badge, headdress, British, The Buffs (East Kent Regiment), officers
A dragon on ground above a scroll inscribed 'THE BUFFS', all in bronze. One blade to reverse, one missing.
Badge of pattern worn 1935 - 1958.
The ultimate predecessor of the East Kent Regiment, the Buffs, was raised in 1572 in Holland as Morgan's Company, one of a number of Independent Companies raised at around this time. It expanded to four regiments, which merged in 1648, disbanding in Holland in 1665.
The Regiment was reformed in the same year, in England, as the Holland Regiment. In 1689 it was re-designated Prince George of Denmark's Regiment of Foot, and by 1702 it had become known as "The Buffs", a title said to derive from the colour of the coats and breeches of the Independent Companies from which the Regiment ultimately derived.
The Regiment was known by a succession of colonels' names until 1751 at which date it was formally named the 3rd Regiment of Foot. In 1782 the Regiment was re-designated 3rd (East Kent) Regiment of Foot (The Buffs). At this time it adopted a badge of a belt circlet inscribed THE BUFFS, in the centre of which was a figure 3 surmounted by a dragon on ground, with a crown above all. There are two stories regarding the origin of the dragon motif. One is said, like its nick-name the Buffs, to date back to its earliest days in Holland and to refer to a trophy captured there from the Spanish. The other is that it derives from the Royal Arms of Queen Elizabeth I and was granted to the regiment by Queen Anne in 1707, to be worn as a constant reminder of the regiment's origins in the Trained Bands of London that fought for the Dutch in 1572.
In the 1881 reorganization the dragon on ground became the central motif of a circlet inscribed EAST KENT. By the early 1900s the dragon on ground was on its own as a badge, at least as worn on the pagri.
The Royal prefix was granted in 1935 and the badge design amended, with the dragon's front claw raised somewhat higher than previously, and a scroll added to the ground bearing the title THE BUFFS.
During World War Two the 7th Battalion was converted to armour as 141 RAC. It retained its Buffs' cap badge, however, which might be seen as appropriate as it was deployed to North West Europe as a Crocodile flame-thrower regiment.
In 1958 the Regiment became part of the Home Counties Brigade. In 1961 it amalgamated with the Queen's Own Royal West Kent Regiment to become the Queen's Own Buffs, the Royal Kent Regiment. A badge for the new Regiment was adopted at this time , losing the dragon motif in favour of the West Kent's horse, although the Regular battalions should have worn the Brigade badge.
In 1966 the amalgamated Regiment became 2nd Battalion the Queen's Regiment, again with a change of cap badge, this time regaining the dragon as the central motif.
In 1992 the Queen's Regiment amalgamated with the Royal Hampshire Regiment to form the Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment (Queen's and Royal Hampshires) with the dragon surviving the transition.