Unit History: Mounted Military Police
The post of Provost Marshal has existed since William of Cassingham was appointed by Henry III on 28 May 1241 (the original title was Sergeant of the Peace). Wellington asked for a Provost Marshal to be appointed to hang looters and by the end of the Peninsular War the Provost Marshal controlled 24 Assistant Provost Marshals.
Until a uniform was approved, members of the Staff Corps of Cavalry were identified by a red scarf tied around the right shoulder of their original uniform, which while some consider this to have been the origin of the famous ’Red Cap’ of the Royal Military Police and its forebears, it was certainly the most likely precursor of the ’MP’ armband (and now the Tactical Recognition Flash), which identifies the modern Military Policeman or Policewoman.
Although disbanded in 1814 at the end of the Peninsular War, following Napoleon’s defeat at the battle of Waterloo the Duke of Wellington re-formed the Staff Corps of Cavalry to police the occupying British Army in France. Later, in the Crimean War, a Mounted Staff Corps of almost 100 troopers from the Police Constabulary of Ireland, with some recruited from the Metropolitan Police, was established to prevent the theft of supplies and to maintain discipline in camps. This ’Corps’ was disbanded with the cessation of hostilities. The Provost Marshal has always had men detached to assist him, an arrangement formalised by the Duke of Wellington in the Peninsular War; but only since 1877 has there actually existed a regular corps of military police. In that year, the Military Mounted Police (MMP) was formed, followed by the Military Foot Police (MFP) in 1885.
The Military Mounted Police first engaged in combat in 1882 at the Battle of Tel el-Kebir. Although technically two independent corps, these two effectively functioned as a single organisation. In 1926 they were fully amalgamated to form the Corps of Military Police (CMP). In recognition of their service in the Second World War, they became the Corps of Royal Military Police (RMP) on 28 November 1946 under Army Order 167.