1st Green Jackets (43rd and 52nd)

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1st Green Jackets (43rd and 52nd)
Active 7 November 1958–1 January 1966
Country  United Kingdom
Branch  British Army
Size Regiment

The 1st Green Jackets (43rd and 52nd) was an infantry regiment of the British Army that existed from 1958 to 1966. The regiment served in the Cyprus Emergency, Brunei Revolt, Indonesia-Malaysia confrontation and West Berlin. The regiment formed part of the Green Jackets Brigade and in 1963 was redesignated as a rifle regiment.


The regiment was formed following Duncan Sandys' 1957 Defence White Paper when the 1st Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry, 43rd and 52nd became the 1st Green Jackets (43rd and 52nd) on 7 November 1958.[1] The occasion was commemorated by a parade in Cyprus where the regiment's band played the marches of its antecedent regiments.[2] The 1st Green Jackets (43rd and 52nd) formed part of the Green Jackets Brigade and wore the Brigade's Cap badge: an Infantry bugle in the centre over a Maltese cross, a crown at the top above a scroll reading Peninsula and the badge was surrounded by a wreath. 1st Green Jackets (43rd and 52nd) wore black buttons on their uniform. Each Green Jacket regiment retained one item of their uniform which had its origins in their antecedent regiment; 1st Green Jackets (43rd and 52nd) kept the gorget button on officers and Warrant officers uniforms.[3] The 1st Green Jackets (43rd and 52nd) retained the Battle honours of the 1st Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry, 43rd and 52nd.[4] The 1st Green Jackets (43rd) and (52nd) depot was at Peninsula Barracks, Winchester, Hampshire.[5] Bushfield Camp, near Winchester, was used as a temporary depot from 1961 to April 1964.[6]


The 1st Green Jackets (43rd and 52nd), commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Andrew Martin, took part in operations against EOKA terrorists during the Cyprus Emergency.[7] The regiment was based at Buckingham Camp at Polemidhia, near Limassol[3] and was deployed mainly in the Limassol area.[8] Major Peter Gerahty was second-in-command of the regiment in Cyprus.[9] Following a farewell parade the 1st Green Jackets (43rd and 52nd) returned to the UK on HMT Dunera in May 1959.[3]

United Kingdom[edit]

The regiment was originally based at Tidworth Camp but moved to Battlesbury Barracks in Warminster and then Knook Camp, near Warminster, in 1959. The regiment, led by Lieutenant Colonel Michael Harbottle, was an infantry demonstration battalion from 1959 to 1962. Brigadier, later General Sir Antony Read was Commandant of the School of Infantry at Warminster from 1959 to 1962.[10] Read, a member of the regiment, following the decision being made by the War Office had a key role in the planning stages for the new regiment and in its move to the Green Jackets Brigade.[3] Major, later Colonel John Tillett was second-in-command of the regiment at Warminster.[11][12][13] In accordance with the tradition of rifle regiments not carrying colours; in 1962 in High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, the 1st Green Jackets (43rd and 52nd) marched the 43rd and 52nd colours for the last time. On that occasion the regiment provided a Guard of Honour for Queen Elizabeth II which was commanded by Captain Edward Jones.[14]

Far East[edit]

