The Rifles

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The Rifles
Rifles cap badge.PNGRGBWback.PNG
Cap and Back badges of The Rifles
Active 1 February 2007 –
Country United Kingdom
Branch Army
Type Rifles
Role 1st BattalionLight Infantry
2nd Battalion—Light Infantry
3rd Battalion—Light Infantry
4th Battalion—Mechanised Infantry
5th Battalion—Armoured Infantry
6th Battalion—TA Reserve
7th Battalion—TA Reserve
Size Seven battalions
Garrison/HQ RHQ—Winchester
1st Battalion—Beachley
2nd Battalion—Ballykinler
3rd Battalion—Edinburgh
4th Battalion— Bulford
5th Battalion—Paderborn, Germany
6th Battalion—Exeter
7th Battalion—Reading
Motto "Celer et Audax" (Latin)
"Swift and Bold"
March Quick: Mechanised Infantry
Double Past: Keel Row/Road to the Isles
Slow: Old Salamanca
Commanders
Colonel in Chief HRH The Duke of Edinburgh
Colonel Commandant General Sir Nicholas Parker KCB CBE
Insignia
Tactical Recognition Flash Rifles TRF.svg
Arm Badge Croix de Guerre
From Devonshire and Dorset Light Infantry
Abbreviation RIFLES

The Rifles (RIFLES) is an infantry regiment the British Army. Formed in 2007, it consists of five regular and two territorial battalions, plus a number of companies in other TA battalions, Each battalion of the Rifles was formerly an individual battalion of one of the two large regiments of the Light Division (with the exception of the 1st Battalion, which is an amalgamation of two individual regiments). Since formation the regiment has been involved in combat operations, first in the later stages of the Iraq War and currently in the War in Afghanistan.

History[edit]

The Rifles was created as a result of the Future Army Structure. Under the original announcement, the Light Division would have remained essentially unchanged, with the exception of the Light Infantry gaining a new battalion through the amalgamation of two other regiments, and both gaining a TA battalion. However, on 24 November 2005, the Ministry of Defence announced that the four regiments would amalgamate into a single five-battalion regiment. The Rifles was formed on 1 February 2007 by the amalgamation of the four Light Infantry and Rifle Regiments of the Light Division:

The two existing battalions each of the Light Infantry and the Royal Green Jackets were renamed, while the single battalions of the DDLI and the RGBWLI were merged into one battalion. This brought the whole of the Light Division under a single cap badge.

On formation, The Rifles became the county regiment of the following counties:

As a rifle regiment, a private soldier in The Rifles is known as a Rifleman and Serjeant is spelt in the archaic fashion; the regiment wears a Rifle green beret. A number of golden threads have been brought into the new regiment from each of its founder regiments:

  • Croix de Guerre - the French Croix de Guerre ribbon awarded to the Devonshire Regiment in World War I, and subsequently worn by the Devonshire and Dorset Light Infantry, and also awarded to the King's Shropshire Light Infantry in 1918, is worn on both sleeves of No. 1 and No. 2 dress.
  • Back Badge - the badge worn on the back of headdress reads Egypt. This was awarded as an honour to the 28th Foot and subsequently worn by the Royal Gloucestershire, Berkshire and Wiltshire Light Infantry. It is worn on the forage cap and side hat; and on the shako of the regimental band and bugles.
  • Bugle Horn - the bugle horn badge of the Light Infantry, now surmounted by St. Edward's Crown, is the regiment's cap badge.
  • Maltese Cross - the Maltese Cross of the Royal Green Jackets is worn as a buckle on the cross belt, and will contain the regiment's representative battle honours; currently one space is kept free for future honours. In accordance with the tradition of rifle regiments, the regiment does not carry colours.
  • Black Buttons - the traditional black buttons of a rifle regiment are worn on all forms of dress with the exception of combat dress.

In addition, the new regiment's "Double Past" march (the music used when marching past at the double) is an amalgam of the Light Infantry's (Keel Row) and the Royal Green Jackets' (Road to the Isles). In addition to the uniform distinctions the Rifles march at a faster pace than the rest of the infantry, 140 paces per minute rather than 120.(RGJ 160 ppm DLI 140 ppm)

Organisation[edit]

British Army arms and services
Flag of the British Army.svg
Combat Arms
Royal Armoured Corps
Infantry
Army Air Corps
Combat Support Arms
Royal Artillery
Royal Engineers
Royal Corps of Signals
Intelligence Corps
Combat Services
Royal Army Chaplains Department
Royal Logistic Corps
Army Medical Services
Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers
Adjutant General's Corps
Small Arms School Corps
Royal Army Physical Training Corps
General Service Corps
Corps of Army Music

The regiment has 5 regular and 2 Territorial Army battalions, each configured for a specific infantry role:

In addition to the seven battalions above, a further two companies are also cap badged as The Rifles but are attached to other TA infantry Battalions:

Approximately one third of all cadets now wear The Rifles cap badge. There is one Combined Cadet Force unit that still carries the RGJ cap badge and that is Pangbourne College, Berkshire.[citation needed]

HRH The Duke of Edinburgh (ex-Colonel-in-Chief, RGBWLI) is the Colonel-in-Chief of the Regiment whilst each battalion has its own Royal Colonel:

