1st Battalion The Rifles (1 RIFLES)
1 RIFLES is a Regular Infantry Battalion of around 550 Riflemen. It is based in Chepstow, Gloucestershire; from where it deploys worldwide on training missions and operations. Originally within 3 Commando Brigade, 1 RIFLES is now part of 1st (UK) Division - which heads up the British Army's Light Role Adaptable Force, optimised for the challenges of today, both within the UK and abroad.
1 RIFLES is a Light Infantry Roled Battalion and is paired with 6th Battalion The Rifles from the Reserve Force. Light Infantry Roled Battalions are trained to deploy worldwide at short notice with light scales of equipment, into terrain ranging from mountains to jungle, demanding fit and agile Riflemen.
Since 2007, 1 RIFLES has deployed on three tours to Iraq and Afghanistan, together with numerous other operations and training missions worldwide.
1 RIFLES is based in Chepstow and part of 160 (Wales) Brigade. Its location is ideal for soldiers from the South West, Midlands and Wales who want to get home quickly at weekends or when on leave because of its excellent communications links.
- 1 RIFLES is on standby for operations worldwide until 2019 as a part of a NATO Battlegroup. In the second half of 2018, Riflemen from 1 RIFLES will deploy on exercises to Albania, Georgia and The USA.
- 1 RIFLES hosts the Regimental Rugby Team; with talented rugby players assigned to the battalion from across the Regiment.
- 1 RIFLES is the Army's Cycling Champions.
1 RIFLES is due to move from Chepstow to St Athan in South Wales in 2027, with both locations retaining good transport connections to the South West and Midlands, making it a particularly popular battalion for Riflemen from these areas because they can get home quickly most weekends.
Chepstow - the entrance to Wales - is now the starting point for a walking route that runs along the country's entire coastline. The Wales Coast Path stretches some 870 miles from Chepstow to Queensferry in North Wales. Chepstow also has one of the earliest stone built castles in Britain.
Named Striguil in Norman times (from a Welsh word meaning bend in the river), by the 14th century it had its current name - from the Old English ceap/chepe meaning market, and stowe meaning place. In Welsh it's called Cas-Gwent, meaning castle of Gwent. Highlights include two self-guided heritage trails, Chepstow Racecourse - home of the Welsh Grand National - and a growing population of peregrine falcons on the river bank.
Rifleman Tom Allwright
"I advise anyone who wants to join The Rifles to embrace every opportunity that will appear during your career. You should prepare yourself to learn a great deal about yourself and others; often this will be under periods of adversity when you are mentally and physically fatigued. However tough times can get, they are overridden by the good times you spend on exercise, adventure training, and having a laugh with your friends in the Battalion."
Captain Alex Aitken
"I chose to join The Rifles because of the variety of opportunities and roles available across the Regiment, and the relaxed yet professional atmosphere that I saw when visiting the Regiment pre-Sandhurst. During my time at 1 RIFLES, I have been lucky enough to travel all over the world. I have commanded a force protection platoon in Iraq, and on exercise in Ukraine, Latvia and Belize. Missions have varied from anti-poaching training teams in Uganda to skiing and adventurous training in Germany. I would highly recommend The Rifles if you are looking for a career with prospects, leadership opportunities and a variety of challenges."
1 RIFLES are currently ready to deploy as the Vanguard Light Infantry Battalion as a part of a NATO Battlegroup. This means that if a significant international incident requires a NATO response, 1 RIFLES will be amongst the first units within NATO to deploy. 1 RIFLES has recently returned from overseas exercises in Kenya and Belize and conducted the longest operational tour of Iraq in recent years (18 months). This gave all members of the Battalion to deploy, helping to train the Iraqi Security Forces in their fight against Da’esh.
1 RIFLES are based in Chepstow, nestled in the Gloucestershire countryside between Cardiff and Bristol. The Riflemen benefit from easy links into these cities, which is particularly good during the Rugby 6 Nations. 1 RIFLES host the Regiment’s rugby team which this year reached the Army Rugby Union Semi-Finals. The Riflemen are free to pursue whichever sport that they are interested in every Wednesday afternoon, with everything from archery to rock climbing on offer.
1 RIFLES TIMELINE
1st Feb 2007
Iraq 2007 -
1 Tour of duty
Afghanistan 2007 -
2 Tours of duties
Falklands Islands, British Military Training Team Middle East, Mali, Bosnia, Uzbekistan and Uganda.
Gibraltar, Turkey, Brunei, Sweden, Pakistan, Kenya, France, South Africa, Ukraine and Slovenia.
Assigned to the Very High Readiness Joint Taskforce, March - December 2018.