The Rifles

For other uses, see The Rifles (band) and The Rifles (novel).
The Rifles

Cap and Back badges of The Rifles
Active 1 February 2007 –
Allegiance  United Kingdom
Branch  British Army
Type Rifles
Role 1st BattalionLight Infantry
2nd Battalion—Light Infantry
3rd Battalion—Light Protected Mobility Infantry
4th Battalion—Mechanised Infantry
5th Battalion—Armoured Infantry
6th Battalion—Army Reserve
7th Battalion—Army Reserve
Size Seven battalions
Garrison/HQ RHQ—Winchester
1st Battalion—Beachley Barracks, Gloucestershire
2nd Battalion—Thiepval Barracks, Lisburn
3rd Battalion—Dreghorn Barracks, Edinburgh
4th Battalion—New Normandy Barracks, Aldershot Garrison
5th Battalion—Ward Barracks, Bulford Camp
6th Battalion—Wyvern Barracks, Exeter
7th Battalion—Brock Barracks, Reading
Motto(s) "Celer et Audax" (Latin)
"Swift and Bold"
Colours Rifle Green
March Quick: Mechanised Infantry
Double Past: Keel Row/Road to the Isles
Slow: Old Salamanca
Colonel in Chief HRH The Duke of Edinburgh
Colonel Commandant General Sir Nicholas Parker KCB CBE
Tactical Recognition Flash
Arm Badge Croix de Guerre
From Devonshire and Dorset Light Infantry
Abbreviation RIFLES

The Rifles is an infantry regiment of the British Army. Formed in 2007, it consists of five Regular and two Reserve battalions, plus a number of companies in other Army Reserve battalions. Each battalion of The Rifles was formerly an individual battalion of one of the two large regiments of the Light Division (with the exception of the 1st Battalion, which is an amalgamation of two individual regiments). Since formation the regiment has been involved in combat operations, first in the later stages of the Iraq War and in the War in Afghanistan.


The Rifles was created as a result of the Future Army Structure. Under the original announcement, the Light Division would have remained essentially unchanged, with the exception of the Light Infantry gaining a new battalion through the amalgamation of two other regiments, and both gaining a reserve battalion from within the Territorial Army (TA) as it was then called. However, on 24 November 2005, the Ministry of Defence announced that the four regiments would amalgamate into a single five-battalion regiment. The Rifles was formed on 1 February 2007 by the amalgamation of the four Light Infantry and Rifle Regiments of the Light Division:[1]

The Rifles was formed to serve as the county regiment of the following counties:[2][3]

The 2nd Battalion, the 3rd Battalion and the 4th Battalion were all deployed in Basra in Iraq during some of the worst fighting of the Iraq War including the withdrawal from Basra Palace in September 2007.[4]

The 1st Battalion undertook a tour in Afghanistan between October 2008 and April 2009 mentoring the Afghan National Army in Helmand Province.[4]

In May 2009 the 5th Battalion was one of the last British Army units to leave Iraq.[4]

In Summer 2009 the 4th Battalion provide reinforcement cover for the elections in Afghanistan and to take part in Operation Panther's Claw.[4] At the same time the 2nd Battalion was deployed to Sangin and was relieved in due course by the 3rd Battalion.[4]

In October 2011 2nd and 5th battalions of the Rifles returned for a six-month tour of duty in Afghanistan serving in the Nahri Saraj District.[5]


The regiment has five regular and two reserve battalions, each configured for a specific infantry role:

In addition to the seven battalions above, two companies wear Rifles cap badges but are sub-units of reserve battalions other infantry regiments:

HRH The Duke of Edinburgh (ex-Colonel-in-Chief, RGBWLI) is the Colonel-in-Chief of the Regiment, whilst each battalion has its own Royal Colonel:[12]

1st Battalion, The RiflesHRH The Duke of Kent (ex-Colonel-in-Chief, DDLI)
2nd Battalion, The RiflesHRH The Earl of Wessex
3rd Battalion, The RiflesHRH Princess Alexandra, The Hon Lady Ogilvy (ex-Colonel-in-Chief, LI)
4th Battalion, The RiflesHRH The Duchess of Cornwall
5th Battalion, The RiflesHRH The Countess of Wessex
6th Battalion, The RiflesHRH The Duke of Gloucester
7th Battalion, The RiflesHRH The Duchess of Gloucester

The Band and Bugles

The Waterloo Band of The Rifles in London

The regular element of The Rifles maintains a single regular regimental band, the Band and Bugles of The Rifles. This was formed by renaming the Band and Bugles of the Light Division, which in itself was an amalgamation of four separate bands:[13]

In addition, the two Army Reserve Battalions maintain their own bands:

Golden threads

As a rifle regiment, a private soldier in The Rifles is known as a Rifleman and Serjeant is spelt in the archaic fashion; the regiment wears a Rifle green beret. A number of golden threads have been brought into the new regiment from each of its founder regiments:[14]

