Category Archives: The Rifles

Hidden Heroes Panel Talk – The Families and Communities Behind The Rifles

At 6:30 PM, on Thursday 28th June, a panel talk will be taking place at The Rifles Museum. The panel will be discussing a wide range of topics relating to the families and loved ones of Riflemen, and the Army’s support networks and welfare teams. The Rifles, and the British Army, rely strongly on the support of military families and communities. After the talk, the attendees are welcome to ask the speakers questions. Refreshments provided. Tickets £12, on sale now over the phone at 01963 828505.

For further information regarding the families and communities of The Rifles, come into The Rifles Museum to see the Hidden Heroes exhibition.

Tickets: £12

6:30 PM Thursday 28/06/18

The Rifles Museum, Peninsula Barracks, Romsey Road, Winchester, SO23 8TS

Image of a Light Infantry Company Soldier c.1771

Image of a Light Infantry Company soldier of the 46th Regiment of Foot c. 1771. The 46th would later become the 2nd Battalion The Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry.

Image of a Light Infantry Company soldier of the 46th Regiment of Foot c. 1771. The 46th would later become the 2nd Battalion The Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry.

This image depicts a soldier in the Light Infantry Company (note the LI lettering to the front of his cut down cap) of the 46th (South Devonshire) Regiment of foot c. 1771, as they would have appeared just prior to the American Revolutionary War. The 46th would later become the 2nd battalion of The Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry. After Light Infantry evolved in the 7 years war, particularly in the campaigns in North America, each British Regiment of foot had a designated company of skirmishers on their establishment, known as The Light Infantry or Light company. Their clothing and equipment was altered to be less cumbersome in close country and to allow free movement. This included having headdress that fitted closer to the head and would catch less on trees and undergrowth than the wider tricorn hat. After the American Revolutionary war, building on the experience of using combined battalions of light Infantry companies and German rifle armed Jager regiments; in the early 19th Century formed battalions of Light Infantry and then Rifle Corps were formed to meet the threat from Revolutionary France. Many of the men to form these new regiments were chosen from the Light Companies of existing Regiments, selected for their agility, skill at arms, self confidence and marksmanship. They became ‘the chosen men’ to form these new skirmishing corps. It is through this skirmishing tradition all the way back to 1757 that the skirmishing ethos of the Light Infantry and the Rifleman in British service has evolved. An ethos firmly held by the Riflemen of todays Regiment, with the qualities of those first chosen men still encapsulated in our motto Swift & Bold.

To find out more about the service of our antecedents in The American Revolution or the evolution of The Rifles why not visit any of the Museums in The Rifles Museums network the locations of which are on the interactive map under Rifles Museums. for the 46th in particular visit Cornwall’s regimental Museum, The Keep, Bodmin.

Key moment in History of The Rifles. After 13 years committed to operations in Afghanistan, Op HERRICK comes to an end.

Colonel Henry Worsley MBE (RGJ-RIFLES) Commander of the first British Military intervention in Afghanistan in 2001 called Op VERITAS.

Colonel Henry Worsley MBE (RGJ-RIFLES) Commander of the first British Military intervention in Afghanistan in 2001 called Op VERITAS.

An empty Camp Bastion after close down. Once one of the busiest military bases in the world now concrete and canvas in the desert.

An empty Camp Bastion after close down. Once one of the busiest military bases in the world now concrete and canvas in the desert.

 

The Camp Bastion Union Flag is handed to Brigadier R J Thompson DSO MBE (late RIFLES and CO of 2 Rifles during the hard fought Op HERRICK 9 tour). (Photo - Western Morning News)

The Camp Bastion Union Flag is handed to Brigadier R J Thompson DSO MBE (late RIFLES and CO of 2 Rifles during the hard fought Op HERRICK 9 tour). (Photo – Western Morning News)

 

Th eUnion Flag is lowered for the last time at Camp Bastion 26 Oct 2014 (photo The Daily Record)

Th eUnion Flag is lowered for the last time at Camp Bastion 26 Oct 2014 (photo The Daily Record)

 

NATO Mission Flags lowered over Camp Bastion (photo - The Guardian)

NATO Mission Flags lowered over Camp Bastion (photo – The Guardian)

 

“First in The Field & Last out of it” (to para phrase the toast of the old 95th Rifles), seems appropriate for their successors; todays RIFLES as Op HERRICK came to an end on Saturday 26th October 2014.

In 2001 a Rifleman Col Henry Worsley, RGJ led the first British Forces into Southern Afghanistan on Op VERITAS, to aid the fledgling new Government in recovering the country from the ravages of Taliban Rule; our antecedent regiments the RGBW and Light Infantry served ‘in country’ in the early Op HERRICKs as the operation became known after 2002, before the forming of The Rifles in 2007. Since then the Regiment has seen all of its Regular Battalions complete at least two if not three tours each in Southern Afghanistan, supported by our Reserve Battalions with individual reinforcements and formed company groups. During these 13 years The Regiment has paid dearly for its service, loosing 54 of our Rifleman to action and well over 200 wounded.

Names like Sangin & Lash Kagar, Kabul, Kandahar and Helmand, are as familiar to a modern generation of soldiers as they were to their 19th century counter parts who fought on “The North West Frontier”, and the Battle Honour Afghanistan worn with pride on the RIfles Belt Badge is as relevant today as it is to the actions of the past.

Now it has fallen to another Rifleman, to close this chapter of British Army operations with Brigadier Rob Thompson DSO MBE (late Rifles and CO of 2 Rifles on Op Herrick 9) commanding the final troops operating from Camp Bastion and handing the base over to the Afghan National Army, with 5 RIFLES being one of the final Battle – Groups out.

As we approach Remembrance Sunday and Armistice day, on this hundredth anniversary year of the outbreak of The Great War, let us not only remember our fore fathers but also honour with pride those riflemen who have made the ultimate sacrifice for friends and comrades in more recent year.

Let us also not forget the men of 2 RIFLES still serving on Op TORAL as the Force Protection group for British Government personnel and interests in Kabul, safe home in 2015, Swift & Bold.