Royal Irish Regiment (1992)
- For the regiment of the same name, disbanded in 1922, see Royal Irish Regiment (1684–1922)
|The Royal Irish Regiment (27th (Inniskilling) 83rd and 87th and Ulster Defence Regiment Conspicuous Gallantry Cross)|
Flag of the Royal Irish Regiment
|Active||1 July 1992–present|
|Role||1st Battalion – Light infantry
2nd Battalion – Light infantry (Army Reserve)
|Part of||Prince of Wales' Division|
|Garrison/HQ||RHQ – Holywood
1st Battalion – Ternhill
2nd Battalion – Portadown
|Motto||"Faugh A Ballagh" (Irish)
"Clear the Way"
|Colours||Green, Red, Blue, Black|
|March||Quick – Killaloe
Slow – Eileen Alannah
|Mascot||Irish Wolfhound (Brian Boru VIII)|
|Anniversaries||Barrosa Day, 5 March; Somme Day, 1 July|
|Engagements||Kosovo War, Sierra Leone Civil War, Operation Banner, 2nd Gulf War, War in Afghanistan|
|1 R IRISH: Lt Col Ivor Gardiner 
2 R IRISH: Lt Col Owen Lyttle
|Colonel in Chief||HRH The Duke of York|
|Brigadier Joseph O'Sullivan|
|Lt Col Tim Collins OBE|
|Tactical Recognition Flash|
From Royal Irish Rangers
- 1 1992 creation
- 2 Current organisation
- 3 Restructuring
- 4 Recent deployments
- 5 Operational honours
- 6 Elizabeth Cross and Memorial Scrolls
- 7 Other information
- 8 Order of precedence
- 9 Lineage
- 10 Alliances
- 11 References
- 12 External links
With an antecedence reaching back to 1688, the regiment was formed in 1992. The creation followed the Options for Change proposals which recommended the amalgamation of the Royal Irish Rangers and the Ulster Defence Regiment (UDR). Most of the membership of the new regiment came from the UDR. This produced an overwhelmingly Ulster Protestant regiment with eleven battalions:
- Regular Army – General Service
- 1st Battalion, Royal Irish Regiment
- 2nd Battalion, Royal Irish Regiment
- Territorial Army
- 4th Battalion, Royal Irish Rangers
- 5th Battalion, Royal Irish Rangers
- Regular Army — Northern Ireland Resident Battalions (Home Service)
- 3rd (County Down) Battalion, Royal Irish Regiment
- 4th (County Fermanagh and County Tyrone) Battalion, Royal Irish Regiment
- 5th (County Londonderry) Battalion, Royal Irish Regiment
- 6th (County Armagh) Battalion, Royal Irish Regiment (former 2nd/11th Battalion UDR)
- 7th (City of Belfast) Battalion, Royal Irish Regiment
- 8th (County Tyrone) Battalion, Royal Irish Regiment
- 9th (County Antrim) Battalion, Royal Irish Regiment
The Home Service battalions, permanently based in Northern Ireland, filled the role formerly occupied by the UDR, assisting the Royal Ulster Constabulary (with a focus on combatting militant Irish republicanism), in Northern Ireland during Operation Banner. The 1st and 2nd Battalions could serve worldwide as general service battalions.
Because of its size, the regiment was removed from the King's Division and existed within its own Division of infantry. In 1993, the two regular battalions were amalgamated as 1 R IRISH. In 2001, the number of Home Service battalions reduced to three:
- 2nd Battalion — amalgamation of 7th and 9th Battalions
- 3rd Battalion — amalgamation of 3rd and 8th Battalions
- 4th Battalion — amalgamation of 4th and 5th Battalions
In 2005, the British government announced the end of Operation Banner, and with it the disbandment of the Home Service battalions. These were declared non-operational in October 2006, and disbanded in July 2007. At the same time, the Royal Irish Rangers, then serving as the TA battalion, was renamed as 2nd Battalion, Royal Irish Regiment. Today, the Royal Irish Regiment encompasses:
- 1st Battalion — General Service
- 2nd Battalion — Army Reserve
In 2004, a major restructuring of the infantry was announced. It recommended, inter alia, that all the remaining single battalion infantry regiments would be amalgamated. Under normal circumstances, this would have put the Royal Irish Regiment at risk but because of its unique status providing the home defence for Northern Ireland, and as the only remaining Irish line infantry regiment, it was decided to leave the Royal Irish Regiment as it was. This allowed a 'line infantry footprint' to remain in Northern Ireland.
In Northern Ireland the regiment continues to recruit from all sections of the population and both sides of the sectarian divide. In common with other line infantry regiments it has recruited many non-UK personnel, particularly from across the border in the Republic of Ireland, which permits its citizens to enlist in the British forces but forbids active recruiting on its territory.
