(Editor 29th July 2010): Following November 2006 when this blog site was first published, we widened the scope of the main pages to include other (1950s style) Light Infantry Regiments. None were supported, other than our own Old Regiment, the DCLI and the KSLI (thanks to the support and ongoing friendship of Bill Griffiths). Any page at view above is open to Comment.

So far as The Rifles are concerned, there are many excellent and informative web sites for The Rifles Regiment which carries the strong heritage and traditions of our own DCLI & KSLI and of course all the Old Light Infantry Regiments. An entry into Google will open up a mind boggling array of options, including the linked (below) Army site, with a separate Rifles section. Interestingly, I cannot (yet) find a blog site anywhere that would encourage our style of participation from Rifles Members, and I’d like to change that right now. If you are a Rifles Regiment Member, we cordially invite your uninhibited comment onto our site and look forward to a growing connection between the New & the Old.

Often in the past few years, particularly since 2007 when The Rifles was formed, we Old Soldiers have found the need to comment on the battlefield heroism and sacrifice of our gallant young men and women who wear the bugle insignia of the Light Infantry. Since the merger, we have belatedly observed our own DCLI Regimental Depot in Bodmin, rebadged, realigned and The Museum expanded to include a much wider collection of British Military History. We now accept that we are – all of us, Old & New – “The Rifles”.

So here and now, let’s make a move and utilise this site to communicate our invitations, thoughts and opinions to those in the battlefield of Afghanistan and other troublesome theatres of war and to the many who have done their tours and are home again safely in barracks. Let’s include also memorabilia of those famous Old Light Infantry Regiments, dating from as far back as 1685; The Somerset Light Infantry, The Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry, The Ox & Bucks Light Infantry,The Kings Own Yorkshire Light Infantry, The King’s Shropshire Light Infantry and The Durham Light Infantry.

Both Rifles photos are courtesy

Broadening global Internet systems can now reach those remote areas of Afghanistan, Iraq and most military outposts where “Our British Lads & Lasses” are serving. We extend our invitations to you of the Rifle Battalions to make Comment back here to us on this blog site and tell us how it is. Thank You and Good Luck to you wherever you are serving the Country.

Website showing the lineage of The Rifles today.



BRITISH ARMY The Webmaster of has kindly granted permission to link the site here. You can browse all the latest news for the British Army, including the current reports from Afghanistan. Below is the direct hotlink to The Rifles pages.


MEDIA: Nigel Green Media: On the frontline in Afghanistan.


St Mary Magdalene Church, Taunton, Soldier’s Corner, dedicated to SLI. The glass panel memorial of Cpl Tom Gaden, 24, of 1st Battalion The Rifles, based in Gloucestershire, killed by an explosion in Helmand in February 2009.

Courtesy John Billet, Taunton: JB has forwarded several SLI Soldier’s Corner photos, which are linked to the Picasa Album immediately below.

THE RIFLES: Freedom of the City of Taunton. Courtesy John Billett

Photo was taken at Wyvern Barracks Exeter, 15 May 2010, prior to the Salamanca Band & Bugles leading the Parade for the Devonshire & Dorset Regiment Association March through Exeter, the first time the sword was worn.


36 Responses to THE RIFLES

  1. Swanny Swanson says:

    Another of our family killed in action. C/Sjt Kevin Fortuna a brave and valiant warrior from 1st Bn The Rifles in as I have said many times, a futile war against a cowardly enemy the Taliban. How many more are to be killed by these explosives. Our brave soldiers have no chance with what they face on every day missions. His CO Lt Col. James de Labilliere wrote of what a first class soldier C/Sjt Fortuna was in every aspect of his leadership as a Rifleman so proud to serve in the Rifles. He was the 366th British soldier killed in Afghanistan since the the conflict began in 2001.

    RIP Kevin on behalf of DCLI-LI-Rifles Association West Cornwall Branch.

  2. Swanny Swanson says:

    Just think of the backlash. Apparently 500-800 Talaban escaped from their prison this last week and are now all geared up to start again against our forces. Just the sort of thing you would want if you were on the front line if you were serving in that Country. What a boost for your enemy, makes you wonder how this could have happened, just goes to show how lax the Afghanistan prisons must be to have let this happen.

