Regimental Cap Badge: The Hapsburg Eagle

Not a battle honour but an important event took place for the QDG at the end of the nineteenth century when the regimental cap badge was awarded to the KDG in 1896 by the Austro-Hungarian Emperor, Franz Josef II. When he was made Colonel-in-Chief of the KDG, he granted the Regiment the privilege of wearing his family’s Hapsburg double-headed eagle as its cap badge, collar badge, and sergeants’ arm badge.  The Emperor also ordered that a set of band music be sent to the Regiment; this was the Radetzky March composed by Johann Strauss in 1848 in honour of Austrian Field Marshal Count Josef Wenzel Radetzky – it has been the regimental quick march ever since.

Emperor Franz Josef II of Austria
The Hapsburg eagle cap badge of the KDG
The crown and laurel cap badge of the Bays

It is of interest that in 1915, because of anti-Austrian feeling during the First World War (when they (were) Britain’s enemies), the KDG reverted to the Garter Star cap badge and it was not until 1937, that the Hapsburg Eagle was restored. The Bays’ cap badge was what is now worn on the collars of the regimental Number 1 and Number 2 dress, a laurel wreath with the word ‘Bays’ inscribed in the centre.