Her Majesty The Queen has awarded the title Royal to the Bermuda Regiment with effect from today the 50th Anniversary 1 of its amalgamation and the Regiment will now be known as the Royal Bermuda Regiment. Speaking today at Warwick Camp, Governor George Fergusson said, This is terrific news. This is a real honour and mark of recognition for the Regiment.
These things are not at all automatic: it s a real award, recognising not only the Regiment s contribution to Bermuda since its formation but also its support to countries and Territories in the Caribbean. It is also very specifically a recognition of the contribution and sacrifices made by its predecessor units, the Bermuda Militia Artillery and the Bermuda Volunteer Rifle Corps in two World Wars, and units before that. Members of the Regiment, past and present, have every reason to be proud at this award.
The formal announcement read, Her Majesty The Queen has graciously agreed to the award of the title Royal to the Bermuda Regiment to mark 50 years of dedicated and loyal service to The Crown and its forbears dedicated and loyal service dating back to 1612. By Her Majesty s Command the new title is effective from the Regiment s Golden Jubilee on 1 September 2015. The announcement comes on the Anniversary of the formal amalgamation 2 of the Bermuda Militia Artillery and the Bermuda Rifles on 1 September 1965.
The Regiment will be known as the Royal Bermuda Regiment RBR. It is not expected that costs will be incurred as a result of the change. Changes to insignia, badges etc will be made as new items are required, ordered or manufactured, the Regiment said.
The Regiment s Commanding Officer Lt Col M Foster-Brown, who is currently off island, sent the following comments of support: I am thrilled and delighted at the honour which recognizes the long and distinguished service of the Regiment.
This Distinction is particularly appropriate on our golden anniversary and is the best birthday present we could have hoped for. #MilitaryAndRegiment #Regiment50th 3 4 Category : All , News 5 6 References ^ 50th Anniversary (bernews.com) ^ Anniversary of the formal amalgamation (bernews.com) ^ #MilitaryAndRegiment (bernews.com) ^ #Regiment50th (bernews.com) ^ View all posts in All (bernews.com) ^ View all posts in News (bernews.com)
The Bermuda Regiment 1 today celebrates its 50th birthday, 2 as September 1 marks the day the Island s modern armed service was created out of the Bermuda Militia Artillery BMA and the Bermuda Volunteer Rifle Corps BVRC. And Regiment Commanding Officer Lt Col Michael Foster-Brown said the Regiment would continue to have its sights fixed on the future as well as celebrating its rich history. Col Foster-Brown added, The reach of the Regiment is far and wide with over 11,000 Regimental numbers having been issued and we re conscious that the success of the Regiment has been built on those who have served before us, so the reunion theme of the year long series of celebrations is very appropriate.
Bermuda Regiment Queen s Birthday Parade in 1966, photo courtesy of Bermuda Regiment Col Foster Brown said the delivery of British Army issue SA-80 rifles earlier this month, which will replace the ageing current issue Mini Ruger 14s, some of which are 30 years old, was a visible sign of the progress and investment in the Regiment. He added, These alone will make a big difference to our capabilities. Col Foster Brown said that a new State Partnership Programme with the US National Guard and the training of soldiers as Special Constables alongside the Bermuda Police Service would further enhance the Regiment s ability to perform its disaster relief and internal security roles.
He added, This going forward will offer the Regiment exchanges and support, even more training opportunities. The Regiment has already put on a series of events to celebrate its golden anniversary under the BR50 banner and more are planned including an international military tattoo to be held in October and a home coming service at Warwick Camp on Sunday, September 20. Col Foster-Brown added, We ve also had the honour of being awarded the Freedom of St George s and we look forward to the Freedom of Hamilton in November.
And a special open night for potential recruits to the Regiment, which had a record number of volunteers last year, will be held next month on Saturday, September 19. Briefing on Front Street during 1977 riots. Left to right Lt.
Col. Brendan Hollis 2/Lt. Rick Barton, 2/Lt.
Allan Rance, 2/Lt. Wendell Hollis, Capt. John Bento Col Foster Brown added, More and more people are choosing stay in the Regiment so we can make the next Recruit Camp smaller, which opens up the prospect of an all-volunteer Recruit Camp for the first time.
Anyone interested a fun, rewarding, adventurous and challenging experience as a soldier is invited to attend. And he said, We argue Regiment service makes people better citizens and better employees as it develops self-discipline, teamwork and leadership skills. I believe that if two people apply for a job and one has Regiment service they will have an advantage because he or she has proved they are reliable, hardworking and can deal with new challenges.
