ROYAL GLOUCESTERSHIRE, BERKSHIRE and WILTSHIRE REGIMENT
(28th, 49th, 61st, 62nd, 66th and 99th
This is a temporary page
put here by 'Mac' the site Historian to inform 'Farmersboys' about the
In the lead up to the proposed merger I
intend to place on this page any news I can that relates to us. Anything
that happens to 1 RGBW, is in effect happening to 1 DERR. The views
expressed below are mine and mine alone. I have added extracts from the
other units involved and you can draw what conclusions you wish. I will make
comment when and where necessary.
Mac's initial observations
|By now most of you will be aware of the
proposal to merge the RGBW and the D & Ds into the Light Division. The Gloster
element of our Regimental family have been very pro-active in making their
views known and they are to be commended for that. As the whole issue
revolves around 'The golden thread' an expression that has never been used
before I feel it is only right we should brief our members via this site, in
particular those abroad in Australia, Canada and other far out obscure
places. It appears now that the Labour party have returned to power the
Infantry arm of the British Army is 'doomed' to put it into Home guard speak.
I have made enquiries into the future and although it appears to be bad news
there must be something we can regimentally get out of this if we are
prepared to look. For those of you who believe the Regiment died in 1994,
then read on no further. If like me you take the view that the Regiment was
never disbanded (No more than the Royal Berkshires or Wiltshire's were) then
there is a future within the new structure providing our negotiators fight
our corner. For the historians amongst you , remember the British Army has
been chopping and changing since it was formed as we recognise it by
Cromwell. So nothing is new.
My understanding is that the RGBW after the
tour of Afghanistan will 'Merge' into the Light Infantry, the D& Ds
already having arrived (i.e. having taken the high ground). The three
Battalions of Light Infantry will then be joined by the two Battalions of
Royal Green Jackets to form a five battalion Light Division. I'm not sure
but I think they will be called the Royal Rifle Regiment (Unconfirmed). I am
sure the planners are having a right nightmare trying to tie this lot
together in insignia terms. The only hope I get from this arrangement is the
RGBW are in the same boat as everybody else now they are not being
dismembered (i.e. disbanded) so they must have a equal say in all matters.
Looking to the future beyond this I see this as an exercise to get the
Infantry arm into a position whereby the 5th Battalion of the 'Blankshire'
regiment will drop of the end of the table on the next reorganisation with
the minimum of fuss. The precedence has already been set in the past when
the 4th LI (formerly Durham Light Infantry) and the 4th Queens (Formerly the
Middlesex) got the chop. Both those battalions were splendid outfits so
history and service appears to only play a small part.
REGIMENTAL COUNCIL'S RESPONSE - 03 November
FORMATION OF THE RIFLES –
RGBWLI REGIMENTAL COUNCIL MEETING HELD ON
28 OCT 05
Earlier this year, the
Regimental Council agreed to support the Army Board’s desire for the
Infantry to reorganise into large Regiments. The Council met most recently
to consider the implications of the decisions made at the meeting of the
Colonels of the Light Division on Wednesday 19th October 2005.
The Council’s views were as follows:
Strongly supported the
creation of a large regiment to be called The RIFLES.
supported 'The Royal Rifles'
Welcomed the retention of
strong links with our Counties and the appointment of a Deputy Colonel
Commandant for Gloucestershire, Bristol,
Berkshire and Wiltshire.
Welcomed the recent
appointment of Lt Col David Brown, RGBWLI to be
the first Commanding Officer of 1RIFLES to be based in Chepstow on its
formation in 2007.
Welcomed the decision to
wear the Back Badge across the new regiment on No 1 Dress Hats but urged the
Colonel of the Regiment to continue to argue for the Back Badge to be worn
on all forms of dress within all battalions of The RIFLES, and affiliated
comments below, the back badge will disappear when they drop the No 1 dress
Argued for the Brandywine
Flash to be incorporated into the uniform of The RIFLES.
the Light Infantry have dropped the red backing from behind their present
cap badge which is for the same action this will not happen.
Noted with disappointment
that The RIFLES would not carry Colours; however, it was recognised that
Colours would not be compatible with the new regiment which is to be founded
on a Light/Rifle regiment ethos.
the Green Jackets carried no colours and that came from the 5/60 Rifles. I
suspect the issue was numbers. Of course that means any link to the
battle of Ferozeshah is now dead
Acknowledged that the
Regimental Headquarters of the new regiment would be in Winchester, but
welcomed that Gloucester and Salisbury would be outstations.
how long. Will this new formation positively support the regimental museums
?. and furthermore will Salisbury because of a defective decision in 1994 be
Stressed the importance of
the continued support of the Branches and members of our Regimental
The Regimental Council recognised that the Royal Gloucestershire,
Berkshire & Wiltshire Light Infantry was but one element of the new
regiment. This made it difficult for our negotiating teams to carry the day
on many things that we held to be important.
MAC..So were the other elements only one
part. The bottom line is Berkshire and Wiltshire have no representation
left. So much for the 'Golden Thread' Whilst accepting the difficulties why
does DERR always come out of these situations in a weak position ?.
Finally, the Regimental Council
acknowledged that there was much still to be done. The RGBWLI Future
Working Group will be consulting and making recommendations to the Colonel
of the Regiment on such matters as customs and traditions, dress and the
implementation plan over the coming months.
The RIFLES will
consist of seven battalions, five regular and two TA, comprising The
Devonshire & Dorset Light Infantry, The Light Infantry, The Royal
Gloucestershire, Berkshire & Wiltshire Light Infantry, and The Royal
1RIFLES will be
formed from The Devonshire & Dorset Light Infantry and The Royal
Gloucestershire, Berkshire & Wiltshire Light Infantry.
This is vital as
members of the TA, ACF, and CCF rarely wear any head dress other than
Formation of The Rifles - Regt Council response 3 Nov 05
Latest from RHQ at Gloucester after the
public announcment of the formation of the Rifles.
(I have placed my observations in red, they are mine
and mine alone)
FORMATION OF THE RIFLES
You will be aware of the Army Board’s initial decision on
16 December 2004 to
split the RGBW back into its prior parts and across two separate Infantry
Divisions. We won that argument and the Army Board agreed that the RGBW
would merge with the Devonshire & Dorset Regiment (D&D) to form the 1st
Bn Light Infantry. As part of the transition, we became the Royal
Gloucestershire, Berkshire and Wiltshire Light Infantry on
22 July 2005. I am now
writing to tell you that we have decided to form a new regiment, consisting
of The Devonshire and Dorset Light Infantry, The Royal Gloucestershire,
Berkshire and Wiltshire Light Infantry, The Light Infantry and
The Royal Green Jackets. Subject to the approval of the Army Board
and Royal assent, the new regiment will be formed in 2007 and will consist
of five regular and two TA battalions. It will be called The RIFLES; it
would be for Her Majesty The Queen to decide whether the regiment should be
granted the title “Royal”.
reading of the above is that the designation 'ROYAL' will disappear. It
would been better to have read something like We are recommending very
strongly to Her Majesty that the new Regiment be called 'The Royal Rifles'
thus ensuring the 'Golden links' we have been referring to over the past
year are maintained. I suspect the 'Black Buttons' have clearly knocked
this one into touch.
RGBWLI and the DDLI will form 1st Bn The Rifles
[1RIFLES] based at Chepstow, the other battalions will be based as follows:
The Rifles - Ballykinler
The Rifles - Edinburgh
The Rifles - Bulford
The Rifles - Paderborn
The Rifles - TA battalion, with HQ in Exeter
The Rifles - TA battalion, with HQ likely to be in Brock Barracks in Reading
The cap badge of The Rifles will be a Light Infantry
style Bugle, and the Back Badge will be carried forward into
the new regiment and worn on No 1 Dress Hats of all battalions; we will
continue to argue to wear the Back Badge on all forms of dress.
already indicated this is a Light Infantry formation. The Light Infantry
have agreed to dispense with the Red Backing to the bugle horn cap badge as
currently worn by them. This of course puts paid to 'The Brandywine Flash'
which will disappear when the regiment forms. As for the Back Badge (Glosters)
I think it is a small victory that will not stand the test of time. If it is
being retained for the No 1 Dress hats it will soon disappear when the
wearing of these hats is discontinued in favour of berets. This of course
will be introduced as a cost cutting exercise. The telling comment above is
'We will continue to argue to wear the Back Badge on all forms of dress'.
This to Farmersboys is somewhat academic as it has nothing to do with
Despite our preference, to be consistent with Rifle history,
the Rifles will not have Colours.
Battle honours will be
incorporated in a Maltese Cross, inscribed with representational honours
from the four founding Regiments, to be worn on the Cross Belt (officers) or
Belt Buckles (soldiers) as appropriate.
anticipated this as a solution. I think it has more to do with ease of
progression (i.e. No research and/or arguments due to Battle Honour numbers)
than it is to following the 'Light ' tradition. It will be very interesting
to see what Battle honours are selected and whether Berkshire and Wiltshire
(DERR) will be properly represented. Based on what's happened so far I will
not hold my breath.
