Royal Gibraltar Regiment

Royal Gibraltar Regiment

Infobox Military Unit
unit_name = The Royal Gibraltar Regiment

caption = Cap badge of the Royal Gibraltar Regiment
dates = April 1958-
country = Gibraltar
branch = British Army
type = Line Infantry
role = Internal Security
command_structure = Queen's Division
size = One battalion
current_commander =
garrison = Devil's Tower Camp, Gibraltar
ceremonial_chief = Sir Robert Fulton KBE
Governor of Gibraltar
ceremonial_chief_label = Colonel in Chief
colonel_of_the_regiment =
nickname =
motto = "Nulli expugnabilis hosti" (Conquered by no Enemy) (Latin)
colors =
identification_symbol =
identification_symbol_label = Tactical Recognition Flash
identification_symbol_2 = Key of Gibraltar
identification_symbol_2_label= Arm Badge
identification_symbol_4 = RG
identification_symbol_4_label= Abbreviation
march = Quick - "The British Grenadiers"
mascot =
battles =
notable_commanders =
anniversaries = Regimental Day: 28 April

The Royal Gibraltar Regiment is the home defence unit for the British overseas territory of Gibraltar. It was formed in 1958 from the Gibraltar Defence Force as an infantry unit, with an integrated artillery troop.


Initially a reserve force, on the withdrawal of the British Army garrison from the colony in 1991, it was placed on the British Army's regular establishment attached to British Forces Gibraltar. It is formed as a standard light infantry battalion with a Headquarters Company and three rifle companies. Of these, two are made up of regular soldiers and the other is a Territorial Army unit:

**HQ Company (Thomson's Battery)
**G Company (regulars)
**I Company (regulars)
**B Company (volunteers)

In 1999 the regiment was granted the Royal title. In March 2001, for the first time, the regiment mounted the guard at Buckingham Palace. In addition to this, the regiment, thanks to its artillery heritage, is also permitted to fire gun salutes from the Tower of London, something that is traditionally done only by the Honourable Artillery Company. The regiment also has responsibility for the Ceremony of the Keys in Gibraltar.

Unit history

18th Century

The earliest verifiable historical evidence of that local civilians were enrolled to defend Gibraltar dates to June 24,1720 and by 1755 an armed organisation of local men where mounting guard on the picket line from Bayside to Devil's Tower to prevent soldiers from the garrison deserting across to the enemy. [cite web|title=1RG.GI|url=] These men where known as the Genoese Guard and were disbanded at the end of the seven years war. [cite web|title=1RG.GI|url=] During the Great Siege of Gibraltar, 160 local labourers volunteered to take part in the action during the night of 26/27 November 1781. They were tasked to follow the advancing troops and assist in the dismantling and demolition of the Spanish batteries, magazines and trenches. [cite web|title=1RG.GI|url=]

19th Century

During the Mahdist War, 100 local men were deployed by the commissariat as transport drivers, known as "Los Carreteros Del Rey (the King’s Muleteers)". The expedition was involved in several battles with the Dervishes. During a parade held in Gibraltar the mule drivers were awarded the Egyptian War Medal with a clasp bearing the title ‘Suakin 1885’. [cite web|title=1RG.GI|url=]

20th Century

During the Second Boer War, in 1900, a group of Gibraltarians offered to "form a Local Corps of Volunteers". The suggestion was made that some of the Volunteers might be organised as a Rifle Corps. However the war was over before the Corps was formed. [cite web|title=1RG.GI|url=]

The Great War

During the Great War a group of Gibraltarians, volunteered to take up arms for King and Country. Such was the interest d that soon some 400 Gibraltarians joined. This group eventually obtained official recognition from the Governor, General Sir Herbert Miles on July 3, 1915. Addressing the volunteers at Wellington Front on that day the Governor reminded them that the Corps had come into being not because of any official demand but as a result of their patriotic fervour and of their love and respect for the Crown. [cite web|title=1RG.GI|url=] The Corps was initially based at Orange Bastion, with the Headquarters on the ground floor of what is now City Hall. Later the Corps moved to Wellington Front. It consisted of four rifle companies, A, B, C and D, each commanded by a Captain, two subalterns, one Sergeant Major, four Sergeants, eight Corporals, two buglers and about 80 men. The first Commanding Officer was Major G B Roberts of the Royal Engineers. During the war, the Corps provided substantial reinforcement to assist in the defence of the Rock. It Corps was disbanded on February 1, 1920. [cite web|title=1RG.GI|url=]

