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5th Battalion The Rifles 
 
Official Press Release 7 February 2007 - New Rifles Battalion sets sights on future
 
LCpl Tony Yeardley wears the new capbadge of The Rifles Regiment outside the headquarters of the 5th Battalion in Paderborn, northern Germany.
Courtesy of Sgt Anthony Boocock RLC
 
A colourful display of history and tradition marked the final parade of The 1st Battalion. The Light Infantry during a unique ‘Sunset Ceremony’, designed to mark the end of the Light Infantry and the formation of the new Rifles Regiment.
It was the last time the Germany-based Battalion paraded with the full regalia of The Light Infantry before their Regimental Colours are due to be laid up in a British Cathedral.

 

 
 
The TRF as worn by the new regiment

The special ceremony at their barracks in Paderborn, northern Germany on Monday evening marked the Battalion’s foundation as The 5th Battalion The Rifles.
The Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Colonel Johnny Bowron DSO OBE, said: “Today marks the birth of 5 Rifles from ‘1LI’, but it’s also the birth of the Rifles Regiment – the biggest Infantry Regiment in the Army.
“It is slightly sad as we’re losing some fantastic traditions such as our Colours and the red backing in our berets. But we’re also celebrating our foundation, and it gives us a chance to thank some distinguished guests from Paderborn for their support throughout our tour of Iraq last year.”

 

The Regimental Colours of The Light Infantry are paraded for last time during a rain-soaked ‘Sunset Ceremony’.

Courtesy of Sgt Anthony Boocock RLC

The Rifles Regiment was formed on the 1st February 2007 from The Devonshire and Dorset Light Infantry, The Royal Gloucestershire, Berkshire and Wiltshire Light Infantry and The Royal Green Jackets, as well as The Light Infantry.
The parade in Paderborn, in front of a crowd of invited guests, serving soldiers and their families, followed similar Formation ceremonies at barracks across the UK and in Iraq.
As a light rain fell on The Light Infantry in Germany for the final time, the gloomy sky grew darker over the parade square at Alanbrooke Barracks. But on a cold February night The 1st Battalion The Light Infantry received a warm round of applause as the riflemen on parade doubled off with their Regimental Colours for the last time.
Overhead an impressive display of red and green fireworks lit the early evening sky over the distinctive barracks in the centre of the cathedral town.
Regimental Sergeant Major Jo McMillan explained that preparations for Monday’s parade had started whilst the Battalion was still serving in Iraq in November last year.
“We’ve been working towards the build up to the big finale - the end of The Light Infantry and the beginning of 5 Rifles. I think it’s important to remember what we’re all about – it’s a unique occasion.
“We will no longer carry the Regimental and the Queen’s Colours - we will now wear those honours and awards on our belt badge. And although there are some changes, we’ll still be doing the same ‘light drill’ – the fastest marching pace in all of the world – so we’re still unique.”
The Battalion are part of the British Army’s 20th Armoured Brigade and returned from Iraq in November where they were based in central Basra.
 

 

The parade at Alanbrooke Barracks concluded with an impressive fireworks display. Pictured are the Warrior Armoured Vehicles that provided the backdrop to the parade square.

Courtesy of Sgt Anthony Boocock RLC

The riflemen on parade, only just back from their post-tour leave, were handed the new capbadges to be worn in their berets by the inspecting officer, Brigadier James Everard CBE, the Brigade Commander.
Unlike The Light Infantry, The Rifles Battalions will not carry Colours. Instead all Riflemen are trusted to carry a representational number of battle honours on their person. This takes the form of the wearing of the Belt Badge incorporating 34 representative battle honours, selected from a total of 913 battle honours amassed by the forming regiments of The Rifles.
One of the Regimental and the Queen’s Colours will now be ‘laid up’ in Bodmin Church, marking the Battalion’s links with the West Country, whilst the other will be displayed in a church or cathedral in another of the Regiment’s recruiting areas, possibly in the north east.
But despite the historic changes, Lieutenant Colonel Bowron remains optimistic about the Battalion’s future.
He said: “My father was in the Durham Light Infantry and I’ve always been Light Infantry, so of course there’s an element of sadness. But the opportunity of The Rifles is huge and we’ve always been at the forefront of change.
“Our history and ethos will continue and The Rifles will live up to the reputation of our predecessors.”
                                                                                   Captain Laurence Roche, SO3 Media 20th Armoured Brigade

 
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