
  13. ^ Braunstein 2004, p. 40
  14. ^ "LGISM" (in Swedish). Retrieved 14 March 2017.
  15. ^ Braunstein 2007, p. 106


  • Braunstein, Christian (2003). Sveriges arméförband under 1900-talet. Skrift / Statens försvarshistoriska museer, 1101-7023 ; 5 (in Swedish). Stockholm: Statens försvarshistoriska museer. ISBN 91-971584-4-5. LIBRIS 8902928.
  • Braunstein, Christian (2004). Svenska försvarsmaktens fälttecken efter millennieskiftet [The flags and standards of the Swedish armed forces after the turn of the millennium] (PDF). Skrift / Statens försvarshistoriska museer, 1101-7023 ; 7 [dvs 8] (in Swedish). Stockholm: Statens försvarshistoriska museer. ISBN 91-971584-7-X. LIBRIS 9815350.
  • Braunstein, Christian (2007). Utmärkelsetecken på militära uniformer [Decorations on Swedish military uniforms] (PDF). Skrift / Statens försvarshistoriska museer, 1101-7023 ; 12 (in Swedish). Stockholm: Statens försvarshistoriska museer. ISBN 978-91-976220-2-8. LIBRIS 10423295.
  • Kjellander, Rune (2003). Sveriges regementschefer 1700-2000: chefsbiografier och förbandsöversikter (in Swedish). Stockholm: Probus. ISBN 91-87184-74-5. LIBRIS 8981272.
  • Lagerberg, Sven (1967). Livgardet i Stockholm: en stockholmskrönika (PDF). Stockholms stadsmuseums småskrifter, 99-0876027-0 ; 5 (in Swedish). Stockholm. LIBRIS 858012.
  • Malmlöf, Maria (1989). Kulturmiljöer i Solna: kulturminnesvårdsprogram för Solna kommun (in Swedish). Solna: Solna kommun. LIBRIS 802540.
  • Mellin, Gustaf Henrik (1841). Stockholm and its environs: comprehending the history and curiosities of the capital, and a description of everything remarkable in its neighbourhood. Stockholm: L. Gust. Rylander. LIBRIS 1955501.
  • Sandberg, Bo (2007). Försvarets marscher och signaler förr och nu: marscher antagna av svenska militära förband, skolor och staber samt igenkännings-, tjänstgörings- och exercissignaler (in Swedish) (New ed.). Stockholm: Militärmusiksamfundet med Svenskt marscharkiv. ISBN 978-91-631-8699-8. LIBRIS 10413065.
  • Westrin, Theodor, ed. (1918). Nordisk familjebok: konversationslexikon och realencyklopedi (in Swedish). 27 (Ny, rev. och rikt ill. uppl. ed.). Stockholm: Nordisk familjeboks förl. LIBRIS 8072220.
  • Svensk rikskalender 1909 (in Swedish). Stockholm: Norstedt. 1908. LIBRIS 498191.


  • Ihrén, Anders (2001-06-11). "Svea livgarde > Förteckning" [Svea Life Guards > List] (in Swedish). National Archives of Sweden. Retrieved 22 December 2016.
  • "Sveagardesföreningens FAQ". (in Swedish). Sveagardesföreningen. Archived from the original on 3 May 2009. Retrieved 23 December 2016.

Further reading

  • Barkman, Bertil C:son, ed. (1937). Kungl. Svea livgardes historia. Bd 1, 1523-1560 (in Swedish). Stockholm: Stift. för Svea livgardes historia. LIBRIS 8201151.
  • Barkman, Bertil C:son, ed. (1939). Kungl. Svea livgardes historia. Bd 2, 1560-1611 (in Swedish). Stockholm: Stift. för Svea livgardes historia. LIBRIS 8201147.
  • Lundkvist, Sven; Barkman, Bertil C:son, eds. (1963). Kungl. Svea livgardes historia. Bd 3:1, 1611-1632 (in Swedish). Stockholm: Stift. för Svea livgardes historia. LIBRIS 8201150.
  • Lundkvist, Sven; Tersmeden, Lars; Barkman, Bertil C:son, eds. (1966). Kungl. Svea livgardes historia. Bd 3:2, 1632(1611)-1660 (in Swedish). Stockholm: Stift. för Svea livgardes historia. LIBRIS 8201149.
  • Wernstedt, Folke, ed. (1954). Kungl. Svea livgardes historia. Bd 4, 1660-1718 (in Swedish). Stockholm: Stift. för Svea livgardes historia. LIBRIS 8201148.
  • Selander, Bengt, ed. (1976). Kungl. Svea livgardes historia. 5, 1719-1976 (in Swedish). Stockholm: Stift. för Svea livgardes historia. ISBN 91-7260-096-9. LIBRIS 155554.
  • Selander, Bengt, ed. (1983). Kungl. Svea livgardes historia. 6, Biografiska uppgifter om regementsofficerskåren 1903-1981 (in Swedish). Stockholm: Stift. för Svea livgardes historia. ISBN 91-970517-0-5. LIBRIS 8201152.
  • Engström, Johan (2014). Fritz von Dardel och Kungl. Svea livgarde (in Swedish). Stockholm: Medström. ISBN 9789173291187. LIBRIS 14858026.
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