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Royal Green Jackets

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Remember, God isn't a Greenjacket - he just likes to dress up and pretend he is from time to time.

Do a good line in shovelling Danish birds to death and are expert 'Mini Moke' drivers.

Alma Mater of Deborah Penny.

History

The Royal Green Jackets (RGJ) was an infantry regiment of the British Army, one of two "large regiments" within the Light Division (the other being The Light Infantry). It was formed in 1966 by the amalgamation of the three separate regiments of the Green Jackets Brigade:

1st Green Jackets, (43rd and 52nd)

2nd Green Jackets, The King's Royal Rifle Corps

3rd Green Jackets, The Rifle Brigade

There were also two Territorial Army battalions made up as follows:

4th(V) Bn Royal Green Jackets - formed from the remnants of the Rangers (KRRC), London Rifle Brigade, Tower Hamlets Rifles, Queens Westminsters, Queen Victoria's Rifles and Civil Service Rifles.

5th(V) Bn Royal Green Jackets - formed from the 4th Bn the Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry (TA) and the Buckinghamshire Battalion of the Ox & Bucks Light Infantry

In 1992 1 RGJ was disbanded and 2 RGJ and 3 RGJ renumbered 1 RGJ and 2 RGJ respectively.

As part of the 2004 restructuring of the infantry, the RGJ was scheduled to be largely unaffected - though the regiment had already been reduced to two Regular battalions in 1992. The regiment would have received a new Territorial Army battalion through the grouping together of the various RGJ companies of the Royal Rifle Volunteers and The London Regiment.

However, on 24 November 2005 it was announced that after discussions between The Light Infantry and the RGJ, the two would be merged together with the Devonshire and Dorset Light Infantry and Royal Gloucestershire, Berkshire and Wiltshire Light Infantry by the end of 2007 to form a single large regiment to be called The Rifles. The new regiment was to contain five Regular Battalions and two TA Battalions. They become The Rifles on February 1, 2007, when they merged with The Light Infantry, Devonshire and Dorset Light Infantry and the Royal Gloucestershire, Berkshire and Wiltshire Light Infantry.

The 1st Battalion The Royal Green Jackets became 2nd Battalion The Rifles

The 2nd Battalion The Royal Green Jackets became 4th Battalion The Rifles

The surviving Territorial Army companies of 4 & 5 RGJ, along with a company of the RGBW became 7th Battalion The Rifles

The Maltese Cross cap badge of the RGJ was adopted as the belt badge of The Rifles and will carry the battle honours. The Rifles is a Rifle Regiment and as such will not carry colours, also the title "Rifleman" will be used for Private soldiers, as it was with the Royal Green Jackets.

Their motto was Celer et Audax (Latin: "Swift and Bold"). As they were used as shock troops and marksmen, they had to get to the front line of battle as fast as was possible; as a result the RGJ marches at 140 paces per minute whereas other regiments march at just 120. Until recently no other regiment has devoted so much time to becoming highly proficient with the rifle, even though it has been part of standard army issue for 140 years; as a consequence, the RGJ's lowest rank (other than 'recruit') is Rifleman (Rfn), rather than Private (Pte), as in other regiments.

The regiment was classed as a 'rifle' regiment, having its lineage in the regiments of foot that were equipped with the first Baker rifles. Traditionally, rifle regiments wore rifle green tunics, an early form of camouflage, instead of the red jackets worn by line infantry, hence the regimental name. Also, the regiment carried no colours, as traditionally rifle regiments, being skirmishers and sharpshooters, had no need to identify where their fellows were on the battlefield. So, the battle honours of the Royal Green Jackets were worn on the regiment's cap badge. Infantry in the regiment wore a beret with the badge behind the left eye towards the side of the head, traditionally to show that they do not need to hide behind their colours to show how good the regiment is. Green Jackets were issued with short swords instead of bayonets as the Baker rifles of the past were shorter than the traditional musket, fitting the sword to the rifle made the overall weapon length the same as a musket with bayonet attached. The RGJ still refer to their bayonets as 'swords'.

The Royal Green Jackets have been awarded more Victoria Crosses than any other unit, with a total of 56.