“Pride of Regiment and love for the Regiment’s history and tradition is the sacred Ark of the Covenant on which the British soldier depends in battle and on which Britain, through him, has again and again survived and won through to victory” Sir Arthur Bryant
The Rifles was formed on 1 February 2007 in the crucible of operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. It was forged from four of the finest Infantry Regiments in the British Army: The Devonshire & Dorset Light Infantry, The Light Infantry, The Royal Gloucestershire, Berkshire & Wiltshire Light Infantry, and The Royal Green Jackets. These founding Regiments give The Rifles an extraordinary lineage dating back to 1685 and an unbreakable heritage across several of England’s counties.
The Rifles ethos of the ‘thinking soldier’ is one which permeates throughout the history of the Regiment and continues to today. Historically there has been a stereotype of blind obedience in military life but The Rifles and its historic Regiments have always pursued self-discipline and forward thinking, both of which are points of pride for the Regiment.
Since its formation in 2007, The Rifles have been on numerous operations, training missions, and humanitarian missions all of which show the breadth of work that The Rifles do. These have included humanitarian work during the Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone, anti-poaching training for park rangers in Gabon, training missions with the Kurdish Peshmerga, as well as operations in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Kosovo. Closer to home the Regiment has also been involved with evacuations during some of the UK’s worst flooding.
This modern Regiment echoes its predecessors quick movements and ‘thinking soldier’ with its motto ‘Swift and Bold’, which encompasses all it is to be a Rifleman. The Regiment prides itself on being a forward looking, innovative infantry regiment, relying on mutual respect and self-discipline to get the job done.
Click here for a downloadable document giving a brief overview of The Rifles’ history from 1685 to present day. This breaks down the history into short summaries by time period.