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2nd Bn The Royal Irish Regiment

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Introduction

2 R IRISH is the Territorial Battalion of The Royal Irish Regiment and consists of volunteers who have civilian employment, however, they are fully trained soldiers who dedicate a significant amount of their free time to the Army.

The Battalion is located in various locations in Northern Ireland. It's Headquarters is in Portadown, and the companies are based in Belfast, Ballymena, Newtownards, and Enniskillen. With this national footprint, 2 R IRISH recruits throughout NI, and also the Republic of Ireland.

2 R IRISH main aim is to support and assist the regular battalion, (1st Bn The Royal Irish Regiment) in it's operational and peacetime roles, through the provision of both fully formed company groups and individual soldiers. 1 R IRISH are part of 16 Air Assault Brigade, therefore 2 R IRISH's main role comprises Air Assault.

In 2003 soldiers from 2 R IRISH (known then as Royal Irish Rangers served with 1 R IRISH during the invasion of Iraq, Op TELIC 1. More recently they have been in Iraq and Afghanistan, with 112 soldiers having recently returned from serving on Op HERRICK 8 in Helmand.

The Battalion trains routinely at weekends, and there are ample opportunities for operational service.

Motto

Faugh-A-Ballagh (Clear the Way)

Recruits cannot be recruited from the Republic into the 2nd Battalion unless they have a permanent residence address in Northern Ireland

Recruit Training

Becoming a member of the Royal Irish Regiment takes determination, courage and a will to succeed. We are looking for individuals who, in their free time, will go that extra mile and not give up when the going gets tough.

There is emphasis on building your physical fitness, which The Royal Irish pride themselves on. The training is progressive and at the end you will find yourself fitter and more confident than ever before. At the end of Phase 1 you will be proficient in weapon handling, living in the field and basic tactics.

Full details of the recruit training process are found in the TA Phase 1 Training page.

Once you have mastered the basic skills and fitness required you will be sent to Catterick camp in Yorkshire for an intensive two week Combat Infantry Course conducted by the regular army, that will teach you the skills required to be an infantry soldier by honing the skills taught in Phase one, and further looking at the various tactics used during operations.

During the course you will be constantly evaluated to see if you have got what it takes to become an Infantry soldier. Upon successful completion of CIC, you will be posted to a Rifle Platoon to carry on with continuation training to further develop and hone your skills as an Infantry soldier.

Full details of the course can be found at the TA Infantry page.

Specialist Training

Once you have served as a rifleman with a platoon, you will have the opportunity to progress to a specialist trade.

An Air Assault unit must have the ability to operate on its own when launching into enemy territory. The specific specialist training will equip you with a wide range of skills that provide the Royal Irish with its renowned aggression. This is reflected in the regimental motto "Faugh-A-Ballagh" - Clear The Way. You will find that there is always something new and interesting to learn.

Upon completion of a specialist qualification, you are entitled to specialist pay. Your wages will go up by a few pounds a day.

Here is a short list of some of the extra roles that could be open to you.

P Company

As 1 and 2 R IRISH are part of 16 Air Assault Brigade, soldiers are eligible to try for their wings and apply for parachute training. They are designed to test your physical stamina and mental aptitude under pressure prior to carrying out parachute training. They include both individual and team events.

P Company consists of:

  • Assault course
  • Steeplechase
  • Trainasium (Aerial Walkway)
  • Log race
  • Stretcher Race
  • Ten Miler
  • Milling

You don't need to be an Olympic athlete to pass. The tests are about giving your all; they are about motivation, self confidence and teamwork.

Parachute Training

As soon as you have passed P Company, the priority is to get you parachute trained. At your convenience, you will attend the 2 week parachute course, conducted by the RAF at Brize Norton in Oxfordshire.

You will learn how to prepare your personal equipment, control your static line parachute and deal with any emergencies. The standard aircraft used is the C-130 Hercules which travels at 800 feet (600 in battle conditions ) and approximately 120mph (just about stall speed for the Herc) when dropping paratroopers. With the drop height being 800 feet, you'll need to have your wits about you.

The training is progressive and once you have completed the 9 jumps required with and without your personal equipment you will be awarded your parachute wings.

History

The Royal Irish Regiment, the largest Infantry regiment in the British Army, was formed in Northern Ireland on 1st July 1992. This new regiment evolved from an amalgamation of The Royal Irish Rangers 27th (Inniskilling) 83rd & 87th and The Ulster Defence Regiment and is part of the Regular Army. The collapse of the Warsaw Pact led to a major re-shaping of the British Army which resulted in the amalgamation of many famous regiments. The decision to form this new regiment was part of that process.

The Royal Irish Regiment originally had two General Service battalions earmarked for world-wide duties, including taking their turn on operations in Northern Ireland. These were merged into one General Service battalion in 1993. In addition, there were six Home Service battalions, Commonly known as R IRISH (HS), who were disbanded due to the new found peace in Northern Ireland. The Home Service Battalions were awarded the Conspicuous Gallantry Cross by Her Majesty, Queen Elizebeth II for their efforts as part of 38 years of civil unrest in the Province.

The battalion has a standard strength of about 650 all ranks. The role of the new regiment is exactly the same as that for other regiments and battalions within the Regular Army, namely to keep the peace wherever it serves.

The name The Royal Irish Regiment is the oldest of the Irish regiments; the original Regiment to bear the name traced its history back to 1684 and the raising of a body of troops by the Earl of Granard to fight for King William. The Regiment fought at the battles of the Boyne and Aughrim and went on to fight in many famous battles and campaigns such as Blenheim, Ramillies, The Crimean War, The Boer War, Flanders in 1914 and Gallipoli in 1915. The Royal Irish Regiment was disbanded in 1922.

The new Regiment is not the reformation of the original Royal Irish Regiment (18th Foot), but rather an amalgamation of the Royal Irish Rangers 27th (Inniskilling) 83rd & 87th and the Ulster Defence Regiment which has led to the re-use of an old name.

The Royal Irish Regiment now has two Battalions. The 1st Battalion are the regular Battalion, and the 2nd Battalion are (what were The Royal Irish Rangers) the reserve Battalion. The battalions are known as 1 R IRISH and 2 R IRISH.

1 R IRISH are within 16 Air Assault Brigade, the UK's vanguard warfighting Brigade. They are part of the Quick Response Force that can be deployed anywhere in the world at short notice. Since 2003, 1 and 2 R IRISH have seen fully fledged warfare in Iraq, and most recently, Helmand Province in Afghanistan.

2 R IRISH is 1 R IRISH's reserve in their Air Assault role. 2 R IRISH as a reserve Battalion has a wealth of experience within it's ranks, combining the trades and counter terrorism skills learnt from 38 years of civil unrest in Northern Ireland from the ex-R IRISH(HS), and the RANGERS troops who have large experience of worldwide deployments and warfare, including Northern Ireland, Kosovo, Sierra Leonne, Iraq and Afghanistan.

Conclusion

2nd Battalion The Royal Irish Regiment continue to serve with distinction, carrying on the tradition of the Fighting Irish, and showing why Irish soldiers serving with the British Army are regarded some of the toughest and most feared in the world.