The Rifles will have a single Colonel Commandant – a senior
serving officer. He will appoint Deputy Colonels Commandant to assist him
in his duties in respect of the battalions and counties. There will be a
Deputy Colonel Commandant specifically for RGBWLI and our four counties.
Regimental Headquarters of The Rifles will be at
Winchester. However, The
Rifles will continue to have a number of outstations, including
thus, the formation of the new regiment is likely to have little effect on
our museums – the Soldiers of Gloucestershire Museum, and the
Museum at The Wardrobe in
Salisbury will continue to
be the homes of our heritage.
hope they keep their word. Salisbury has played second fiddle to Gloster
from day one. The Museum at Salisbury took on the name of the RGBW straight
away and should remain as its Museum. If someone somewhere does not get a
grip of this one the RGBW history will scatter to the four winds.
We shall continue to maintain close links with our counties,
cities and towns; the ending of arms-plotting will mean that 1RIFLES will be
based at Chepstow when not on operations. However all soldiers currently
serving with 1RGBWLI, if they wish, may find a place in any of the
regiment’s battalions. With regular battalions based at both Chepstow and
Bulford, we will be able to provide close support to our TA battalions,
affiliated ACF detachments and
matters not that 1 RIFLES are based at Chepstow, my understanding is that
when formed they will become a national organisation and any individual
links between battalions and counties will disappear.
The Regimental Association will, in due course, be part of a
much larger association. It is hoped that branches in the same town or city
will attend each other’s functions, but change will be evolutionary rather
than revolutionary. We will retain our
branch standards which will continue to be of great importance in carrying
forward our heritage.
future is clear; we are now set on course to merge with 1DDLI in Chepstow in
2007 to form 1RIFLES. We have the opportunity to take with us into the new
regiment, the professionalism and excellence that has made the RGBW so
successful in the last few years, whether on operations or in sports. Much
work needs to be done to sort out the detail, but I am confident that our
excellence will be carried forward into the 1st Bn The Rifles,
and that all who serve in The RIFLES will have an even greater opportunity
for a rewarding, fulfilling, and enjoyable career.
Colonel of the Regiment
I am sure those serving will move
on. But it is very clear that DERR and the Berkshire/Wiltshire Element have
been treated very badly. Everything seems to have gone which makes a total
nonsense of Hoon's statements in parliament about maintaining the Regiments
'golden thread'. Having
said all that, you get what you pay for and I am afraid we have been
deafened throughout by DERR silence which elsewhere is seen as acceptance.
It happened in 1994 and this time the final nail was firmly banged into the
DERR coffin. The only bit we have left now is the Museum. The only way
forward it to contribute to the new formation in a positive way ensuring
DERR traditions are included.
APPROVES NEW REGIMENTAL TITLES
(This section has been taken from a Light Infantry site who appear to be far
better informed than we are)
has been given by Her Majesty The Queen for new regimental titles in the
Infantry, UK Defence secretary, John Reid announced today.
The changes are part of the Future Army Structure (FAS) which is developing
a more deployable, agile and flexible Army. This new structure is now
reflected in the titles of the new multi-battalion regiments.
After months of consultation with the regiments, the agreed title changes
evolved from those announced on 16 December 2004 are:
The King's Own
Royal Border Regiment, The King's Regiment and The Queen's Lancashire
Regiment will form a new regiment to be known as The Duke of Lancaster's
Regiment (King's, Lancashire and Border). On formation in July 2006 the new
regiment will have 3 regular battalions with the TA battalion known as 4
LANCS, until the 3 regular battalions merge to form 1 LANCS and 2 LANCS in
March 2007 allowing 4 LANCS to assume the vacant title of 3 LANCS.
and Dorset Light Infantry, The Royal Gloucestershire,
and Wiltshire Light Infantry, The Light Infantry and The Royal Green Jackets
will form a new regiment, to be known as The Rifles. The Rifles will
comprise five Regular battalions and two TA battalions.
Division consists of the new Royal Regiment of Scotland; The King's Division
will now be made up of The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment (King's, Lancashire
and Border) and The Yorkshire Regiment (14th/15th/19th and 33rd/76th Foot);
The Prince of Wales' Division will now comprise The Mercian Regiment and The
with the Territorial Army (TA) restructuring announcement made in December
2004, the King's and Cheshire Regiment will be merged. The companies will be
re-allocated to neighbouring TA battalions.
Mr John Reid,
restructuring is part of our strategy to provide a truly robust and
It is the next
step in modernising the Army into a fully deployable force.
It is essential to ensure that we are structured to provide the most
powerful capability possible from the resources available."There has been a
constant process of change and regeneration in the Army, in which new
organizations have been created, drawing from previous military renown,
while developing their own traditions and reputations.
"The planned changes to the infantry are well underway to ensure the Army is
fit for the challenges of the 21st Century and remains amongst the best in
Mike Jackson, Chief of the General Staff, said:
"The Army has
consulted extensively to find the best names for the new regiments, taking
into consideration history and their role in the Army.
"I am confident
that these changes will contribute significantly towards our ability to
deliver a truly robust and expeditionary Army.
It will also
provide for better career management for the infantry, and greater stability
and predictability of life for their families."
Formation Arrangements: Regimental Formation 2007.
1st Battalion The
Light Light Infantry.
1st Battalion The Royal Gloucestershire, Berkshire
and Wiltshire Light Infantry
1st Battalion The Royal Green Jackets
2nd Battalion The Rifles 2 RIFLES
2nd Battalion The Light Infantry
3rd Battalion The Rifles 3 RIFLES
2nd Battalion The Royal Green Jackets
4th Battalion The Rifles
4 RIFLES 1st Battalion The Light Infantry
The Rifles 5 RIFLES
The Rifle Volunteers
6th Battalion The Rifles 6 RIFLES
The Royal Rifle Volunteers
7th Battalion The Rifles
What plans have the Light Division made?
Devonshire and Dorset Light Infantry (DDLI), The Light Infantry (LI), The
Berkshire and Wiltshire Light Infantry (RGBWLI) and The
Royal Green Jackets (RGJ) have elected to join and make a wholly new
regiment called The Rifles. The Rifles will be comprised of seven
battalions, five Regular and two Territorial, as well as other Territorial
elements, Cadets and Associations. The Rifles will take their inspiration
from the Founding Regiments' Light Division roots, including their Line
Regiment history. The Rifles will hold the qualities advanced by General Sir
John Moore and displayed by the finest of Infantry regiments. They will
demonstrate the values of independent thought and action, leadership,
self-discipline, fortitude and steadfastness. The Rifles will strive for
excellence and be known for their fighting spirit and strong sense of
decency. They will be forward-looking, at the forefront of military thought,
and determined to set the standards to which other regiments aspire.
Q. Why did the
Regiments elect to merge?
A. A merger was
one of a series of options ranging from evolutionary to more bold choices.
The merger offers a number of advantages. First, it a bold forward-looking
option - it 'seizes the high ground' in embracing inevitable change. Second,
it will create five regular battalions, supported by a strong T A element,
that cover a wide range of the operational roles envisaged. Third, it is a
union of famous names who feel that they have common aspirations and a
shared ethos. It will benefit from the combined resources and span of our
regional bases as well as offering a better potential career structure for
our Regulars and Reservists. We believe with more choice within a single
unified capbadge there is the opportunity to create the best regiment of
Q. Why will the
new Regiment be named "The Rifles"?
A. "The Rifles" was selected as a distinctive and forward-looking name, true
to the Light Division heritage and the ethos of the new regiment.
Q. Why is there
no mention of Royal or Regiment in the name?
possibility of The Rifles earning the title 'Royal' in the future remains an
option for the
Monarch and The Rifles. The Royal patronage enjoyed by the founding
regiments has not been affected by this choice of name. As a single large
regiment, it was felt that adding "Regiment" after The Rifles was
superfluous and its omission more distinctive.
Q. Which date
will be chosen for formation day - what is the significance of this date?
A. A date will
be selected in early 2007 based around the Operational Commitments Plot.
This reflects the fact that The Rifles will form to better meet the
operational and organisational demands of the future.
Q. What will be
chosen as the capbadge?
A. This is
still to be decided by the Army Dress Committee and is likely to be based
upon a silver bugle.
Q. How will the
'golden threads' of the antecedent Regiments be preserved?
A. 'Golden threads' will be preserved on No 2 Dress. It is proposed that the
DDLI 'Croix de
Guerre' will be worn on the sleeve, the LI bugle and RGBWLI back-badge will
be displayed on the forage cap and the RGJ thread will be preserved in the
black buttons, cross belt and whistle cord. . This is still subject to Army
Dress Committee approval.
seniority will The Rifles adopt?
This issue is
still being addressed.
Q. How have the
numbers been allocated to Rifles battalions?
seniority of the DDLI and RGBWLI has been recognised in their merging to
form 1 RIFLES. The remaining battalions have been allocated on an alternate
basis between the LI and RGJ in recognition of the values and partnership
underlying the formation of The Rifles2.