    What a kick in the teeth to our brave soldiers who haved served with such distinction in such a futile war and lost so many for this to happen. Time for a rethink to the powers to be for a pull out of all our forces serving there.

  3. Geoff says:

    ED, I think the way they equip our forces in today’s world is outrageous, but then we are not at war, but trying to gain the hearts and minds of these people. This to my mind is impossable as you can be talking to a civilian one minute, then he picks up a weapon and has become a Taliban fighter. Our young men are the bravest, and they should be given all the backing that they require.

    ED. Hear Hear Geoff, one would imagine that the so-called MoD, ADF, US Congressional Authorities – those faceless arseholes who make strategic decisions that place our young Coalition men and women, in harm’s way, would take every possible measure to minimise casualties and optimise the effect of our weaponry. Truth is that since the stupid trench warfare decisions of WW1 by ‘General Staff’ that sent human bodies against the hail of machine guns ‘over the top’ – political mentality remains an economic factor. Wasn’t until just 2 years ago that the Afghanistan Troop Carriers were built with armour on the floors – how stupid is that – don’t they ever learn?

    The Taliban and all the other global terrorists are a very smart, cowardly enemy and adapt far more quickly than our so-called ‘strategists’ allow for. War today is not a gentleman’s game – it’s down and dirty – just like Northern Ireland in the ’70s. If the Coalition is intent on maintaining ‘rules of engagement’ to satisfy only the Western critics and permit the cowardly acts of an enemy, then we should get the fuck outta Dodge and let the bastards kill themselves off. England failed in the 18th century against the tribal mentality in Afghanistan, followed by the Russians and now the Coalition Forces. An unwinnable war!

  4. Geoff says:

    Hi Swanny, a good point you have brought to the forefront. I could never understand why the flaile has never been used. In the early days when I first joined up, when on manouvers, we used to ride on the tanks, an infantry section on each. Some had flailes, and when a mine field was detected, we dismounted and followed closely behind the tank, and the flailes were used. Made a bit of a mess, and kicked up the dust, but interesting, you brought back memories mate.

    • G’Day Geoff, thanks for taking up the Flailes article by Swanny, I haven’t replied until seeing your response – didn’t want to hog the airwaves. Consider however, the advances today in electronic technology since WW2, where the Taliban now use remote trigger control to detonate an IED – usually a mobile phone. The terrorist can wait from afar until the vehicle body is over the explosive and then detonate. Back in time the flaile device would act mechanically on the mine/s.

      Our 60 Mins TV show last week, aired a segment shot by a Norwegian film maker from inside the Taliban in Afghanistan, which demonstrated just that procedure against a US convoy, with devastating results on Coalition Forces.

  5. Swanny Swanson says:

    I have now watched Military Driving School at Defence School of Transport in Leconfield, East Yorkshire on ITV. The second showing of young drivers going through this course of brilliant new vehicles of every size being put through their paces. A soldier from the Rifles was explaining to the TV reporter how these modern vehicles have been made to withstand all the hazards in Afghanistan.

    The only thing I can’t understand is why they haven’t a vehicle like WW2 and we had in the TA named the Flaile, which was a converted tank, which had a large array of wires on the front end and spun in front to get rid of mines etc. This was never used in my time in the R Engineers, but I read about them when I went to the Royal Engineers Museum in Chatham and was very impressed at what they achieved in desert warfare in WW2.

    You would think the MOD would have a modern version of this, as the greatest loss of life has been lost due to mines etc in this futile war!

  6. Swanny Swanson says:

    I would on behalf of the West Cornwall Branch DCLI-LI Association wish all present serving members of the Rifles and all ex Riflemen a Happy Christmas and Prosperous New Year. Especially all of our Rifles serving in Afghanistan at this present time and pray that God will look after all who serve there in the most difficult war the British have ever served in.

    God bless you all and a safe return.

  7. Editor in Brisbane says:

    Capt Harry Parker, B Company, 4 Rifles

    Swanny has emailed a copy email from the Rifles Office, informing the role that this injured British Officer played in giving an inspirational talk to the English Rugby Team on the eve of its defeat of Australia. Read the report to admire the bravery of one of our gallant British Soldiers and his mental strength, evidenced by his attitude.

