|Devonshire and Dorset Regiment|
Devonshire and Dorset Regiment Cap Badge
|Part of||Prince of Wales' Division|
Semper FidelisLatin: "Always Faithful"
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From Devonshire Regiment
The Devonshire and Dorset Regiment, usually just known as the Devon and Dorsets, was an infantry regiment of the British Army formed in 1958 by the amalgamation of two county regiments. In 2007 it was itself merged into The Rifles, a "large regiment".
As part of the 1957 Defence Review, it was announced that there would be a reduction in the number of infantry battalions in the British Army. The reduction was to be effected by the merging of a number of pairs of regiments.
Among the mergers to be carried out were those of the regiments of the two neighbouring counties of Devon and Dorset.
- The Devonshire Regiment (the former 11th Regiment of Foot, originally raised in 1685)
- The Dorset Regiment (the successor to the 39th Foot, raised in 1702; and the 54th Foot, dating from 1755)
The amalgamation took place in Minden, Germany, on 17 May 1958. The new 1st Battalion, Devonshire and Dorset Regiment was commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel Guy Young, formerly commanding officer of the 1st Devonshires, while the colonel of the regiment was Major-General George Neville Wood, formerly of the Dorsets.
In November 1958 the 1st Battalion moved to Cyprus, where they carried out anti-insurgency activities against the paramilitary EOKA organisation. A ceasefire was called in December 1959, and the island achieved independence from Britain in August 1960. Following the ending of the conflict the battalion carried out exercises in Libya before returning to the United Kingdom in 1961.
From 1961 to 1963 the battalion was based in Plymouth, taking part in exercises on Salisbury Plain and in recruitment activities following the ending of National Service. In May 1962 the regiment was given the freedom of the City of Exeter, and were presented with a stand of colours by the Colonel-in-Chief, Princess Marina, Duchess of Kent.
From July 1963 the battalion was based in Holywood, County Down. Placed on twenty four hours travel notice, in May 1964 they moved to British Guiana where there was political and civil unrest. Elections were held in December of that year, a first step in the independence of the colony. The battalion returned to Hollywood in January 1965.
In February 1966 the battalion joined the British Army of the Rhine (BAOR) as part of 6th Infantry Brigade based in Münster. In 1967 disturbances spread throughout the Arab world in the wake of the Six-Day War. The battalion were dispatched to Benghazi in Libya to evacuate isolated British personnel. In January 1968 the regiment were transferred within the BAOR to the 12th Infantry Brigade based in Osnabrück. In 1970 the battalion moved to Malta. Following the outbreak of "The Troubles" in Northern Ireland, the Devon and Dorsets were moved to Belfast with less than twenty four hours notice in June 1970. They found themselves involved in the "Battle of the Falls". They returned to Malta in August 1970.
In 1971 the battalion moved to Gordon Barracks in Gillingham, Kent. As an air-portable unit, elements of the Devon & Dorsets were frequently dispatched to various locations at short notice: In January 1972 they moved to County Armagh, to British Honduras in August 1972, to West Belfast in October 1973, to Cyprus in October 1974 and to Belize in November 1975.
In May 1976 the battalion rejoined the 12th Mechanised Brigade in Osnabrück. They did two tours of duty in Northern Ireland: in North Belfast from January to May 1977 and in Central Belfast from January to May 1979.
In April 1980 the battalion moved to Colchester. From July to November 1981 they did another tour in County Armagh under Operation Banner, and in 1982 took part in training exercises in Kenya. In the summer of 1982, the Regiment provided a ceremonial guard for the Tower of London.
In March 1983 the Devon & Dorsets became a resident battalion at Ballykinler in Northern Ireland as part of the 39th Infantry Brigade, remaining there until 1985. In 1985 they joined the Berlin Brigade, remaining in the city until 1987.
