AskDefine | Define rifles

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. Plural of rifle


  1. third-person singular of rifle

Extensive Definition

For the band The Rifles, see The Rifles (band). For the novel by William T. Vollmann, see The Rifles (novel).
The Rifles (RIFLES) is a regiment of the British Army. It consists of five regular and two territorial battalions, plus a number of companies in other TA battalions, making the regiment the largest in the infantry. Each battalion of the Rifles was formerly an individual battalion of one of the two large regiments of the Light Division (with the exception of the 1st Battalion, which is an amalgamation of two individual regiments).


The Rifles was created as a result of the Future Army Structure. Under the original announcement, the Light Division would have remained essentially unchanged, with the exception of the Light Infantry gaining a new battalion through the amalgamation of two other regiments, and both gaining a TA battalion. However, on 24 November 2005, it was announced by the Ministry of Defence that the four regiments would amalgamate into a single five battalion regiment. The Rifles was formed on 1st February 2007 by the amalgamation of the four Light Infantry and Rifle Regiments of the Light Division:
The two existing battalions each of the Light Infantry and the Royal Green Jackets were renamed, while the single battalions of the DDLI and the RGBWLI were merged into one battalion. This brought the whole of the Light Division under a single cap badge. On formation, The Rifles became the county regiment of the following counties:
As a rifle regiment, a private soldier in The Rifles is known as a Rifleman and Serjeant is spelt in the archaic fashion; the regiment wears a standard rifle green beret. A number of golden threads have been brought into the new regiment from each of its founder regiments:
  • Croix de Guerre - the French Croix de Guerre ribbon awarded to the Devonshire Regiment in World War I, and subsequently worn by the Devonshire and Dorset Light Infantry, is worn on both sleeves of No. 1 and No. 2 dress.
  • Back Badge - the badge worn on the back of headdress that was awarded as an honour to the 28th Foot, and subsequently worn by the Royal Gloucestershire, Berkshire and Wiltshire Light Infantry is worn on the forage cap and side hat, and on the shako of the regimental band and bugles.
  • Bugle Horn - the bugle horn badge of the Light Infantry, now surmounted by St. Edward's Crown, is the regiment's cap badge.
  • Maltese Cross - the Maltese Cross of the Royal Green Jackets is worn as a buckle on the cross belt, and will contain the regiment's representative battle honours; currently one space is kept free for future honours. In accordance with the tradition of rifle regiments, the regiment does not carry colours.
  • Black Buttons - the traditional black buttons of a rifle regiment are worn on all forms of dress with the exception of combat dress.
In addition, the new regiment's "Double Past" march (the music used when marching past at the double) is an amalgam of the Light Infantry's (Keel Row) and the Royal Green Jackets' (Road to the Isles). Furthermore The Rifles march at 140 paces per minute, much faster than that of the rest of the Infantry that march at 120.
The unit's back badge reads Egypt, in honor of service by the 28th (North Gloucestershire) Regiment of Foot, one of the Rifle's precursor units.


The new regiment has 5 regular and 2 Territorial Army battalions:
There is only one single CCF unit that still carries the RGJ cap badge and that is the London Oratory School CCF, London, England.
In addition to the seven battalions above, a further two companies (and a platoon) are also cap badged as The Rifles but are attached to other TA infantry Battalions:
Following the restructuring of the infantry and the end of the arms plot, the new regiment's five regular battalions will have fixed roles: The 1st Battalion formed on 1 Feb 07 in Alma Barracks, Catterick Garrison (the same place where the RGBW formed in 1994) as part of 52 Infantry Brigade. In August that year the Battalion moved again to its permanent home of Beachley still under 52 Brigade, whose HQ had departed for Afghanistan. From 1 April 2008 however, it was permanently attached to 3 Commando Brigade, where it will serve as the one of the brigade's four manoeuvre battalions/units alongside the three commandos of the Royal Marines.
Territorial Army locations:
  • 6th Battalion - Gloucester, Taunton, Dorchester, Truro and Exeter.
  • 7th Battalion - Oxford, Reading, Milton Keynes and London.
  • D Coy, 5th Battalion Royal Regiment of Fusiliers - Bishop Auckland, Consett, Doncaster, Sunderland, Washington.
  • E Coy, West Midlands Regiment - Shrewsbury.
HRH The Duke of Edinburgh (Colonel-in-Chief, RGBWLI) is the new regiment's Colonel-in-Chief, but each battalion has its own Royal Colonel:

