- The Light Infantry
Infobox Military Unit
unit_name=The Light Infantry
caption=Cap badge of the Light Infantry
10 July 1968- 1 February 2007
role= Armoured Infantry (one battalion)
Light Role (one battalion)
size= Two battalions
garrison=1st Battalion - Paderborn, Germany
2nd Battalion - Edinburgh
ceremonial_chief=HRH Princess Alexandra
colonel_of_the_regiment=Brigadier TJ Gregson MBE
identification_symbol_label=Tactical Recognition Flash
motto="Aucto Splendore Resurgo, Cede Nullis, Faithful"
march=Quick - "Light Infantry"
Double Past - "Keel Row"
The Light Infantry was an
infantry regimentof the British Army, part of the Light Division. It was formed on 10 July 1968by the amalgamation of the four remaining light infantry regiments of the Light Infantry Brigade:
Somerset and Cornwall Light Infantry
King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry
King's Shropshire Light Infantry
Durham Light Infantry
The Light Infantry was descended from the original light troops that formed what were known as 'light companies' of line infantry regiments and later regiments in their own right. These soldiers were trained to act independently on the battlefield, within the framework of the battle, as skirmishers. In this respect, the Light Infantry shared many characteristics with the old
rifleregiments and their descendant, the Royal Green Jackets, with which the Light Infantry formed the administrative Light Division. The Light Infantry though was not a rifle regiment, and the majority of its traditions resembled those of the ordinary line infantry regiments. Prior to 1914 the various light infantry regiments wore the same scarlet and blue full dress as the line infantry, being distinguished solely by their dark green cloth helmets and bugle horn badges.
The uniforms of the Light Infantry as created in 1968 did however have much in common with those of the rifle regiments: dark (Rifle) green No 1 dress tunics, rifle green
berets and stable belts and black officers' shoes. The separate identity of the light infantry was however maintained by the retention of details such as the dark blue trousers also worn in No 1 dress and the red sashes of sergeants.
By 1993, the four original regular
battalions (one formed from each constituent regiment) were reduced to two (1st and 2nd Battalions, The Light Infantry).
*The 1st Battalion (formerly Somerset and Cornwall Light Infantry) was disbanded on
25 February 1993.
*The 2nd Battalion (formerly King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry) was renumbered the 1st Battalion on
25 February 1993.
*The 3rd Battalion (formerly King's Shropshire Light Infantry) was renumbered the 2nd Battalion on
25 February 1993.
*The 4th Battalion (formerly Durham Light Infantry) was disbanded on
31 March 1969.
*The Light Infantry Volunteers was formed in the
Territorial Armyon 1 April 1967from the territorial battalions of the four predecessor regiments. On 1 August 1972it was redesignated the 5th Battalion, The Light Infantry. It lost its Cornish company and its last Durhamcompany in 1981, and in 1987it lost its Yorkshirecompanies and began recruiting only in Shropshireand Herefordshire. On 1 July 1999it amalgamated to form two companies of the new West Midlands Regiment.
*The 6th Battalion was formed in
Somersetand Cornwallon 1 April 1971. On 1 July 1999it amalgamated to form two companies of the new Rifle Volunteers.
*The 7th Battalion was formed in Durham and Yorkshire on
1 April 1975. It began recruiting from Durham only in 1981. On 1 July 1999it amalgamated to form one company of the new Tyne-Tees Regiment.
*The 8th Battalion was formed in Yorkshire on
1 January 1987. On 3 August 1996it was converted to a reconnaissanceunit as the King's Own Yorkshire Yeomanry. On 1 July 1999it amalgamated to form one company of the new East and West Riding Regiment.
*The various amalgamated D&D/RGBW companies and the Light Infantry companies have now become a new battalion in the new regiment,
The Riflesas part of the restructuring of the infantry.
Amalgamations of 2007
In 2004, it was announced that the Gloucestershire element of the
Royal Gloucestershire, Berkshire and Wiltshire Regimentwould amalgamate with the Devonshire and Dorset Regiment. Because the Devonshire and Dorset Regiment was higher in the Order of Precedence than the Light Infantry, the new battalion was to be numbered as the 1st Battalion, Light Infantry, with the other two renumbered accordingly as the 2nd and 3rd. As of 2005, this amalgamation would have involved the whole of the RGBW.
24 November 2005, in a change to the planned amalgamations, it was announced by the Ministry of Defence that, after discussions between The Light Infantry, the Devonshire and Dorset Light Infantry, the Royal Gloucestershire, Berkshire and Wiltshire Light Infantry and the Royal Green Jackets, the four regiments would amalgamate to form a single, large regiment to be named The Rifles. The new regiment, which formed on 1 February 2007, contains five Regular Battalions and two TA Battalions.
*The 1st Battalion, The Light Infantry became 5th Battalion, The Rifles
*The 2nd Battalion, The Light Infantry became 3rd Battalion, The Rifles
The cap badge of The Rifles is the traditional bugle horn that The Light Infantry had as its cap badge.
The amalgamation described above has been criticised as leading to the disappearance of the Light Infantry as a separate branch of the infantry with its distinctive traditions and history. It is part of a process spread over 2006-2007 aimed at reducing and rationalising the infantry regiments into large multi-battalion units.
The Royal Hamilton Light Infantry (Wentworth Regiment)
Le Régiment de Maisonneuve
The North Saskatchewan Regiment
*NZL - The Canterbury, and Nelson-Marlborough and West Coast Regiment
*PAK - 11th Battalion, The Baloch Regiment
*PAK - 1st Battalion,
The Sind Regiment
*KEN - 1st Battalion, The Kenya Rifles
Special Mobile Force
*RSA - The Rand Light Infantry
*RN - HMS "Cornwall"
* [http://www.lightinfantryreunited.co.uk Light Infantry Reunited - Site for all ex and serving Light Infantry/RGJ and Rifles personnel]
* [http://www.news.mod.uk/news_headline_story2.asp?newsItem_id=3788 MOD Press Release Nov 2005]
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