62. Q. How will
The Rifles maintain links with their founding Regiments recruiting areas?
regional links are essential to underpin the national outlook and ethos of
The Rifles. The Rifles will maintain a central RHQ supported by a network of
area offices across the country. Additionally, T A units, affiliated Cadet
organisations, associations and recruiting areas will be
better aligned to the UK based Regular battalions now that Arms Plotting has
Q. Will The
Rifles carry Colours?
A. To be
consistent with Rifle history, Colours will not be carried. Battle honours
will instead be celebrated by a Maltese/Waterloo Cross inscribed with
representational battle honours in each quarter.
Q. How will The
Rifles be governed?
A. A single serving Colonel Commandant will be appointed to The Rifles; he
will be supported
by a number of Deputy Colonels Commandant.
Q. Does the
merger have the unanimous support of the founding regiments?
A. Yes it does
and a Rifles Charter has been signed by the four Regimental Colonels and
Colonel Commandant, which reflects this. There is wide recognition of this
30th October 2007
(Info from Light Infantry Site.)
|THE FORMATION OF THE RIFLES
1. As you know the Army Board directed the Infantry to form larger regiments
in order to better meet operational demands and efficiency. Arms plotting
will give way to an Individual Posting policy.
2. After careful, wide-ranging and cooperative, indeed generous, discussion
The Light Infantry, The Devonshire and Dorset Light Infantry, The Royal
Gloucestershire, Berkshire and Wiltshire Light Infantry and The Royal Green
Jackets have decided to form a wholly new regiment, The Rifles.
3. Our inspiration will be The Light Division. We aspire to the values of
independent thought, action and leadership forwarded by General Sir John
Moore: self-discipline, fortitude and steadiness of heart. We want to be
known for our fighting spirit and our strong sense of decency. We want to be
at the forefront of military thinking.
4. The Rifles will be rooted in its Counties and Cities. We shall have an
essential sense of place and this will underpin our national identity. And
we shall give a place to all and anyone who swears to serve faithfully. We
shall strengthen our essential links - Regular, TA and Cadet.
5. Our vision has Regular battalions reflecting and celebrating the history
of all antecedent regiments. But we recognise the vital importance of the
1 st Battalion initially being the place where DDLI and RGBWLI bring
their treasure, and proud successful history, to The Rifles.
6. The capbadge of The Rifles will be The Light Infantry’s bugle. The RGBWLI
back badge will be worn on the No 1 Dress hat; wider display is a matter for
7. Despite the preference of some for Colours we agreed that to be
consistent with Rifle history we should not have Colours. Our battle honours
will be celebrated by a Maltese Cross inscribed with representational battle
honours in each quarter, to be worn on the Cross Belt or Waist Belt as
8. The Rifles will have a single Colonel Commandant - a senior serving
officer. He will appoint Deputy Colonels Commandant to assist him in his
duties in respect of the Battalions and Counties. Initially, there will be a
Deputy Colonel Commandant DDLI and one for RGBWLI.
9. We shall be writing to the Chief of the General Staff to seek Army Board
approval and Royal Assent of our agreement with a view to forming The Rifles
10. I believe this decision is both exciting and sad. All regiments have
given up elements we hold dear. The title ‘Light Infantry’, proudly earned
and determinedly, loyally, upheld is a case in point. We shall not forget it
nor those who for generations have represented it. We have been exceedingly
11. But we have the opportunity to build an even more powerful regiment. The
Rifles will be relevant to the future and proud of its rich history.
Regimental Associations will uphold that history and be an important part of
the new regiment.
12. I commend the historic decision to form The Rifles to all Light
Infantrymen. God’s speed and God bless you all.
In addition to above our own HQ has published the following.
the RGBWLI will merge with D & DLI in 2007 and then become 1st Bn The
1st Bn - Chepstow
2nd Bn Ballykinler
3rd Bn Edinburgh
4th Bn Bulford
5th Bn Paderborn
6th Bn (TA with HQ at Exeter)
7th Bn (TA with HQ at Reading - Possibly)
Macs observations on above
If we thought that 1 DERR disappeared in 1994, it
sure as hell will in 2007. Based on the information given to date there is
nothing there from our old Mob. They have stated that the back badge will be
worn on the service dress hat. I have no doubt this will slowly disappear
over the next few years as the beret takes precedence and the back badge
will go with it. If they placed it on the beret (As they should have done)
it would be a different matter. I think our Gloster comrades might see this
as a victory, it will be short lived.
Despite all the spin the county links will
disappear in 2007, and although on paper the RGBW and D & D form 1 The
Rifles the links with the counties are very cosmetic.
The bit missing is the 'Royal' which for us comes
from the Royal Berkshires. All they have said is they have put it before HM
The Queen to decide, they are not stating that they are recommending that it
remains a Royal Regiment. If they fail to do this, then there will be no
links with Berkshire or Wiltshire.
They have said that the 7th (TA) Bn might have
their HQ at Reading, I read that as they won't and it will end up in London
where the influence is located. If they pull the plug on Brock Barracks,
that's it for our County links. So much for the waffle stating our
'Historical Golden threads' would be safeguarded.
FROM MAC - The
following was sent from RHQ Gloucester today (25.7.2005) for the information
of all. For those of you that believe that life as we know it stopped in
1994, read no further. For the rest who believe as I do that the DERR golden
Thread is tied up in this latest mess then read on and you will get a
flavour of what's happening. As you will see below they have used Salamanca
day as the focus for the merging of the names. This is nothing to do with
DERR or the former Regiments so it will be interesting to see what develops.
If they move into the LI saving the Back Badge and nothing from our Regiment
then questions will have to be asked.
For those of you who take an
interest in our history I advise you to view some Light Infantry Websites
where it it clear the LI lads want this merger no more than we do, and in
some cases they are stating that nothing historically should come over from
the D & Ds or the RGBW. I am not picking up the same vibes from elsewhere,
but it remains to be seen.
Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh
Chief, The Royal Gloucestershire, Berkshire
Wiltshire Light Infantry
The British Army has had to
endure a number of major changes in recent years. The creation of a large
Light Infantry Regiment brings together the Devonshire and Dorset Regiment
with the Royal Gloucestershire, Berkshire and Wiltshire Regiment. I hope it
is a good omen that this change takes place on the anniversary of the Battle
of Salamanca on 22 July, when the Regiments fought side by side in that
famous battle, along with the King's Shropshire Light Infantry and the Duke
of Cornwall's Light Infantry.
I send my best wishes for
the future to all the members of the Royal Gloucestershire, Berkshire and
Wiltshire Regiment as you become Light
Sir kevin o'donoghue
The Royal Gloucestershire, Berkshire
Wiltshire Light Infantry
All members of the Royal Gloucestershire,
Berkshire and Wiltshire Light Infantry
Today, on the anniversary of
the Battle of Salamanca, we become The Royal Gloucestershire, Berkshire and
Wiltshire Light Infantry. At the same time our friends in The Devonshire
and Dorset Regiment - who like us joined The Light Division earlier this
year - become The Devonshire and Dorset Light Infantry.
The RGBWLI will wear the rifle green beret of The Light Infantry but, in all
other ways, we will continue as we have since 1994. This step is
significant as it illustrates our becoming Light Infantrymen; late next
year, after 1 RGBWLI returns from operations in Afghanistan, we shall form a
new Battalion within The Light Infantry.
Throughout our long and glorious history our forebears have served alongside
those of the DDLI within the Wessex Brigade, within the Prince of Wales's
Division and on the battlefield. At the Battle of Salamanca in 1812 the 61st
(South Gloucestershire) Regiment fought alongside the forebears of The
Devonshire Regiment and those of The King's Shropshire Light Infantry and
The Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry. We are joining Regiments with whom
we have enjoyed success in battle and with whom we will be well placed to
face the challenges of the future.
It is quite natural that these changes can appear unsettling, but we can
take much reassurance from the outstanding success that was our last
amalgamation and the fine reputation that this Regiment has built for itself
in just 11 years. In moving forward I send you my best wishes in the
certain knowledge that this Regiment's future is bright as well as Light -
we will continue to serve and represent both the country and our counties
Sir kevin o'donoghue
The Royal Gloucestershire, Berkshire
Wiltshire Light Infantry
Lieutenant General Sir
Cedric Delves KBE DSO
Colonel, The Devonshire and Dorset Light Infantry
Today, on the anniversary of
the Battle of Salamanca, we commemorate the brave deeds of former members of
both our Regiments. Our close friendship continues from 22 July 1812 when
remnants of our two battalions, both of which had suffered heavy losses,
formed for a while one victorious battalion. Since then, our soldiers have
taken part in many campaigns together and have, of course, served together
in the Wessex Brigade and the Prince of Wales's Division. All officers and
soldiers of the Royal Gloucestershire, Berkshire & Wiltshire Light Infantry
join me in sending heartfelt greetings to all ranks of The Devonshire and
Dorset Light Infantry as we embark on the next chapter of our history. We
look forward to our bright future together as Light Infantrymen.