World War II

In 1938 the Governor General Sir Edmund Ironside, 1st Baron Ironside formed a Territorial Unit which would be of Artillery to help man the anti-aircraft guns on Gibraltar. The Volunteers paraded for the first time on April 28, 1939. Just before the outbreak of the war, more volunteers were called for and men were allocated to the 4th and 27th Coast Batteries of the Royal Artillery as well as to the Royal Signals, Royal Army Service Corps and Royal Army Medical Corps. [cite web|title=1RG.GI|url=]

On the September 2, 1939, the Gibraltar Defence Force was mobilised. The Heavy Anti Aircraft section was attached to 19 AA Battery Royal Artillery and deployed with two 3 inch guns to the Admiralty oil tanks, on the east side of the Rock.They fired their first shots in anger on July 7, 1940 and from then on they were often in action against Vichy French and Italian planes, engaging German planes later in the war. They shot down their first enemy aircraft, on the night of the August 20, 1940. The entry in the unit’s War Diary reads as follows: [cite web|title=1RG.GI|url=] Quote box
quote = "Third bombing raid over Gibraltar, first plane came over at 23.30 hours and was picked up by searchlights at the moment of bomb release. It kept a steady course and AA fire was opened. Plane was hit and brought down in the straits".
source =
width = 80%
align = center
In April 1942, the Coastal Defence element was merged with the Anti Aircraft section. Early in 1944 the force was reconstituted under the Defence Force Ordinance 1943. The majority of volunteers were placed on the reserve list, with other sections disbanded. [cite web|title=1RG.GI|url=]

Post War

On August 30, 1958 the permanent cadre and the reserve of the Gibraltar Defence Force was formed into the Gibraltar Regiment.The Regiment then had a dual role, being organised as an infantry battalion with four rifle companies and, an artillery troop manning the 9.2 inch coastal guns. [cite web|title=1RG.GI|url=] This organisation was to remain in force until 1971. With the departure of the last gunner unit in 1958 the Regiment was issued with four 25 pounder guns and took over the responsibilities of firing Royal Gun Salutes. [cite web|title=1RG.GI|url=] On September 25, 1971 the regiment was presented with its first colours. At a ceremony held at the Grand Parade, His Excellency the Governor, Admiral of the Fleet Sir Varyl Begg, presented the Regiment with its colours on behalf of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. [cite web|title=1RG.GI|url=] On the same day the Regiment was granted the Freedom of the City of Gibraltar by the Mayor of Gibraltar, the Hon Alfred Vazquez during a ceremony outside the House of Assembly. [cite web|title=1RG.GI|url=] The Artillery battery was named "Thompson Battery" on September 15, 1973 in honour of the late Sir Willie Thomson OBE JP, and in$ December 1975 Thomson’s Battery was issued with three 105mm pack howitzers. Following Operation Corporate the Ministry of Defence decided, in line with its policy of modernisation and commonality of equipment to re-equip the Regiment with new weapons. In late 1982 six 105mm Light Guns replaced the three howitzers and eight blowpipe Surface-to-Air missile units replaced the four L40/70 AA Guns. [cite web|title=1RG.GI|url=] On April 1, 1991, the Regiment was reorganised into an all Infantry Unit and took over the duties of the resident infantry Battalion. The re-roled Regiment consisted of a Headquarter Company (Thompson’s Bty) and three Rifle Companies of which G Company was regular with the others being made up of TA soldiers. [cite web|title=1RG.GI|url=] On April 21, 1998 the Regiment performed its first public duties in London by firing a 62 Royal Gun Salute at the Tower of London on the occasion of HM the Queen’s Birthday. On the July 1, 1998 HRH the Duke of Kent presented The Regiment with its new Colours. [cite web|title=1RG.GI|url=]

21st Century

In the 21st Century the Regiment has conducted public duties at Buckingham Palace, the Tower of London and St James' Palace between February 28 to March 16, 2001. On April 21, 2004 the Regiment fired its second 62 Royal Gun Salute at the Tower Of London on the occasion of Her Majesty the Queen’s birthday.The regiment has supplied officer and men for the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq. It is in these theatres that members of the Regiment have been decorated with two Bronze Stars and a Military Cross. [cite web|title=1RG.GI|url=]

Notable members of the regiment

ee also

*Bermuda Regiment
*Falkland Islands Defence Force
*Royal Hong Kong Regiment

External links

* [ Official Website]
* [ Royal Gibraltar Regiment] - entry, with history and more web links.
* [ Gibraltar soldiers feel the benefit of African training] , "Defence News" report.


*GBR - The Royal Anglian Regiment
*GBR - Royal Regiment of Artillery
*GBR - Corps of Royal Engineers
*GBR - The Royal Irish Regiment (27th (Inniskilling), 83rd, 87th and Ulster Defence Regiment)


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