From February 1987 the battalion formed part of 1st Brigade at Bulford. Elements of the regiment were sent to the Falkland Islands and Belize in 1987 and 1988. From April to August 1989 they did another tour of duty in County Armagh. The Regimental Band were sent to the Gulf between October 1990 and March 1991 as part of Op Granby. In August 1991 the battalion returned to Germany and was based in Werl and Paderborn. In 1993 they had another tour of duty in Belfast. In 1994 they moved to Paderborn as part of the 20th Armoured Brigade. In 1994, the Regimental Band was disbanded as part of "Options for Change".
In May 1995 the battalion the United Nations Protection Force intervening in the Bosnian War. Corporal Simon Harvey was awarded the Military Cross for twice extracting his Warrior tracked armoured vehicle from enemy fire on the Mount Igman route into Sarajevo. For part of the campaign they served alongside the French 2e Régiment Étranger d'Infanterie, and a bond of friendship was later established between the two units.
The battalion returned to Paderborn in November 1995 and was based there until 1998. Parts of the unit spent time in Fermanagh between December 1996 and June 1997. In March 1998 they moved to Warminster where they assumed responsibility for teaching infantry tactics at the Combined Arms Tactics Centre Battle Group. They moved to the Cavalry Barracks, Hounslow in 2000. After intensive training, the battalion performed public duties in London and Windsor which included providing the Queen's Guard at Buckingham Palace and attending the State Funeral of Elizabeth, the Queen Mother.
Conversion to light infantry
In 2003 a defence white paper, Delivering Security in a Changing World, was published. Among the changes proposed was the amalgamation of all single-battalion infantry regiments into multi-battalion large regiments. In December 2004 details of the amalgamations to be carried out were announced. The Devonshire and Dorset Regiment would cease to exist; it would be amalgamated with the Royal Gloucestershire, Berkshire and Wiltshire Regiment to form a new battalion of The Light Infantry. As part of the preparation for this, the regiment moved from the Prince of Wales' Division to the Light Division, and was renamed the Devonshire and Dorset Light Infantry, on 22 July 2005.
On 24 November 2005, the Ministry of Defence announced further changes to the amalgamations. The regiment would still merge with the Royal Gloucestershire, Berkshire and Wiltshire Regiment resulting in a single battalion; however they were now to join a new large regiment created by the amalgamation of The Light Infantry and the Royal Green Jackets. This new regiment was to be called The Rifles and was to be formed in February 2007. The battalion that resulted from the merger of the Devonshire and Dorset Regiment and the Royal Gloucestershire, Berkshire and Wiltshire Regiment was designated 1st Battalion, The Rifles. On becoming part of a rifle regiment, the Devon and Dorsets no longer carried their colours; these were laid up in Exeter Cathedral on 27 January 2007.
- Canada - Les Fusiliers de Sherbrooke
- Australia - The Royal New South Wales Regiment
- Malaysia - 6th Battalion, Royal Malay Regiment
- South Africa - 5 South African Infantry Battalion (Bond of Friendship)
- Royal Navy - HMS Exeter
- France - 2e Régiment Étranger d'Infanterie (Bond of Friendship)
- "History". The Keep Military Museum. http://www.keepmilitarymuseum.org/devonanddorset/history.php?&dx=1&ob=3&rpn=index. Retrieved 3 January 2012.
- Mills, T F (16 July 2006). "The Devonshire and Dorset Regiment". regiments.org: Land Forces of Britain the Empire and the Commonwealth. Archived from the original on 13 October 2007. http://web.archive.org/web/20071013145300/http://regiments.org/regiments/uk/inf/011DD.htm. Retrieved 3 January 2012.
- Merged regiments and new brigading — many famous units to lose separate identity. The Times, 25 July 1957.
- The Dorset Regiment at the archive of regiments.org
- "Amalgamation". The Keep Military Museum. http://www.keepmilitarymuseum.org/devonanddorset/amalgamation.php?&dx=1&ob=3&rpn=history. Retrieved 3 January 2012.
- "Cyprus 1958-1961". The Keep Military Museum. http://www.keepmilitarymuseum.org/devonanddorset/cyprus.php?&dx=1&ob=3&rpn=history. Retrieved 3 January 2012.
