The Bermuda Regiment: Wikis

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The Bermuda Regiment
Bermuda Regiment badge.jpg
Cap Badge of the Bermuda Regiment
Active September 1, 1965
Country Bermuda (United Kingdom overseas territory)
Branch Army
Type Line Infantry
Role Internal Security
Size One Battalion
Garrison/HQ Warwick
March Quick - The Bermuda Regiment March
Anniversaries 21 November 1965, presentation of the first colours.
Commanders
Commanding Officer Lt. Col. Brian Gonsalves
Colonel-in-Chief HRH The Duchess of Gloucester
Honorary Colonel Col. Eugene Raynor

The Bermuda Regiment is the home defence unit of the British Overseas Territory of Bermuda. It is a single territorial[citation needed] infantry battalion that was formed by the amalgamation in 1965 of two originally-voluntary units, the all white Bermuda Volunteer Rifle Corps (BVRC) and the mostly black Bermuda Militia Artillery (BMA).

Contents

History

The BVRC and the BMA had been raised at the end of the 19th century in order to allow the Regular Army component of the garrison to be reduced. This was done primarily as an economic measure, though the regular units withdrawn were required for the build-up of what would become the British Expeditionary Force. In 1953, when the coastal artillery batteries were taken out of use, the BMA, while still wearing the Royal Artillery cap badge, converted to the infantry role. This left the Colony wastefully maintaining two separate infantry units. After the Royal Navy's dockyard was closed in 1950, the military garrison, which had existed primarily to protect the Royal Navy base, was closed down. The last regular unit (a detachment from the DCLI) was withdrawn in 1954, and the two Bermudian territorials ceased to have any military role under Imperial defence planning (with 1953 being the last year an Imperial Defence Plan, under which their roles were assigned, was issued). Although the colonial government had only formed the two units at the behest of, and under pressure from, the British government, it chose to continue maintaining them entirely at its own expense.

The amalgamation of the forces took place on 1 September 1965. The new Bermuda Regiment's stand of colours was presented by Princess Margaret. Princess Margaret presented a second stand of colours to replace the first in 1990, to mark the Bermuda Regiment's 25th anniversary. The Bermuda Regiment is not entitled to inherit the battle honours of the units amalgamated into it, they are not displayed on its colours, and are rarely mentioned. The battle honours it inherits from the BVRC, all from the Great War, are Ypres 1915, Neuve Chapelle, Loos, Somme 1916, Ypres 1917, Lys, Hindenburg Line, Messines 1917, Somme 1918. This is ostensibly due to the gap formed by the disbandment of the BVRC and the formation of the Bermuda Rifles, although a skeleton command structure remained after the BVRC's 1946 disbandment, and was brought back up to strength to form the Bermuda Rifles in 1948.

Dress

Bermuda Volunteer Rifle Corps badge
The Badge of the Bermuda Regiment drew elements from those or the BMA (Royal Artillery) and the BVRC.

The badge of the Bermuda Regiment combines elements from those of the Royal Regiment of Artillery, and the BVRC. The badge is bi-metal - all brass, except a white metal Maltese cross (the symbol of rifle regiments in the British Army, and used on the white metal BVRC badge), which is set inside the wheel of a cannon (taken from the badge of the Royal Artillery). Flashes, and other colour marks used on dress and elsewhere (such as backgrounds on signs about Warwick Camp) are red and blue, reflecting the colours of the Royal Artillery, but the stable belt (issued only to permanent staff, officers and senior ranks) worn is rifle green, with black edges, referring to the colours used by the BVRC. [1]

The dress uniform itself is closer to the old Royal Artillery pattern, and to the generic No. 1 full-dress uniform used by most British regiments today, being composed of dark blue, almost black, tunic and trousers, and differing only in the red cuffs and collar added to the tunic. The trousers have a broad red stripe running down the outside of each leg. A generic dark blue peaked cap with red hat band is worn with this uniform. During the summer months, British Army No. 3 Dress is worn (ie., the same uniform, with the exception of a generic, white, tropical-weight tunic).

The combat uniform is now the British Army Soldier 95 uniform. This includes a lined Soldier 95 smock. For much of the Regiment's history, its dress included a mixed collection of British uniform items. As with its predecessors, the Bermuda Regiment has a tradition of wearing temperate uniforms, including combat jackets and pullovers, for much of the year, and tropical uniforms during the summer months. This is a result of the peculiar climate of Bermuda. For many years, and unusually for an infantry unit, the Regiment wore the Denison parachute smock[2] which it inherited from its predecessors, only adopting the 1968 pattern DPM combat jacket in the 1980s (which it issued into the new millennia, although the 1968 uniform actually became obsolete with Regular British Army regiments in the 1980s). Green shirts and lightweight combat trousers began to be supplemented by DPM tropical uniforms in the 1980s, and by the mid nineties had been entirely replaced by them (although the green kit, like the Denison smocks, was handed down to the Regiment's Junior Leaders, and to the Bermuda Cadet Corps, which continued to wear it). The tropical DPM uniformed continued to be issued for some time after its replacement in Britain by the Soldier 95 uniform. The beret worn is the dark blue one worn by the Royal Artillery, and by various British Army units not authorised to wear distinctive colours of their own. The old 1958 pattern carrying equipment was replaced with DPM Personal Load Carrying Equipment (PLCE), however some units have since been issued with DPM load carring vests.