1st Battalion, The Rifles HRH The Duke of Kent (ex-Colonel-in-Chief, DDLI)
2nd Battalion, The Rifles HRH The Earl of Wessex
3rd Battalion, The Rifles HRH Princess Alexandra, The Hon Lady Ogilvy (ex-Colonel-in-Chief, LI)
4th Battalion, The Rifles HRH The Duchess of Cornwall
5th Battalion, The Rifles HRH The Countess of Wessex
6th (V) Battalion, The Rifles HRH The Duke of Gloucester
7th (V) Battalion, The Rifles HRH The Duchess of Gloucester

The Band and Bugles[edit]

The Rifles maintains a single regular regimental band, the Band and Bugles of The Rifles. This was formed by renaming the Band and Bugles of the Light Division, which in itself was an amalgamation of four separate bands:

  • The Corunna Band of the Light Infantry
  • The Salamanca Band of the Light Infantry
  • The Peninsula Band of the Royal Green Jackets
  • The Normandy Band of the Royal Green Jackets

In addition, the two TA Battalions maintain their own bands:

  • The Salamanca Band of the Rifles - 6th Battalion (formerly the Band of the Rifle Volunteers)
  • The Waterloo Band of the Rifles - 7th Battalion (formerly the Band of the Royal Rifle Volunteers)

There are also a number of Cadet Force Bands including The Silver Bugles Band of the Somerset Cadet Battalion (The Rifles) Army Cadet Force, The Corunna Band & Bugles of Oxfordshire (The Rifles) Army Cadet Force and The Borneo band of Durham Army Cadet Force, as well as the Peninsula Band and Bugles of the Cornwall Army Cadet Force Battalion (The Rifles) and the Wiltshire Army Cadet Force trowbridge Band and Bugles. Robin Hood Rifles Corps of Drums of the Nottinghamshire Army Cadet Force. More recently E (The Rifles) Company (Yorkshire N&W) ACF have formed a Bugle & Drum section - Minden Bugles & Drums. Bands also exist in Combined Cadet Forces including the Band and Bugles of The Thomas Hardye School, and The Band and Drums of Adams' Grammar School CCF. For a number of years from just after the Second World war until the early 80's Kings College, Taunton in Somerset had a Combined Cadet Force Drum and Bugle Corps with the CCF associated with the Somerset Light Infantry. In the period 1968-1970, the Drum & Bugle Corps had a particularly active period beating retreat in places such as Honiton Barracks (then home of one of the Light Infantry Battalions), Ottery St Mary, Sidmouth and in Taunton itself, where for two years it was given permission to form up and then marched from Kings Taunton to the St Mary Magdalene Church in the town centre to participate in the Annual Remembrance Day services where it was one of the bands that led the parade. The Drum & Bugle Corps consisted of 12 side drummers, two tenor drums, a bass drum, a cymbals player and 12 buglers.

Battle honours[edit]

The following battle honours are a representation of the total honours awarded to the regiments which formed The Rifles. These are inscribed on the regiment's belt badge:

Order of precedence[edit]

Preceded by
The Royal Gurkha Rifles
Infantry Order of Precedence Succeeded by
Special Air Service

Lineage[edit]

Lineage
The Rifles The Devonshire and Dorset Light Infantry The Devonshire Regiment
The Dorset Regiment The 39th (Dorsetshire) Regiment of Foot
The 54th (West Norfolk) Regiment of Foot
The Light Infantry The Somerset and Cornwall Light Infantry The Somerset Light Infantry (Prince Albert's)
The Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry The 32nd (Cornwall Light Infantry) Regiment of Foot
The 46th (South Devonshire) Regiment of Foot
The King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry The 51st (2nd Yorkshire West Riding) Regiment of Foot
The 105th Regiment of Foot (Madras Light Infantry)
The King's Shropshire Light Infantry The 53rd (Shropshire) Regiment of Foot
The 85th (King's Light Infantry) Regiment of Foot
The Durham Light Infantry The 68th (Durham) Regiment of Foot
The 106th Regiment of Foot (Bombay Light Infantry)
The Royal Gloucestershire, Berkshire and Wiltshire Light Infantry The Gloucestershire Regiment The 28th (North Gloucestershire) Regiment of Foot
The 61st (South Gloucestershire) Regiment of Foot
The Duke of Edinburgh's Royal Regiment (Berkshire and Wiltshire) The Royal Berkshire Regiment
(Princess Charlotte of Wales's)
The 49th (Princess Charlotte of Wales's) (Hertfordshire) Regiment of Foot
The 66th (Berkshire) Regiment of Foot
The Wiltshire Regiment
(Duke of Edinburgh's)
The 62nd (Wiltshire) Regiment of Foot
The 99th Duke of Edinburgh's (Lanarkshire) Regiment of Foot
The Royal Green Jackets The Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry The 43rd (Monmouthshire) Regiment of Foot (Light Infantry)
The 52nd (Oxfordshire) Regiment of Foot (Light Infantry)
The King's Royal Rifle Corps
The Rifle Brigade (Prince Consort's Own)

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Ben Barry A Cold War: Front-line Operations in Bosnia 1995 - 1996 ISBN 1-86227-449-5. An account of the end of the Bosnian Civil War by the CO of the 2nd Battalion the Light Infantry
  • Les Howard Winter Warriors - Across Bosnia with the PBI ISBN 1-84624-077-8. A TA Royal Green Jacket on operations with the 2nd Bn the Light Infantry
  • Swift and Bold: A Portrait of the Royal Green Jackets 1966-2007 ISBN 1-903942-69-1.
  • Steven McLaughlin Squaddie: A Soldier's Story ISBN 1-84596-242-7. A Royal Green Jacket's account of modern-day basic training, battalion life & culture, and operational tours in Iraq and Northern Ireland.

External links[edit]