    Goodonyer ‘Arry – even if it did help you bloody Poms defeat the sworn rugby enemies!

    Editor, Brisbane, Orstralia

  8. Bill Griffiths says:

    What a wonderful sight (Freedom of City) our guys in no 2 dress instead of desert dress. I know it was way back in 2007, but nevertheless wonderful. I know that today, our troops are not allowed to walk out in uniform, but for the life of me I can’t understand why?

    Hells Bells, when I joined the army we were not allowed out of camp unless we were properly dressed in uniform. It was ages before we were allowed ‘civvies’ again AND we were all proud of our uniform.


    • Sloop JB says:

      Hello Bill,

      Glad you liked the pictures, you’re so right about our boys in their uniforms. When we were kids we would nearly wet ourselves to see the uniforms. Taunton being a Garrison Town there were plenty too be seen, and we were proud to think that they were our boys protecting us. Not like today, they’re all over the world fighting everbody else’s war for very little thanks at the end of it.


    JB has kicked off our Rifles Photo Corner by forwarding several shots taken of Soldier’s Corner in St Mary Magdalene’s Church, Taunton, one of which is shown above, in the page header. The remaining photos are shown in the Picasa Album URL shown alongside the Memorial photo.


    Troops returning from Helmand pay for own flights. (Linked to Daily Telegraph article 18th August.)

    Minister, this is NOT BLOODY CRICKET! Mate. Our elite fighting troops who put their lives on the line for their Country, deserve a reliable, effective method of transportation. GOYA! Minister and do the bloody job that you’re paid for!

  11. Bill Griffiths says:

    Thanks Derek,
    We only have one TA centre here in Hereford, and I will post a flyer there if you send me one.


    ED: Thanks Bill, I’ll getaroundtuit. I can change the “Rifles” wording to whichever arm of the British Army attends your TA.


    I have designed an A4 flier, modelled on the Blog Header, that invites the Rifles reader (or other Infantry that can be shown) to tear off the URL/email reference at the footer, and action on their own computer in due course when they return to home/barracks after reading on a Notice Board.

    Ideally, these fliers can be pinned up on any and all TA Centre Notice Boards, Local Barracks, Regimental HQs for ALL Infantry Regiments, throughout the UK. I’m happy to snailmail 1 or 2 of these sheets to anyone so inclined to GOYA and circulate this information. Don’t stuff me around though, these fliers are expensive to print and mail from OZ , so I expect commitment at your end to action the matter. Send me your residential address if interested, (by email) to

    PS: The A4 flier is compiled in .gif format and ’tis easier to snailmail, rather than complicate email attachments, your downloads and conversion to .pdf files for printing by recipients. On receipt, all that you need to do is to scissor a vertical cut through each tearoff, for easier removal, and get your local TA contact to affix to a Notice Board. Let’s tango Cheps!

  13. Bill Griffiths says:

    All very quiet on the Western front, in fact seems to be the case on the North South and East as well, where is everyone? I keep looking for news, for stories, especially now from our younger lads, but as you say Swanny, they are busy doing their job, and doing it well. And I too will pray for them.


    ED: G’Day Bill, still early days yet, for our recent activities to kick in. Altogether now the entire Rifles Regiment, TA included, has been canvassed for participation, but the activity involves all of the HQs at the various Battalions and Companies to initiate the designed expansion invitation with the lads and lassies in their barracks. We on the receiving end continue to await any messages that we can then respond to, in our growing interest for matters related to The Regiment.

    PS: Maybe I should also add, that lack of logged comment does not necessarily mean that all of our comments here are not being viewed. I track ALL traffic to this site and can safely state that hits/views are very high, indicating that the site generally and some pages individually are being scrutinised to a very high degree.

    PPS: Without me stating the obvious, the greater the interest expressed here from you Cheps, for The Rifles, by way of observing local Rifles activities around the Counties, the more likely we are to encourage participation in return. In OZ, I can of course track some UK activities via the BBC and The Times and Telegraph, but you lads also can forward newsworthy items, and photolinks (URLs) for me to publish. One and All

  14. Swanny Swanson says:

    Our local TA 6 Rifles were on our local TV programme in Cyprus training for their tour to Afghanistan, some of these lads chatted to the TV reporters and I felt so proud of these young men. The training that these boys were doing was in 100 degrees to get used to the conditions in Afghanistan and these men were so upfront and ready for war it makes you so proud to be a part of them.