Little use is made of Service Dress, which is only issued to a handful of permanent staff members, though which is interesting as the colour varies slightly from the standard British Army khaki (being greener), and as, during the summer months, the long trousers might be replaced with shorts. The Bermuda Regiment service dress is composed of jacket and trousers, worn with an olive green peaked cap, tan shirt, and tie. Whereas its predecessors often used tropical weight service dress during the summer months, it uses the same uniform worn in shirt sleeve order - usually, a short-sleeved tan shirt with no tie, whether worn with long trousers or shorts of the same weight and colour. A stable belt is worn in shirt sleeve order. Mess dress is also worn for many functions by members of the Officers' Mess, and of the Sergeants' (and Warrant Officers') Mess.

Organisation

Leadership

A Command Centre during IS training.
PNCO Cadre train in Internal Security (IS) role.
Bermuda Regiment soldiers aboard a motor boat, off the North Shore of Bermuda, 1996.

As Bermuda is a British overseas territory, and defence is therefore the responsibility of the United Kingdom, the Bermuda Regiment is under the control of the Governor and Commander-in-Chief of the island. However, pay and financing is the responsibility of the Ministry of Labour, Home Affairs and Housing. The Bermuda Regiment is listed in the British Army Order of Battle as number 28 in order of precedence.

On its formation, the Regiment's Honorary Colonel was HRH Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon, who became Colonel-in-Chief in 1984. After her death in 2002, the position was assumed, in 2004 by HRH The Duchess of Gloucester. The unit is directly commanded by a Lieutenant-Colonel, as is typical of a battalion in the British Army, who is appointed by the Governor upon the advice of a Defence Board. The current commander, William White, was appointed on 27 May 2006, to serve for a standard two-year tenure. In some cases, such as that of White's predecessor Lt. Col. Edward Lamb, that tenure can be extended by the Governor.

Manpower and structure

The Regiment's original strength was about 400, including all ranks. Following discipline problems during an exercise in the West Indies, a report on the unit was commissioned from Maj-General Glyn Gilbert, the highest-ranking Bermudian in the British Army. Maj-Gen. Gilbert also took into account the difficulties the Regiment had experienced in meeting its obligations when embodied during the civil unrest of 1977. He made a number of recommendations, including the increase of the Regiment's strength to a full battalion of about 750, with three rifle companies (A, B, and C) and a support company. Initially, the three rifle companies rotated through the role of training company. Eventually, C Company was renamed permanent Training Company. Recruits spent their first year in Training Company, then transferred as a unit to whichever rifle company was losing its third-year conscripts, or were reassigned individually to other sub-units.

Today, following a steady reduction in the number of 18-year-old males eligible for conscription each year, the Regiment has a strength of approximately 609, with a full time administrative component of 30. After a review in the late 1990s, the Bermuda Regiment had its establishment reduced to its present format:

  • A Company: Second and third year soldiers.
  • Training Company: First year soldiers.
  • Support Company: Boat Troop, Regimental Police, Signals, Guns/Assault Pioneers, Medics and Motor Transport section.
  • Quartermasters Company: Logistics and stores.
  • Band Company: Music and Ceremonial.

One of the units amalgamated into the Bermuda Regiment, the BMA, was nominally an artillery unit, although it had converted to the infantry role in 1953. Other than a ceremonial Gun Troop, equipped with two 25-pdr. field guns, the Bermuda Regiment is wholly an infantry unit.

Conscription

Recruits clean their rifles, prior to a shoot at Warwick Camp, during the 1994 Recruit Camp.

The majority of the Regiment is made up of conscripts, making it unique among all of the land forces still under the British Crown. Conscription is based on a random lottery of men through the ages of 18 to 23, with exemptions granted to Police and Prison officers, members of the British regular forces (or men who have served for two years), church ministers, prisoners or those who have been judged to be of "unsound mind". Temporary deferment is granted for full-time students (attending either the Bermuda College or schools abroad), for the length of their studies, and individuals currently medically unfit but likely to become fit again. Conscientious objectors have the opportunity to either serve in a non-combatant role or perform an alternative community service chosen by the Governor.

