New battalion flying the flag for Durham

Launch of the 8th Battalion The Rifles (8 Rifles).
Launch of the 8th Battalion The Rifles (8 Rifles).
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A new reserve battalion has raised its flag for an official launch.

The 8th Battalion The Rifles (8 Rifles), which was announced as part of the Army 2020 Refine restructuring, was officially launched in Durham.

Rifleman Stephen Elliott playing the 'Rifles Assembly' at the launch of 8 Rifles in Durham.

Rifleman Stephen Elliott playing the 'Rifles Assembly' at the launch of 8 Rifles in Durham.

The battalion also has a detachment in Sunderland.

The Rifles Assembly was played by Bugle Major Chris Coxon and Rifleman Stephen Elliott as the flag was raised by the Regimental Sergeant Major of 8 Rifles, Warrant Officer 1, Leon Upton, at the Battalion’s D Rifles Company based in Gilesgate.

The restructure brings to an end the company’s ten year association with the another North East reserve regiment, Fifth Fusiliers.

Lieutenant Colonel Nathan Teale, commanding officer of 8 Rifles, said: “I am extremely proud and feel deeply privileged to be the first commanding officer of a new battalion.

I am extremely proud and feel deeply privileged to be the first commanding officer of a new battalion

Lt Col Nathan Teale

“I am looking forward to getting the battalion established, giving it focus and drive and getting it into the position of delivering military effect for the rest of the Army.

“County Durham is the heartland of one of our antecedent regiments, The Durham Light Infantry, and so it is fitting that the flag carrying the silver bugle emblem we share with them is being raised at the Army Reserve Centre in Gilesgate,”

During the short ceremony, the Regimental Sergeant Major of Fifth Fusiliers, Warrant Officer 1, Kev Douglas, lowered the Fusilier flag as ‘Sunset’ was played on the cornet.

The commanding officer of Fifth Fusiliers, Lieutenant Colonel Jeremy Dodds, formally handed over ‘D’ (Rifles) Company to 8 Rifles.

“The new battalion which will be based across the North East will be paired with our regular sister battalion 2nd Battalion The Rifles supplying them with extra reserve combat support and providing fresh opportunities for those who wish to join the Army’s newest unit,” said Lieutenant Colonel Teale.