HRH Duke of York (later King George VI)

The first Colonel-in-Chief of the Somerset Light Infantry was the Duke of York who was later King George VI and father of Queen Elizabeth II. He was born on 14 Dec 1895 on the Sandringham Estate. His names were Albert Frederick Arthur George, his first name being in memory of his great-grandfather, Prince Albert who died on the 14 Dec 1861, exactly 34 years earlier. Queen Victoria was still on the throne in 1895 and would have approved of the new baby being named Prince Albert. There had been other Alberts prior to that date. Edward VII was also Prince Albert, and his eldest son, Albert Victor who died in 1892.

The young Prince Albert became Duke of York in 1920 and was appointed Colonel-in-Chief of the Somerset Light Infantry on 24 Jan 1921. This was his second appointment as Colonel-in-Chief, the first being the 11th Hussars in the previous October. Between 1921 and 1939 he was appointed to 34 more regiments in Britain and the British Empire. There are photos or portraits of him in the uniforms of some of these regiments but none of him in the uniform of the Somerset Light Infantry. His military training was in the RAF but the photo shows him in the uniform of a Rear Admiral of the Royal Navy. He acceded to the throne on 11 Dec 1936 and died at Sandringham on 6 Feb 1952.

Regimental Details | Colonels in Chief


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by Stephen Luscombe