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First City
Active 1875 to Present
Country South Africa
Branch Army
Type Light Infantry
Role Air Assault and Training
Size One Air Assault battalion & a Training Wing
Part of SA Army Infantry Formation

RHQ, Drill Hall, Hill Street, Grahamstown Training Base: Fort Ihlosi Training Base,

Grahamstown Military Base
Nickname(s) The Fighting Grahams (Airborne Highlanders). During WW2 the FC/CTH worn the Green and Gold Hackle and were nicknamed the Budgies
8 Colours

Eight Colours

  1. 1876 Regimental FCVA
  2. 1904 Kings Colour QVR
  3. 1904 Kings Colour FCV
  4. 1905 Regimental Colour QVR
  5. 1905 Regimental Colour FCV
  6. 1965 Regimental Colour FC Damaged by fire
  7. 1969 Regimental Colour FC
  8. 1989 National Colour FC
March Bonny Dundee
Mascot(s) Albany Leopard
Anniversaries Founders Weekend closest weekend to 18 November.
Delvillewood July of each year.

Officer Commanding 2006– :

Lt Col Roger Albert Keeton DWD
Ceremonial chief

Colonel-in- Chief

  • 1935–1942 KIA
Maj Gen, HRH Prince George KG CG MC GCVO
The Duke of Kent
  • 1946–1961
His Grace the Duke of Montrose KT CB KVO
Colonel of
the Regiment
Honorary Colonel
Col Cecil Peter Jones-Phillipson SM (Appointed 2010)
Tartan Graham of Montrose

First City (abbreviated to FC) is an air assault infantry regiment of the South African Army. As a reserve unit, it has a status roughly equivalent to that of a British Territorial Army or United States Army National Guard unit.

History[edit | edit source]

The regiment was formed from the First City Volunteers of Grahamstown that were formed in 1875 in Grahamstown and the Queenstown Rifle Volunteers that were formed in 1860 (Re-raised 1883) in Queenstown and These Regiments were formed due to the unrest on the then Frontier.

The QVR and the FCV fought in the Cape Frontier Wars 9th Frontier War (1877–1878), the QVR fought in the Morosi Campaign (1879). FCV fought in the Basutoland Gun War (1880–1881). The QVR and the FCV later fought in the Bechuanaland campaign (1897), and in the Second Boer War|Anglo-Boer War (1899–1902).

On 1 July 1913, the QVR amalgamated with the FCV and was incorporated into the Citizen Force of the new Union Defence Forces as the 4th Infantry (First Eastern Rifles). It served in German South West Africa 1914–1915.

However, in 1924 the First Eastern Rifles were renamed the 4th Infantry (First City). The numerical part of the title was dropped in 1932, making the regiment simply First City. First City is never called First City "Regiment" . When spoken of it is "The" First City.

In the mid 1930s, the regiment adopted Scottish uniform, including the Graham of Montrose tartan.

During World War II, FC served in the Madagascar campaign (1942). On 5 October 1943, First City, South Africa's senior Scottish unit, was temporarily "married up" with the Cape Town Highlanders to form the FC/CTH which was part of the 12th South African Motorised Brigade of the South African 6th Armoured Division. The "marriage" lasted until 8 May 1945. After completing its training in Egypt, the division landed at Taranto, Italy on 20 April 1944 and was fought exclusively in Italy during its existence.[1] In 1946, the regiment was reconstituted as a component of the country's part-time forces and reformed First City.

From 1954 to 1956, FC was amalgamated with the Kaffrarian Rifles, known as First City/Kaffrarian Rifles. In 1956 reverted to First City.

Freedom of the City
  • Grahamstown 4 September 1962
  • Queenstown 25 January 1964

The regiment served in the South African Border War from 1977 to 1986, and was also involved from 1983 until 1994 in Internal Operations.

In 2004 it was decided to rebuild First City and by 2006 the Regiment was training its own members as well as members of the Prince Alfred's Guard, The Buffalo Volunteer Rifles and Regiment Piet Retief these all being Eastern Cape Regiments. Many members have also been trained in Air Assault. The Regiment has also sent members on UN & AU Peace Keeping Missions to the DRC, Burundi and the Sudan.

2008 saw First City winning the Trophy for the Best Reserve Force Regiment in the SA Army Infantry Formation.The Regiment retained this award for 2009.[citation needed]

Regimental Symbols[edit | edit source]

  • Badges:
    • Bonny Badge: Silver Crest of Montrose
Directly behind the void areas of the badge on the Montrose Tartan the following is worn:
  • Scarlet – Officers and Warrant Officers
  • Blue – All other members
  • Maroon – All Airborne qualified members
  • The Officers & WO's wear a Diamond shaped Tartan backing while the NCO's and Rfn wear a square tartan backing.
    • Cap badge backing (1935– ): Graham of Montrose tartan. 1935 to 1943 pale red hackle also worn.
  • 1943 to 1945 Only a Green and Gold Hackle was worn during his period. FC/CTH
  • Collar badge: Albany Leopard on a branch
  • Shoulder & Epaulette title: "First City"
    • Officers & WO's wear the Gold metal Eppaulette designation on the Red Tab. NCO's & Rfn wear a Gold and Green cloth shoulder title

The new Blue Glengarry with blue and white dicing has the Maroon tourie to symbolise the Regiments Airborne Roll. (Worn by Officers & WO's) The Khaki Tam o' Shanter when worn by Air Assault members has a maroon tourie. (Worn by S/Sgt/Rfn) The Officers and WO's when in service/Combat Dress wear the light Khaki Balmoral.

  • Tartan: Graham of Montrose. The Highland Company was kilted in 1906, while the officers and warrant officers were allowed to wear trews from 1935 and the whole regiment was kilted in 1940.
  • Motto:
  • New Motto: "Expecto" (be Alert/be Prepared/I await)
    • Old FCV Motto: "Virtute et opera" (By Virtue and Deeds)
    • Old QVR Motto: "Semper Paratus" (Always Ready)

Alliances[edit | edit source]

Battle honours[edit | edit source]

  • Gaika-Gcaleka 1877–78
  • Basutoland 1880–81
  • Bechuanaland 1897
  • South Africa 1899–1902
  • South West Africa 1914–15
  • Madagascar 1942
  • Italy 1944–45
  • Paliano
  • Casino II
  • Chiusi
  • Florence
  • The Greve
  • Gothic Line
  • Monte Stanco
  • Monte Pezza
  • Sole/Caprara
  • Po Valley
  • SWA/Angola 1976–1989

Outstanding Battle Honour "South Africa 1879"

References[edit | edit source]

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