He added that soldiers also benefited from opportunities for overseas travel and free bus and ferry travel. He said, They also get discounts in a large range of stores a way businesses kindly show their appreciation of what the Regiment does. That was self-evident last October when the Regiment helped get the country back on its feet again after the hurricanes.
Col Foster-Brown added that soldiers leaving service also get a testimonial outlining the skills and qualities they have developed. And he said, We are intensely proud of our traditions and those of our predecessor Regiments, which saw service in two World Wars, but we re not resting on our laurels. The Regiment is trained, adaptable and ready to handle whatever the next 50 years throws at us.
We have much to celebrate and I thank serving and former soldiers for their service, dedication and loyalty. The modern Regiment preserves the golden thread linking military units on the Island from the first days of colonisation to the formation of the BMA and the BVRC in 1895 and beyond, the Regiment said. Other units were raised at various times, including the Bermuda Militia Infantry BMI, Bermuda Home Guard and Bermuda Volunteer Engineers BVE.
Both the BMA and the BVRC served overseas in both World Wars with many soldiers from both units paying the ultimate price. The BMA served in the Royal Garrison Artillery and the BVRC served in the 1st Battalion Lincolnshire Regiment in World War I, with more than 100 Bermudian troops losing their lives. Battle honours were earned throughout the European campaign and many were conspicuous in their service, with Bermuda s soldiers earning, amongst other commendations, the Military Medal.
During the Second World War the BMA were the Bermuda Contingent of the 1st Caribbean Regiment which served in North Africa and Europe. The BVRC served as a company in the Royal Lincolnshire Regiment in Britain and Europe. Of the 184 Bermudians serving overseas, 35 died.
Many were highly decorated for their valour, including a George Cross. At home, the BMI and BVE, along with those who remained of the BVRC and BMA, guarded the Island. The BMA were re-equipped and trained as infantry in 1953 although they retained their Royal Artillery allegiance, uniform and badge.
But, along with the social changes of the 1950s and 1960s, the two units were poised for change. The BMA and what was by then the Bermuda Rifles officially became one in a ceremony on November 23, 1965 and the amalgamated infantry battalion adopted the histories and characteristics of the predecessor units, although battle honours were not carried forward to the Colours and drums of the Regiment. The Regiment saw service in civil disturbances in the first 15 years of its life and has been regularly embodied to support civil authorities after hurricane strikes twice in the space of a week last year after Hurricanes Fay and Gonzalo hit in quick succession.
Bermuda Regiment training at Camp Lejuene in North Carolina earlier this year: Lt Col Eugene Raynor, now Honorary Colonel of the Regiment, signed up with the BMA in 1961, was commissioned in 1964 and was one of the modern force s first officers on amalgamation. Col Raynor rose to command the Regiment between 1980-84 its first black Commanding Officer. He said, The outward appearances have changed several times, in terms of size but the systems haven t really changed.
That s a good thing since from the start, Recruit Camp has been very effective. The role hasn t changed either, but the things we do to maintain that role have changed slightly in the terms of the details of internal security training. It s been progressive.
Another thing to influence that is our personnel change-over so regularly.
And we re always being kept up to date by people seconded to us by the British Army.
But Col Raynor added, Our traditions have been maintained to the greatest extent and maintained well. #BermudaHistory #MilitaryAndRegiment #Regiment50th 3 4 5 Category : All , History , News 6 7 8 References ^ Bermuda Regiment (bernews.com) ^ 50th birthday, (bernews.com) ^ #BermudaHistory (bernews.com) ^ #MilitaryAndRegiment (bernews.com) ^ #Regiment50th (bernews.com) ^ View all posts in All (bernews.com) ^ View all posts in History (bernews.com) ^ View all posts in News (bernews.com)
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Bermuda Regiment Celebrates 50 Years Today
For most people, the United Arab Emirates conjures up images of lavish, oil-funded lifestyles, luxury cars and oddly shaped skyscrapers. But fewer than 50 years ago, the country then known as the Trucial States was a harsh, undeveloped desert outpost of the British Empire, with few roads, no telephones. It was a place where disagreements could rapidly escalate into blood feuds.
