An interesting Regimental Photo. Men of 3rd Battalion KRRC, Egypt 1882-84

Soldiers from the Kings Royal Rifle Corps , Egypt 1882. Probably 3rd Battalion KRRC.

Soldiers from the Kings Royal Rifle Corps , Egypt 1882. Probably 3rd Battalion KRRC.

A photo of3rd Battalion Kings Royal Rifle Corps possibly prior to embarking for Egypt in 1882.

This photo was taken during the Anglo Egyptian War and River Nile Expedition that took place from 1882-1885.

The 2nd DCLI, 1st Royal Berkshire, 1st KSLI, 3rd KRRC and 8th (City of London) Battalion, The London Regiment (Post Office Rifles) all served in this campaign. The Anglo Egyptian War was fought between Great Britain and Egyptian and Sudanese forces under Ahmed Orabi, who had led a coup against Tewfik Pasha, the Khedive of Egypt and the Sudan. Success enabled British troops to occupy Egypt until the Anglo Egyptian treaties of 1922 and 1936 which gave back gradual control to Egypt. The volunteer force unit, The Post Office Rifles, whose battle honours have passed to the Rifles and who 7 Rifles have direct lineage to, provided a detachment of 2 Officers and 102 men to undertake postal and telegraph duties for the Force Commander General Wolseley.

3rd Battalion KRRC who acted as mounted infantry during the campaign. Rifleman Frederick Corbett of this Battalion was awarded the VC for his efforts to save his officers life during this campaign, only to have it stripped from him in 1884 for embezzlement. Lt Percival Scrope Marling of 3rd KRRC was also awarded a VC in this campaign and the Battalion received honours for Egypt 1882, Tel El Kebir, and Egypt 1884 for a short expedition against the Mahdists in Suakin.

To find out more about the service of our antecedents in Egypt why not visit the Museums in Bodmin, Salisbury, Shrewsbury and Winchester, all part of The Rifles Museums network the locations of which are on the interactive map under Rifles Museums.

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.

The Rifles Great War Legacy, Great War 100 – Outbreak of the War and BEF deploys.

British Infantry recently arrived in France, possibly somewhere outside Boulogne, preparing to move off towards the Belgian border.

British Infantry recently arrived in France, possibly somewhere outside Boulogne, preparing to move off towards the Belgian border.

British Infantry 'somewhere in France' rest on the move towards Mons.

British Infantry ‘somewhere in France’ rest on the move towards Mons.

 

4th of August 1914, 11pm the British Government having not received suitable assurances from the German Government regarding preservation of Belgian neutrality, declares war on Germany and thus begins British involvement in the conflict that would become know as The Great War or First World War.

5th August 1914, the order is issued for The British Expeditionary Force (BEF) to mobilise and deploy to France and Belgium. The BEF was a unique force for its time – a modern and wholly professional and very experienced field force from the higher command down, when most European Armies were conscripted. Within its make up, were a number of the antecedents of today’s Rifles, with all of the forming Regiment’s represented in these opening moves of the war. The first units began deploying from Southampton to France on the 8th/9th August with further moves on the 22nd/23rd Aug and 8/9th Sep 1914. They would all variously find themselves engaged in the momentous opening battles of the western front campaign, Mons, Loos,Marne & 1st Ypres. Those former Regiments in the order of battle, and the formations to which they belonged are as follows:

1st Corps BEF
– 1st Division: 2nd (Inf) Bde – 2nd Bn KRRC; 3rd (Inf) Bde – 1st Bn Gloucestershire Regt.
– 2nd Div: 5th (Inf) Bde – 2nd Bn Oxford & Buckinghamshire LI; 6th (Inf) Bde – 1st Bn Royal Berkshire Regt & 1st Bn KRRC.

2nd Corps BEF
– 3rd Div: 7th (Inf) Bde – 1st Bn Duke of Edinburgh’s Wiltshire Regt.
– 5th Div: 13th (Inf) Bde – 2nd Bn KOYLI; 14th (Inf) Bde 1st Bn DCLI; 15th (Inf) Bde – 1st Bn The Dorsetshire Regt.

3rd Corps BEF (Landing in France 22nd/23rd Aug, formed in France 31st Aug)
– 4th Div: 11th (Inf) Bde – 1st Bn Prince Albert’s Som LI, 1st Bn The Rifle Brigade.
-6th Div (Landing in France 8th/9th September: 16th (Inf) Bde 1st KSLI; 17th (Inf) Bde – 3rd Bn The Rifle Brigade; 18th (Inf) Bde 2nd Bn The Durham Light Infantry.

The opening moves were begun, in what many hoped would be a short war; “It’ll all be over by Christmas”; but in reality would evolve into four years of war the likes of which Europe had never experienced – total and industrialised – effecting the home front as well as those at the battle front.

