Jan 202014

RGJ to The Rifles

This post was written by a fellow rifleman Keith Kneller who attended the passover to The Rifles in the Serjeants (Sergeants) mess at Sir John Moore Barracks (in his own words as he remembers the event)

Light Division  (Please Play Me)

The evening started with invited guests arriving at the Serjeants (Sergeants) mess at Sir John Moore Barracks, Flowerdown at 1930 for a well set out regimental curry and a few drinks, before getting to grips with the task in hand, i.e. the ceremony of laying the regiments who had been chosen to form a New Light Infantry Regiment to be called The Rifles, to rest and consign them to History !.

The regiments who were to form The Rifles were:

The Devon and Dorset Light Infantry

The Light Infantry

The Royal Gloucestershire and Wiltshire Light Infantry

The Royal Green Jackets

When reborn on the 1st February 2007, they would then be called collectively, The Rifles and there would be 7 Battalions, 5 Regular and 2 Territorial:

1st Battalion Commando Infantry – Beachley Barracks, Chepstow.

2nd Battalion Light Role – Abercorn Barracks, Ballykinley.

3rd Battalion Light Role – Redford Barracks, Edinburgh.

4th Battalion Mechanised Infantry – Kiwi Barracks, Bulford.

5th Battalion Armoured Infantry – Alanbrooke Barracks, Paderborn, Germany.

6th Battalion TA Unit Army Reserve – Wyvern Barracks, Exeter.

7th Battalion TA Unit Army Reserve – Brock Barracks, Reading.

The new regiment had to come about because of change and uncertainty in the International Security Environment as well as within the British Army.

Just before midnight 4 coffins draped in the flags of

The Devon and Dorset Light Infantry

The Light Infantry

The Royal Gloucestershire and Wiltshire Light Infantry

The Royal Green Jackets

 The 4 coffins were slowly carried into the Serjeants mess and placed upon a table.

A member of each of the now ` former` Regiments then spoke

about some of the attributes of their particular Regiment and what they would bring to the NEW Regiment.

The Senior Officer present and the Regimental Quarter Masters Serjeant were then invited to issue the serving members of the newly born Regiment The Rifles with their new cap badge.

 The Senior Officer then proceeded to speak about the exciting future ahead of The Rifles

as the newest and largest regiment in the British Army

and wished them a long and successful journey.

The Senior Officer then stated they must all forge their own way in this new venture and remember that a RIFLEMAN is not just a rank, it is something that applies to all members of the regiment and has to be earned, All who serve in The Rifles are RIFLEMEN, regardless of rank.

The term RIFLEMAN is an expression of common united identity, embodying a close bond of comradeship rooted in respect, trust and pride forged through shared experiences and hardship. It invokes a spirit of equality within the hierarchy of command, which recognises that good ideas can and will come from everyone !!.

P.S. I was one of those who received one of the new RIFLES  Badges

not because i was still serving at the time, but because

I was a good scrounger and i still have the Badge to this day.

(Serjeants derives from the Ox and Bucks Light Infantry and ALL RIFLES use the spelling now

Written by Keith Kneller