Tag Archives: The Rifles

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.

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”

Rifles Collection Hosts first Royal Visitor

On Monday 23rd of June – Plassey Day – His Royal Highness The Duke of Gloucester visited Winchester to raise the City’s Armed Forces Day Flag and launch the event in the city. As Royal Colonel of 6 RIFLES, one of our Army Reserve Battalions, he also took the opportunity to visit Regimental Headquarters The Rifles and The Rifles Museum (RGJ & Rifles) in Peninsular Barracks. After a brief tour around the RGJ collections, The Duke was introduced to The Rifles Collection Team, curators Miss Melanie Marsh, & Major (Retd) Rob Yuill, and Mr David Wiggins the collection volunteer archival assistant. He also met serving members of the Regiment; Cpl Avtar Gill (1 Rifles), LCpls Andrew Borthwick and Dan Owens (both 4 Rifles) who have been key supporters of The Rifles Exhibition giving up their time to do talks and donating items to the collection.  After a quick tour round the gallery, His Royal Highness departed to the flag raising outside County Hall where the proceedings were accompanied by music from The Rifles Band & Bugles.

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 Dorsetshire 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.