100 years on we will endevour to commemorate the major events of 1914 – 1918 and the parts played by our antecedents as The Rifles Great War Legacy, a legacy in which The Rifles can be justly proud.

(For a complete Order of Battle for the BEF in 1914, a good summary can be found at the following link: – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_Expeditionary_Force_order_of_battle_(1914)

The Battle of Salamanca – Regimental Day of The Rifles

The Battle of Salamanca, 22 July 1812, Wellington directs the attack, from a contemporary print.

The Battle of Salamanca, 22 July 1812, Wellington directs the attack, from a contemporary print.

RIFLES HISTORY  – The Battle of Salamanca 22 July 1812 –  Annually The Regimental Day of The Rifles.22 July 1812 saw Arthur Wellesley, Duke of Wellington, execute one of his most stunning victories over the French forces during the Peninsular War in Spain & Portugal. It showed his brilliance as an offensive general as he beat 40,000 Frenchmen in 40 minutes.

All forming Regiments of The Rifles had antecedent who fought in this action; 1/11th (Devonshire) nicknamed ‘The Bloody 11th’ for the heavy casualties taken this day, the 32nd (Cornwall), 43rd (Monmouthshire) LI, 51st (Yorkshire) LI, 52nd (Oxfordshire) LI, 53rd (Shropshire), 5/60th (Kings American Rifles),1/61st (South Gloucestershire) who after having had 6 reliefs of officers shot away in the colour party finished the day with Privates Nicholas Coulson and William Crawford carrying them in the final assault , 68th (Durham) LI engaged from early morning and throughout the day, and 1/2/3rd Bns 95th Rifles, who with the rest of the Light Division were instrumental in defeating the French rear-guard. For this reason it is chosen as the Regimental Day of The Rifles.

Our ancestors of 1812 set high standards of discipline, courage, initiative and decisive action, and the British attacks can be aptly described as Swift & Bold, providing a fine example of soldiering for today’s Rifles to follow.

Salamanca Day is a Day all Riflemen and former Janners, Glosters, Lightbobs and Jackets can celebrate and recall with pride. The actions of the Regiments  ancestors this day are written large in the tales of The Peninsular War.

RIFLES HISTORY TODAY – 1st of July 1916

At 7:28 am on 1st July 1916, The Battle of The Somme commenced. A huge mine was exploded under the German Lines at Hawthorn Redoubt and the British forces moved forward, over the top, from their forward ‘ jump off’ trenches.

British Mine explodes under the German Lines at Hawthorn Ridge Redoubt at 07:28 1st July 1916, and the Batlle of the Somme commences.

British Mine explodes under the German Lines at Hawthorn Ridge Redoubt at 07:28 1st July 1916, and the Batlle of the Somme commences.

SOMME is a representative Battle honour for the Rifles borne with pride on our Regimental Belt badge. It recalls the major battle on the western front fought between 1st July and 18 November 1916 in which 97 Battalions of The Rifles antecedent Regiments took part.

The Battle was to become the crucible for Kitchener’s New Army. The battle was costly for the British Army, and one of the costliest of the Great War. 419,654 British (60,000 alone on the first day, the 1st of July) and 202,567 French casualties, against 465,181 German for a gain of 6 miles advanced on a 16 mile wide front by the time the battle slid to a halt in the winter rain and sleet of November. The Rifles remember with pride the courage, fortitude and sacrifice given by our forebears during this battle, we remember the Officers and men and the families of…

Wiltshire Regiment moving up the line near Acheux, Somme 28th June 1916

Wiltshire Regiment moving up the line near Acheux, Somme 28th June 1916

Soldiers of The Wiltshire Regiment crossing no mans land in the fighting around Thiepval, the Somme, July - Aug 1916.

Soldiers of The Wiltshire Regiment crossing no mans land in the fighting around Thiepval, the Somme, July – Aug 1916.

The Devonshire Regiment: 1st, 2nd, 8th & 9th Battalions.
The Somerset Light Infantry: 1st, 6th, 7th & 8th Battalions.
The Gloucestershire Regiment:1st, 1/4th, 1/5th/ 1/6th, 8th, 10th, 12th, 13th & 14th Battalions.
The Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry: 1st, 1/5th,6th, 7th and 10th Battalions.
The Dorset Regiment: 1st Battalion
The Oxford & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry: 1/4th, 1/1st(Bucks), 2/1st(Bucks), 8th, 5th, and 6th Battalions.
The Royal Berkshire Regiment: 1st, 2, 1/4th,2/4th, 5th, 6th & 8th Battalions.
The Kings Own Yorkshire Light Infantry: 2nd,1/4th, 1/5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th,, 10th and 12th Battalions.
The Kings Shropshire Light Infantry: 1st, 5th and 7th Battalions.
The King’s Royal Rifle Corps1st, 2nd, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th, 13th, 16th, 17th, 18th, 20th and 21st Battalions.
The Wiltshire Regiment: 1st, 2nd and 6th Battalions.
The Durham Light Infantry: 2nd, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th, 13th, 14th, 15th, 18th, 19th, 20th and 22nd Battalions .
The Rifle Brigade: 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 7th, 8th, 9th, 13th and 16th Battalions .
The London Regiment: 5th, 6th, 8th, 9th, 12th, 15th, 16th and 17th (Rifles) Battalions.

