Royal Green Jackets

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Royal Green Jackets
Royal Green Jackets cap badge
Active1 January 1966 – 1 February 2007
Allegiance United Kingdom
Branch British Army
RoleLight Infantry
Size5 battalions
Part ofLight Division
Garrison/HQ1st Battalion – Weeton
2nd Battalion – Bulford
Nickname(s)"The Black Mafia"
Motto(s)Celer et Audax (Latin: Swift and Bold)
MarchQuick – Huntsman's Chorus/Italian Song
Double Pass – The Road to the Isles
AnniversariesWaterloo (18 June)
Last Colonel-in-ChiefQueen Elizabeth II
Last Colonel CommandantLieutenant General Nick Parker

The Royal Green Jackets (RGJ) was an infantry regiment of the British Army, one of two "large regiments" within the Light Division (the other being The Light Infantry).


The Royal Green Jackets was formed on 1 January 1966 by the amalgamation of the three separate regiments of the Green Jackets Brigade:[1]

There were also two Territorial Army battalions made up as follows:[2]

During the 1970s, 1980s and onwards up until the end of “The Troubles”, the battalions were deployed to various parts of Northern Ireland (Operation Banner). The 1st, 2nd and 3rd battalions were also based in West Germany, Osnabrück (1 RGJ), Minden (2 RGJ) and Celle (3 RGJ).[1]

The regiment's greatest loss of life at one time came on 20 July 1982, when seven RGJ bandsmen were killed by a Provisional Irish Republican Army bomb while giving a public concert in Regent's Park. The bomb exploded underneath the bandstand as the bandsmen played music from Oliver! to 120 spectators.[3]

In 1992, 1 RGJ was disbanded and 2 RGJ and 3 RGJ renumbered 1 RGJ and 2 RGJ respectively.[1][4]

After the 1992 reorganisation, the unit was mostly based overseas in Dhekelia (Cyprus) and Paderborn (Germany), as well as in Northern Ireland. It also saw action in Bosnia and Kosovo during the Yugoslav Wars. Both battalions returned to the United Kingdom by 2002 and in 2003 the 1st Battalion served on Operation Telic 2 in Iraq.[1]

On 24 November 2005, the Ministry of Defence announced that the regiment would be amalgamated with The Light Infantry, the Devonshire and Dorset Light Infantry and the Royal Gloucestershire, Berkshire and Wiltshire Light Infantry to form a single large regiment to be called The Rifles. The reorganisation into The Rifles took effect on 1 February 2007 with the 1st Battalion Royal Green Jackets becoming the 2nd Battalion, The Rifles and the 2nd Battalion Royal Green Jackets becoming 4th Battalion, The Rifles.[1] The 1st Battalion The Royal Green Jackets' final operational tour was in Basra, in Iraq, on Operation Telic in 2006-07.[5]

Regimental museum[edit]

The Royal Green Jackets (Rifles) Museum is based at Peninsula Barracks in Winchester.[6]


Their motto was Celer et Audax (Latin: "Swift and Bold"). As they were used as shock troops and marksmen, they had to get to the front line of battle as fast as was possible; as a result the RGJ marched at 140 paces per minute (at a 30" pace) whereas other regiments march at just 120.[7]

The regiment was classed as a 'rifle' regiment, having its lineage in the regiments of foot that were equipped with the first Baker rifles. Traditionally, rifle regiments wore rifle green tunics, an early form of camouflage, instead of the red jackets worn by line infantry, hence the regimental name.[7]

The cap badge was a Maltese Cross, which was drawn from the badges of the King's Royal Rifle Corps and The Rifle Brigade, with a combination of some of their battle honours on its arms.[7]

Battle honours[edit]

A memorial sign of the 1982 Regent's Park bombing

The battle honours are:[8]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e "Royal Green Jackets". British Army units 1945 on. Retrieved 24 May 2014.
  2. ^ "Royal Green Jackets (TA)". British Army units 1945 on. Retrieved 24 May 2014.
  3. ^ "1982: IRA bombs cause carnage in London". BBC News. 20 July 1982. Retrieved 24 May 2014.
  4. ^ "Hansard: Restructuring of the Army - Statement by Secretary of State for Defence on 23 July 1991". Parliamentary Debates (Hansard). 23 July 1991. Retrieved 26 November 2016.
  5. ^ Draper, p. 17
  6. ^ "Royal Green Jackets (Rifles) Museum". Visit Winchester. Retrieved 7 June 2018.
  7. ^ a b c "The Royal Green Jackets Legacy". Retrieved 24 May 2014.
  8. ^ "Battle honours". Royal Green Jackets Association. Archived from the original on 24 June 2013. Retrieved 24 May 2014.


  • Draper, Robin Anthony (2015). Redcoats to Riflemen: A short History of the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire County Regiment. Royal Green Jackets Museum Trust. ISBN 978-0954937034.

Further reading[edit]

  • Allen, Charles (1990). The Savage Wars of Peace: Soldiers Voices', 1945-1989. Michael Joseph. ISBN 978-0718128821.
  • Pringle, Andrew (2007). Swift and Bold - A Portrait of The Royal Green Jackets 1966-2007. Third Millennium. ISBN 978-1903942697.
  • Swinson, Arthur (1972). A Register of the Regiments and Corps of the British Army. Arms and Armour Press. ISBN 978-0855910006.
  • Wallace, Lt. General Sir Christopher (2005). The King's Royal Rifle Corps: The 60th Rifles. A Brief History: 1755 to 1965. From Royal Americans to Royal Green Jackets. Royal Green Jackets Museum. ISBN 0-9549370-0-7.
  • Wallace, Lt. General Sir Christopher; Cassidy, Major Ron (2006). Focus on Courage. The 59 Victoria Crosses of the Royal Green Jackets. Royal Green Jackets Museum. ISBN 0-9549370-1-5.
  • Wilkinson-Latham, Christopher (1975). The Royal Green Jackets. Osprey Publishing. ISBN 978-0850452495.

External links[edit]