The 1st Battalion, as part of the restructuring of the infantry, has assumed a fixed role as a light role battalion, rotating with two other line infantry/rifles battalions in an air assault role as part of 16 Air Assault Brigade. As part of this, the battalion moved from Fort George, Inverness to Clive Barracks in Ternhill in 2007. In September 2008 the battalion completed a tour in the Operational Mentoring and Liaison role in Afghanistan (Op HERRICK VIII) and returned to Shropshire, following which it became the first unit in the British Army to receive three Conspicuous Gallantry Crosses (CGC) in a single operation. The battalion has since deployed again to Afghanistan, with 16 Air Assault in HERRICK XIII. Under Army 2020, the battalion will remain at Tern Hill but it will not remain part of 16 AA BDE. Instead, it will be given a light protected mobility role.
Northern Ireland Resident Battalions (Home Service)
The Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) announced an end to its armed campaign in the summer of 2005. In response the United Kingdom government announced military cuts which included the Royal Irish Regiment. Having played a significant role in creating the environment for normalisation the Home Service Battalions of the Regiment were told that they would be disbanded. Prior to their dissbandment, they were awarded the Conspicuous Gallantry Cross by HM Queen Elizabeth II. In March 2006, a redundancy package was announced and they ceased to be operational in October that year. On 1 August 2007 Operation BANNER, the military support to the civilian police (the Police Service of Northern Ireland, PSNI) in Northern Ireland ended, and the three HS battalions were disbanded.
The home service battalions were awarded the Conspicuous Gallantry Cross (CGC) by HM The Queen in Belfast, on 6 October 2006. It is the first time the gallantry decoration, second in precedence only to the Victoria Cross, has been awarded to a military unit rather than to an individual member of the armed forces. This was in addition to the many gallantry awards earned by its personnel during the campaign.
The 1st Battalion, other than accepting transfers of willing Home Service soldiers into its Order of battle, was unaffected by these disbandments. As part of the reduction of Army strength in Northern Ireland to a conventional garrison, the RHQ in Ballymena was designated for closure. It closed in the Summer of 2008, with Royal Irish RHQ moving to Palace Barracks in Belfast. The Royal Irish band, the largest musical ensemble in the British Army, was reduced in size and transferred to the Territorial Army.
The 2nd Battalion (previously The Rangers)
Individual members of the Rangers served on operations in Op TELIC in Iraq. They served with 1 R IRISH during the ground war in 2003 and, inter alia, the Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment (PWRR) in Al Amarrah and in other areas of Iraq with 1 R IRISH and The London Regiment. With 1 R IRISH now back as part of 16 Air Assault Brigade, the newly titled 2nd Battalion are now trained for a more operational role commitment, in support of their regular counterparts as Air Assault Infantry. A formed company (Imjin Company) of 2 R IRISH was part of the R IRISH Battlegroup (BG) in Helmand in HERRICK VIII while over 80 members of 2 R IRISH served with 1 R IRISH in HERRICK XIII in 2010–11. As of 4 April 2012, 2 R IRISH has now been assigned a fixed role with 16 Air Assault Brigade, the UK's Worldwide Rapid Reaction Brigade, supporting 1 R IRISH.
The 1st Battalion is currently part of 16 Air Assault Brigade. This Brigade is one of two British light brigades, designed to be capable of rapidly deploying to trouble spots around the world.
In 2000 in Sierra Leone, while deployed to train government troops, eleven Royal Irish soldiers and their local army liaison officer, were kidnapped by the West Side Boys insurgents. Five hostages were later released and the remaining six were freed by the Special Air Service and The Parachute Regiment during Operation BARRAS, with the West Side Boys suffering severe casualties in the action.
1 R IRISH deployed to Iraq at the beginning of Operation Telic in March 2003, where they carried out operations in the south of the country. Its now-retired Commanding Officer, Lt Col Tim Collins was honoured with an Officer of the Order of the British Empire OBE for distinguished service.
1 R IRISH returned from six months in Iraq on Op TELIC 6/7 where they served in the Shaibah Logistics Base near Basra. Although the majority of the Battalion was deployed around the MND(SE) area a single Company was deployed to Baghdad.
Three platoons of 1 R IRISH (Barrosa, Somme and Ranger Platoons) deployed to Afghanistan in 2006, as part of 16 Air Assault Brigade and supported 3rd Parachute Regiment, the later forming 9 Platoon, C Coy, 3 PARA. They were involved in some of the heaviest fighting during HERRICK IV. Lance Corporal Paul Muirhead, Lance Corporal Luke McCulloch and Ranger Anare Draiva lost their lives to enemy fire during HERRICK IV.
1 R IRISH and 2 R IRISH deployed to Afghanistan in 2008, as part of 16 Air Assault Brigade. 1 R IRISH provided Operational Mentoring and Liaison Teams (OMLTs) to assist in training the Afghan National Army (ANA) and Afghan National Police (ANP), and 2 R IRISH were the first Territorial Army company strength grouping to provide OMLT training from NATO forces. They were also the first TA Company to fully man Forward Operating Bases (FOBs) within the green zone. One Company of the 1st Battalion, attached to 2 PARA, named Ranger Company, undertook offensive operations in the Sangin area of Helmand Province. 1 R IRISH lost Ranger Justin Cupples to an improvised explosive device (IED) during HERRICK VIII.
