1st Battalion, The Gloucestershire Regiment returned to England from India in 1947 and, reduced to cadre strength, was put into a state of “suspended animation”. The Gloucesters had been the last British regiment to march through the streets of Delhi in the Victory Parade of 7th March 1946, prior to the independence the following year of India and Pakistan.
2nd Battalion had returned from Germany in October 1946, but within a few months were again overseas, stationed in Bermuda and Jamaica.
The pre-war and wartime Territorial and Service battalions had all been disbanded or still existed in other guises, except for one. 43rd Reconnaissance Regiment had been disbanded but on 1st March 1947 5th (Territorial) Battalion, The Gloucestershire Regiment was resurrected.
In 1948, as a result of the post war reduction in size of the army, and with the introduction of National Service, the decision was made that 1st and 2nd Battalions of the Gloucestershire Regiment were to be reorganised to form one battalion. All regiments of infantry of the line had been offered the choice of either amalgamating their two regular battalions or disbanding one of them. The amalgamation of the two Gloucester battalions took place in a ceremony on 21st September in Jamaica that was to create 1st Battalion, The Gloucestershire Regiment (28th/61st).
The formal parade took place with 2nd Battalion paraded at full strength and their Colours carried by Captains M.C. Dennison and T.S.W. Reeve-Tucker. The escort was commanded by Major A.J.A. Arengo-Jones. 1st Battalion’s Colours, carried by Captain T.A.K. Dillon and Captain W.A. Wood, with the escort led by Major A.H. Knight, were then marched on parade and formed up opposite.
Both Colour Parties and escorts were inspected by His Excellency the Governor and Captain-General of Jamaica, Sir John Huggins KCMG MC, and in slow time both Colour Parties advanced to the centre of the Square where the Colour Bearers were changed over. This completed, both Colour Parties rejoined their escorts. 2nd Battalion’s Colours were then marched off parade and the Amalgamation was complete.
Finally, before the new 1st Battalion was dismissed the old Colours of the old 1st Battalion were trooped. A large number of spectators witnessed this magnificent ceremony, which will be long remembered.
Picture: Colours and Trophies of 1st and 2nd Battalions in Jamaica, prior to amalgamation.