COLONEL OF THE DEVONSHIRE AND DORSET LIGHT INFANTRY
COLONEL OF THE ROYAL GLOUCESTERSHIRE, BERKSHIRE AND WILTSHIRE LIGHT INFANTRY
The Colonel of the
Regiment and all members The Devonshire and Dorset Light Infantry send
their warmest greetings to you and all members of the Royal
Gloucestershire Berkshire and Wiltshire Light Infantry on this the One
Hundred and Ninety Third anniversary of the Battle of Salamanca when our
forebears fought shoulder to shoulder in Hulse's Brigade. Today as we
start our moves to join fully in the Light Infantry we look back to our
shared experiences in many campaigns, and on many battlefields, and as
members of the Wessex Brigade and Prince of Wales's Division. And we also
take comfort in our long and true friendship. It all lends the utmost
confidence. We look forward with optimism to our future together.
FROM THE COLONEL OF THE REGIMENT [DDLI]
To all members of the
Regiment, past and present, and our friends in the two Counties.
Today, the One Hundred and Ninety Third
anniversary of the Battle of Salamanca, we formally adopt the title
The Devonshire and Dorset Light Infantry;
and, as an outward symbol of that change, we wear for the first time the
Green Beret of the Light Infantry. We do this at the same time as our
friends and comrades of the RGBW whose forbears of the 61st Foot
fought shoulder to shoulder with us in Hulse's Brigade on that same bloody
battlefield, a battle honour held also by the Light Infantry.
So, shoulder to shoulder we make our move to
join our friends and comrades of the Light Infantry, a move that will see us
becoming in time their First Battalion, an honour generously given, an
honour with responsibilities willingly accepted, warmly received.
Of course this has undertones of sadness for
us all. But any dynamic and successful organization must by definition
undergo constant adjustment. The Regiment has changed and prospered in the
past, always meeting the demands placed upon it. I am so proud of the way
that you have all faced up to the challenges and needs of today. I am
confident that the changes upon which we are now embarked will ensure that
we will preserve the best of our Regimental heritage while equipping
ourselves to face the challenges of the future. Let us go forward with
pride, confidence and indeed optimism.
Lieutenant General Sir Cedric Delves KBE DSO
Colonel, The Devonshire and Dorset Light Infantry
THE COLONEL, THE LIGHT
FRIDAY 22 JULY 2005
I send you and all ranks,
serving and retired, greetings on Salamanca Day. We share this history, and
I know all ranks of The Light Infantry look forward to sharing our future.
Today you add Light Infantry
to your regimental titles; this is the start of a journey of
transformation. The Light Infantry recognises your sacrifices, salutes your
past and looks forward to marching swiftly to our bright future.
61st at the Battle of Salamanca - Spain
The Duke of Wellington
described Salamanca as the battle of the Peninsular War of which he was most
proud, and the 61st Regiment could certainly make the same claim,
although during the early stages of the battle it was in reserve with the
rest of the 6th Division of which it formed part.
The battlefield was
dominated by two steep-sided hills known as the Greater and the Lesser
Arapiles, the former in French hands and the latter in British. During the
course of the battle our 4th Division was sent to attack the
Greater Arapile, but scarcely had they reached it when the French launched a
successful counter attack with a fresh formation against their flank.
Immediately the 6th Division was ordered to regain the ground
thus lost, and the 61st with the 11th Foot (later the
Devonshire Regiment) on its right, was directed to capture the feature.
After three ringing cheers they advanced steadily on their enemy and
gradually drove them backwards up the slopes of the hill. The men of both
British regiments went down by scores as battalion after battalion of
Frenchmen attempted to halt their progress. Having at last gained their
objective they came under the fire of a battery of twelve guns and a swarm
of sharpshooters, but they stood awaiting further orders with perfect
discipline in the gathering darkness.
Elsewhere the French were
withdrawing, leaving a division as rearguard along the top of a steep
escarpment, and once more the 6th Division was called upon to
attack. As it came within the range of the French muskets the 61st
received a devasting volley, but closing its ranks to fill the gaps thus
made, it pressed on, answering shot for shot. In the gathering darkness the
hill was one vast sheet of flame, for the dry grass had caught fire, and it
looked to an observer as though the British were attacking a burning
mountain. During the final charge all the officers and the sergeants with
the Colours fell together under the enemy's fire but they were seized by two
privates. Crawford and Coulston, who bore them triumphantly to the summit.
No less than six reliefs of
officers and sergeants had been shot under the Colours during this fierce
day of battle. The Regiment went into action with a strength of 27 officers
and 420 men, and of these 24 officers including Colonel Barlow, the CO and
342 men were either killed or wounded. The Regiment received unstinted
praise for its gallantry on this occasion and an officer of the 32nd
Foot who was present throughout wrote "The 61st which was almost
annihilated in this severe action, was by far the finest Regiment in the 6th
Capt [Retd] Ian G
Royal Gloucestershire, Berkshire & Wiltshire Light Infantry
Today, 22 July 2005, Salamanca Day, RGBW
become The Royal Gloucestershire, Berkshire and Wiltshire Light Infantry (RGBW
LI). This title will be retained until such time as they join with the Devon
and Dorset’s LI to become a battalion in the Light Division, sometime in
THE COLONEL, THE LIGHT INFANTRY
1 D&D LI and 1RGBW LI
FRIDAY 22 JULY 2005
I send you and all ranks, serving and
retired, greetings on Salamanca Day. We share this history, and I know all
ranks of The Light Infantry look forward to sharing our future.
Today you add Light Infantry to your regimental titles; this is the start of
a journey of transformation. The Light Infantry recognises your sacrifices,
salutes your past and looks forward to marching swiftly to our bright
COLONEL, THE ROYAL GLOUCESTERSHIRE, BERKSHIRE & WILTSHIRE LIGHT INFANTRY
THE COLONEL, THE LIGHT INFANTRY
FRIDAY 22 JULY 2005
Today, on the anniversary of the Battle of Salamanca, we become the Royal
Gloucestershire, Berkshire and Wiltshire Light Infantry and adopt the rifle
green beret. We do this in recognising that our predecessors fought
alongside brave Light Infantrymen on this day, 193 years ago. All officers
and soldiers of the Royal Gloucestershire, Berkshire & Wiltshire Light
Infantry join me in sending heartfelt greetings to all our fellow Light
Infantrymen as we join them to embark on the next chapter of our history. We
look forward to our future within the Light Infantry with confidence
THE COLONEL OF THE DEVONSHIRE AND DORSET LIGHT INFANTRY
THE COLONEL, THE LIGHT INFANTRY
FRIDAY 22 JULY 2005
as we adopt our new title of The Devonshire and Dorset Light Infantry and
wear for the first time the outward symbol of the green Light Infantry beret
my Regiment and I send to you our warmest greetings. It is particularly
appropriate that this should happen on the One Hundred and Ninety Third
anniversary of the Battle of Salamanca and we remember particularly the
reputation of the Light Division in that glorious campaign. We appreciate
the honour that you have given us in ultimately forming your 1 st Battalion
and are confident that we will live up to the expectations that your
Regiment has of us.
NOTE FROM MAC - Salamanca is a
Gloucestershire Battle honour carried over to RGBW. DERR did not carry it as
a battle honour. Our only involvement was via the Provisional Battalion of
which the 2nd/66th formed part.
The latest information from the Regimental Museum
Website relating to the change in uniform, in this case the conversion to
the Green Beret. - At least the Brandywine in still visible for the time
Just to make sure that you are aware that
in July the 1st Battalion will wear the Light Infantry green beret, as part
of the ongoing merger with the Devon & Dorset's to form 1LI. The image is of
a 1st Battalion soldier. The Regiment has already moved to the Light
Division for administration, as did the Devon & Dorset's some time
previously. The change to the green beret in July will also mean a name
change to The Royal Gloucestershire, Berkshire and Wiltshire Regiment Light
Infantry. This will be the Regiment's name until the formal merger in 2006.
CGS’s MESSAGE TO THE ARMY
General Sir Mike Jackson GCB CBE DSO ADC
Chief of the General Staff
NOTE FROM MAC...This
is the latest (14th June 05) from the Chief of the General staff. This is
clear confirmation if we ever needed that the county name is lost, or will
be when we become the 1st Light Infantry. Some of you might have seen an
article in the Mail on Sunday where supporters of the D & Ds including the
Widow of Col 'H' Jones VC were claiming they had saved the D & D name. They
have clearly got it wrong the D & Ds title along with the RGBW is going for
good in the near future. This proposal to bolt on the LI title at the end of
the Regimental title for a short period of time is a good example of 'Smoke
FUTURE INFANTRY STRUCTURE (FIS)
THE DEVONSHIRE AND DORSET REGIMENT
(D and D) AND THE ROYAL GLOUCESTERSHIRE, BERKSHIRE AND WILTSHIRE REGIMENT (RGBW)
- TRANSITIONAL REGIMENTAL TITLES
1. In my last Message to the Army
I explained that the Director of Infantry, together with the Colonel
Commandant of the Light Division and the Colonels of The Light Infantry
(LI), D and D and RGBW, would be examining the detailed mechanism by which
the D and D and RGBW will amalgamate to become a battalion in the Light
2. The Director of Infantry has
recently proposed to ECAB that, as a critical step in this process, both
Regiments should adopt transitional titles: The Devonshire and Dorset Light
Infantry (D and D LI) and The Royal Gloucestershire, Berkshire and Wiltshire
Light Infantry (RGBW LI) respectively. These titles would be adopted on 22
July 2005, when D and D, RGBW and LI will all be celebrating Salamanca Day,
and retained until such time as the D and D LI and RGBW LI join to become a
in the Light Division, sometime in late 06. These transitional titles would
afford these Regiments an early opportunity to demonstrate, to their
regimental families and wider county communities, the direction of their
futures in the Light Division.