    God speed and God look after our brave lads as I will be praying for them. Swift and Bold.

    ED: Good supportive comment Swanny, greatly appreciated.

  15. Bill Griffiths says:

    Hi Archie,
    I like Derek, welcome you back. I can’t quite remember when, but we were issued with the SLR 7.62 self loading rifle, it must have been in the middle sixties, which was quite a good weapon. It had a magazine holding 20 rounds, but it was possible to use the bren gun mag, which held 30, but that made it quite heavy to carry.

    I think one of the reasons for its popularity was because it was used by many of the NATO forces, therefore technically, you should never have run out of ammo, you could borrow some from your neighbour so to speak. I only failed my markmanship once with it, that was when I went to the armoury, asked for a short butt and they gave me a long one., couldn’t reach the damned trigger.


  16. Archie Vaughan says:

    Hi Derek.
    When the KSLI left for Kenya we were issued with the new .303 jungle rifle, this was a small rifle with rubber butt and flash eliminator. In August 1955, six of us in our platoon were issued with the new FN with magazine can’t recall – but about 28 rounds.


    ED: Great comment Archie – good to have you back again. So you served until when? Did I also mention to you that in June 2009, Bill Griffiths and I stood at the Bishop Sutton Memorial where Lt. Col. Cuthbert Brook-Smith is honoured.

  17. Bill Griffiths says:

    Hi Sloop,
    Very rough calculations show that we have about 147,100 regular troops. Only 8000 are in Afghanistan, and 4000 in Iraq, a very small percentage of our total force. There are 20,000 still in Germany,300 in Cyprus, 1000 in The Falklands, 500 in Gibraltar. That must leave about 113,000 perhaps in UK, or other cushy stations. Just food for thought, by the way, we also have 134000 Regular reserves.

    I am not one of them now, although I certainly wish I was. (I wish I was back in Germany, I had three tours there, the best one in Berlin in 1967 -1969. Hell, the beer halls were fantastic, don’t remember going home from most of them.)

    I still obviously admire, respect, and feel so sorry for our lads and lassies who are out on active service getting blown up by crazy bloody lunatic suicide bombers. You can’t call it war and I think our lads should be withdrawn from this crazy situation.


  18. Bill Griffiths says:

    Hi Derek,
    Still no response from any Rifles lads or connections, where are they all? I have run out of ideas for the moment. I tried putting a message on the Light Infantry website, including your Rifles website, but it seems to have been blocked. I have sent a message asking why, but no reply.

    ED: G’Day Bill. I sense that its a long haul to attract Rifles Members to our site, especially when one considers the multitudinous options out there in cyberspace. However, I’m greatly encouraged by several positive responses to ‘linking’ inquiries – some in the pipeline awaiting Author’s return. I shall advise you by email. I know also that the long journey starts with the small step, didn’t Confucious say that? and as soon as we make contact, as we will, we’ll develop a core interest from regimentally inclined blokes. Can’t provide an answer to your other point, I dunno if that MOD site takes messages, you might have to sign up first. I’ll check it out.

    • Sloop JB says:

      Hello Ed and Bill

      Could it be a factor that they are in theatre of war that they are not responding to the blog. I know that several aren’t in Afghanistan, but I would imagine they have to be careful who they contact or speak to. Just a point of view.

      ED: Good point JB, but ’tis far too early I feel to draw conclusions. When one browses the MOD site and opens up AARSE (!!) you can read the uninhibited talkfest that the modern Army engages in. Bloody Hell, even makes MY hair curl!! I don’t think that our mild and gentle mannered blogs are going to compete. In essence we are hoping to develop an OLD & NEW platform that links the 1950s with the 2010s – so it would need a very special Regimental type to even consider we Old Farts – but they’re out there for sure, as Swanny describes, there is a great respect for Old Soldiers. We’ll evaluate the position over the next few weeks, when some additional promotion kicks in and take it from there. Thanks for your comments.