- Mills, T F (16 May 2006). "1st Battalion, The Devonshire and Dorset Regiment". regiments.org: Land Forces of Britain the Empire and the Commonwealth. Archived from the original on 16 October 2007. http://web.archive.org/web/20071016145902/http://regiments.org/deploy/uk/reg-inf/011dd.htm. Retrieved 3 January 2012.
- "Plymouth 1961-1963". The Keep Military Museum. http://www.keepmilitarymuseum.org/devonanddorset/plymouth.php?&dx=1&ob=3&rpn=history. Retrieved 3 January 2012.
- "Belfast 1963-1965 (Including British Guiana 1964)". The Keep Military Museum. http://www.keepmilitarymuseum.org/devonanddorset/belfast.php?&dx=1&ob=3&rpn=history. Retrieved 3 January 2012.
- "BAOR - Münster and Osnabrück 1965-1969". The Keep Military Museum. http://www.keepmilitarymuseum.org/devonanddorset/baor.php?&dx=1&ob=3&rpn=history. Retrieved 3 January 2012.
- "Malta GC 1970-1971 (including Belfast 1970)". The Keep Military Museum. http://www.keepmilitarymuseum.org/devonanddorset/malta.php?&dx=1&ob=3&rpn=history. Retrieved 3 January 2012.
- "Gillingham 1971-1976 (including Armagh 1972, British Honduras 1972/73, West Belfast 1973/74, Kenya 1974, Cyprus 1975 and Belize 1975)". The Keep Military Museum. http://www.keepmilitarymuseum.org/devonanddorset/gillingham.php?&dx=1&ob=3&rpn=history. Retrieved 3 January 2012.
- "Osnabrück 1976-1980 (including North Belfast 1977 and Central Belfast 1979)". The Keep Military Museum. http://www.keepmilitarymuseum.org/devonanddorset/osnabruck.php?&dx=1&ob=3&rpn=history. Retrieved 3 January 2012.
- "Colchester 1980-1983 (including Armagh 1981 and Kenya 1982)". The Keep Military Museum. http://www.keepmilitarymuseum.org/devonanddorset/colchester.php?&dx=1&ob=3&rpn=osnabruck. Retrieved 3 January 2012.
- "Bulford 1987-1991 (including Falkland Islands 1987, Belize 1988, Denmark 1988, Kenya 1989, Armagh 1989 and USA 1990". The Keep Military Museum. http://www.keepmilitarymuseum.org/devonanddorset/bulford.php?&dx=1&ob=3&rpn=berlin. Retrieved 3 January 2012.
- "Werl 1991-1994 (including Belfast 1993)". The Keep Military Museum. http://www.keepmilitarymuseum.org/devonanddorset/werl.php?&dx=1&ob=3&rpn=wider_regimental_1984. Retrieved 3 January 2012.
- "No. 54393". 9 May 1996. https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/54393/page/
- "Paderborn 1994-1998 (including Bosnia 1995, Belize 1996 and Northern Ireland 1996/97)". The Keep Military Museum. http://www.keepmilitarymuseum.org/devonanddorset/paderborn.php?&dx=1&ob=3&rpn=werl. Retrieved 3 January 2012.
- "Warminster 1998-2000". The Keep Military Museum. http://www.keepmilitarymuseum.org/devonanddorset/warminster.php?&dx=1&ob=3&rpn=wider_regimental_1990. Retrieved 3 January 2012.
- "Hounslow 2000-2002 (including Armagh 2000/01 and Belize 2001)". The Keep Military Museum. http://www.keepmilitarymuseum.org/devonanddorset/hounslow.php?&dx=1&ob=3&rpn=warminster. Retrieved 3 January 2012.
- "In detail: Army restructuring plans". BBC News. 16 December 2004. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/4102013.stm. Retrieved 3 January 2012.
- "Army units merge to form Rifles". BBC News. 1 February 2007. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/england/6319493.stm. Retrieved 3 January 2012.
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