Sep 202011

The Royal Green Jackets

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. It was formed in 1966 by the amalgamation of the three separate regiments of the Green Jacket Brigade:

1 Green Jackets, (43rd and 52nd)

2 Green Jackets, (The King`s Royal Rifle Corps)

3 Green Jackets, (Rifle Brigade)

There were also two Territorial Army battalions made up as follows

4th(V) Bn Royal Green Jackets – formed from the remnants of the Rangers (KRRC), London Rifle Brigade, Tower Hamlets Rifles, Queens Westminster’s, Queen Victoria’s Rifles and Civil Service Rifles.

5th(V) Bn Royal Green Jackets – formed from the 4th Bn the Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry (TA) and the Buckinghamshire Battalion of the Ox & Bucks Light Infantry

In 1992 1st RGJ was disbanded, 2nd RGJ was renumbered 1st RGJ, 3rd RGJ was renumbered 2nd RGJ.

The last ever Royal Green Jackets unit was the London Oratory CCF who were re-badged as Irish guards in 2010.

Their motto was Celer et Audax latin for, “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 marches at 140 paces per minute (at a 15″ pace) whereas other regiments march at just 120 (with an 18″ stride). Until recently no other regiment has devoted so much time to becoming highly proficient with the rifle, even though it has been part of standard army issue for 140 years; as a consequence, the RGJ’s lowest rank (other than ‘recruit’) is Rifleman (Rfn), rather than Private (Pte), as in other regiments.

The regiment was classed as a ‘rifle’ regiment, having its lineage in the regiments of foot that were equipped with the first Baker Rifle. 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. Also, the regiment carried no colours, as traditionally rifle regiments, being skirmishers and sharpshooters, had no need to identify where their fellows were on the battlefield. So, the battle honours of the Royal Green Jackets were worn on the regiment’s cap badge. Infantry in the regiment wore a beret with the badge behind the left eye towards the side of the head, traditionally to show that they do not need to hide behind their colours to show how good the regiment is.Green Jackets were issued with short swords instead of bayonets as the Baker Rifles of the past were shorter than the traditional musket, fitting the sword to the rifle made the overall weapon length the same as a musket with bayonet attached. The RGJ still refer to their bayonets as ‘swords’.

The Royal Green Jackets and its antecedent regiments have been awarded more Victoria Crosses than any other unit, with a total of 59.

Amalgamations of 2007

As part of the 2004 restructuring the infantry, the RGJ was scheduled to be largely unaffected – though the regiment had already been reduced to two Regular battalions in 1992. The regiment would have received a new Territorial Army battalion through the grouping together of the various RGJ companies of the Royal Rifle Volunteers and the London Regiment.

However, on 24 November 2005 it was announced that after discussions between The Light Infantry and the RGJ, the two would be merged together with the Devonshire and Dorset Light Infantry and Royal Gloucestershire,Berkshire and Wiltshire Light Infantry (RGBW) by the end of 2007 to form a single large regiment to be called The Rifles. The new regiment was to contain five Regular Battalions and two TA Battalions.

The reorganisation into “The Rifles” took effect on 1 February 2007:

The 1st Battalion Royal Green Jackets became 2nd Battalion, The Rifles

The 2nd Battalion Royal Green Jackets became 4th Battalion, The Rifles

The surviving Territorial Army companies of 4 & 5 RGJ, along with a company of the RGBW became 7th Battalion, The Rifles

The Maltese Cross cap badge of the RGJ was adopted as the belt badge of The Rifles and will carry the battle honours. The Rifles is a Rifle Regiment and as such will not carry colours. The title “rifleman” was adopted for soldiers of the rank of private, as it had been with the Royal Green Jackets.

The Royal Green Jackets had four Combined Cadet Force units, which are part of the London Oratory School CCF, Winchester Collage CCF, Rutland School CCF and Royal Grammar School High Wycombe CCF (which was originally attached to the Buckinghamshire Battalion).

Battle Honours

A memorial sign of 1982 Regents Park bombing

Louisburg, Quebec 1759, Martinique 1762, Havannah, North America 1763-64, Mysore, Hindoostan, Martinique 1794, Copenhagen, Montevideo, RoLica, Vimiero, Corunna, Martinique 1809, Talavera, Busaco, Barrosa, Fuentes d’Onor, Albuhera, Ciudad Rodrigo, Badajoz, Salamanca, Vitoria, Pyrenees, Nivelle, Nive, Orthez, Toulouse, Peninsula, Waterloo, South Africa 1846-47, Mooltan, Goojerat, Punjab, South Africa 1851-53, Alma, lnkerman, Sevastopol, Delhi 1857, Lucknow, Taku Forts, Peking 1860, New Zealand, Ashantee 1873-74, Au Masjid, South Africa 1879, Ahmad Khel, Kandahar 1880, Afganistan 1878-80, Tel-el-Kebir, Egypt 1882-84, Burma 1885-87, Chitral, Khartoum, Defence of Ladysmith, Relief  of Kimberley, Paardeberg, Relief of Ladysmith, South Africa 1899-1902.

