The regimental polo squad were recently honoured to be invited by an Officer of the Guard Major James Fox to dine as guests at the Queen's Guard dinner at St James's Palace. Hosted by Major Fox, OC Nijmegen Company - The unit of the Grenadier Guards responsible for mounting the guard at Buckingham Palace - and Capt Kuku stalwart of the grenadiers polo team, the evening began fittingly with a champagne reception. Also dining was Lt. Col (retd.) Howard Flood - late of the Canadian Grenadier Guards - who has worked enthusiastically to encourage polo between the Household Division and the HAC.
The HAC and the Grenadier Guards can trace their close links back to 1770 when the HAC's Regimental Sergeant Major was provided by the Guards to instruct the HAC in foot drill. The post continued to be provided by the Grenadier Guards until as recently as 2008. Until a recent review of the order of precedence of the Army the HAC historically was positioned between the 1st and 3rd Battalion of the Grenadier Guards during the coronation of monarchs. This tradition lapsed on the coronation of George V. The Household Division and the HAC are the only army bodies charged with the honour of defending and protecting the monarch. But we digress.
The food and service throughout the evening was fantastic and the conversation flowed from matters military to automotive to polo itself and the upcoming season. Throughout we were served by a sergeant whose medals displayed that his service was as dedicated to operations as to the care of his guests. At one point LSgt Grant remarked it was shame the HAC did not serve its cocktails in silver goblets as fine as those on show. Capt Kuku explained that the silverware were gifts of various units who had carried out the Queen's Guards over the years. On raising the goblets in the dim light of the Victorian dining room we we're were surprised to find the goblets in question were in fact gifts of the Honourable Artillery Company on the occasion of a Queen's Guard it mounted in 1958. Surely a coincidence?
The night concluded with a bevy of drinks and cocktails including the Grenadier's signature drink "Silver Bullet" and the odd sabre and champagne bottle action. It was also agreed that despite the operational commitments of the Grenadier Guards who are currently deployed on operations in Afghanistan the HAC and Grenadiers would fulfill their now annual fixture of the William IV Cup. A special word of thanks are due to LSgt Tim Johnson who organised the date in everyone's diary.