Regimental History


The Rifles Regiment

The Rifles

Formed on 1st February 2007, The Rifles is the largest Regiment in the British Army and is the direct descendant of the old county Light Infantry regiments, the Royal Green Jackets, The Light Infantry and others.



There are five Regular and two Territorial battalions, plus a number of Companies in other TA battalions. Each battalion was formerly an individual battalion of one of the two large regiments of the Light Division, viz The Green Jackets and The Light Infantry, to which was added as the 1st Battalion, The Devonshire and Dorset Light Infantry, a recent amalgamation of two individual regiments.

As finally constituted, The Rifles is an amalgamation of the four Light Infantry and Rifle Regiments of the Light Division:

  • The Devonshire and Dorset Light Infantry
  • The Light Infantry
  • The Royal Gloucestershire, Berkshire and Wiltshire Light Infantry
  • The Royal Green Jackets

Because of its many historical connections via the constituent regiments, on formation The Rifles became the County Regiment of:

  • Berkshire
  • Buckinghamshire
  • Cornwall
  • Devon
  • Dorset
  • Durham
  • Gloucestershire
  • Herefordshire
  • Oxfordshire
  • Shropshire
  • Somerset
  • South Yorkshire
  • Wiltshire


Gaining the Freedom of Hereford

The new Regiment has five Regular and two Territorial Army battalions:

  • 1st Battalion - amalgamated the 1st Battalion, Devonshire and Dorset Light Infantry and the 1st Battalion, Royal Gloucestershire, Berkshire and Wiltshire Light Infantry
  • 2nd Battalion - formerly the 1st Battalion, Royal Green Jackets
  • 3rd Battalion - formerly the 2nd Battalion, The Light Infantry
  • 4th Battalion - formerly the 2nd Battalion, Royal Green Jackets
  • 5th Battalion - formerly  the 1st Battalion, The Light Infantry
  • 6th (V) Battalion - formerly the Rifle Volunteers
  • 7th (V) Battalion - formerly the Royal Rifle Volunteers, without the Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment company, but adding the Royal Green Jacket companies of the London Regiment.

In addition to these seven battalions, two companies are also cap badged as The Rifles but are attached to other TA infantry Battalions:

  • D (RIFLES) Company, 5th (V) Battalion Royal Regiment of Fusiliers
  • E (RIFLES) Company, 4th (V) Battalion, Mercian Regiment - redesignation of E (Light Infantry) Company, West Midlands Regiment.

Approximately one third of all cadets now wear The Rifles cap badge.


The new Regiment's five regular battalions have defined roles:

  • 1st Battalion - Light Role (3 Commando Brigade) - Beachley Barracks, Chepstow
  • 2nd Battalion - Light Role (19 Light Brigade) - Abercorn Barracks, Ballykinler
  • 3rd Battalion - Light Role (52nd Infantry Brigade) - Redford Barracks, Edinburgh
  • 4th Battalion - Mechanised Infantry (1 Mechanised Brigade) - Kiwi Barracks, Bulford
  • 5th Battalion - Armoured Infantry (20th Armoured Brigade) - Alanbrooke Barracks, Paderborn


"Golden Threads"

To emphasise its links with distinguished regiments of the past, the new regiment retains a number of "golden threads":

  • A French Croix-de-Guerre flash, reflecting battalion awards in WW1 to the Devons and the KSLI, is worn on both sleeves of No. 1 and No. 2 dress.
  • The Back Badge - bearing a wreathed sphinx and title "Egypt", commemorating the actions of the 28th Foot in Egypt in 1801, and subsequently worn by the Royal Gloucestershire, Berkshire and Wiltshire Light Infantry.  Worn on the forage cap and side hat, and on the shako of the regimental band and bugles.
  • A Bugle Horn - the historic badge of the Light Infantry, now surmounted by St. Edward's Crown forms the new regiment's cap badge.
  • The Maltese Cross of the Royal Green Jackets, worn as a buckle on the cross belt, containing the regiment's representative battle honours, with space kept free for future honours.

In accordance with the tradition of Rifle regiments, the Regiment does not carry colours. The traditional black buttons of a Rifle Regiment are worn.

The Rifles maintains a single regular Regimental band, the Band and Bugles of The Rifles, formed by renaming the Band and Bugles of the Light Division, which in itself was an amalgamation of four separate bands.

Battle honours

With so many constituent Regiments, it was a difficult task to select "representative" Battle Honours, but the following were eventually chosen and are inscribed on the Regiment's belt badge:

  • Pre 1914 : Gibraltar, Copenhagen, Plassey, Dettingen, Minden, Quebec, Martinique, Marabout, Peninsula, Waterloo, Afghanistan, Jellalabad, Ferozeshah, Delhi, Lucknow, New Zealand, Pekin, South Africa, Inkerman
  • Great War 1914-18: Nonne Boschen, Ypres, Somme, Vittorio Veneto, Megiddo
  • 2nd World War: Calais, El Alamein, Kohima, Pegasus Bridge, Normandy, Italy 1943-45, Anzio
  • Postwar: Imjin, Korea, Iraq 2003.

Various Battalions have already seen active service in Iraq and in Afghanistan.


In Afghanistan