  19. SA80 A2 rifle

    DEFENCE FACT SHEETS (Linked with approval)

    Joe’s earlier comment about us being Riflemen in Bermuda made me think about how far now the British Army has advanced in rifle weaponry used in modern tactical warfare. I offer here a Google photo result, together with additional detail from the MOD in anticipation that we might get some response from the lads who are using these weapons against a dangerous enemy in Afghanistan.

    As I recall in late 1955 the British Army were about to introduce the FN rifle into the Light infantry, but not in my time, and definitely not in the TA. The only ‘new’ weapon that I recall was the .38 Sterling, to replace the Sten.

  20. Editor says:


    Book Review – by Richard Holmes
    Hugo White One and All: A History of the Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry 1702-1959 (5 Mar 2006)

    On June 11th 2009, during our Caribbean Re-Union I had the pleasure to meet Hugo White for the 1st time during that month and am the proud owner of a signed copy of “One and All”. Timely now I suggest, with our launch of The Rifles blog page, to suggest your reading of this fine piece of Regimental History. Copies available from The Museum.


    In less than one week, since the publishing of “The Rifles” Page, I have received overwhelming support by direct email and Comment here, for this new blog page to communicate with you who serve Great Britain and the Commonwealth. You can read here the hopes that we “Old Soldiers” of the Light Infantry Regiments of yesteryear have, to build rapport and communication with you – who proudly carry our history forward.

    Letters and emails have been widely written by Bill Griffiths, Tom Howell and myself, seeking to promote this new Rifles publication, to many of the Associations, Branches, Groups, Newspapers and Magazines that might show interest in the New Regiment and its wonderful achievements and heroism since formation in early 2007. We of the old Light Infantry are behind you 100% and will appreciate any and all Comment from you at any time. We are interested in your thoughts, your interests, your experiences, your hopes and your sorrows. Help us if you will to build a very special communication tool between the New and the Old.

    Swift & Bold.

  22. Joe Knight. says:

    Hi Derek.
    Joe and myself are over the moon with the messages you sent. We will look forward to seeing them time and time again. Joe is looking at photos of the Spring Tattoo of 1956. Joe left before then, but he’s proud to see what a show you lads put on, you would put the Guards in second place.

    Keep in touch. Joe & Anne.

    ED: Many thanks Anne & Joe for your supportive comments. Our ‘discovery’ of Joe again in 2009, before our Caribbean Re-Union in Penzance June 2009, which meant that we “Old 3 Platoon” buddies of 1954, could get together again, meant a great deal to all of us. The fact that now, some 56 years later, we can exchange fond memories and recall after a lifetime – reawakens that Light Infantry spirit of comradeship that never disappears. Take Care.

  23. Swanny Swanson says:

    Nice to have Joe’s comments about the new Regiment. When you think back all those years, Joe was our leader and we as young soldiers learnt so much from him and Cpl Ken Young and Cpl Trevor Pope – all from the Ox and Bucks LI. These young Riflemen are following in our footsteps.

    God Bless Them All.

    ED: Hear Hear Swanny. I’m very pleased that Joe is getting our drift and venturing into fresher pastures (for him). We must encourage him – as he did with us in 3 Platoon – to keep in step!!

  24. Sloop JB says:

    Hi Derek,

    I have some photos of The Rifles parading in Taunton when they were given the Freedom of the Town, I will at some time, get copies over to you so you can do as you will with them, bear with me.

    ED: Great News JB, really appreciated. Probably what we’ll do is to amass a collection of Rifles Photo Memorabilia as a Picasa Album, with individual credits. Looking forward to your contribution. Thanks.

  25. Joe Knight. says:

    Hi Derek. As you know I am interested in The Rifles. Whilst I was in the OBLI, I was a rifleman. When I joined the DCLI I was also a rifleman, and so were you. I understand The Rifles are the biggest Regiment in the British Army. We will always need our riflemen, god bless them all.


    ED: Well put Joe and thanks for adding a timely comment to this page. You can navigate the hotlinks above (at the bottom of the page header) to see the lineage from the 17th Century and also view the latest news on ALL Regiments, especially The Rifles. Keep up the good work ‘Ole Mate and let’s hear from you often.