3. After taking into account the
wider implications of the use of these titles, including the Light
Division’s response, ECAB decided to endorse the proposals. I have informed
Ministers of our decision. Finally, I am pleased to report that Her Majesty
has graciously approved the adoption of these transitional titles.
To all members of the
A Letter from the Colonel Of The Regiment
FROM MAC....This is from the Devon and Dorset
Website, a message from the D & Ds Col of the Regiment
THE FUTURE OF THE REGIMENT
New up-date as of
the 29th May 2005
As some of you may have heard, the
Executive Committee of the Army Board (ECAB) is considering whether to
recommend to Her Majesty The Queen the re-titling of the Regiment, to The
Devonshire and Dorset Light Infantry (DDLI). We do not expect to hear the
outcome of this until some time in June. I would emphasize that there will
be no change for the Regimental Day in Plymouth on Saturday 4th
June. We will parade, past and present, as the Devonshire and Dorset
Regiment. As this will probably be the last time that the Regiment will
parade with its present title and headdress I would ask as many of you as
possible to come and support the occasion, the details of which have already
been sent to you separately.
Concurrently with us, the RGBW has also
applied to re-title to RGBWLI and, if approved, we both hope to adopt the
use of our new titles and the wearing of the Light Infantry green beret on
Salamanca Day, 22nd July, a battle honour we proudly share with
the RGBW and the Light Infantry. Throughout our time as DDLI there will be
no other changes. Our other distinctions and privileges will remain exactly
as they are until we become 1LI some time late next year, or possibly early
The title DDLI, together with the adoption
of the rifle green beret, would serve to mark both our place in the Light
Division and our move to becoming the 1st Battalion of the Light
Infantry. DDLI would be a proud title that would recognise in particular
our close and natural associations with both the DCLI and the SLI, now
within the LI. You might note that the Light Division could decide to form
a wholly new Rifle Regiment, combining the Light Infantry with the Royal
Green Jackets. This has still to be decided. But even so, we should remain
to make the 1st Battalion of such a new regiment, with links to
the past maintained and looking with confidence towards the future.
From: General Sir Kevin O’Donoghue KCB CBE
Colonel of the Regiment
The Royal Gloucestershire, Berkshire and
Custom House 31
Commercial Road Gloucester GL1 2HE
THE FUTURE OF THE ROYAL GLOUCESTERSHIRE, BERKSHIRE AND
Regimental Council met on Mon 9 May to discuss implementation of the
Secretary of State’s announcement of 9 Mar and the Chief of the General
Staff’s subsequent direction. Before I outline the details of the above
discussion, I would like to recap on the changes of structure we will
undergo during the coming months:
RGBW has already moved administratively from the Prince of Wales’s
Division to join the Light Division, alongside the D and D, the LI and the
are currently seeking approval for the RGBW to formally join the LI under
the transitional title of The Royal Gloucestershire, Berkshire
and Wiltshire Light Infantry (RGBWLI). We hope to action the change from
RGBW to RGBWLI on the anniversary of the Battle of Salamanca
(a Battle Honour shared by the RGBW, the D and D, the LI and the RGJ) this
the autumn of 2006, 1 RGBWLI will merge with the 1st Battalion
The Devonshire and Dorset Light Infantry (1 DDLI) to become the 1st
Battalion The Light Infantry (1 LI). The LI will then consist of 3
intended that the RGBWLI will wear the rifle green beret of the Light
Division as a clear symbol of the direction in which we are heading. This
change of headdress will also demonstrate our willingness to embrace the
‘light/rifle’ ethos espoused by the Light Division which will, in turn,
embrace and henceforth carry forward the proud history of the RGBW, just as
the RGBW celebrates the heritage of the GLOSTERS and the DERR.
Throughout these changes, our lineage will be clear and the RGBW (then
RGBWLI, then LI) will continue to support our wider regimental family,
including the TA, the 4 ACF Battalions and our 12 CCF Contingents, just as
we will continue to be the county infantry Regiment of Bristol,
Gloucestershire, Berkshire and Wiltshire. We will ensure that the TA, ACF
and CCF will continue their affiliation to the Regiment and will also adopt
the rifle green beret of the Light Division.
Although no decisions have been taken on future plans for the Regimental
Association, it is likely that there will be little change. The LI
Regimental Association continues to have branches in all their counties –
RGBW branches will be no different and would be welcomed into the LI.
review is to be undertaken this year on the future role of RHQs. No
decision is likely before December at the earliest, but it is likely that we
will retain a presence in Gloucester and Salisbury following our merger.
the future of the Light Division, it is likely that the LI and the RGJ will
choose at some point to merge the whole Division to form a regiment of 5
battalions. The LI and RGJ are discussing this possibility at present and
are aware of our strong preference that to minimise disruption any such
merger should be coincident with the formation of the new 1 LI in autumn
2006. The RGBWLI would then move straight into the new ‘light/rifle’
regiment without taking the step from RGBWLI to LI en route.
course, the eventual future of the Light Division has a bearing on how we
might seek to take forward the RGBW’s ‘Golden Thread’ and the Future Working
Group (FWG) is mindful in its consideration that it must plan for all
possible scenarios. It is important that we bear in mind that the ‘Golden
Thread’ comprises the totality of our heritage and celebration of key Battle
Honours (particularly Ferozeshah); our counties and affiliations; our
Association; our soldiers; and the iconography that represents all this.
The FWG is considering carefully our iconography and has provided an early
idea of what they believe may turn out to be our priorities to be taken
forward into our future regiment including the Back Badge, the Brandywine
Flash and the US Presentational Citation. Whatever we take forward will, of
course, symbolise the RGBW and therefore all of our antecedent Regiments.
that there are those amongst our Regiment’s retired members who feel that
the RGBW should be spared further amalgamation so soon after our last. This
unfortunately is not possible, given the large regimental structure that the
Infantry has decided to adopt to best equip it to meet future operational
commitments. That the Infantry should reduce in size while reorganising is
a decision over which we have no influence, and I am certain that, given the
circumstances, we have reached the best deal we could have hoped for.
Indeed, the Regimental Council is clear that the RGBW will be much better
placed for its future in the post-Arms Plot Infantry within the Light
Division, whether as part of a 3-battalion Light Infantry or a 5-battalion
large regiment. The LI (and RGJ) will ensure that the RGBW is able to
demonstrably carry forward its ‘Golden Thread’ into the Light Division and
the Light Division’s future roles and locations will guarantee broader
career opportunity and greater operational diversity than will be available
to many Infanteers in other Divisions.
Regiments To Merge
From Mac -
This is the latest from the MOD Oracle Website
the election is over, changes to the organisation of the South West’s
Infantry will advance speedily. The Devonshire and Dorset Regiment and The
Royal Gloucestershire, Berkshire and Wiltshire Regiment will join The Light
Infantry, the South West’s other Infantry Regiment, which recruits in
Cornwall, Somerset, Bristol south of the River Avon and also in Durham,
Yorkshire, Shropshire and Herefordshire.
The 1st Battalions of The Devonshire and Dorset Regiment (D and D) Regiment
and The Royal Gloucestershire, Berkshire and Wiltshire Regiment (RGBW) will
merge to become the 1st Battalion The Light Infantry in late 2006 or early
2007, whilst the existing Light Infantry battalions will renumber to become
the 2nd and 3rd Battalions. Before then the D and D and RGBW will take on
interim Light Infantry titles and become part of the famous Light Division
as a first step towards the formation of a new and more effective Regiment
at the heart of which will be Sir John Moore’s founding ideals in ethos,
character and appearance. But the Regiment will also be sensitive to the
heritage of the D and D and RGBW and will celebrate the history of all the
constituent parts of the new Light Infantry.
Plans for the Regiment’s future TA structure have yet to be announced, but
it is almost certain that the South West’s TA Regiment, The Rifle
Volunteers, will become the 5th Battalion The Light Infantry, thus
confirming a strong link between the regular and TA elements of the
Regiment, which will enable the Regiment to support its Light Infantry
badged cadet battalions, its affiliated Combined Cadet Force Detachments and
its Regimental Associations more effectively.
As the restructuring goes ahead all Light Infantrymen extend a very warm
welcome to their new brothers in arms.
Comment from Mac - This press release mentions the 1st (RGBW & D&D)
LI, and the 2nd and 3rd Bns of the LI, and then goes on to mention the TA
battalion which according to this will be the 5th Battalion. Where is the
4th Battalion ?, could it be that the two RGJ battalions will merge and
become the 4th ????
HANSARD - PARLIAMENT - JANUARY 2005
From Mac - This is an extract from Hansard which
may assist with some of the backgroud information
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many people
were recruited into the Royal Gloucestershire, Berkshire and Wiltshire
regiments in each of the last five years; and how that affected
establishment in each case. 