This practice (of conscription) is frequently criticised by both Bermudians and aware foreigners, particularly for its sexism and its similarity to slavery (a sensitive issue given the historic background of Bermuda), and has been noted in the British Parliament.[3] It receives support from the community, however, and is hailed for causing interaction between social and racial groups. A recent Bermuda Supreme Court decision has upheld that conscription is a lawful process, as presently administered by the Defense Department, although it required an earlier Supreme Court decision in 1995 to establish conscientious objection on an equal basis with that obtaining in Britain during conscription. Moral issues aside, however, this leaves the force dependent on the qualities of senior officers, whereas similar units – the British Army, in particular, upon which the Regiment is modelled – emphasise the initiative of junior members.

Recent Assessments

Towards the end of 2005 the Regiment took part in a fitness for role exercise this time in the form of an inspection by the Ministry of Defence. The review noted that equipment was substandard and major items would be deemed to be unservicable by 2010 (half of the vehicles and signal equipment were noted to be "out of action") and that command and control was poor, though it also noted high morale and firearms proficiency.

A subsequent inspection in 2008 revealed that nothing had changed on the equipment issues, with the predicted consequences from the previous report being shown to be true. It was stated that Command and control was better than the previous study, albeit with some way to go yet.

Cadet Corps

The Bermuda Regiment operates its own Cadet Corps programme which took over from its Junior Leader programme from the mid 1990's. Its structure is currently under review with a new Commandant and Deputy Commandant.

Operations

Bermuda Regiment and Barbados Police conduct a joint patrol of an oil facility during the 2007 Cricket World Cup in Bridgetown, Barbados

The primary role of the Regiment has recently become disaster relief. Other roles include ceremonial duties, and supporting the Bermuda police department in internal security issues (both in the forms of riot-control and anti-terrorism). In 2001, following the September 11 attacks on the nearby United States, the Bermuda Regiment was embodied, taking over responsibility for the security of the Bermuda International Airport (Bermuda has always been a point of importance in trans-Atlantic aviation, and a large number of aircraft diverted to the Island when US airspace was closed) and other potential targets. In 2004 and 2005 the Regiment deployed to the Cayman Islands and Grenada to assist in post Hurricane Ivan restoration efforts.

The Bermuda Regiment successfully deployed a platoon of internal security trained soldiers to Barbados in 2007. There they took part in forming the security infrastructure for the WCC Cricket World Cup. They worked alongside soldiers from Barbados, Guyana, India and South Africa, in ensuring a secure environment for the Super 8 series of matches. Although little has been made of this deployment, this was the first time since the First World War that a formed unit from Bermuda has deployed overseas for an operation other than disaster relief (the Second World War drafts from the BMA, BVRC, and BVE were all absorbed into other units, and the cadre of officers and NCOs sent to Belize in the 1980s were attached to a battalion of the Royal Anglians).

The Regiment also performs a wide variety of community service operations. It is also involved in many cultural events on the island, especially in parades.

Overseas connections

Bermuda Regiment & US Navy personnel at Camp Lejeune.

During World War I, the Bermuda Regiment's predecessor, the Bermuda Volunteer Rifle Corps (BVRC) sent two drafts to serve with the Lincolnshire Regiment on the Western Front. After the War, the connection to the Lincolns was made official. When the Volunteer Army had been reorganised into the Territorial Army in 1908, its battalions were linked to British (Regular) Army regiments which adopted paternal roles, providing the part-time units (which, in most cases, were renamed as additional battalions of the Regular Army regiment) with loaned warrant officers and NCOs, and sometimes officers, and taking other steps to give them the benefit of their experience. During war-time, the Territorials would send drafts of volunteers to the Regular battalions, or (once the restriction on sending Territorials overseas without their consent was lifted) the entire TA battalion might be sent. The role the Lincolns adopted with the BVRC was similar to that it played with its own TA battalions, although the BVRC remained a separate unit.

The BVRC again provided two drafts to the Lincolns during the Second World War. When the BVRC (re-named the Bermuda Rifles) was amalgamated with the Bermuda Militia Artillery (BMA), to create the Bermuda Regiment, the Royal Anglian Regiment, into which the (Royal) Lincolnshire Regiment had itself been amalgamated , continued the paternal role.

