The end of the Cold War brought about a review of the whole of the UK's Armed Forces - called 'Options for Change.' Further reductions in the Army resulted from this review and included the amalgamation of The Royal Irish Rangers and The Ulster Defence Regiment to form The Royal Irish Regiment (27th (Inniskilling), 83rd, 87th and The Ulster Defence Regiment).
The Royal Irish Rangers had itself been created exactly twenty-four years earlier on 1 July 1968 by the amalgamation of the last three Irish Line Infantry Regiments. These were The Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, The Royal Ulster Rifles and The Royal Irish Fusiliers: each had distinguished records stretching back to the 17th century with Battle Honours from almost every corner of the world.
The Ulster Defence Regiment came into being on 1 April 1970 in response to the demand for additional troops to support the civil power in Northern Ireland. Its role was to help defend Northern Ireland against terrorist activity. From its creation until its merger with The Royal Irish Rangers, it was on continuous operational service for a period of twenty-two years, a distinction held by no other regiment in the history of the British Army. This service was not without cost: 197 Officers and Soldiers were killed because they served in the Regiment. Over 60 were murdered after they had left the UDR. This gallantry and devotion to duty, of the many thousands of men and women who served in the UDR was acknowledged in the large number of honours and awards for gallantry bestowed upon individuals.
In August 1993 the two General Service battalions amalgamated to form one single General Service Battalion, The 1st Battalion, The Royal Irish Regiment. Since that amalgamation The 1st Battalion has served three times in Northern Ireland alongside their Home Service comrades on operational tours of duty.
Today The Royal Irish Regiment has one Air Assault Battalion, 1 R IRISH, available for worldwide service and our Reserve Battalion, 2 R IRISH, who reinforce 1 R IRISH for operations.
Since joining 16 Air Assault Brigade in 2003, we have served in Kosovo, Sierra Leone, Northen Ireland - and twice in Iraq and Afghanistan. Learnmore on our Operations pages.
Our soldiers are some of the most experienced warriors in the British Army.
We are consistently the most operationally committed Regiment in the Army and this enduring commitment is unparalleled in modern military history.