In April 1962, the 1st Green Jackets (43rd and 52nd) sailed from Southampton to Penang on the troopship SS Nevasa.[15] The regiment was the first unit to be posted to the Far East without any National Servicemen, following the end of conscription in 1961.[16] In December 1962, the 1st Green Jackets (43rd and 52nd) led by Lieutenant Colonel Tod Sweeney was deployed to Brunei on the island of Borneo after an Indonesian-backed uprising occurred. General Sir Walter Walker (British Army officer) was Director of Borneo Operations from 1962 to 1965.[17][18] Major David Wood[19] was second-in-command of the regiment during the Brunei Revolt. Major David Mostyn,[20] Captain Robin Evelegh[21] and Lieutenant Robin Letts who later served with 22 SAS, was awarded the Military Cross: Borneo 1965 and later transferred to the Australian Army, joined the Australian SAS and served in the Vietnam War, also took part in operations against the North Kalimantan National Army (TNKU). Lieutenant Colonel Tod Sweeney tasked Captain John Stevenson the battalion's transport officer and NCOs with collecting troops from Jalan Gajah and other parts of the island; many troops were out of the barracks as it was a Sunday.[22] The regiment moved from Penang on 9 December 1962 within 6 hours notice. First driving through the night to Kuala Lumpur which they reached early the following day; the regiment then continued to Singapore and arrived there by nightfall.[23] They were then told to drive straight to the docks where they boarded the cruiser HMS Tiger and received orders for the regiment's deployment.[23] The regiment took part in an opposed landing at Miri, Sarawak, south of the border with Brunei and in the capture of Bekanu, 30 miles south of Miri.[24] The regiment returned to Minden Barracks, Penang, in April 1963.[25] The regiment was redesignated as a rifle regiment in June 1963 to conform to the rest of the Green Jackets Brigade.[26] The 1st Green Jackets (43rd and 52nd) second operational tour in the Far East was from August 1963 to mid December 1963 and troops having sailed on HMS Albion were deployed via Labuan to Brunei and Sarawak.[15]

In January 1964, the 1st Green Jackets (43rd and 52nd) became the spearhead battalion to support the Borneo Territories and Lieutenant Colonel David House took over command of the regiment.[27] The adjutant of the regiment was Captain Edward Jones.[28] In May 1964, the regiment was deployed for its final operational tour in the Borneo territories and was based mainly in the Kuching District of Sarawak. The regiment worked closely with the RAF who used Whirlwind and Belvedere helicopters and was deployed over 40 miles along the border with Indonesia and the regiment defended against many enemy attacks.[29] In July 1964, the Colonel Commandant, General Sir Gerald Lathbury visited the regiment at Semengo Camp, Kuching and at the regiment's forward operating bases.[30] The regiment returned to Penang at the end of October 1964.[31] The 1st Green Jackets (43rd and 52nd) was the only British Army unit to complete three operational tours in the area and was deployed throughout the North Borneo and Sarawak territories.[27] In December 1964 the regiment left Penang for the UK.[32]

West Berlin[edit]

The regiment deployed to West Berlin in March 1965 during the Cold War with the Soviet Union.[33][34] The regiment was stationed at Montgomery barracks in the district of Kladow; the Berlin Wall bordered the perimeter of the barracks.[35] On 27 May 1965, during the first visit made by a British Monarch to Germany since 1913[36] Queen Elizabeth II inspected the 1st Green Jackets (43rd and 52nd), as part of the Berlin Infantry Brigade.[37] In West Berlin, the regiment's tasks included taking its turn in guard duties at Spandau Prison; where leading Nazi war criminals were imprisoned following the Nuremberg Trials.[37] In September 1965 Lieutenant Colonel Oliver Pratt took over command of the regiment and he was to be the last Commanding Officer of the 1st Green Jackets (43rd and 52nd) and the first Commanding Officer of the 1st Battalion The Royal Green Jackets.[38]

On 1 January 1966, whilst in West Berlin, the regiment amalgamated with the two other regiments of the Green Jackets Brigade to form the three battalion Royal Green Jackets, the 1st Green Jackets (43rd and 52nd) becoming the 1st Battalion The Royal Green Jackets.[1]

On 25 July 1992 the battalion was disbanded at Osnabruck. The 2nd Battalion, Royal Green Jackets based at Omagh was renamed the 1st Battalion and the 3rd Battalion based at Dover was renamed the 2nd Battalion. On 1 February 2007, the 1st Battalion The Royal Green Jackets became the 2nd Battalion, The Rifles.[39][40][41]

Colonel Commandants[edit]

Commanding Officers[edit]


