The Rifles is an infantry regiment of the British Army. Formed in 2007, it consists of five Regular and three Reserve battalions, plus a number of companies in other Army Reserve 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 in the War in Afghanistan.
Cap and Back badges of The Rifles
|Active||2007 – present|
|Role||1st Battalion—Light Infantry|
2nd Battalion—Light Infantry
3rd Battalion—Light Protected Mobility Infantry
4th Battalion—Specialised Infantry Battalion
5th Battalion—Armoured Infantry
6th Battalion—Army Reserve
7th Battalion—Armoured Infantry Reserve
8th Battalion - Army Reserve
8th Battalion---Bishop Auckland
|Motto(s)||"Celer et Audax" (Latin)|
"Swift and Bold"
|March||Quick: Mechanised Infantry|
Double Past: Keel Row/Road to the Isles
Slow: Old Salamanca
|Colonel Commandant||General Sir Nick Carter CBE|
|Tactical Recognition Flash|
|Arm Badge||Croix de Guerre|
From Devonshire and Dorset Light Infantry
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 reserve battalion from within the Territorial Army (TA) as it was then called. However, on 24 November 2005, the Ministry of Defence announced that the four regiments would amalgamate into a single five-battalion regiment. The regular battalions of The Rifles was formed on 1 February 2007 by the amalgamation of the four Light Infantry and Rifle Regiments of the Light Division as follows:
- 1st Battalion The Rifles (formed from the 1st Battalion, Devonshire and Dorset Regiment, and the 1st Battalion Royal Gloucestershire, Berkshire and Wiltshire Regiment)
- 2nd Battalion The Rifles (formed from the 1st Battalion, Royal Green Jackets)
- 3rd Battalion The Rifles (formed from the 2nd Battalion, Light Infantry)
- 4th Battalion The Rifles (formed from the 2nd Battalion, Royal Green Jackets)
- 5th Battalion The Rifles (formed from the 1st Battalion, Light Infantry)
- 6th Battalion (TA) The Rifles (formed from the Rifle Volunteers)
- 7th Battalion (TA) The Rifles (formed from the Royal Rifle Volunteers minus the Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment Company but with the surviving two Companies (F and G) of 4th (V) and 5th (V) Battalions of the Royal Green Jackets within The London Regiment)
The 2nd Battalion, the 3rd Battalion and the 4th Battalion were all deployed in Basra in Iraq during some of the worst fighting of the Iraq War including the withdrawal from Basra Palace in September 2007.
The 1st Battalion undertook a tour in Afghanistan between October 2008 and April 2009 mentoring the Afghan National Army in Helmand Province. The 5th Battalion was one of the last British Army units to leave Iraq in May 2009. The 4th Battalion provided reinforcement cover for the elections in Afghanistan and took part in Operation Panther's Claw in the Summer of 2009. At the same time the 2nd Battalion was deployed to Sangin and was relieved in due course by the 3rd Battalion. The 2nd and 5th battalions of the Rifles returned for a six-month tour of duty in Afghanistan serving in the Nahri Saraj District in October 2011. In March 2018 the 2nd Battalion returned home after a six-month operational deployment to Iraq in support of Operation Shader.
The regiment has five regular and three reserve battalions, each configured for a specific infantry role:
- 1st Battalion, an amalgamation of the 1st Battalion, Devonshire and Dorset Regiment and the 1st Battalion, Royal Gloucestershire, Berkshire and Wiltshire Regiment. Initially configured in the light role as part of 3 Commando Brigade, it moved to 160th Infantry Brigade and Headquarters Wales under Army 2020. Personnel were based at Beachley Barracks, Chepstow.
- 2nd Battalion, a redesignation of the 1st Battalion, Royal Green Jackets. Initially configured in the light role as part of 19 Light Brigade, it moved to 38th (Irish) Brigade under Army 2020. Personnel are based at Thiepval Barracks, Lisburn.
- 3rd Battalion, a redesignation of the 2nd Battalion, The Light Infantry. Initially configured in the light role as part of 52nd Infantry Brigade, it moved to 51st Infantry Brigade and Headquarters Scotland under Army 2020. Personnel are based at Dreghorn Barracks, Edinburgh. Princess Alexandra of Kent serves as its Royal Colonel.
- 4th Battalion, a redesignation of the 2nd Battalion, Royal Green Jackets. Initially configured in the mechanised role as part of 1 Mechanised Brigade, it remains with that brigade which is now designated 1st Armoured Infantry Brigade. Personnel are based at New Normandy Barracks in Aldershot Garrison. The battalion will convert to a Specialised Infantry battalion, to provide an increased contribution to countering terrorism and building stability overseas.
- 5th Battalion - redesignation of the 1st Battalion, The Light Infantry. configured in the armoured role as part of 20th Armoured Brigade, it will remain as a Warrior battalion under Army 2020. Personnel are based at Bulford Camp.
- 6th Battalion - redesignation of the Rifle Volunteers. It comes under 160th Infantry Brigade and Headquarters Wales and is paired with 1 RIFLES. Personnel are based at Wyvern Barracks in Exeter with sub-units at Gloucester, Taunton, Dorchester, Shrewsbury, Hereford and Truro.
