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New Regiments


pbrydon
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There is an article in todays Daily Mail about a mayor who has asked that serving soldiers from The Rifles based at Chepstow attending a rememberance day service leave their rifles at their base.

That is not the point of this post ( however rediculous it might be ) but in the article is mention of the following regiments:

The Devonshire and Dorset Light Infantry and

The Royal Gloucestershire,Berkshire and Wiltshire Light Infantry

I may not be completely up to date with recent mergers and the creation of "new " regiments,but these titles are not immediatly familiar to me and I wonder what research the writer did to come up with them.

It seems whilst we still remember the fallen, some of us ( especially jounalists ) seem to have forgotted which regiments they served in.

P.B

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Both were formed in 2005 (or rather renamed from similarly named previous regiments) but were merged with the Royal Green Jackets and The Light Infantry to form The Rifles in February 2007.

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Is there a list of the now very few regiments , especially since the last of the originals has now been amalgamated, the 22nd. of course.

Perhaps another job for David Ascoli if he is still with us, a small book alas.

Colin

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Thanks Terry,

Whilst I knew about the disappearance of the Kings Regt and the creation of the Duke of Lancasters Regt, I did not realise how many other well known regiments had lost their identities or that some formerly well known line infantry regiments had briefly become light infantry prior to dissapearing completely.

One very interesting fact mentioned in last nights Festival of Rememberance was that the T.A. now make up 25% of the British Army- presumably not because the T.A has increased in size but because the regular army has been downsized.

I can now appreciate why the casualties mentioned in the media seem to all come from such a few regiments-they are the only ones left.

Peter

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I happened to do my 2 years at a time (mid 50s) when virtually all the WW1 infantry regiments were still in existance. It made it eay for me subsequently to empathise with the WW1 infantrymen of those same regiments. I find it odd now when a man is described as being in a regiment with a concocted name and badge - it doesn`t seem like a real regiment. Fortunately, the men themselves don`t seem to see it that way! I`m sure the men in the somethingth of Foot felt the same way when county titles were introduced.

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The army list of todays regimental system could only have been prepared by some Whitehall Civil Servant with little if any idea of the Regimental system, it must be one of the most complicated ever.

Alas the site given prior is as complicated & not even up to date, so many historic Regiments ceased to exist , even after amalgamation they went, ie. "Fourth battalion" disbanded. It may not be of great concern to the soldiers of today but it is with regret that so many Regimental names have ceased .

I think the "Yorks & Lancs" & "Scottish Rifles" had the right idea.

With regrets.

Colin

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Colin

Believe me that the last people who got involved with the formation of the new regiments were Whitehall civil servants; they would feel that it was not their business.

Nor that it was not of concern to the soldiers of today. The new system was hammered out by the senior officers of the regiments; no-one would have wanted the task but the task had to be done. From what I have heard from a wide range of those currently serving in the infantry, it has been done well.

Stephen

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Well Stephen if the arrangements were "hammered " out by the Senior Officers, perhaps they should have left it to the Civil Servants!!!!!

Regards.

Colin

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Colin - perhaps you could let us know how the changes should have been arranged

Stephen

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Colin - perhaps you could let us know how the changes should have been arranged

Stephen

big regiments- pah the devon & dorsets should have been left alone,generals = c-ap.

roger ex D&D

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It's a bit easier for we Canadians. A small army means that basically we have had the same three regiments (the Royal Canadian Regiment, the Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry, and the French-speaking Royal 22e Regiment) since the end of the Great War. The size of these units has altered from time to time (currently three battalions each), and for a period in the fifties and sixties, militia battalions such as the Black Watch and Queen's Own Rifles were "elevated" to regular-force status but later returned to the reserves, where they still soldier on. Then there was the Canadian Guards, which existed from 1953-1970, but whose traditions are now carried on by two militia units, the Canadian Grenadier Guards and the Governor General's Foot Guards.

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The disappearance of so many familiar regimental names [even if they have been preserved in internal/company titles in some cases] ties in with the supposed lack of community interest in their 'local' unit, as discussed in the media a few weeks ago. If a battalion returns from service overseas, should they really be expected to parade at every large town and city in an area stretching over several counties [if invited by the politicos] , not all of which adjoin each other?

