Rand Light Infantry

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Rand Light Infantry
SANDF Rand Light Infantry Regiment emblem.png
SANDF Rand Light Infantry emblem
Country  South Africa
Type Infantry
Role Light Infantry
Part of South African Infantry Formation
Army Conventional Reserve
Motto(s) Vincit qui patitur
(He conquers who endures)
Battle honours
Battle Honours
South West Africa 1914 - 1915
Western Desert 1941-43
El Alamein
Alamein Defence
Website http://1rli.wordpress.com/
Lt Col John Mellitchey
Company level Insignia SA Army Company Insignia.png
SA Motorised Infantry beret bar circa 1992
SA Motorised Infantry beret bar

The Rand Light Infantry (RLI) is an infantry regiment of the South African Army. As a reserve unit, it has a status roughly equivalent to that of a British Army Reserve unit or United States Army National Guard unit.



The history of this Regiment dates back to the Transvaal Cycle Corps, which was formed in Johannesburg on 1 October 1905 from the Bicycle Section of the Transvaal Scottish Regiment. A small section of this unit subsequently took part in the suppression of the Bambata Rebellion in Zululand.[1][2]

After its return from this conflict the unit recognised the possibilities of mechanisation and members of the Regiment manufactured three armoured cars, creating a motorised fighting unit.[2] This led to the renaming of the unit in 1909 to the Transvaal Cycle and Motor Corps.[1]

On 1 July 1913 the Regiment was renamed the 11th Infantry (Rand Light Infantry) and transferred to the Active Citizen Force of the Union Defence Force.[2] Simultaneously, the unit was converted to a normal infantry regiment. The Regiment's Pretoria detachment was transferred to the 12th Infantry (Pretoria Regiment).[1]

World War One[edit]

During World War I the Regiment took part in the South-West Africa, suffering light casualties – only two dead and eleven wounded.[1]

In 1932 the Regiment was renamed the Rand Light Infantry.[1][2]

World War Two[edit]

The RLI was mobilized for World War II in June 1940 and gained fame in North Africa where it took part in many front line engagements and earned battle honours at Bardia, Gazala and El Alamein. (See 1st SA Infantry Division) After the defeat of Rommel’s Afrika Korps, the RLI returned to South Africa and was merged with the Duke of Edinburgh’s Own Rifles. The remaining members of the Regiment were trained in armour, and sent as reinforcements to the South African 6th Armoured Division in Italy.[1][2]

Border War[edit]

The Regiment took part in the South African Border War.[3]

Regimental Symbols[edit]

  • Regimental motto: "Vincit qui patitur" (He conquers who endures)[2]
  • The RLI were allied to the Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry in 1932. This alliance later fell into abeyance but was resurrected in April 1995, when the Regiment became allied with The Light Infantry Regiment[2]:22
  • Regimental March: One and All and Trelawney.
  • Regimental slow march: Duke of York and Preobajensky March.
  • Regimental double march: Keel Row.

Previous Dress Insignia[edit]

SADF era Rand Light Infantry shoulder title 
Rand Light Infantry cap badge 

Current Dress Insignia[edit]

SANDF Infantry wide cloth beret badge 
SANDF Infantry wide shoulder flash 


Battle honours[edit]

The RLI has been awarded the following Battle Honours:[2]:21


From Colonels in Chief[2]:40 To
1906 Field Marshall, His Royal Highness, The Duke of Connaught KG KT GCSI GCMG GCIE GCVO 1942
1947 Her Royal Highness, The Princess Margaret n.d.
From Honorary Colonels[2]:41 To
1910 Col Sir William van Hulsteyn KT VD 1939
1940 Col A.D. Viney 1968
1971 Col G.B. Brown JCD MC n.d.
From Commanding Officers[2]:42 To
1905 Lt Col H.A. Woolf 1909
1909 Lt Col G.H. Hamilton-Dickson MVO 1912
1912 Lt Col J.M. Fairweather DSO 1915
1915 Lt Col W.J. Thompson DSO VD Croix de Guerre 1920
1920 Lt Col J.H. Blaney DSO DCM 1922
1923 Lt Col W.A. Abbott VD 1925
1925 Lt Col W.A.D. Cherrington VD 1927
1927 Lt Col H.E. Jackson DCM VD 1931
1931 Lt Col W.J. Endean MC 1932
1932 Lt Col A.A. Hayton DSO VD 1937
1937 Col J.O. Henrey MBE VD 1942
1942 Lt Col A.C. Thomas 1943
1944 Amalgamated with CTR 1945
1946 Lt Col C.D. Hancock ED 1950
1950 Cmdt W.P.F. Clark ED 1955
1955 Cmdt G.B. Brown JCD MC 1962
1963 Cmdt R.S. Munton JCD 1966
1967 Cmdt B.G. Simpkins JCD with 30 Yr Clasp 1969
1969 Cmdt J.D. Vos SM JCD 1975
1975 Cmdt A.B. Dalgleish JCD 1977
1977 Cmdt J.M. Smuts JCD 1980
1981 Cmdt C.E. Story JCD 1983
1983 Cmdt Kevin G.E. Mulligan n.d.
n.d. Lt Col John Mellitchey Present
From Regimental Sergeants Major[2]:42–43 To
1906 RSM E. Evans 1910
1911 H.A.E. Hall 1914
1914 S. Piggott 1917
1918 A.H. Miller 1923
1924 J.S. Porter 1925
1925 D. Suttie 1925
1925 R.G.B. Heydenrych 1928
1929 H.R. Lahner 1942
1942 G. Trobridge 1943
1944 Amalgamated with CTR 1945
1946 G.C. Webb 1947
1948 V. Dove 1951
1952 D.N. Rathbone 1962
1963 E.L. Hansen 1964
1964 J.H. Honey 1967
1968 J.L. Keene PMM 1979
1980 S. Rogoff JCD 1984
1985 N.P. Wegener n.d.


  1. ^ a b c d e f "Rand Light Infantry" (pdf). rfdiv.mil.za. Reserve Force Division, SANDF. Retrieved 23 October 2014. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Mulligan, Commandant K.G.E. (1986). RLI Guide for Officers. Johannesburg: Rand Light Infantry. 
  3. ^ Mulligan, Kevin (March 2009). Carry On Regardless. Durban, South Africa: Just Done Productions Publishing. ISBN 978-1-920169-87-9. Retrieved 23 October 2014. 

External links[edit]