Memorial to the men of 8th & 9th Battalions The Devonshire Regiment at Devonshire Trench Cemetery near Mametz on the Somme Battlefield.

Memorial to the men of 8th & 9th Battalions The Devonshire Regiment at Devonshire Trench Cemetery near Mametz on the Somme Battlefield.

“Swift & Bold”

Battle of Plassey – A unique battle honour.

This week saw the 257th anniversary of the Battle of Plassey, fought in West Bengal, India, 23rd June 1757. This is a unique battle honour to The Rifles and one inherited from our antecedents the 39th Devonshire Regiment who were the only British Army Regiment, to fight in the action, the remainder of the force Commanded by Robert Clive being comprised of East Indian Company Regiments. On the 29th January 1754 the 39th Regiment was ordered to sail to India, and became the first Crown regiment to serve there. In June 1756, Siraj-ud-daulah, the Nawab of Bengal, captured Calcutta (present day Kolkata) and incarcerated the surviving members of the garrison in the infamous ‘black hole’. Lieutenant Colonel Robert Clive was entrusted with recapturing the city for the East India Company. He took with him three companies from the 39th Foot under command. On 13th June 1757 his modest but well disciplined force of 3,000 set off to confront Siraj-ud-daulah’s enormous army of 35,000 infantry and 15,000 cavalry. On 23rd June Clive attacked the Nawab’s army which was drawn up in front of its camp at Plassey. The turning point came with a dramatic rainstorm at midday, which dampened the enemy’s powder, thus silencing their guns. Clive’s gunners, better disciplined, had wisely kept their powder dry and could continue to fire. They cut down the enemy cavalry. This enabled the 39th Foot supported by the Grenadier Companies of the native Regiments, to push forward and seize what little high ground there was and capture the Nawab’s main gun batteries. The defeat of the Cavalry and loss of the guns caused the Nawab’s army to disintegrate and rout. This decisive victory, cost Clive’s force just 80 casualties but set the seal for 190 years of British rule in India. The Battle Honour was awarded retrospectively by Queen Victoria on 17 November 1853 together with the motto ‘Primus in Indus’ commemorating the first honour granted to a Crown Regiment in India. On the 23rd June 1757, the soldiers of the Dorsetshire Regiment had certainly earned the title. Primus in Indus. In an interesting foot note. A Rifles antecedent Regiment was the first British Regiment in India. A Rifles antecedent was also the last British regiment in India, the 1st Battalion The Somerset Light Infantry embarked for Britain 28th February 1948 after a ceremonial march out of The India Gate in Bombay (now Mumbai), the last Crown regiment to serve on Indian soil.

Normandy Legacy, D-DAY Remembered 70 years on. The Assault on Pegasus Bridge – Operation DEADSTICK

At approximately 00:16hrs on the 6th June 1944, Horsa Gliders containing the Officers and men of 2nd Bn The Ox & Bucks LI landed in occupied France in a daring operation to seize the crossings over The Caen Canal and Orne River. The purpose of operation DEADSTICK as it was codenamed was two fold; to hold the bridges in order to prevent German reinforcement or counter attacks against the east flank of the allied landing beaches and to secure the crossing for use in a future breakout towards Caen. The crossings were to be seized in a ‘coup de main’ operation, executed by 2 Coy groups of Glider borne infantry. The Caen Canal crossing was to be seized by 3 platoons from 2nd Ox & Bucks (52nd) LI, reinforced with Royal Engineers, R Signals and men of the Glider Pilot Regiment, all under command Major John Howard, a similar sized force landed to seize the neighbouring bridge over the river Orne. These two groups were the first formed body of allied troops to land in occupied France in 1944. Surprise was total, with the gliders landing within a few yards of the crossing points. Both bridges were taken intact in a matter of minutes. British casualties were two killed and 14 wounded. Major Howard was later awarded the DSO for his part in this action. He and his men are today remembered for the execution of one of the most daring and brilliantly executed operations of the Second World War, and one that is proudly remembered by their successors today in The Rifles.