  1. ^ a b "The Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry". Regiments.org. Archived from the original on March 3, 2007. Retrieved 13 March 2016. 
  2. ^ "Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry". The Royal Green Jackets Band and Bugles. Retrieved 28 November 2016. 
  3. ^ a b c d "Cyprus 13" (PDF). Royal Green Jackets. Retrieved 13 February 2017. 
  4. ^ The Gorget 1964, p. 4
  5. ^ Messenger, Charles. A History of British Infantry: For Love of Regiment, Volume 2, 1915-1994. p. 156. 
  6. ^ The Gorget 1964 p. 5.
  7. ^ Colonel Sir Andrew Martin memorial service 23 April 1994.
  8. ^ Allen, p 139
  9. ^ RGJ In Memoriam Board
  10. ^ "Obituary: General Sir Anthony Read". Daily Telegraph. 27 September 2000. Retrieved 6 March 2017. 
  11. ^ Obituary Colonel John Tillett, The Daily Telegraph 27 January 2015
  12. ^ "Michael Harbottle: Obituary". The Independent. 14 May 1997. Retrieved 24 March 2016. 
  13. ^ Tribute to Colonel John Tillett by General Sir Robert Pascoe 16 January 2015
  14. ^ Draper, p. 16
  15. ^ a b The Gorget. Journal of the 1st Green Jackets (43rd and 52nd) 1964, p. 10.
  16. ^ Allen, p. 76.
  17. ^ "General Sir Walter Walker". The Telegraph. 13 August 2001. Retrieved 26 July 2016. 
  18. ^ "General Sir Walter Walker". The Guardian. 14 August 2001. Retrieved 26 July 2016. 
  19. ^ Obituary David Wood The Daily Telegraph 27 April 2009
  20. ^ Obituary: General Sir David Mostyn, The Times, 2 February 2007
  21. ^ Allen, p. 76
  22. ^ "Recording". Imperial War Museum. Retrieved 15 August 2016. 
  23. ^ a b Allen, p 76.
  24. ^ Allen, p 68.
  25. ^ Allen p 81.
  26. ^ The Chronicle of 1st Green Jackets, 43rd and 52nd 1963 (1964)
  27. ^ a b The Gorget. 1964, p. 8.
  28. ^ The Gorget 1964, p. 12
  29. ^ The Gorget. 1964, p. 9.
  30. ^ The Gorget 1964, p 12.
  31. ^ The Gorget 1964, p. 9.
  32. ^ The Gorget 1964, p 11.
  33. ^ Draper, p. 16
  34. ^ "1st Green Jackets (43rd and 52nd)". British Army units 1945 on. Retrieved 13 March 2016. 
  35. ^ "Montgomery Barracks". BAOR Locations. Retrieved 4 April 2016. 
  36. ^ "State visit to the federal republic of Germany". Royal Collection. Retrieved 6 April 2016. 
  37. ^ a b "The Berlin Wall" (PDF). The Green Machine. July 2002. Retrieved 6 April 2016. 
  38. ^ Royal Green Jackets In Memoriam Board.
  39. ^ "Hansard: Restructuring of the Army - Statement by Secretary of State for Defence on 23 July 1991". Retrieved 26 November 2016. 
  40. ^ "Disbandment of 1/RGJ". Retrieved 26 November 2016. 
  41. ^ "Royal Green Jackets". British Army units 1945 on. Retrieved 10 February 2017. 


  • Allen, Charles (1990). The Savage Wars of Peace: Soldiers' Voices, 1945-89. Michael Joseph. ISBN 978-0718128821. 
  • Draper, Robin Anthony (2015). Redcoats to Riflemen: A short History of the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire County Regiment. ISBN 978-0954937034. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Booth, Philip (1971). Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry (Famous Regiments). Leo Cooper. ISBN 978-0850520293. 
  • Fowler, Will (2006). Britain's Secret War: The Indonesian Confrontation 1962-1966. Osprey Publishing. ISBN 978-1846030482. 
  • Gaddis, John Lewis (2006). The Cold War: A New History. Penguin Press. ISBN 978-0141025322. 
  • Jarvis, J.B. (1964). Chronicle of 1st Green Jackets, 43rd and 52nd and The Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry Volume LXV January to December 1963. 
  • Pringle, Andrew (2007). Swift and Bold - A Portrait of The Royal Green Jackets 1966 - 2007. Third Millennium. ISBN 978-1903942697.