  26. Swanny Swanson says:

    ED. What a good write up from Bugler Ray (Smudger) Smith. Nobby, Terry Joll and I met Ray at Shrewsbury where our photos were taken together. Since then we have met at The Forces Day at Truro and we seem to have known Ray for ages. As I have said we are so proud of our serving soldiers of the Rifles and also our branch of DCLI Assn have met now on several occasions the Bandmaster and his No 2 at the presentation of Bert’s bayonet to the bugler who we now know quite well on parade venues.

    Long let it continue.

    ED: Thanks Swanny. I have emailed Ray directly thanking him and advising why I transferred his original comment from a Reggie Mental photolink to The Rifles. (An easy mistake around our blog pages with hotlinked photos). Like you I welcome Ray’s participation and would like him to encourage the younger cheps around The Regiment to climb on board the Blogging Wagon – from wherever they are serving on the planet and godknows, they get into some godawful places. We will appreciate younger and fresher ideas and opinions here, especially to keep a military air about the entire site.

  27. Tom Howell says:

    As formerly DCLI/SCLI , and as a founder member of 3 Cdo Bde OFP (1964) I am pleased to welcome you to the site.

    Tom Howell

  28. Editor relayed for Ray (Smudger) Smith says:


    Hi All. It was a grand day for me, especially to meet up with some of Bert’s mates. And it was a real pleasure to be able to play the Regimental Quick Marches of most of the old Regiments.

    At the end of day, I can remember watching the Light Div Bands & Bugles of all the Old Regiments, dare I say it, back in the 6os, at the Colchester Tattoos, my hometown. And I am really proud to be a serving Terrier, Rifleman. Damn those defence cuts. Ha.

    Swift and Bold. stay safe and keep in touch.

    Smudger.x R, N,x R,C,T,vs. xR,A,L,C,3cdo,bdg,x D&D 1v batt,x 1st Rfle Vs.and currently, H,Q, cmpny, V,I, rfls,vs.

    Grandfather E, Vaus, DCLI,1916.
    Great grandfather A, Maddock Rfle, Brgde, India 1890s. Chaubattia.

  29. Bill Griffiths says:

    PS: To earlier blog, have also sent a copy of my letter to LI Regt Association. Fingers crossed for action.

    ED: Thanks Bill. I received the copy email and really appreciate your actions. Good to know that you are behind this venture.

  30. Bill Griffiths says:

    Great stuff, and I have taken the liberty of sending details to Heather Morgan in Shrewsbury, who very kindly obtained our passes for us when we went to the Re-Union in 2009, also for me this year. Hope I have helped spread the word, and hope we soon start getting entries from our brave young soldiers of today. I enjoyed looking at some of the pictures of the band, brought back many memories.

    ED: Wow Bill, you do us all Old Soldiers proud. Tremendous initiative, thank you. With concerned and caring support such as this, we’ll make a real fist of this new page.

  31. Swanny Swanson says:

    I am very pleased you have opened this blog on The Rifles. Over the last few years since the formation of our new Regiment, I and many others ex Light Infantrymen have had the privilege to parade with the Rifles on the Freedom of Bodmin and Truro and other venues and am so proud to be a part of them. As a Regiment have done us all proud of their achievments especially in Iraq and Afghanistan with losing so many comrades in both wars.

    At the Light Infantry Re-Union this year at Shrewsbury Nobby Clarke and myself were seated in the beer tent when five of these young soldiers asked if they could sit down with us on our table. These young men were so polite and good mannered calling us Sir. I felt so proud again that these young soldiers were part of our family. While we were talking to them about their exploits in Afghanistan etc General Brimms came over and sat down with us and joined in the conversation. Knowing General Brimms, as he was my son Donald’s Adjutant when serving in 2LI, we discussed about the amalgamation of the Rifles – as at the start – many of the LI regiments were dead against this happening as there were so many previous Regiments involved in make up of the new regiment. But it as shown that this is was wrongly judged as we all now know what a success it has turned out to be.


    ED: Terrific comment Swanny. How fitting that the 1st public comment should be from you ‘Ole Mate. You’ll have cottoned on to my drift obviously, in that I am hoping to get Comments from the various lads in the Battalions in the Regiment, wherever they are posted, active service or barracks. I’d like to open dialogue with any of ’em, so that we can get, at first hand the reportage of the godawful places and situations they find themselves in.

    Well Done Old Soldier – spread the word. Thanks!

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