Individual regiments are not allocated on recruitment, but
during or on completion of training. Therefore the information in the
following tables refers only to the trained strength of the Royal
Gloucestershire Berkshire and Wiltshire Regiment. The numbers recruited into
the regiment are represented in terms of gains to the trained strength of
Gains to the trained strength of The Royal Gloucestershire
Berkshire and Wiltshire Regiment (RGBW)
Trained strength of The Royal Gloucestershire Berkshire and
Wiltshire Regiment (RGBW)
|As at 1 April
||Not serving with the Regiment
||Not serving with the Regiment
||Not serving with the Regiment
||Not serving with the Regiment
||Not serving with the Regiment
||Not serving with the Regiment
Figures are rounded to the nearest 10 and therefore totals may not always
equal the sum of the parts.
Memorandum from the Regimental Family of
the Royal Gloucestershire Berkshire and Wiltshire Regiment. Submitted to
Parliment, January 2005
From Mac - This is a copy of the evidence
presented to Parliament, it is repeated in some places by comments below,
but still worthy of insertion for your information.
| The announcement by the
Secretary of State for Defence that the Regiment was to be
dismembered, was both devastating and a complete surprise to us
all. The Army Board have taken the
decision based on misleading and unfounded facts. I and my
colleagues who have proudly served the Regiment and its forbearers
question that decision. The following points need to be taken into
consideration before a final decision is made.
look at the reasons why it is wrong to be cutting the Infantry by
four battalions at this time:
— It will considerably reduce the Army's capability to be a
"force for good in the world", which is the Government's stated
intention. This makes the mathematics irrelevant compared to the
need for infantry.
— No commentator has agreed that it is a sound and sensible
decision; most believe it is putting the country at unnecessary
— Overspending on high tech equipment that will seldom, if
ever, be used in anger is not wise whilst the infantry are
certain to be used, both in anger and in the critical role of
peacekeeping, they always have and always will.
— The infantry is already overstretched and battalions being
required to do the job of two or even three. This will
eventually lead to a catastrophe. The TA is losing over 4% of
its strength annually—these cuts are likely to make this
In particular there are many reasons why it is wrong to focus
the cuts on the RGBW. Here are a few:
— The Director of Infantry's study into "Sustainable
Manning" was "massaged" to remove those regiments that it was
felt could not be cut for wider reasons (not Options for Change)
and this inevitably led to the wrong result.
— The study looked back NOT forward; unsustainable
battalions are therefore being retained whilst the Army is
losing one of its best-manned and most cost effective
— It is certainly not the most cost effective solution, yet
this is supposed to be about cost saving. Perhaps it should be
referred to the "Audit Commission".
— How can Mr Hoon praise "a successful amalgamation like the
RGBW" by name [Daily Telegraph] and, within a month
announce that he is punishing their success by "dismembering
Retention. Some regiments are four times better than others
at retaining trained soldiers; RGBW, in spite of undertaking
"Public Duties" for over three years, is second only to the Devon
& Dorset's and has been consistently good over the last 10 years.
RGBW are currently 19 men under strength and forecast to remain at
this level. D&D are currently 50 men under strength and forecast
by 1 June 2005 to increase to 68 under strength.
The option of cutting the three Guards "incremental
companies" based in Chelsea Barracks seems to have been
overlooked, why? A battalion, giving the infantry more capability
and flexibility, could replace them (three Guards regiments
currently have a Bn + Coy).
The infantry were told which regiments were likely to be cut
in the summer before the Government announcement in July. Mr
Hoon's claim that "there has been a wide-ranging and detailed
consultation exercise, with the infantry being invited to express
their views on how the restructuring should be implemented" is
It assumes that it is possible to undo decisions implemented
over 10 years ago; it isn't—it merely destroys success.
It also punishes those individuals who have made RGBW so
successful as 75% of the soldiers were never in either the
Gloucestershire Regiment or Duke of Edinburgh's Royal Regiment.
The GLOSTERS and DERR components of 1 RGBW are only 25% of RGBW
today and diminishing month by month.
There is a very real risk that some first class officers and
soldiers from RGBW will leave the Army when the decision is
implemented, probably in 2006. The Foreign & Commonwealth soldiers
serving in RGBW, principally Fijians, have all joined since RGBW
was formed; RGBW is their "home" in the UK. In effect, this
decision will break up operationally effective teams, friendships
and encourage the most excellent officers and soldiers to leave
early rather than deliver their full potential to the Army. It is
neither cost effective nor justified. How can "golden threads of
identity be preserved" in these circumstances?
The Proposal to merge the DERR component of RGBW to the
Princess of Wales Royal Regiment (PWRR) has been ill thought out.
PWRR are 15 over strength now. The whole of the Queen's Division
are only 16 under strength. The PWRR already recruit from
Hampshire, Surrey, West and East Sussex and Kent. Neither they,
nor the Queen's Division need a larger recruiting area so to
allocate them Berkshire and Wiltshire is quite unnecessary and
does not in any way justify dismembering the RGBW.
If the whole of RGBW were to go with the D&D to the Light
Division, and all maintained their current strengths, the Light
Division would end up some 15% over strength. Applying the same
assumption to the King's and Scottish Division, they would be 15%
and 11.5% respectively over strength so there is no justification
for dismembering RGBW.
By contrast the combined Mercian and Welsh Regiments will be
250 or half a battalion under strength and are probably destined
to being permanently undermanned, particularly the current Royal
Regiment of Wales (95 under strength by June), the Cheshires (72
under) and the Staffords (69 under).
The dismembering of RGBW will make it almost impossible to
preserve the "golden thread", which the Secretary of State claims
is so important. County connections will inevitably further
The dismemberment of RGBW was not recommended to the
Executive Committee Army Board by the Regiment or the Prince of
Wales's Division in the consultation. To call it ". . . the result
of detailed consultations" is simply not true; it wasn't.
It was a last minute change by the ECAB, probably promoted by
Director Infantry, Brig Jamie Balfour, late of the Royal Green
Jackets, to prevent the Light Infantry and RGJ having to absorb a
complete battalion, but this did not justify butchering RGBW.
Having chosen the wrong regiment to cut, this created a
"blood clot" in the South and dismemberment seems to have been the
drastic surgery chosen for which there is no precedent.
It is not too late. I understand that the House of Commons
Defence Committee has begun to investigate the proposed cuts. I
therefore urge you to bring these points to the attention of the
Executive Committee of the Army Board, clearly pointing out that
the cuts in the infantry are wrong and ill judged, and I implore
the Committee to recommend a re-examination of the decision and
the appalling treatment of the RGBW.
Major General (Retd) RD Grist CB OBE
24 March 05
(This was issued by General Grist prior to the election -
THE FUTURE OF THE ROYAL GLOUCESTERSHIRE,
Most of you will be aware that Mr Hoon has recently announced a change to
the decision he announced in December last year. The Royal Gloucestershire,
Berkshire and Wiltshire Regiment (RGBW) will now amalgamate with the
Devonshire and Dorset Regiment (D & D) and form a new battalion within the
Light Division. As a result many have believed that the RGBW has been
‘saved’; it hasn’t. At the same time as Mr Hoon was making his statement
General Sir Mike Jackson, the Chief of the General Staff issued a message to
the Army about the change which included: “however, this amalgamation will
be conducted (as had previously been planned) on the basis of a third of the
RGBW’s manpower amalgamating with the D and D to become 1 LI, and the
remaining two thirds being distributed elsewhere in the Army.”
Although it is a small change for the better that is, in itself, an
achievement and the fact that the heritage of both the RGBW and its
antecedent regiments will now go in one direction is welcome. This would not
have been achieved had it not been for the wave of protest by so many people
at the original decision to disband the RGBW; consequently I would like to
thank on behalf of the Regiment everyone who has been part of that protest
in any way whatsoever. In particular we are most grateful to most of our
MPs, through whom so many have been able to express their dismay, and to the
media who have publicised this thoroughly unjust decision.
Serving officers and soldiers have welcomed the change. It acknowledges the
success of the RGBW; it gives a home in the Light Infantry to most of our
officers and soldiers (while only one-third of the Regiment will move to the
new 1 LI, it is likely that another third of the RGBW will go to other
battalions in the Light Division), and this means that most of our soldiers
should continue to serve with friends (individuals will regularly move from
one battalion to another within the Division once Arms Plotting ceases). The
final third will have to move elsewhere in the Army but this may benefit
individual careers. The future consequently appears brighter for the serving
members of the Regiment as a result of Mr Hoon’s latest announcement.
Nevertheless the change is, in reality, a very small adjustment. Despite its
magnificent record this exemplary infantry regiment, the RGBW, will still be
amalgamated and dispersed across the Army. This is not in the interests of
the County, the Army or the Infantry and neither is it a fair or a just
outcome. We therefore intend to go on campaigning for what is right, the
retention in the future Army of RGBW as a complete battalion. To achieve
this we will continue to need your support.
