move to Tidworth was generally welcome. The Battalion had enjoyed its stay
on the Isle of Wight but was nevertheless glad to get back into a more
military atmosphere. Jellalabad Barracks was modernized and comfortable,
and Tidworth itself was well placed geographically as far as access to the
counties of Berkshire and Wiltshire was concerned.
They were brigaded with the Scots Guards in the 1st Guards Brigade, in the
3rd Division (The Iron Division)
few days after its arrival in Tidworth the battalion took part in a two
sided 3rd Divisional exercise ‘Red Banner’ which was mainly
of interest because it tried out a new battalion organization in which
each rifle company had its own platoon of support weapons which had
previously been concentrated in a Support Company. ‘B’ Company, who
were under the command of the Scots Guards, also tried out the new 1958
pattern web equipment for the first time. This practically saw the end of
the active training season except for a Brigade patrol competition on
Dartmoor, the Battalion entered two patrols under Lt D.A. JONES and Lt A.B.
COLE and achieved a creditable second.
Battalion then concentrated its efforts on administration, and its Annual
administrative Inspection was held on the 10th December, a
bitterly cold day. It was carried out by the commander of the 1st
Guards Brigade who commended the Battalion, for its steadiness on parade
– no small compliment from a senior Guards Officer. A day or two later
the new organization tried out on Exercise ‘Red Banner’ was put into
effect, Support Company was broken up, its mortars and anti-tank guns
being distributed to company support platoons while the machine guns and
the assault pioneers were transferred to Headquarters Company.
were also social and ceremonial events to consider, principally the
celebration of Ferozeshah day, which after various rehearsals was finally
held on the 17th December 1959, the Colonel of the Regiment being
the Inspecting officer. The parade was followed in the evening by the
traditional ball given by the Warrant Officers and Sergeants, and by the
time these various events were over, Christmas had come.
was soon marked by the sad but unavoidable demise of ‘C’ Company,
which due to the scarcity of regular recruits had to be run down to cadre
strength, leaving only two rifle companies in the battalion.
March 1960, the Brigade flew to Libya on Exercise Starlight
for a month.
The battalion later changed to 51 Infantry Brigade where, as part of the
Army's Strategic Reserve, it had to
be ready to fly to any trouble spot, worldwide. At that time the Royal
Hampshire Regiment was serving in the Caribbean and was under strength. B
Company was dispatched to the Bahamas in June 1960 to re-enforce
this tour the Company was called upon to assist in the relief operation
mounted to cope with the trail of disaster left in the wake of Hurricane
Donna. The company returned home again in December 1960.Because of the
rundown of bases overseas and the need to find alternative training
grounds for the Army, it was decided that units would make use of land
available in Canada. On the 19th June 1961 the battalion flew out there,
the first ever-British unit to do so, to train with units of the Canadian
Army in Exercise POND JUMP.
Exercise POND JUMP should have been the last deployment to the Western
Hemisphere during the tour at Tidworth. In February 1961 the battalion was
alerted to fly out to British Guiana as part of the Windsor 2 force, when riots and arson broke out in
Georgetown, the capital. To the disappointment of the rest of the
Battalion only 'A' Company,
accompanied by a few men from 'D' and 'HQ' Companies, went. The first days
were tense, but the detachment was soon to establish good relations with
the community. So much so, that in March, when the Company left
Georgetown, it took with it 20 new recruits, selected from a list of over
one hundred applicants.
the return of 'A' Company the Battalion continued its life in Tidworth,
exercising and taking its place as the Army's SPEARHEAD Battalion. During
this time there was continuing unrest in the West Indies, and in Grenada
in particular. The Battalion was stood by to fly out to restore order, but
to the disappointment of all concerned peace returned to the area and the
Battalion stood down.
15th December 1961 a full Ferozeshah parade was held setting the standards
for the following years.
the British Army recruited heavily from the Fijian Islands for service in
the British Army. Eventually 200 Fijians joined the British Army of whom
six joined the Regiment. These were privates Baleimatuku, Ravu, Turaga,
Quarau, Conivavalagi and Raidani. Raidani left in 1965 to join the Fijian
Army to be replaced by Koroidovi. They were to make their mark over the
the Battalion prepared for its first overseas posting on the Island of
MALTA leaving Tidworth in December of that year.