Daggers

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Delta's comments are basically correct, but they just increase the sadness that I feel having watched the destruction of the county regimental system over the last 50 years.

The decision for this recent final destruction was based, I believe, on arguments to allow there to be fewer infantry battalions. Those remaining are expected to be more efficient than they were previously.

On a computer screen the arguments can probably be proven.

From my own observations over the years the regimental representatives at the discussions on amalgamations tend to be rear-echelon types from Regimental Headquarters. They are decent chaps but not necessarily the brightest sparks in the blacksmith's shop.

Also they quite naturally have a pressing preoccupation - their own survival in a Retired Officer's post

What we have lost is that regional identity that bound the Army & the nation together, especially in rural areas.

When I was a lad the young men went away to do their National Service either in the King's Own or the Border Regiment, depending upon what side of the river (the county boundary) they lived on. They accepted it & enjoyed the life-time association with the county regiment that their service gave them.

Today you will not find an infantry regimental title that embraces those two historic & distinguished regiments.

This just makes our surviving war memorials & regimental museums more precious.

The present-day interest in the old county regiments is obvious to anybody who looks at this forum, but we have to preserve the remaining museums (some of the new regiments do not support the old museums, which gives an indication of how far some of today's infantry has drifted away from its historical roots) & memorials because nobody else will do so.

Are you a member of your local regimental museum support group?

Do you offer aspects of your research to it?

Do you help museum funds by purchasing relevant museum publications?

If local government assists your museum do you comment positively on that whilst defending the museum from budgetary cuts?

In another 30 or 40 years time there will be nobody left who once served in an historic British county regiment.

So we are running out of time to effectively preserve the knowledge & information that we have.

If we succeed then future generations can understand & hopefully take pride in what the county regimental system once meant to the British people, & what the regiments achieved in stamping their own identities on distant battlefields.

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Hello Bushfighter,

I couldn't have put it better , it is the lack of County or even local association that has gone & it appears for good now. If you can wade through the recent site given earlier in this post you might find some mention of the Regiments you quoted, certainly the Borders are part of a larger regiment.

Look at the ancillary units.???

I note the recent amalgamation for the "Mercian " Bgde. an exact copy of the "Mercian" Bgde. of 1948 with the cap badge of (if I remember correctly) the Cheshire Yeomanry ?

Naturally being the last of the County Regiments to lose it's individuality I feel it's loss as a "Cat" & with WW1 connections.

Have you noted the "Queens" units, almost like a Chinese menu .?

Field Marshall Montgomery said " you mess with the Regimental system at your peril* or words to that effect. We are using the Terrier system , bless them ,to the detriment of the line Regiments .

I wonder how the precedence works now???

Regards.

Colin.

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Whilst the final details regarding Titles and dress regulations might have been left to Regimetal Colonels and their commitees, I am sure that the overall size and composition of the "new " regiments were laid down by Politicans through their Civil Servants.

One wonders if and when the progression continues we might end up with:

The North West Regiment. The North East Regiment, The Midlands Regiment,The South East Regiment and The South West Regiment, and if we are very lucky Welsh, Scottish and a Guards Regiment-actually in some instances are we not almost there already.

P.B.

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It is always sad to see a well loved institution finally outlive its usefulness. The regimental system was used to provide a mass of infantry who marched everywhere and fought with rifle and bayonet when they got there. It was already a bit unwieldy by the end of WW2 with mechanised units coming to the fore. It is a miracle that it has lasted so long. The Army now is a totally different organisation from that of the late 19th Century. Organisation, supply, weaponry, you name it, it is different. It needs new control setups and groupings. It also needs new recruitment strategies. The army doesn't want the guy who can't get a job anymore. It needs intelligent, adaptable people capable of being highly trained. I was proud to serve in an old Highland Regiment. The history will never fade, it ought to be taught to the generations still to come, but I do believe that it is now history.

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I wasn't going to get involved here, but what the heck.