1 and 2 R IRISH again deployed with 16 Air Assault Brigade to Afghanistan on HERRICK XIII from September 2010. Based in the southern part of Helmand, they lost three soldiers during their operational tour. 1 R IRISH lost Lance Corporal Stephen McKee, Ranger Aaron McCormick and Ranger David Dalzell during HERRICK XIII.
- Corporal Trevor Raywood Coult, Military Cross
- Lieutenant Richard Gordon Deane, Military Cross. Deane was attached to 1 Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment and the Platoon Commander of Johnson Beharry, Victoria Cross.
- Lieutenant Colonel Colin Richard James WEIR, MBE, Distinguished Service Order
- Lance Corporal Ratu Apenisa Qalitakivuna, Military Cross
- Acting Sergeant Alwyn John Stevens, Conspicuous Gallantry Cross
- Corporal Robert William Kerr McClurg, Conspicuous Gallantry Cross
- Lance Corporal Jone Bruce Toge, Conspicuous Gallantry Cross
- Captain Douglas Ricardo Beattie, Military Cross
- Captain David Bradley Rainey, Military Cross
- Sergeant Stephen McConnell, Military Cross
- Ranger Alan William Owens, Military Cross*
Elizabeth Cross and Memorial Scrolls
In memory of a conflict, in 2006, involving the regiment in a battle in the town of Musa Qala in Afghanistan, a new Regimental March, composed by Chris Attrill and commissioned by Larne Borough Council, was given to the regiment on Saturday 1 November 2008 in Larne, County Antrim during an event in which the regiment was also presented with the 'Freedom of the Borough'. This gives the regiment the right to march through the town with 'flags flying, bands playing and bayonets fixed'. The March was named, 'Musa Qala'.
Order of precedence
|Infantry Order of Precedence||Succeeded by
The Parachute Regiment
|Royal Irish Regiment (27th (Inniskilling) 83rd and 87th and Ulster Defence Regiment Conspicuous Gallantry Cross)||The Royal Irish Rangers (27th (Inniskilling) 83rd and 87th)||The Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers||The 27th (Inniskilling) Regiment of Foot|
|The 108th Regiment of Foot (Madras Infantry)|
|The Royal Ulster Rifles||The 83rd (County of Dublin) Regiment of Foot|
|The 86th (Royal County Down) Regiment of Foot|
|The Royal Irish Fusiliers (Princess Victoria's)||The 87th (Royal Irish Fusiliers) Regiment of Foot|
|The 89th (The Princess Victoria's) Regiment of Foot|
|The Ulster Defence Regiment|
- United States – 101st Airborne Division
- Canada – The Princess Louise Fusiliers
- Canada – 2nd Battalion, The Irish Regiment of Canada
- Australia – Adelaide University Regiment
- New Zealand – The Canterbury, and Nelson-Marlborough and West Coast Regiment
- South Africa – The South African Irish Regiment
- Gibraltar – The Royal Gibraltar Regiment
- Pakistan – 1st Battalion, The Punjab Regiment
- Pakistan – 9th Battalion, The Frontier Force Regiment
- Royal Navy – HMS Bulwark
- "MOD website". Retrieved 28 November 2007.
- "Belfast Telegraph". Retrieved 20 November 2007.
- Department of the Official Report (Hansard), House of Commons, Westminster. "House of Commons Hansard Written Answers for 29 Jun 1999 (pt 9)". Publications.parliament.uk. Retrieved 2014-05-05.
- "MOD Website". Retrieved 16 October 2007.
- "MOD Website — support R IRISH in Afghanistan". Retrieved 16 August 2008.
- "MOD Website –". Retrieved 4 October 2008.
- "Regular army basing plan" (PDF). Retrieved 2014-05-05.
- Army 2020[dead link][dead link]
- "BBC Website "NI soldiers getting £250m pay-off"". BBC News. 9 March 2006. Retrieved 16 October 2007.
- "MOD Website (google cache) "Queen awards Conspicuous Gallantry Cross to the Royal Irish Regiment"". Archived from the original on 2006-10-09. Retrieved 16 October 2007.
- "BBC Website". BBC News. 30 August 2000. Retrieved 16 October 2007.
- "COI Website — Awards". Retrieved 16 October 2007.[dead link]
- "MOD Website – Op TELIC Awards". Retrieved 16 October 2007.
- "Ministry of Defence". Retrieved 5 April 2012.
- "Ministry of Defence". Retrieved 6 March 2009.
- "Daily Telegraph". The Daily Telegraph (London). 14 December 2006. Retrieved 28 November 2007.
- Whatdotheyknow.com. "Response to a Freedom of Information Act request". Retrieved 11 June 2010.
- Freedom of the Borough
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Royal Irish Regiment (1992).|
- Official site
- RIR Association
- Article on Colonel Tim Collins in Iraq, "that speech" and alleged war crimes
- Site with forum to discuss end of Operation Banner with a R IRISH focus