After the return of the Royal Gloucestershire, Berkshire and Wiltshire Light Infantry to Chester in April 2006 from their successful operational tour in Northern Afghanistan, their main task was to prepare for the formation of the new Regiment, The Rifles, on 1st February 2007. A number of soldiers transferred to the other regiments that make up The Rifles, and the balance moved to Catterick to merge with The Devon and Dorset Light Infantry (1 DDLI) to form 1st Battalion, The Rifles.
As part of this journey to become The Rifles, the RGBWLI exercised their Freedom rights in October through the cities and towns in the regimental area, which had bestowed these Freedoms. An element of sadness was mixed with pride, judging by the reception that the local community gave to serving and retired members of the Regiment, together with members of the Territorial Army and Army Cadets. These marches culminated in a splendid march through Windsor, followed by a service in St George’s Chapel, and a Reception for 700 in Windsor Castle. The Regiment was honoured by the presence of both the Colonel-in-Chief and Deputy Colonel-in-Chief.
On the formation of The Rifles on 1st February, 2007 our county regiment became part of the largest Infantry Regiment in the British Army.
The locations and roles of the five regular Battalions are: Chepstow as a commando battalion; Bulford as a mechanised battalion; Edinburgh in the light role with mountain warfare focus; Ballykinler in the light role; and Paderborn as armoured infantry.
Picture: The cap badge of The Rifles.