Duke of Edinburgh's Royal Regiment


Duke of Edinburgh's Royal Regiment

The Duke of Edinburgh's Royal Regiment (Berkshire and Wiltshire) was an infantry regiment of the British Army.

History

It was formed on 9 June 1959 after defence cuts implemented in the late 1950s saw the amalgamation of The Royal Berkshire Regiment (Princess Charlotte of Wales's) and The Wiltshire Regiment (Duke of Edinburgh's), forming The Duke of Edinburgh's Royal Regiment (Berkshire and Wiltshire) (DERR). The Regiment was amalgamated at Albany Barrack, Isle of Wight. The first posting for the First Battalion (1 DERR) was in Tidworth, Wiltshire and it was from there in June 1960 B Company arrived in the Bahamas to augment the garrison unit in the Caribbean, the Royal Hampshire Regiment. The following year, ethnic violence in British Guiana saw the DERR send a company to assist in the re-establishment of order. In December 1962 the Regiment arrived in Malta for a deployment that would last just over 3-years. While based there, the Regiment deployed to Cyprus in February 1964, a month before the establishment of the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNIFICYP), returning to Malta in April though the Regiment did see subsequently deployments in Cyprus. Malta became independent from the British Empire on 21 September and the Regiment took part in the occasion. In January 1966 the Regiment arrived in Minden, West Germany as part of the British Army of the Rhine (BAOR) on a three-year posting. In West Germany they formed part of the 11th Infantry Brigade. From that location they trained in Libya, Norway, and France. The Regiment went to Catterick in June 1969 and the Regiment's sub-units saw deployments to the Central American colony of British Honduras. In addition they trained in Canada and Malaysia. In August 1969 'C' Company, 1 DERR were sent to Derry as reinforcements for 1 Queens at the start of the troubles. They remained in Northern Ireland until December. The following year 'B' Company were dispatched to Belfast in support of 1st Royal Scots. In 1971 the complete Battalion deployed to Derry.

From 1969 the Regiment deployed to Northern Ireland during a period of turmoil in that was known as "The Troubles". The Regiment would see extensive service in Northern Ireland during their existence, unndertaking many tours-of-duty and, in the process, losing six men. The DERR briefly returned to Catterick after its tour of Northern Ireland before heading for West Berlin, an enclave surrounded by Communist East Germany, joining the Berlin Brigade. One of the Regiment's duties included guarding the last remaining prisoner at Spandau Prison, Rudolf Hess. From Berlin they went to West Germany and France. In 1975, having been on a two-year posting to Ballykinler, Northern Ireland, the Regiment moved to Shoeburyness, Essex. In August the Regiment deployed to Cyprus on an Emergency Tour, returning in February 1976. It subsequently became the Infantry Demonstration Battalion. In August 1978 the Regiment arrived in Osnabrück, West Germany, joining the BAOR and would remain there, with the exception of a tour of NI in 1979, until 1983, when it moved back home, being based in Canterbury.

In 1984 the DERR was presented with new Colours by its Colonel-in-Chief, the Duke of Edinburgh. In December it joined the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus, returning home in June 1985. In February 1988, having been on another lengthy tour-of-duty in Northern Ireland, the Regiment was posted to Hong Kong, joining its garrison on a two-year deployment, undertaking internal security duties which included patrolling the border with the People's Republic of China to prevent illegal immigration into Hong Kong.

Their last tour-of-duty in Northern Ireland came in March 1993, and during their deployment the Regiment lost two men. 1 DERR returned to their base in Catterick in September. The Regiment's existence came to an end the following year, on 27 July 1994, when it amalgamated with the 1st Battalion, The Gloucestershire Regiment, to form the 1st Battalion, The Royal Gloucestershire, Berkshire and Wiltshire Regiment. The Regiment has since been amalgamated once again, merging with The Devonshire and Dorset Regiment (D and D), The Light Infantry (LI) and The Royal Green Jackets (RGJ) to form The Rifles. 1 DERR and 1 D and D have formed 1st Battalion The Rifles (1 Rifles); they take precedence over other battalions within The Rifles as the 1st Battalion due to the seniority of the former Devonshire Regiment (11th of Foot). 1 Rifles is now part of 3 Commando Brigade.

Other information

Nickname 'The Farmers Boys'


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