The Rifles

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For other uses, see The Rifles (band) and The Rifles (novel).
The Rifles
Rifles cap badge.PNGRGBWback.PNG
Cap and Back badges of The Rifles
Active 1 February 2007 –
Allegiance  United Kingdom
Branch  British Army
Type Rifles
Role 1st BattalionLight Infantry
2nd Battalion—Light Infantry
3rd Battalion—Light Protected Mobility Infantry
4th Battalion—Mechanised Infantry
5th Battalion—Armoured Infantry
6th Battalion—Army Reserve
7th Battalion—Army Reserve
Size Seven battalions
Garrison/HQ RHQ—Winchester
1st Battalion—Beachley
2nd Battalion—Lisburn
3rd Battalion—Edinburgh
4th Battalion— Bulford
5th Battalion—Paderborn, Germany
6th Battalion—Exeter
7th Battalion—Reading
Motto "Celer et Audax" (Latin)
"Swift and Bold"
Colours Rifle Green
March Quick: Mechanised Infantry
Double Past: Keel Row/Road to the Isles
Slow: Old Salamanca
Colonel in Chief HRH The Duke of Edinburgh
Colonel Commandant General Sir Nicholas Parker KCB CBE
Tactical Recognition Flash Rifles TRF.svg
Arm Badge Croix de Guerre
From Devonshire and Dorset Light Infantry
Abbreviation RIFLES

The Rifles is an infantry regiment of the British Army. Formed in 2007, it consists of five Regular and two 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.


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 Rifles was formed on 1 February 2007 by the amalgamation of the four Light Infantry and Rifle Regiments of the Light Division:[1]

The Rifles was formed to serve as the county regiment of the following counties:

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.[2]

The 1st Battalion undertook a tour in Afghanistan between October 2008 and April 2009 mentoring the Afghan National Army in Helmand Province.[2]

In May 2009 the 5th Battalion was one of the last British Army units to leave Iraq.[2]

In Summer 2009 the 4th Battalion provide reinforcement cover for the elections in Afghanistan and to took part in Operation Panther's Claw.[2] At the same time the 2nd Battalion was deployed to Sangin and was relieved in due course by the 3rd Battalion.[2]


The regiment has 5 regular and 2 reserve battalions, each configured for a specific infantry role:

In addition to the seven battalions above, two companies wear Rifles cap badges but are sub-units of reserve battalions other infantry regiments:

  • D (RIFLES) Company, 5th Battalion Royal Regiment of Fusiliers (includes Y (RIFLES) Platoon), a redesignation of C (Light Infantry) Company, Tyne-Tees Regiment and Minden (Light Infantry) Company, East and West Riding Regiment. Designated to reflect the historic relationship with Durham, and Yorkshire, the Company has a presence at Bishop Auckland, Consett, Sunderland, Washington, Doncaster and Pontefract.

HRH The Duke of Edinburgh (ex-Colonel-in-Chief, RGBWLI) is the Colonel-in-Chief of the Regiment whilst each battalion has its own Royal Colonel:

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

The Band and Bugles

The Waterloo Band of The Rifles in London

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)

Golden threads

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 have been brought into the new regiment from each of its founder regiments:[8]

  • Croix de Guerre - the French Croix de Guerre ribbon awarded to the Devonshire Regiment in World War I, 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.

Battle honours

The following battle honours are a representation of the total honours awarded to the regiments which formed The Rifles. These are inscribed on the regiment's belt badge:

Order of precedence

Preceded by
Royal Gurkha Rifles
Infantry Order of Precedence Succeeded by
Special Air Service


The Rifles The Devonshire and Dorset Regiment The Devonshire Regiment
The Dorset Regiment The 39th (Dorsetshire) Regiment of Foot
The 54th (West Norfolk) Regiment of Foot
The Light Infantry The Somerset and Cornwall Light Infantry The Somerset Light Infantry (Prince Albert's)
The Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry The 32nd (Cornwall Light Infantry) Regiment of Foot
The 46th (South Devonshire) Regiment of Foot
The King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry The 51st (2nd Yorkshire West Riding) Regiment of Foot
The 105th Regiment of Foot (Madras Light Infantry)
The King's Shropshire Light Infantry The 53rd (Shropshire) Regiment of Foot
The 85th (King's Light Infantry) Regiment of Foot
The Durham Light Infantry The 68th (Durham) Regiment of Foot
The 106th Regiment of Foot (Bombay Light Infantry)
The Royal Gloucestershire, Berkshire and Wiltshire Light Infantry The Gloucestershire Regiment The 28th (North Gloucestershire) Regiment of Foot
The 61st (South Gloucestershire) Regiment of Foot
The Duke of Edinburgh's Royal Regiment (Berkshire and Wiltshire) The Royal Berkshire Regiment
(Princess Charlotte of Wales's)
49th (Princess Charlotte of Wales's) (Hertfordshire) Regiment of Foot
The 66th (Berkshire) Regiment of Foot
The Wiltshire Regiment
(Duke of Edinburgh's)
62nd (Wiltshire) Regiment of Foot
The 99th Duke of Edinburgh's (Lanarkshire) Regiment of Foot
The Royal Green Jackets The Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry The 43rd (Monmouthshire) Regiment of Foot (Light Infantry)
The 52nd (Oxfordshire) Regiment of Foot (Light Infantry)
The King's Royal Rifle Corps
The Rifle Brigade (Prince Consort's Own)

See also


  1. "History of the Light Infantry". Retrieved 26 April 2014. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 "Care for Casualties". Retrieved 26 April 2014. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Army basing announcement" (PDF). Retrieved 26 April 2014. 
  4. "1 RIFLES - British Army Website". Retrieved 2014-04-26. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 page 9
  6. page 7
  7. Ministry of Defence (2013-03-13). "Riflemen train for post-Afghanistan deployments - News stories". GOV.UK. Retrieved 2014-04-26. 
  8. "Golden Threads". Retrieved 26 April 2014. 

Further reading

  • 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.

External links