The Great War: Mons, Le Cateau, Retreat from Mons, Marne 1914, Aisne 1914, 18, Armentieres 1914, Ypres 1914, 15, 17, 18, Langemarck 1914, 17, Gheluvelt, Nonne Boschen, Givenchy 1914, Neuve Chapelle, Gravenstafel, St. Julien, Frezenberg, Heliewaarde, Aubers, Festubert 1915, Hooge 1915, Loos, Mount Sorrel, Somme 1916, 18, Albert 1916, 18, Bazentin, Delville Wood, Pozières, Guillemont, Flers-Courcelette, Morval, Le Transloy, Ancre Heights, Ancre 1916, 18, Bapaume 1917, 18,Arras 1917, 18, Vimy 1917, Scarpe 1917, 18, Arleux, Messines 1917, 18, Pilckem, Menin Road, Polygon Wood, Broodseinde, Poelcappelle, Passchendaele, Cambrai 1917, 18, St. Quentin, Rosières, Avre, Villers-Bretonneux, Lys, Hazebrouck, Bailleul, Kemmel, Bethune, Drocourt Quéant, Hindenburg Line, Havrincourt, Epehy, Canal du Nord, St. Quentin Canal, Beaurevoir, Kortrijk, Selle, Valenciennes, Sambre, France and Flanders1914-18, Piave, Vittorio Veneto, Italy 1917-18, Doiran 1917- 18, Macedonia 1915-18, Kut al Amara 1915, Ctesiphon, Defence of Kut Amara, Tigris 1916, Khan Baghdadi, Mesopotimia 1914-18. Archangle 1919

The Second World War:Defence of Escaut, Calaise 1940, Cassel, Ypres-Comines Canal, Normandy Landing, Pegasus Bridge, Villers Bocage, Oden, Caen, Esquay, Bourguebus Ridge, Mont Pincon, Le Perier Ridge, Falaise, Antwerp, Hechtel, Nederrijn, Lower Maas, Roer, Ourthe, Rhineland, Reichswald, Kleve, Goch, Hochwald, Rhine, Ibbenbueren, Dreirwalde, Leese, Aller, North- West Europe1940, 44-45, Egyptian Frontier 1940, Sidi Barrani, Beda Fomm, Mersa el Brega, Agedabia, Derna Aerodrome, Tabruk 1941, Sidi Rezegh 1941, Chor es Sufan, Saunnu, Gazala, Bir Hacheim, Knightsbridge, Defence of Alamein Line, Ruweisat, Fuka Airfield, Alam el Halfa, El Alamein, Capture of Haifaya Pass, Nofilia, Tebaga Gap, Enfidaville, Medjez el Bab, Kasserine, Thala, Fondouk, Fondouk Pass, El Kourzia, Djebel Kournine, Agroub el Megas, Tunis, Hamman Lif, North Africa 1940-43, Sangro, Salerno, Santa Lucia, Salerno Hills, Cardito, Teano, Monte Camino, Garigliano Crossing, Damiano, Anzio, Cassino II, Liri Valley,  Melfa Crossing, Monte Rotondo, Capture of Perugia, Monte Malbe, Arezzo, Advance to Florence, Gothic Line, Coriano, Gemmano Ridge, Lamone Crossing, Orsara, Tossignano, Argenta Gap, Fossa Cembalina, Italy 1943-45, Veve, Greece 1941, 44,45, Crete, Middle East 1941, Arakan Beaches, Tamanda, Burma1943-44.


All Green jackets would have historically been made of wool with a lining of linen to give shape to the garment. The modern scarlet wool is also supplied by “Abimelech Hainsworth” and is much lighter than the traditional material, which was intended for hard wear on active service. Their boots were made of fake thick animal hide, this was then lined in a thin layer of wool. They had a small pouch on the side of their hip, this contained the ammunition for their rifles.

Tour of shame

Three member`s of the 1st Battalion The Royal Green Jackets, brought total shame on the Regiment during a posting in Cyprus 1993 to 1996.

On the 16th September 1994 the three members were involved in a incident that shocked the World. 

Sourced from Wikipedia