Keeping the peace in this far-flung land was the responsibility of the Trucial Oman Scouts, a paramilitary force raised by the British in 1951, initially making use of recruits from the Jordanian Arab Legion from which the Scouts adopted its trademark red and white shemaghs. The unit, headquartered at a Royal Air Force camp in Sharjah was initially staffed by 30 people, mostly British officers but also local recruits. By the time the UAE gained its independence in 1971, the force had swelled to 2,500.
The Trucial Oman Scouts was armed much like any British infantry battalion of the time was, with .303 SMLE rifles, .38 Webley revolvers, Bren LMGs and small, three-inch mortars, as well as Land Rovers, Dodge Power Wagons and Ferret armored cars. Just as important, the British core of the Scouts was armed with an adventurous spirit and a desire to be a part of one of the British Army s last opportunities for Lawrence of Arabia-type soldiering. Among these men was Hugh Nicklin a self-described Child of the Raj born in British India who volunteered for the Scouts after a sleepy stint with the British Army of the Rhine.
Germany was pretty dull, Nicklin said. I had already served in Borneo in 63, and that was active service, with a shooting war going on. I was posted to Germany, and had been there about a year, and I was thinking that the winters were pretty cold and we re just playing pretend war, that the Russians were going to come over the horizon in their tanks and blast us with tactical nuclear weapons.
It was all pretend and I thought it wasn t real soldiering, so a couple of us wondered what else we could do, Nicklin added. It would be nice to go somewhere a bit warmer, a bit more exciting. We d all seen Lawrence of Arabia , which had recently come out, and was quite romantic and very inspiring.
There was a chance in the British Army to get that kind of experience through the Trucial Oman Scouts. We volunteered, were accepted, and flew out to Sharjah, and that was the start of my TOS adventure. Hugh Nicklin photos Nicklin, a member of the Royal Corps of Signals, explained that his unit provided the only 24/7 communications system available in the Emirates at the time.
There were no telephones in the country. There were no roads. You had to cross the sand, or the rocks up in the mountains.
Traveling was fairly rugged. The only network of comms between our various outposts scattered throughout Trucial Oman were little radio sets, with which they would communicate with Sharjah, all in Morse code. Despite not speaking English, the Arab troops many of whom were trained at a boy s school operated by the TOS became extremely proficient at using signals equipment, Nicklin said.
Some of the brightest lads became signalers, he added. They really took to it. We taught them to that when they hear a certain sound, it would correspond to a symbol, the entire Morse code alphabet.
They d hear it and write down that particular symbol. It was actually beneficial, as one of the problems with writing down Morse code is that you anticipate what the word would be, and you re invariably wrong. You lose the plot.
It s an advantage not to know exactly what you re writing down. Despite being a peacetime posting, the Scouts was not without its dangers. In November 1952, two British soldiers were shot dead while investigating illegal ammunition sales to Saudi Arabia.
Three years later in October 1955, two Arab Scouts troopers were killed during an operation to expel Saudi forces from Buraimi Oasis, which the Saudis had occupied since 1952. Additionally, Scouts detachments deployed to Oman to fight local insurgencies there. For the most part, though, Nicklin said the Trucial Oman Scouts was protected by the respect it had garnered among the locals and by its well-developed intelligence network.
You had to be just a little bit aware, but generally speaking the Trucial Oman Scouts were highly respected among the locals, as we were considered above bribery, fair, and people who always tried to come up with a workable solution, Nicklin said. This was quite unlike if you were in somewhere like Aden, where you really were worried about everybody, as there was a dangerous insurrection at the time. One of the most common Scouts missions was to quickly deploy to prevent disputes over a well, for example from spilling into violence and protracted blood feuds between tribes.
We d try and get there as soon as possible once the trouble started, before shooting started. We d sit down and chat with all the people involved, spending a lot of time talking it all over. Nicklin added that the Scouts adapted the hearts and minds techniques learned by the British Army in Malaya and Borneo to the deserts of the Trucial States.
You don t go in there guns blazing. You sit down and chat. It was important for the TOS to understand what was going on.
We had district intelligence officers stationed in Fujairah another emirate and places, just to listen to the gossip. People would say when they knew if there was a bunch of people running guns near the border, or if there was a camel train coming through with some suspect stuff on it. Our information was pretty good and it was all relayed to the political agent.
Nicklin, who left the Army in 1970 after a nine-year career, has recently put together a collection of memories of the Scouts entitled Are You the Man? to preserve the memories of what he said was a special time in the history of the British Army. That was a unique time, and there will never be the like of that again.
The world has all moved on too much.