Normandy Legacy – D-Day Remembered 70 Years On – The Rifles Heritage

50th Div_ D-Day_gold_beachDLI embarked for D-Day
Friday 6th June 2014 marks the 70th Anniversary of D-Day, the allied assault landing into Nazi occupied Europe. An operation that marked the start of the liberation of Europe and the beginning of the end for Hitler and his Nazi empire. Antecedent Regiments of The Rifles feature large in the story of D-Day in every aspect of the operation.D Coy of the 2nd Bn Oxford & Buckinghamshire LI, under command Major John Howard, famously captured the bridges over the Caen Canal and Orne River in a preliminary ‘coup de main’ operation early hours D-Day. Less well known is that they were subsequently reinforced by 7th (LI) Para Bn [formerly 10th Som. LI], who were also part of the 6th Airborne Division assault landing.pegasus_bridge

On the coast, on the beaches 1st Dorsets were taking part in their 3rd beach assault of the war (having previously landed in Sicily and Italy) 2nd Devons were landing on Gold Beach, along with 6th 8th 9th DLI (151 ‘Durham Brigade – also veterans of Sicily) 2nd Glosters, 12th Devons, 5th Royal Berks and 2nd KSLI were all also landing on the Normandy beaches that day in 1944. Beaches some of which had been marked out for landing by another antecedent of The Rifles, 1st Buckinghamshire Bn (TA) Ox & Bucks LI who were part of 6th Beach Group.

Devonshires-DDaylanding

The story of each of these units and their involvement in Operation Overlord can be explored further by visiting their museums in The Keep Dorchester, The Wardrobe Salisbury, The Castle Taunton, The DLI Museum Durham, RGJ Museum Winchester, all part of The Rifles museums Network.

It was a momentous moment in world history and events that day 70 years ago, still influence the Europe of today. On this 70th anniversary we pay respect to all veterans and the fallen of this operation. We in The Rifles can be justly proud of the D-Day legacy our forebears have left us. For that reason recalling their bold deeds that day; both Pegasus Bridge & Normandy are proud battle honours borne on the appointments of every Rifleman today.

 

RIFLES HERITAGE – 69th Anniversary of VE Day 1945

Today marks the 69th Anniversary of Victory in Europe Day 1945. One antecedent of The Rifles played a major part in this occasion. 4th Bn the KSLI were responsible for capturing and escorting Grand Admiral Doenitz and Field Marshall Jodl the de-facto head of the German State and Commander in Chief of Reich forces respectively; following the death of Adolf Hitler in Berlin. 4th KSLI escorted him to the signing of the unconditional surrender of Germany, the act that ended the fighting in Europe.

Soldiers from 4th KSLI guard Grand Admiral Doenitz and Field Marshall Jodl prior to the signing of Germany's surrender.

Soldiers from 4th KSLI guard Grand Admiral Doenitz and Field Marshall Jodl prior to the signing of Germany’s surrender. (photo Getty Images)

The Shropshire Regiments Museum in Shrewsbury, home to the KSLI collection and part of The Rifles Museums Network  has a particular memento of this occasion, Admiral Doenitz’s Marshalls Baton, captured and kept by the Regiment as a reminder of the part they played in these momentous events.

The Baton of Grand Admiral Doenitz, captured by 4th KSLI in 1945.

The Baton of Grand Admiral Doenitz, captured by 4th KSLI in 1945 on display in The Shropshire Regiments Museum, Shrewsbury.

 

To find out more why not visit the Museum in Shrewsbury, or use the links below.

http://www.shropshireregimentalmuseum.co.uk/regimental-history/shropshire-light-infantry/the-kings-shropshire-light-infantry-1939-1945/

http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/ww2peopleswar/stories/10/a7404310.shtml

 

RIFLES HERITAGE – 70th Anniversary The Battle of Kohima. 27th March – 22 June, 1944.

2014 sees the 70th Anniversary of The Battle of Kohima. 27th March – 22 June, 1944.
The Battle of Kohima, 1944 by Terence Cuneo

The Battle of Kohima, 1944 by Terence Cuneo

Kohima was a British Government Hill station in North East India. The 2nd Dorsets, 1st Royal Berkshires and 2nd Durham Light Infantry fought in the battle that was to prove the turning point of the war against Imperial Japanese forces in the Far East. A battle so fierce it is some times referred to as the Stalingrad of the Far East. The battle fell into two phases, a siege with the British and Commonwealth forces holding off the Japanese forces invading North India followed by a subsequent advance and clearance of the Japanese back across the border with Burma.
All three antecedents of The Rifles taking part were in the 2nd Division and took part especially in the heavy fighting during the clearance operations.
To find out more why not visit The Keep Military Museum in Dorchester, The Rifles Berks & Wilts Museum Salisbury or the DLI Museum Durham where displays recall these momentous events of 1944. (Picture – The Battle of Kohima, 1944 by Terence Cuneo)