The Barbers' Company takes great pride in its affiliations with units of the British Armed Forces. Through the affiliations members of the Company gain a privileged insight into the reality of service life in all three services. In return the Company provides financial assistance to support the moral component of the units, adding resources where the public purse falls short. The units also get to tell their stories to a well-connected audience who can champion their corner beyond the livery environment.
HMS Diamond is the third of six “Daring” Class Type 45 Destroyers. She is an anti-air warfare destroyer designed to protect UK national and allied/coalition forces against all known airborne threats. The ship is equipped to provide self-protection and local area air defence. She has a complement of 230.
HMS Diamond is the twelfth ship to bear the name. She was built on the river Clyde and launched in November 2007, arriving in Portsmouth in the autumn of 2010. She was commissioned in the Spring of 2011 and was subsequently deployed to the Gulf in June 2012, and to the Mediterranean as part of the operation to remove chemical weapons from Syria. HMS DIAMOND participated in the 2021 deployment of the UK Carrier Strike Group and has been deployed to the Eastern Mediterranean during the conflict in Ukraine.
The Barbers’ Company has been affiliated with HMS Diamond since 2008.
The development of the Institute of Naval Medicine can be traced back to 1948 when the Royal Naval Medical School was established. In the 1960s and early 1970s the School was developed further as part of the support for Polaris submarines and in 1969 its expanded role was marked by it being re-named the Institute of Naval Medicine. Special to purpose research, training and radiological protection service facilities were built.
The Institute of Naval Medicine is unique in maritime and general occupational health in the United Kingdom in the range of specialised facilities and staff from appropriate disciplines working together on a single site. Currently there are over 250 personnel employed with up to 100 seconded doctors and dentists. Its role can be summarised as promoting, protecting and restoring the health of the Royal Navy and UK Defence and its mission is to optimise the operational capability of the Royal Navy by the provision of medical and scientific outputs, particularly in problems associated with work and operations in maritime and clinically hostile environment.
The Barbers’ Company ties with the Royal Navy go back to 1629 when the Charter of King Charles 1 made provision that all ships sailing from British ports must have on board a surgeon approved by the Company, and examining naval surgeons became an important function of the Company. A letter from the Navy Office to the Board of the Admiralty, dated 23 March 1635, gives details of the procedures:
“The Fleet now drawing near hand ready to goe to Sea we have according to the ancient custome given orders to the Master and Wardens of Barber Chirurgeons’ Hall, to press Chyrurgeons for all the Ships of the first Fleet….”
The Barbers’ Company has been affiliated with the Institute since 1999.
In 2005 The Army Board directed infantry battalions to group into larger regiments to meet the operational and organisational demands of the future. The Devonshire and Dorset Light Infantry, The Light Infantry, The Royal Gloucestershire, Berkshire and Wiltshire Light Infantry and The Royal Green Jackets recognised the profound impact of the decision and elected to join together to form a wholly new regiment called The Rifles. The Rifles was formed on 1 February 2007 to become a modern and exciting large regiment optimised for 21st Century warfare. Formed in the crucible of operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, The Rifles holds an incredible 913 battle honours, record 117 Victoria Crosses (VC) and has a living history that is second to none. In November 2021 The Rifles became part of The Light Division with The Royal Gurkha Rifles.
The Barbers’ Company exercises its affiliation with The Rifles through the 3rd Battalion, which since 2007 has deployed on six tours to Iraq and Afghanistan, together with numerous other operations and training missions worldwide. The 3rd Battalion is currently based in Dreghorn Barracks, Edinburgh. In 2024 it will become a Security Force Assistance Battalion and will move from Edinburgh to Blackpool in 2027.
The Barbers’ Company has been affiliated to The Rifles since November 2018.
The mission of 256 Fd Hosp is to provide medically trained force elements to operations worldwide in order to support the UK contribution to a national, NATO or multi-national forces. It is also able to deploy a 200 bed medical facility with four operating theatres – which, at its largest, requires the equivalent of 6 football pitches of real estate. The Barbers’ Company exercises its affiliation through B Detachment of the Field Hospital which is based in Kensington.
During the Gulf War and subsequently during operations in Afghanistan, the unit deployed as a formed body and established a field hospital, often working alongside allies. Additionally, the unit has provided countless individual reinforcements on numerous operations throughout the world.
The origins of 144 Para Med Sqn can be traced back to 1947 and the establishment of the Territorial Army, although the unit itself was formed in 1993 when it was in support of 5 Airborne Brigade. Since 2000 it has been absorbed into 16 Medical Regiment, part of 16 Air Assault Brigade, with the role of providing healthcare to frontline Army units by parachute or helicopter insertion.
The Squadron Headquarters is based in London, with detachments in Cardiff, Nottingham and Glasgow. Since 1993, the unit has deployed personnel on operations to Saudi Arabia, Bosnia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Iraq and Afghanistan.
The Barbers’ Company has been affiliated to 144 Para Med Sqn since 2004.
No 1(F) Sqn RAF can trace its history back to 1878 when it was formed at Woolwich as No 1 Balloon Company of the Royal Engineers. It became No 1 Sqn of the Royal Flying Corps in May 1912 and was re-equipped with aircraft 2 years later. It saw service from then onwards and in 1969 became the first operational squadron in the world to fly the Harrier jump jet. When the Harrier was taken out of service in 2011, the Squadron disbanded, but was re-formed on 15 September 2012 at RAF Leuchars as the RAF’s 4th front line Typhoon Squadron. Its primary task is to maintain the Quick Reaction Alert (Interceptor) North mission, providing crews and aircraft at high states of readiness 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, to police UK airspace, whilst also providing capability and support to contingent operations worldwide.
Throughout its history, the Squadron has supported operations throughout the world – during both World Wars, Suez, the Falklands, Iraq, Kosovo, Afghanistan and Syria.
Although affiliated to No 1(F) Sqn RAF since 1994, the Company was re-affiliated with the reformed Squadron in 2012.
The Barbers’ Company has been affiliated to the unit, based at Training Ship Constant in Tooting, since 2006. This is one of 400 similar units throughout the UK designed to give young people instruction on a naval theme. Units work in partnership with the Royal Navy and receive corporate support from commercial shipping companies and the Maritime sector. The core purpose is to celebrate Britain’s maritime heritage and contribute to its future development by supporting young people as Sea Cadets.
Throughout its history the unit has been one of the top level units in the London Area – its motto is “First in Town” — with many efficiency awards since the award system began in 1948 in the shape of pennants and burgees.