Battle honours

The following battle honours are a representation of the total honours awarded to the regiments which formed The Rifles. These are inscribed on the regiment's belt badge:

Order of precedence

Preceded by
Royal Gurkha Rifles
Infantry Order of Precedence Succeeded by
Special Air Service


1880[15] 1881 Childers Reforms[15] 1921 Name changes 1957 Defence White Paper 1966 Defence White Paper 1990 Options for Change 2003 Delivering Security in a Changing World
11th (North Devon) Regiment of Foot The Devonshire Regiment The Devonshire and Dorset Regiment The Rifles
39th (Dorsetshire) Regiment of Foot The Dorsetshire Regiment
54th (West Norfolk) Regiment of Foot
13th (1st Somersetshire) (Prince Albert's Light Infantry) Regiment of Foot Prince Albert's Light Infantry (Somersetshire Regiment) The Somerset Light Infantry (Prince Albert's) The Somerset and Cornwall Light Infantry The Light Infantry
32nd (Cornwall Light Infantry) Regiment of Foot The Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry
46th (South Devonshire) Regiment of Foot
51st (2nd Yorkshire, West Riding, King's Own Light Infantry) Regiment of Foot The King's Own Light Infantry (South Yorkshire Regiment) King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry
105th (Madras Light Infantry) Regiment of Foot
53rd (Shropshire) Regiment of Foot The King's Light Infantry (Shropshire Regiment) The King's Shropshire Light Infantry
85th (Bucks Volunteers) (King's Light Infantry) Regiment of Foot
68th (Durham) (Light Infantry) Regiment of Foot The Durham Light Infantry
106th (Bombay Light Infantry) Regiment of Foot
28th (North Gloucestershire) Regiment of Foot The Gloucestershire Regiment The Royal Gloucestershire, Berkshire and Wiltshire Regiment
61st (South Gloucestershire) Regiment of Foot
49th (Hertfordshire) (Princess Charlotte of Wales's) Regiment of Foot Princess Charlotte of Wales's (Berkshire Regiment) The Royal Berkshire Regiment (Princess Charlotte of Wales's) The Duke of Edinburgh's Royal Regiment (Berkshire and Wiltshire)
66th (Berkshire) Regiment of Foot
62nd (Wiltshire) Regiment of Foot The Duke of Edinburgh's (Wiltshire Regiment) The Wiltshire Regiment (Duke of Edinburgh's)
99th (Duke of Edinburgh's) Regiment of Foot
43rd (Monmouthshire Light Infantry) Regiment of Foot The Oxfordshire Light Infantry
renamed in 1908:
The Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry
1st Green Jackets (43rd and 52nd) The Royal Green Jackets
52nd (Oxfordshire) (Light Infantry) Regiment of Foot
60th (King's Royal Rifle Corps) Regiment of Foot The King's Royal Rifle Corps 2nd Green Jackets, The King's Royal Rifle Corps
Rifle Brigade (The Prince Consort's Own) The Prince Consort's Own (Rifle Brigade) 3rd Green Jackets, The Rifle Brigade

See also


  1. "History of the Light Infantry". Retrieved 26 April 2014.
  2. "6 RIFLES". Ministry of Defence. Retrieved 30 April 2016.
  3. "7 RIFLES". Ministry of Defence. Retrieved 30 April 2016.
  4. 1 2 3 4 5 "The Rifles forged in battle - An overview of the first three years". Care for Casualties. Retrieved 26 April 2014.
  5. "20th Armoured Brigade takes command of Task Force Helmand". Ministry of Defence. 10 October 2011. Retrieved 21 May 2016.
  6. 1 2 "Army basing announcement" (PDF). Ministry of Defence. Retrieved 26 April 2014.
  7. "1 RIFLES". Ministry of Defence. Retrieved 30 April 2016.
  8. 1 2 3 "Transforming the British Army: An Update" (PDF). Ministry of Defence. p. 9. Retrieved 30 April 2016.
  9. "Transforming the British Army: An Update" (PDF). Ministry of Defence. p. 7. Retrieved 30 April 2016.
  10. "Riflemen train for post-Afghanistan deployments". Ministry of Defence. 13 March 2013. Retrieved 26 April 2014.
  11. "D Company". Ministry of Defence. Retrieved 30 April 2016.
  12. "The Rifles Regimental Who's Who 2007". British Armed Forces. Retrieved 30 April 2016.
  13. "The Band and Bugles of The Rifles". Ministry of Defence. Retrieved 30 April 2016.
  14. "Golden Threads". Shropshire Regimental Museum. Retrieved 26 April 2014.
  15. 1 2 The London Gazette, Page 3300-3301 (1 July 1881). "Childers Reform" (24992). Government of the United Kingdom. Retrieved 27 October 2016.

Further reading

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