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The Rifles' History

The Rifles created the notion of the modern Infantryman that continues today. Picture shows Riflemen leading the British Army across the River Alma in 1854.

The Rifles

Our history is about four of the most famous Regiments in the British Army coming together to form The Rifles and, just as importantly, the awesome part that Riflemen have played in the campaigns in Iraq, Afghanistan and on modern operations ever since. The Rifles holds an incredible 913 battle honours, world record 117 Victoria Crosses (VC) and has a living history that is second to none. http://riflesmuseum.co.uk/
VC (History Page)

The Future

As the next 250 years are certain to be as action packed as the last, there will be more than a few challenges to be faced by tomorrow’s Riflemen. When confronting these challenges, it would be wise to take advice from the Regiment’s Founding Father, Sir John Moore, to: “Do everything that is necessary and nothing that is not”.

This contemporary outlook remains in The Rifles today, with all Riflemen showing a unique blend of attitude, humour and banter such that they might follow those “proper saucy fellows” that Captain Harry Smith wrote about 250 years ago.

The Rifleman

The first Riflemen were created at the beginning of the 19th Century, when the British Army needed to produce quick-thinking, intelligent, fit and tough sharpshooters capable of fighting on their own initiative. In our Regiment, from the most senior general to the newest joined recruit, we all consider ourselves to be foremost Riflemen. When asked who we are, or what we do, both officers and soldiers reply saying, “I am a Rifleman”.
Hyde (History)

Regimental Battle Honours

As a rifle regiment, battalions of The Rifles do not carry Colours. Instead battle honours are entrusted to every Rifleman, who wears a representative selection on his belt badge. The Rifles’ Collection explains this as it takes you through our remarkable history. Of special note is the blank scroll in the bottom right of the belt badge which demonstrates our forward-looking nature. This blank scroll will always remain empty – waiting for tomorrow’s Riflemen to follow an incomparable history of excellence on the battlefield.
Belt Badge (History)

The Last Word

The Battle of the Alma took place during the Crimean War (1854). In July 1908 Colonel Willoughby Verner visited a dying Crimean veteran, Rifleman Salter, in the Infirmary of the Royal Hospital, Chelsea:

“Now, Salter, we’ll drink to the ‘Victory of the Alma’ and ‘Success to The Rifles!”
I held the cup to his lips and, as he drank, he muttered, “And many more of ‘em …And many more like ‘em!”

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