The Rifle Volunteers were formed in 1999 by the amalgamation of the 6th Battalion, The Light Infantry, 4th Battalion, The Devonshire and Dorset Regiment (The 1st Rifle Volunteers) and elements of the 2nd (V) Battalion, The Royal Gloucestershire, Berkshire and Wiltshire Regiment in consequence of the reforms implemented due to the Strategic Defence Review. The HQ was in Exeter, and in February 2007, the battalion comprised four fighting companies and a headquarters company:
- A Company - Gloucester and Bristol - back bage worn on helmet and beret.
- B (Somerset Light Infantry) Company - Taunton, Yeovil and Bath
- C (Devonshire and Dorset Light Infantry) Company - Dorchester and Poole.
- D (Cornwall Light Infantry) Company - Truro, Bodmin and Plymouth.
- HQ Company - Exeter
In April 2004 a composite company of the regiment (Salamanca Company) was dispatched to Basra, Iraq. The company was attached to the 1st Battalion Cheshire Regiment, as part of 1 Mechanised Brigade, within the Multi-National Division (South East). The Company returned home later that year. The battalion was part of 43 (Wessex) Brigade.
The Regiment deployed a company to Afghanistan in the Autumn of 2006. The sub-unit was known as Peninsula Company in honour of the Battle Honour earned by the Regiment's forefathers. In 2008 the battalion deployed another company (Corunna company) to Afghanistan, bolstered by a platoon from its sister battalion 1 rifles.
Amalgamation into The Rifles
On 24 November 2005, it was announced by the Ministry of Defence that the battalion would be amalgamated with other units into a new large regiment to be called The Rifles. To that effect in 2007, the regiment became 6th Battalion, The Rifles. The merger reunited this multi-regimental battalion with the other territorial and regular units of The Light Infantry, the Devonshire and Dorset Regiment, and the Royal Gloucestershire, Berkshire and Wiltshire Regiment.
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