Most commentators believe that the Army reduction, particularly the cut of
four battalions, is totally unjustified and is merely being done to save
money, despite the risks to our security. However it is unlikely that the
present Government will make further changes unless external circumstances
alter. This may happen:
· The Conservative Party have already announced that, if they formed the
next Government, they would increase the size of the Army to 108,500 from
the current funded strength of 103,500, maintain the infantry at its current
level and retain the existing Regiments.
· The situation in Northern Ireland may prevent the reduction that it was
assumed would be possible when the cuts were announced.
· Some quite unforeseen threat to our security or our vital interests may
erupt somewhere in the world making it necessary to retain as many infantry
battalions as possible.
Of course the changes may eventually be implemented. Planning will therefore
continue to ensure that every serving officer and soldier is properly looked
after. In addition the way in which the heritage of the RGBW is taken
forward into the Light Infantry in general, and the 1st Battalion The Light
Infantry in particular, needs to be resolved. Despite reassurances from the
Prime Minister, Mr Hoon and General Sir Mike Jackson, we need to ensure that
the RGBW heritage, which incorporates that of the Gloucestershire Regiment
and the Duke of Edinburgh’s Royal Regiment, is carried forward in a
‘publicly visible way’ and that any ‘transition period’ is many years.
Whilst this is largely a matter for the serving officers to resolve, the
public pressure to get this right and to retain local links has been, and
will continue to be, important.
In a wider context we must continue to question the wisdom of the cuts in
our defence capability and the RGBW. We need your support to argue, along
with everyone else, that the cuts in the infantry are wrong and ill judged
and justifying them mathematically, based on a reduced need in Northern
Ireland and changes to the Arms Plot, simply does not recognise that, since
the Strategic Defence Review, the world scene has changed and is changing.
We need to be able to embark on expeditionary warfare to defeat global
terrorism. It simply isn't enough to 'secure' ourselves, although this is
vitally important; unless we defeat terrorism the continuous costs of higher
security will otherwise be a constant drain on the Exchequer. We must also
be able to intervene in humanitarian situations and to continue to defend
our interests in the world. In all these cases we need trained, experienced,
and disciplined infantry like the RGBW.
There is expected to be a General Election in early May. Defence is unlikely
to be one of the key issues in the campaign, although it probably should be.
However it can be locally, and it is important that each candidate is
questioned about their position, and that of their party, on defence in
general and the infantry in particular. Serving officers and soldiers may
not become involved in politics but those who are retired and our supporters
can and, if they believe these cuts are wrong and put the security of the
nation at risk, should do so. In this way, whoever is elected must continue
to be made aware of the issues.
In the meantime it is critical that the RGBW remains an exemplary battalion,
and for all who come into contact with them to recognise it. They have
shown, since the first announcement last December, their determination not
to allow morale to drop and to maintain their very high standards,
exemplified by winning the Army Rugby Cup this month. They have now learnt,
to their delight, that they are to deploy to Afghanistan on an operational
tour in the autumn, another measure of the confidence senior commanders have
Much of our media has given us outstanding support and I hope that the Press
will continue to remind their readership and listeners of what is happening.
The RGBW are still being split up unlike other Regiment. I attach a
Background Briefing Note, which I hope will help to keep you informed of
some of the arguments that can be used.
With very best wishes,
BRIEFING: THE FUTURE OF THE ROYAL GLOUCESTERSHIRE BERKSHIRE AND WILTSHIRE
REGIMENT (RGBW) – 21/3/05
(Again prior to the
election and now somewhat historical, this together with many other
submissions were sent to the commons defence select committee- Mac)
OVERVIEW - The RGBW believes that it has earned the right through its
exemplary performance, its cost effectiveness and its support of the Army
corporate image, to be retained in the Future Infantry Structure as a
complete battalion. Under present plans this will not happen.
· Jan 2005: 1 RGBW has the best rate of retaining trained manpower of
any infantry battalion in 2004/05, clear evidence of their cost
· As at 1 January 2005 1 RGBW was the 16th best manned infantry
battalion (of 40) and is forecast to be 8th best manned by 1 June 2005.
· Jan 2005: Gen Sir Mike Jackson, the Chief of the General Staff visits
the 1st Bn RGBW and admits that the RGBW been treated more harshly than
any other regiment.
· Mar 2005: RGBW won the Army Rugby Cup beating the Royal Scots 31-24.
· Mar 2005: Mr Hoon announces that, instead of splitting the RGBW as he
had originally decided, the reduction will “be achieved by the
amalgamation of the Devonshire and Dorset Regiment with the RGBW. The
resulting new regiment will become the 1st Battalion The Light
Infantry”. But this is not quite what it seems (see below).
· Mar 2005: It was announced that the RGBW will deploy to Afghanistan on
an operational tour in the Autumn of 2005.
· Mar 2005: Defence Select Committee publishes report expressing concern
at the cuts in the services in general and the infantry in particular.
· The RGBW are the result of an outstandingly successful amalgamation of the
Gloucestershire Regiment (GLOSTERS) with the Duke of Edinburgh’s Royal
Regiment (DERR) in 1994.
· On 9 Mar 05 Mr Hoon announced that the RGBW would not be disbanded but
would amalgamate with the Devonshire and Dorset Regiment to form the 1st
Battalion The Light Infantry. However in a letter to the Army about this
change Gen Sir Mike Jackson has written “the RGBW will now amalgamate as a
single entity with the D and D, and the resulting new regiment will become
the 1st Battalion The Light Infantry (1 LI)…. However, this amalgamation
will be conducted …on the basis of a third of the RGBW’s manpower
amalgamating with the D and D to become 1 LI, and the remaining two thirds
being distributed elsewhere in the Army.”
· The effect of this change therefore still means that only a small
proportion of the RGBW will remain together in a new battalion.
· The heritage of the RGBW will now go to the 1st Bn The Light Infantry but
how this will manifest itself has still to be determined.
· The proposed changes will not take place until 2006, at the earliest, and
in the meantime the RGBW will carry out an operational tour in Afghanistan
from Oct 05.
· The future structure of the TA has yet to be announced.
The Case Against Cutting the Infantry by
· The infantry cuts reduce the Army’s capability to be a 'force for good in
the world', which is the Government’s stated intention. This makes the
mathematics irrelevant compared to the need for infantry.
· It is not simply rebalancing the Army as is claimed. More manpower is
needed in the support services but this is an actual cut in the funded
strength of the Army by 1,500 trained personnel simply because of funding
constraints. General Sir Mike Jackson has said he needs more infantry but
this is not possible “within existing constraints”.
· Risks are being taken with training because the infantry are
‘overstretched’, and have been for years. Increasing the availability of
infantry by ceasing arms plotting should be used to reduce overstretch but
the cuts will ensure that it continues.
· There are currently two artillery regiments in Iraq in the ‘infantry
· 11 of the 36 future infantry battalions will continue to ‘arms plot’.
· The infantry
reduction was also partly based on finalising the peace process in Northern
Ireland, an outcome that currently appears to be further away than was
· The TA is losing over 4% of it strength annually – these cuts are likely
to make this situation worse.
The Case for Changing the Decision to Amalgamate
· The decision is not in the best interests of the Army and the infantry,
and is unfair on a Regiment formed by amalgamation as recently as 1994.
· It means the whole of the South West Region will, in future, be
represented by only two infantry battalions.
· ‘Sustainable Manning’ was intended to be the only criteria for deciding
which regiments should be amalgamated. The study into which regiments had
the best ‘Sustainable Manning’ statistics was 'adjusted' to remove those
regiments that it was felt could not be cut for various reasons, thus
invalidating the criteria; excluding regiments that had been recently formed
through amalgamation was not one of them.
· The option of creating a large Prince of Wales’s Regiment of 2 Wessex, 2
Welsh and 2 Mercian battalions, which would have been highly cost effective
and least disruptive, was ignored because it would have meant the
amalgamation of the Cheshires and the Staffords, ordered under ‘Options for
Change’ but then stopped.
· The RGBW retention rate is the best in the infantry. From Apr – Nov 04
just 16 trained soldiers left the RGBW early, whilst the rate in four other
regiments was over 45. The cost of recruiting and training a new infantry
recruit is £26,000 so replacing this wastage will cost an additional
£750,000 per regiment.
· It is impossible to understand how retaining unsustainable battalions
whilst the Army is losing one of its best manned and most cost effective
battalions can be “in the long term interests of the Army and the Infantry”
as is claimed. In February the 2 Welsh and 3 Mercian battalions were an
average of 48 men under strength and by August this is forecast to increase
to 68 under strength or the equivalent of more than three rifle companies.
· A complete battalion could replace the 3 Guards ‘incremental companies’
based in Chelsea Barracks and this would provide more capability and
Headquarters RGBW – 01452 522682. Spokesmen: Maj Gen (Ret’d) Derek Crabtree,
Brig (Ret’d) Simon Firth and Maj Gen (Ret’d) Robin Grist.
To all members of the Regimental Family
A Letter from the Colonel Of The Regiment
(Extracted from the Devon and Dorset site, for info- Mac)
The Future of the
Devonshire and Dorset
I am very aware that the
stark announcement from the Ministry of Defence that we would be joining the
Light Infantry has caused much concern in many places throughout the South
West and within the Regimental Family. Up to now it has not been possible to
give you detail of our future even though it is by every account a most
promising one, and certainly not the axing described so vividly and
inaccurately by both press and television.