- 7th Battalion - redesignation of the Royal Rifle Volunteers, minus the Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment company, plus the Royal Green Jacket companies of the London Regiment (the descendants of the 4th (V) Battalion the Royal Green Jackets). It comes under 20th Armoured Brigade and is paired with 5 RIFLES. Personnel are based in Kensington, with sub-units at Reading, Abingdon, Mile End, West Ham, High Wycombe, Swindon, Bulford and Aylesbury.
- 8th Battalion - on 15 December 2016 the Defence Secretary announced that a new reserve battalion of the Rifles would be formed. The new battalion will be under operational control of 38th Infantry Brigade. It was officially formed on 1 November 2017. The battalion primarily covers the areas of County Durham, Yorkshire, Shropshire and Birmingham, with Headquarters located in Bishop Auckland, County Durham. It incorporated E Company 6 RIFLES in Shrewsbury, D (RIFLES) Company 5RRF in Durham, and Y (RIFLES) Platoon 5RRF in Doncaster, which has been expanded to company strength.
|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 Battalion, The Rifles||HRH The Duke of Gloucester|
|7th Battalion, The Rifles||HRH The Duchess of Gloucester|
|8th Battalion, The Rifles||To be announced|
The Band and Bugles
The regular element of 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 Army Reserve 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)
The Sounding Retreat
The Sounding Retreat is form of the Beating Retreat ceremony of the Household Division. The main difference between this ceremony and the regular Beating Retreat is that this is performed by the bugle bands of The Rifles, as well as the former of the bands of the Britain's Light Division. This traditional ceremony (which represents the sounding of Sunset or Retreat in the British Army) has been done on 31 May and 1 June on Horse Guards Parade as recently as 1993 and 2016. Besides the Bugle Band of the Rifles, the Band of the Brigade of Gurkhas also takes part in the ceremony.
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 i.e. distinctive honours 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 the First World War, 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.
- Double past - the march played when the regiment moves at double time is an amalgam of Keel Row, the double past of the Light Infantry, and The Road to the Isles, the double past of the Royal Green Jackets.
- Gibraltar, Copenhagen, Plassey, Dettingen, Minden, Quebec, Martinique, Marabout, Peninsula, Waterloo, Afghanistan, Jellalabad, Ferozeshah, Delhi, Lucknow, New Zealand, Pekin, South Africa, Inkerman
- Great War: Nonne Boschen, Ypres, Somme, Vittorio Veneto, Megiddo
- Second World War: Calais, First Battle of El Alamein, Second Battle of El Alamein, Kohima, Pegasus Bridge, Normandy, Italy 1943–45, Anzio
- Imjin, Korea, Iraq 2003
Order of precedence
Royal Gurkha Rifles
|Infantry Order of Precedence||Succeeded by|
Special Air Service
- "NEW COLONEL COMMANDANT FOR THE RIFLES". The Regimental Association of the Devonshire and Dorset Regiment. Retrieved 9 March 2017.
- "History of the Light Infantry". Retrieved 26 April 2014.
- "6 RIFLES". Ministry of Defence. Retrieved 30 April 2016.
- "7 RIFLES". Ministry of Defence. Retrieved 30 April 2016.
- "The Rifles forged in battle - An overview of the first three years". Care for Casualties. Retrieved 26 April 2014.
- "20th Armoured Brigade takes command of Task Force Helmand". Ministry of Defence. 10 October 2011. Retrieved 21 May 2016.
- "Photos: Royal Reception as 2 Rifles Battalion return home from Iraq". Belfast Telegraph. 9 March 2018. Retrieved 15 March 2018.
- "Army basing announcement" (PDF). Ministry of Defence. Archived from the original (PDF) on 14 August 2016. Retrieved 26 April 2014.
- "1 RIFLES". Ministry of Defence. Archived from the original on 9 April 2016. Retrieved 30 April 2016.
- "Transforming the British Army: An Update" (PDF). Ministry of Defence. p. 9. Retrieved 30 April 2016.
- "Appointment of New Royal Colonels". Royal.UK. 28 February 2006. Retrieved 18 November 2019.
- "Transforming the British Army: An Update" (PDF). Ministry of Defence. p. 7. Retrieved 30 April 2016.
- "Strategic Defence and Security Review - Army:Written statement - HCWS367 - UK Parliament". Parliament.uk. 4 December 2014. Retrieved 16 December 2016.
- "Riflemen train for post-Afghanistan deployments". Ministry of Defence. 13 March 2013. Retrieved 26 April 2014.
- "Regiments to change bases in major Army restructure". BelfastTelegraph.co.uk. 15 November 2016. Retrieved 16 December 2016.
- "Information on the Army 2020 refine exercise" (PDF). Gov.uk. 10 March 2017. Retrieved 20 June 2017.
- "The Rifles Regimental Who's Who 2007". British Armed Forces. Retrieved 30 April 2016.
- "The Band and Bugles of The Rifles". Ministry of Defence. Retrieved 30 April 2016.
- "The Duke of Edinburgh takes the salute at Sounding Retreat | The Royal Family". Royal.uk. Retrieved 17 March 2019.
- "Golden Threads". Shropshire Regimental Museum. Retrieved 26 April 2014.
- "The Rifles Dress Guidance" (PDF). Rifles Regimental Badges. The Rifles. Retrieved 16 February 2018.
- The London Gazette, Page 3300-3301 (1 July 1881). "Childers Reform" (24992). Government of the United Kingdom. Retrieved 27 October 2016.
- 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.