Throughout the Bermuda Regiment's history, the Royal Anglians have provided it with Permanent Staff Instructors (PSI), now called full time instructors (FTI) Warrant Officers (WO2) for each of its companies, as well as other personnel on long-term and short-term attachments (although it should be noted that other Regiments have occasionally provided personnel on loan). Although the Bermuda Regiment has always managed to provide commanding officers from within its own strength, it has occasionally had to use seconded officers when unable to provide its own personnel to fill roles such as Second-In-Command (2-i-c), Staff Officer, Adjutant, Regimental Sergeant Major (RSM), and Training Officer. Its first nine Adjutants (1965-1984) were all seconded from the Royal Anglians. Nine of its Regimental Sergeant Majors have been seconded, including three from the Royal Anglians. In 1996, its Second-in-Command, Staff Officer, and Adjutant were all on loan from the Royal Anglians. This frequent resort to seconded officers is due to a problem common to many Territorial units in Britain, also. These positions are all full-time ones, ideally filled by officers who volunteer from within the regiment, but whose service in these roles is restricted to three years. As relatively few officers can afford to leave their civil careers for three years, the problem is not so much caused by a lack of suitable officers, as a lack of willing ones.

The Lincolnshire Regiment was also affiliated to The Lincoln and Welland Regiment of the Canadian Army, Although Joint training has occurred in the past, there has been numerous unsuccessful attempts to formalise an official affiliation with the Bermuda Regiment.

Members of the ceremonial Gun Troop carry out occasional training with the Royal Regiment of Artillery in Britain, although the troop has no combat artillery role. As one of the units amalgamated into the Bermuda Regiment, the BMA, was an artillery unit (which history the Gun Troop commemorates), members of the Regiment are entitled to join The Royal Artillery Association (RAA), which has a branch located on the grounds of the former St. George's Garrison (which had been predominantly a Royal Garrison Artillery establishment).

Corps Warrant

In late 2001, the Bermuda Regiment and the Royal Gibraltar Regiment were presented with Corps Warrants dated 21 February 2000.

Other

Bermuda Regiment soldiers board a USMC CH-46 Sea Knight at USMC Camp Lejeune, in North Carolina, USA.

The Bermuda Regiment also developed a relationship with the United States Marine Corps, which had supplied a detachment to Bermuda for many years to guard United States Navy facilities. In addition to occasional training with the US Marines in Bermuda, the Bermuda Regiment used facilities and training areas of the US Marines' Camp Lejeune, and Camp Geiger for training, with the two rifle companies having been sent there every second year for their annual camps, and the Training Company's Potential Non-Commissioned Officers (PNCO) Cadre being sent there each June (it had previously been sent to Canada). Following the increased usage of those bases by US forces preparing for deployment to Iraq and Afghanistan, the Bermuda Regiment has recently moved the location for its annual camps to Florida, where it is developing a relationship with the Florida National Guard. The location of annual camps in alternate years is Jamaica. The Bermuda Regiment's training in the USA and in Jamaica is self-contained, rarely involving local units, but friendly relationships have been developed with both the US Marine Corps, and the Jamaican Defence Forces (JDF). Over the last few years, a relationship has also been developed with the Royal Gibraltar Regiment, and small detachments sent with that regiment on its annual training deployments to Morocco. [4] In 2007, for the first time, the annual camp was held in England, with detachments training at the Cinque Ports Training Area (CPTA) near Dover. [5]

Alliances

Commanding Officers

Then-Lieutenant William White in Jamaica, 1996.

The Commanding Officer of the Bermuda Regiment (as also the Quartermaster, Training Officer, the Staff Officer (UK Loan Service), the Adjutant, the Aide-de-camp, and the Regimental Sergeant Major) is a full-time position, requiring those appointed to the role to take leave of their civilian employments. Originally, there was no limit to the term of a commander, but, following Lieutenant-Colonel Gavin Shorto's six years in the office, a three-year limit was introduced. The Commanding Officer is chosen from amongst the Majors of the Battalion, and is promoted to Lieutenant-Colonel.

  • Lieutenant-Colonel John Brownlow Tucker, OBE, TD, MCP (ex-BVRC, ex-Lincolns, ex-BMA)
  • Lieutenant-Colonel J. Anthony Marsh, DSO, OBE (ex-DCLI, ex-SAS).
  • Lieutenant-Colonel Michael L. Darling, OBE, ED, JP
  • Lieutenant-Colonel Colin C. Curtis, OBE, ED
  • Lieutenant-Colonel Brendan O'D. Hollis, OBE, ED
  • Lieutenant-Colonel Eugene Raynor, OBE, ED
  • Lieutenant-Colonel A. Gavin Shorto, OBE, ED, JP
  • Lieutenant-Colonel D. Alan Rance, OBE, ED
  • Lieutenant-Colonel David A. Burch, OBE, ED, JP
  • Lieutenant-Colonel Patrick Outerbridge ED
  • Lieutenant-Colonel David Gibbons, OBE, ED
  • Lieutenant-Colonel Edward Lamb ED
  • Lieutenant-Colonel William White ED
  • 2009-Present Lieutenant-Colonel Brian N Gonsalves ED

Gallery

Many of the pictures displayed are dated, and at the very least over 12 years old.

See also

External links


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