We as a Regiment The
Devonshire and Dorset Regiment are moving lock stock and barrel into the
Light Division to join our brothers in the Light Infantry and The Royal
Green Jackets. We have asked that this should happen as soon as possible and
in fact at the beginning of March this year, although this has yet to be
agreed. We have also asked that to mark our move to the Light Division the
suffix 'Light Infantry' should be added to our title so that the 1st
Battalion will become '1st Battalion The Devonshire and Dorset Regiment
Light Infantry', thus preserving our past while acknowledging our future. At
some future date we will be joined by the
element of the Royal Gloucester, Berkshire and Wiltshire Regiment, their
other elements joining the Queens Devision.
Already plans are being
made to bring the four Regiments involved: ourselves; the Gloucester element
(together making one Battalion), The Light Infantry (two Battalions), and
the Royal Green Jackets (two Battalions), into one new five Battalion
Regiment. Although no decisions have yet been made the Army board have
already indicated that the historic links of the past Regiments must be
maintained. I must emphasize that nothing has yet been formally agreed but
this is what we are all amicably working towards.
I hope it will reassure
you that our identity is being preserved and that our regimental future -
albeit in a larger grouping is indeed bright.
The Colonel of the Regiment
Comment from Mac.....This came out prior to the
decision not to dismember the RGBW, and it can be seen the D & Ds were very
keen to get on the road, take the high ground and await the arrival of the
Gloster element who would have been operating at a severe disadvantage
having been 'Disbanded'
THE FUTURE OF THE REGIMENT
(as at 22 March 2005)
(Mac - Again from the D & D Col of the Regiment)
The Regiment moved across
from the Prince of Wales’s Division (P of W Div) to the Light Division (Lt
Div) on 1 Mar 05.On 9 Mar 05 the S of S for Defence announced in the House
that the Executive Committee of the Army Board (ECAB) had revisited their
original decision, announced in the House on 16 Dec 04 by the S of S, on how
the RGBW reduction would be done. The original decision, which was based on
the RGBW being the one Battalion reduction to be found from the P of W Div,
had been adjusted and the RGBW would now be amalgamated with D and D to form
1LI. You should note that the RGBW is still described as being the regiment
selected to meet the required reduction.
This change in ECAB’s
original decision has prompted a rethink by all involved – it does further
complicate our move across to the LI.
The Lt Div has set up
the Light Division Working Group (LDWG), to take forward the move of the D
and D and the RGBW to the LI and to date it has met twice.
The LDWG reports to the
Lt Div Council, which includes the Colonels D and D, RGBW, LI and RGJ, where
all the policy decisions will be taken.
A Regimental Working
Group (RWG) is now in the process of being set up. It will deal with all the
Regimental issues involved in our move to the LI. The RWG will report to the
Colonel of the Regiment’s Council. Brig Richard Toomey, now Comd 1 Mech Bde,
has agreed to be the Chairman of the RWG and Lt Col Bill Sharpe, the Deputy
Chairman. They together with a committee of mostly serving, and some
retired, members of the Regiment, will take the merger forward through a
process of consultation with all parts of the Regiment. The RWG will make
recommendations to the Colonel of the Regiment’s Council, enabling the
Colonel of the Regiment to go forward to the Light Division with fully
developed regimental views and positions. CO 1 D and D is a member of the
LDWG, the Colonel of the Regiment’s Council and the RWG, and this will
provide additional influence and safeguards, ensuring the fullest possible
input by the 1st Battalion.
Commitments Plot (OCP) covering the period to Dec 07 has been published. The
good news is that the 1st Battalion will go to Chepstow in Aug 07, remaining
in 19 Lt Bde for the time being. It is hoped that Chepstow will become the
permanent base for the new 1LI battalion. The future role for this battalion
beyond 07 has yet to be announced.
The Colonel of the
Regiment wants to reinforce what he said in his letter to the Regiment of 29
Jan 05, which was posted on the website, and what he said more recently in
his message to the Regiment in the Regimental Journal. The 1st Battalion,
the serving members of the Regiment and the vast majority of the retired
folk he has spoken to, see the logic and merits of the infantry
restructuring. It is only natural that to an extent, and for a while, our
hearts will be at odds with our head. But we are in true, good and fine
company, together we shall carry forward into continued greatness. We are
privileged to be making our future with the Light Infantry and our old
Wessex partners. Be assured that we shall be working hard to ensure that all
that is best and all that we cherish most will be carried forward into the
new LI with us together with the RGBW and the Light Infantrymen of Somerset
and Cornwall; the future LI is most certainly going to have something
seriously of the "janner" about it.
Comment from Mac - I draw your attention to the
comments in the first paragraph, The Col is clearly stating that the RGBW
was the selected battalion to meet to required reduction. I don't blame him
for saying this, but it is very clear the D & Ds are in place and the RGBW
would appear to be playing second fiddle ....I hope I've got it wrong.
The Future Structure of the Regiment
(From the Light Infantry
Majesty Queen Victoria, in consideration of the enduring gallantry displayed
in the Defence of Lucknow, has been pleased to direct the 32nd be clothed,
equipped and trained as a light infantry regiment.” -
The Light Infantry,
the county Infantry Regiment of Durham, Yorkshire, Shropshire,
Herefordshire, Somerset and Cornwall, is due to be joined by the Devonshire
and Dorset (D and D) Regiment, and the Royal Gloucestershire, Berkshire and
Wiltshire (RGBW) Regiment, under plans announced by the Army Board as part
of the Future Infantry Structure of the British Army.
The 1st battalions of
the Devonshire and Dorset Regiment and the Royal Gloucestershire, Berkshire
and Wiltshire Regiment will merge to form a new battalion, which will become
the 1st Battalion, The Light Infantry (1LI).
Our current regular
battalions, will re-number to become 2LI and 3LI. In anticipation of this
expansion, the D and D have already joined the Light Division, and the RGBW
is expected to do so in the very near future.
Although change is
unsettling, this expansion is widely seen as a real opportunity to build an
even more powerful Regiment. All Light Infantrymen extend a very warm
welcome to those in the D and D and the RGBW. At the same time, the Light
Infantry is taking the opportunity to examine forming an even larger
Regiment with the Royal Green Jackets, and a working group has been
established, consisting of the commanding officers of the regular battalions
of the Light Division, to examine this wider opportunity.
The D and D and the
RGBW will become Light Infantrymen and at the heart of this new Regiment
will be Sir John Moore’s founding ideals in ethos, character and
appearance. The Light Division will also be sensitive to the heritage of the
D and D and RGBW as it is they who are taking a larger step; we will
celebrate their history as we celebrate our own. This year sees the 250th
anniversary of the raising of the 51st and 53rd Regiments, and next year the
As we celebrate in
Yorkshire, Shropshire and Durham respectively, we reflect on the remarkable
history of the Regiment during those 250 years. This is a journey that
others now join – proud of their own past and confident in our future. Our
Light Infantry, and indeed the Light Division identity continues to span the
breadth of England. This is an essential part of our character and the basis
for our success. We should not be considered, either by the Army, or by our
own counties, to be a south western regiment. It has always been Yorkshire
and Durham that have produced the exponential manning – Regular and
Territorial Army – that has been the cornerstone of our success.
We must preserve and
build upon this fact, whilst using all the manning resources that the South
West and the Marches have traditionally supplied and which have kept the
national balances within our Regiment. Our 6 counties (Cornwall, Somerset,
Herefordshire, Shropshire, Yorkshire and Durham), soon to expand to 11 (with
the addition of Devonshire, Dorset, Gloucestershire, Wiltshire and
Berkshire), drawn from across the country, are the essential foundation
producing the totality of the Regiment. We come from the counties and return
to the counties. So Regulars and Territorial Army soldiers alike owe a great
deal to our Cadets (Army Cadet Force and Combined Cadet Force), County
Offices, Regimental Association and our plentiful friends and supporters. We
will continue to nurture this totality.
As the planning for
the expansion of the Regiment develops, and the Future Infantry Structure is
brought to reality, we are positive in looking forward, being proactive in
the strongest tradition of Light Infantrymen over the last 250 years, and
calm against rumour. As a regiment, we are confident in each other. These
are the qualities required in testing times, as our predecessors proved
throughout the Second World War. As we celebrate the 60th anniversary of the
ending of that heroic struggle, we salute those who made the sacrifices –
and we resolve to build a regiment they would both recognise and champion.
Comment from Mac- This insert from
the Light Infantry is very much more positive and it is clear they value
their past, so as a consequence our 'Golden thread ' should be secure in
their hands. There is no mention about the Green Jackets coming on board so
we wait and see. Remember it was the Light company of the 49th (Royal
Berkshires) who won us the right to wear the Brandywine flash, and the 62nd
(Wiltshire's) in the American war of Independence were known as 'The Springers'. All good Light Infantry stuff if you choose to seek it out.
I will add further info as and when I get it.