The regiments we mourn now were themselves much disliked on their formation, in many cases. For example, did a member of the 90th Perthshire Volunteers Light Infantry ever reconcile himself to being the 2nd Cameronians? G S Hutchison (eccentric chronicler of the 33rd MGC) was a 2nd Argyll - always referred to by him as the 93rd.

Did the 30th Regiment really take to becoming the 1st east Lancashire regiment with no fuss, and what did the 109th (ex-Bombay Infantry) have in common with the 100th (Prince of Wales's Royal Canadians) that they became, respectively, the 2nd and 1st Battalions of the Leinsetr Regiment?

With a few exceptions, the regiments discussed were themselves relatively new - the devons and Dorsets went back all of 50 years (though I do agree that making them 'Rifles' is daft).

Things evolve, and in the case of our army, have been evolving for 300 years or more; as Tom points out, the regiments we have lost were designed to support an Empire which required foot sloggers. A modern army must be different.

And finally, I suppose there are loads of Fijians and South Africans, or Grenadans and New Zealanders who have been put off enlisting because the Loamshires are now the 2nd Battalion of the Borsetshire Regiment. Unless, of course, we really believe that the good lads of Loamshire have withdrawn their labour in protest at the amalgamation of the County Regiment they've probably never heard of.

Sarcastic? Possibly, but I really cannot see the point of having loads of under-strength single-battalion regiments topped-up with blokes from other regiments as I believe was the case in Gulf war I and subsequent excursions.

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I'm afraid that Broomers has hit it on the head; the majority of county regiments (both north and south of the border) have just not been able to recruit enough to sustain a full strength battalion even with "overseas additions". This is, itself, nothing new; many of the English county regiments were raised in Ireland and most of the South Wales Borderers who fought at Rorke's Drift were brummies.

Yes militia and service battalions of Country Regiments were initally manned by the locals during the Great War yet again these were topped up with all sorts of drafts once the unit had been in action.

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I recall reading lots of articles about this in the Times and Telegraph. Although I don't know what actually motivated the reformers, I think it had to do with lots of understrength regiments that weren't combat-ready. Add to that the number of officers and NCOs required to run a regiment--what was happening is that leaders were being siphoned off into the old battalions just to keep the old regiments alive. What the army had was all sorts of battalions at two-thirds strength, but few ready to fight a war. Old regimental names and traditions are nice, but it isn't the old days of Empire or the Great War. Given the choice between emasculated battalions and reforming them into an efficient fighting force, I say go with reform. Times change.

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Most of the South Wales Borderers who fought at Rorke's Drift were brummies.

Despite Richard Burton's narrative at the end of Zulu, the 24th Foot was the Warwickshire Regiment in 1879, at the time of the Zulu War. It didn't become the South Wales Borderers until the Cardwell reforms of 1881. I'm sure that I read somewhere that there were as many Irishmen as Welshmen in B Company at Rorke's Drift.

Gareth

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It`s many years now since the RN first had more admirals than ships. (Or was it more bands than ships?) How is the Army doing now in terms of generals to battalions?

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PB.

If you look at the recent list, we have almost as you surmise, the Guards will as usual remain untouched.

Colin

Colin,

Think you'll find the Guards took a share of the pain; most lost their 2nd Battalions and this year they had to change the Battalion Trooping the Colour as that whose turn it was was deployed to Iraq. No, it's how anything in a maroon beret dodges these bullets that gets me.

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The interesting thing is the general lack of imagination in terms of titles. These things are about group identity really rather than a particular system of organisation and those chosen seem terribly pedestrian. I don't know that any military title means much to people outside the system-they just don't have the contact at different levels of their families that they used to have- but I think it matters to those who are inside the system. Group cohesion is in part about creating a 'them and us' feeling and I think it must be hard if you end up with a title (made up to avoid upsetting anyone) of the Region 2 Regiment when you used to be the the Loyal Royal North Panjandrums. We could of course try the formation loyalty system to divisions used in some countries or tie the regiments to individuals as they used to do on the continent- ie Prime Minister's Regiment or perhaps more catchily Prominent Footballers Regiment. Changing the recruting and organisational system without losing at least some of the names is another.

Greg

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