Tag Archives: Durham Light Infantry

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)

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 – 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)

 

Key RIFLES Historic Anniversaries in 2014

The men of the DLI come ashore at Sword Beach, on the Normandy coast.

The men of the DLI come ashore at Sword Beach, on the Normandy coast.

Wellington's key victory in The Peninsula War that set the conditions for the invasion of France victory in 1814.

Wellington’s key victory in The Peninsula War that set the conditions for the invasion of France victory in 1814.

2014 will see some important anniversary events occurring across the UK and Europe and many have direct relevance to the heritage of The Rifles.

The major anniversary that will be the out-break of the Great War in August 1914. All the museums in The Rifles Museum Network will be staging events and exhibitions highlighting the part played by The Rifles’ antecedent Regiments in that war, it will be worth checking them out throughout the year.

2014 also marks the 70th Anniversary of D-Day in 1944 and the Allied landings in France to commence the liberation of Europe in World War Two. The Dorsetshire Regiment, the Kings Shropshire Light Infantry, The Durham Light Infantry 1/1 Buckinghamshire Volunteers Bn and The Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry all played major parts in D-Day itself with all our antecedent Regiments contributing in the follow on campaigns throughout Normandy and subsequently across all NW Europe into 1945.

A little further back in The Rifles’ heritage, 1814 saw the defeat of Napoleon and the defeat of his forces in Spain & Portugal by the Duke of Wellington’s Army, so worth keeping an eye out for events commemorating the 200th anniversary of the end of The Peninsula War.

I’ll endeavour to keep you informed of other Regimental dates past and present throughout the year.