Umvoti Mounted Rifles

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Umvoti Mounted Rifles
SANDF Umvoti Mounted Rifles emblem clean ver.png
SANDF Umvoti Mounted Rifles emblem
Active 16 May 1864 to present
Country  South Africa
Type Armoured Car Regiment
Size One Battalion
Part of South African Armoured Formation
Army Conventional Reserve
Garrison/HQ Pinetown
Patron King Zwelithini Goodwill ka Bhekuzulu
Motto(s) Toujours Pret
(Always Ready)[1]
Anniversaries 16 May (Regimental Day)
Equipment Rooikat armoured fighting vehicle
Battle honours
Battle Honours
South Africa 1879
South Africa 1899-1902
Relief of Ladysmith
Natal 1906
South West Africa 1914 - 1915
Western Desert 1941-43
Maj D. Quinton
Beret Colour Black
Armour Squadron emblems SANDF Armour squadron emblems
Armour beret bar circa 1992 SANDF Armour beret bar

The Umvoti Mounted Rifles (named after the Umvoti River) is an armoured regiment of the South African Army. As a reserve unit, it has a status roughly equivalent to that of a British Army Reserve or United States Army National Guard unit. It is part of the South African Army Armour Formation and is based in the town of Pinetown.


On 16 May 1864 the Umvoti Mounted Rifles (UMR) was founded in Greytown as the Greytown Mounted Rifles.[1] There were some 45 men in the original unit, under command of Capt A.S. Wyndham who was also the Magistrate of Greytown at the time.

The Umvoti Mounted Rifles Hall is the oldest hall in Greytown. It was built in 1880 as a Masonic Hall, but later became the headquarters of the Regiment. It is currently used by the Greytown public works department.

The Umvoti Mounted Rifles was formed in 1893 at Greytown, Natal by the redesignation of the left Wing of the Natal Carbineers. On 1 July 1913 the Regiment absorbed the Zululand Mounted Rifles, was redesignated the 4th Mounted Rifles (Umvoti Mounted Rifles) and transferred to the Active Citizen Force of the Union Defence Force. In 1934 the Regiment was redesignated as the Umvoti Mounted Rifles and converted to infantry.

Engagements and Wars[edit]

The Natal Mounted Rifles served in the Second Anglo-Boer War (1899–1902), the Zulu Rebellion (1906–1907), World War I (specifically in South-West Africa from 1914 to 1915), World War II and South Africa's post-war internal conflicts and "Border War".[2]

Various Musterings[edit]

The UMR since 1920 served under command of the OC, Natal Command as firstly a Mounted Regiment on horseback and then, from 1935 as a motorised infantry unit. In September 1939 they were part of the 1st South African Brigade of the Natal Command.[3] During the Second World War the Regiment served as an Infantry unit and in 1954 was converted to a Tank Regiment and subsequently in 1962 into an armoured car regiment.[4]

Affliation with 8th Armoured Division[edit]

During 1984 the UMR was brigaded as the Armoured Car Regiment of 8th South African Armoured Division 84 Motorised Brigade. This necessitated conversion from a county-insurgency unit to a conventional force and ended 74 years service with Natal Command. The unit was then the Armoured Car Reconnaissance regiment of 8 SA Division and was then part of 84 SA Brigade based in Durban, Natal.

Under the SANDF[edit]

In 1999, 84 SA Brigade was closed and the unit then fell under direct command of the South African Army Armoured Formation, and Umvoti Mounted Rifles was transferred to the new armoured 'type' formation, the South African Army Armoured Formation. The Regiment currently uses the Rooikat armoured fighting vehicle, equipped with a 76 mm quick-fire gun.

Rooikat Armoured Car

In 2012 the long-awaited new history of the regiment, written by historian Mark Coghlan, was published by Just Done Productions Publishing.[5]


Previous Dress Insignia[edit]

SADF 8th Armoured Division Umvoti Mounted Rifles Flash 
SADF Umvoti Mounted Rifles beret badge 


Battle honours[edit]

As virtually the whole Regiment was captured at Tobruk in June 1942, there were no more World War II battle honours.