The Band and Bugles

The Rifles maintains a single regular regimental band, the Band and Bugles of The Rifles. This was formed by renaming the Band and Bugles of the Light Division, which in itself was an amalgamation of four separate bands:
  • The Corunna Band of the Light Infantry
  • The Salamanca Band of the Light Infantry
  • The Peninsula Band of the Royal Green Jackets
  • The Normandy Band of the Royal Green Jackets
In addition, the two TA Battalions maintain their own bands:
  • The Salamanca Band of the Rifles - 6th Battalion (formerly the Band of the Rifle Volunteers)
  • The Waterloo Band of the Rifles - 7th Battalion (formerly the Band of the Royal Rifle Volunteers)

Roll of Honour



Although no list of regimental alliances has been announced as yet, using the large regiments that have formed already as examples, it can be assumed that all of the current alliances of the four individual regiments will be carried into the Rifles.

Battle Honours

The following battle honours are a representation of the total honours awarded to the regiments which formed The Rifles. These are inscribed on the regiment's belt badge:
  • Gibraltar, Dettingen, Plassey, Minden, Quebec, Martinique, Marabout, Waterloo, Peninsula, Afghanistan, Jellalabad, Ferozeshah, Delhi, Lucknow, New Zealand, Pekin, South Africa, Inkerman
  • Great War: Nonne Boschen, Ypres, Somme, Vittoria Veneto, Megiddo
  • Second World War: Calais, El Alamein, Kohima, Pegasus Bridge, Normandy, Italy 1943-45, Anzio
  • Imjin, Korea, Iraq 2003

Order of Precedence


|-style="text-align: center; background: #F08080;" | align="center" colspan="5"|Lineage |- | width="25%" rowspan="20" align="center" | The Rifles | width="25%" rowspan="3" align="center"| The Devonshire and Dorset Light Infantry | width="25%" colspan="3" align="center"| The Devonshire Regiment |- | width="25%" rowspan="2" align="center"| The Dorset Regiment | width="25%" colspan="2" align="center"| The 39 (Dorsetshire) Regiment of Foot |- | width="25%" colspan="2" align="center"| The 54 (West Norfolk) Regiment of Foot |- | width="25%" rowspan="6" align="center" | The Light Infantry | width="25%" rowspan="2" align="center" | The Somerset and Cornwall Light Infantry | width="25%" colspan="2" align="center" | The Somerset Light Infantry (Prince Albert's) |- | width="25%" colspan="2" align="center" | The Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry |- | width="25%" colspan="3" align="center" | The King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry |- | width="25%" rowspan="2" align="center"| The King's Shropshire Light Infantry | width="25%" colspan="2" align="center" | The 53rd (Shropshire) Regiment of Foot |- | width="25%" colspan="2" align="center" | The 85 (King's Light Infantry) Regiment of Foot |- | width="25%" colspan="3" align="center" | The Durham Light Infantry |- | width="25%" rowspan="6" align="center" | The Royal Gloucestershire, Berkshire and Wiltshire Light Infantry | width="25%" rowspan="2" align="center" | The Gloucestershire Regiment | width="25%" colspan="2" align="center" | The 28 (North Gloucestershire) Regiment of Foot |- | width="25%" colspan="2" align="center" | The 61st (South Gloucestershire) Regiment of Foot |- | width="25%" rowspan="4" align="center" | The Duke of Edinburgh's Royal Regiment (Berkshire and Wiltshire) |width="25%" rowspan="2" align="center" | The Royal Berkshire Regiment(Princess Charlotte of Wales's) | width="25%" align="center" | The 49th (Princess Charlotte of Wales's) (Hertfordshire) Regiment of Foot |- | width="25%" align="center" | The 66 (Berkshire) Regiment of Foot |- | width ="25%" rowspan="2" align="center" | The Wiltshire Regiment(Duke of Edinburgh's) | width="25%" align="center" | The 62nd (Wiltshire) Regiment of Foot |- | width="25%" align="center" | The 99 Duke of Edinburgh's (Lanarkshire) Regiment of Foot |- | width="25%" rowspan="4" align="center" | The Royal Green Jackets | width="25%" rowspan="2" align="center" | The Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry | width="25%" colspan="2" align="center" | The 43rd (Monmouthshire) Regiment of Foot (Light Infantry) |- | width="25%" colspan="2" align="center" | The 52nd (Oxfordshire) Regiment of Foot (Light Infantry) |- | width="25%" colspan="3" align="center" | The King's Royal Rifle Corps |- | width="25%" colspan="3" align="center" | The Rifle Brigade (Prince Consort's Own)

See also


rifles in French: The Rifles
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