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Message from Major General R T H Jones CBE

From: Major General R T H Jones CBE

Rifles Regional Office North(Pontefract)

Minden House

Wakefield Road


West Yorkshire


Tel: 01977 703181

19 January 2021

Dear Fellow Riflemen,

As we approach the 14th anniversary of our formation on 1st February 2007, I write to you in your important capacity within The Rifles Association, Cadet or Community pillars. As you know, we in The Rifles cherish our strong bond to the local communities that sustain the Regiment and are proud to support the regions from which we come.

We never take this privileged relationship for granted and we know that we must continually nourish and invest in it. In this vein, we have prepared a series of County and City Brochures that capture a snapshot of the historical and contemporary connections between ‘our’ communities and ‘their’ local Infantry regiment. I hope you will find this helpful and that it inspires you about the fantastic things the Riflemen achieve in our name. This letter is for you, but please share the brochure widely with others who may be interested; the series of brochures can be found on our Association website.[1]

As you will know, in 2019 the Government initiated an Integrated Review of the UK’s security and defence approach, recognising that the security environment is significantly different to that envisaged by the 2015 SDSR. The outcome of the review is expected to be announced in the next couple of months setting the path to a major modernisation of Defence. This is an exciting once in a generation opportunity to ensure that the Armed Forces adapt for the challenges of the future. It is probable that the impact on the Army, as with the other Services, will be significant, including for the Infantry which will adapt to meet changing imperatives. We expect to see an increased role for the Army Reserve, greater specialisation, and an increase in the forward deployment of units overseas. We should also not rule out changes that lead to debates around the size and structure of regiments.

Innovation is central to The Rifles ethos and we will embrace the opportunities stemming from these changes. We must speak with a clear voice about the positive contribution and advantages we offer. As you will see from the brochures, our achievements since formation are hard to match, both on operations around the world and back at home. As a national regiment with deep roots into our local communities, we bring precisely the efficiencies of scale, strong recruiting, adaptability and excellence that will be vital in the future. It is particularly important that our deep historic connections to our counties and cities is felt.

I hope these brochures will help explain what we offer and allow you to participate in local debate. We have a compelling brand that is the envy of many. We consistently deliver:

  • Regular battalions at full strength without reliance on reinforcement from other cap badges or an over-reliance on Foreign and Commonwealth soldiers that some others depend upon.

  • Best practice integration between our Regular and Reserve battalions, recently demonstrated by being the first Regiment to deliver fully Reserve units on operations.

  • Top quality ‘Riflemen’ – a historic title that we cherish and whose number now proudly include a comparatively strong number of women.

  • Best practice support to our affiliated cadets with about 20% of all Army cadets affiliated to The Rifles; a powerful reflection of our connection to the regions.

  • Strong, deep rooted and cherished links through our famous antecedent and forming regiments to 20 counties and cities stretching from Durham to Cornwall.

We are incredibly proud and humbled by the achievements of The Rifles. Its success is borne on its original design to be a modern regiment, structured to adapt to changing requirements, and thriving on the strength between its five pillars: Regulars, Reserves, Cadets, Associations and Communities.

I know that you share this pride in your local Regiment and hope that these brochures will help you tell our story. It is a compelling story, devoid of sentimental anecdote, and wedded in achievement and potential. We need your support now and always to help explain locally why The Rifles model is so strong and perfectly suited to adapt to the challenges of the future, and to remind local communities of the deep roots, current and historic through the forming and antecedent regiments that we share – we are ‘their’ Regiment and we fight for them.

I thank you and your community for your continued support.

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