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Chelsea Pensioners

907 of 1170 nominations


Chelsea Pensioners

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Chelsea Pensioners

The 350 red-coated residents – elderly and wounded Army veterans – of the Royal Chelsea Hospital are actually "In-Pensioners". Founded by Charles II in 1682, and designed by Sir Christopher Wren, the Hospital was initially funded from private donations (including from the King himself) and a tax levy. But in 1684, Paymaster General Stephen Fox introduced a contributory pension scheme for all officers and soldiers to pay for the Hospital. The first Pensioners took up residence in 1692.

The Pensioners have two uniforms – their "undress" (navy blue), and the better-known red coats and tricorne hats. These are worn on Oak Apple Day on 29 May, to honour the birthday of the Hospital's founder, when the Pensioners parade and adorn the King's statue with oak leaves. This commemorates his escape after the Battle of Worcester in 1651, when the claimant to the throne hid in the Boscobel Oak.

Other annual events at Chelsea include the RHS Flower Show, held in the South Grounds since 1913, and the Ceremony of the Christmas Cheeses, celebrated since 1692.

Photo: TopFoto.co.uk/National Pictures/Piers Macdonald


Your comments

Because they are a symbol of bravery and service to our country. They are also colourful and charming people. It's a tradition we should keep, helping those left alone who served our country.

Belinda Lawson

They deserve respect and adoration the Chelsea Pensioners because each one has to tell us a story of bravery and camaradery.God bless them all
George Kapranos

Not sure if this will be accepted - but perhaps as a whole they can, as it's not one specific person, but a very recognizable group which represents the British spirit of self-sacrifice and determination to fight for our traditional way of life and its freedoms? Thinking about it, I've changed my nomination to their uniform, symbolic of the same.
Mrs Jan Thatcher

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My nomination is the garden shed.