The Massed Bands and Bugles of The Rifles Sounded Retreat at Horse Guards Parade, London in the presence of the regiment’s Colonel-in-Chief the Duchess of Cornwall and Royal Colonels on Thursday evening.

This sunset parade was performed in front of the beautiful backdrop of St James’s Park, culminating in a spectacular fireworks display. 

James Holland, the author, broadcaster, and military historian, narrated the story behind the evolution of the regiment from its origin in the Peninsula Wars and Napoleonic re-enactors helped bring some of the musical story to life.  

They delivered a spectacular evening of unique military music and pageantry that featured the fastest marching bands in the world.

Photographer: Sgt Donald C Todd RLC Photographer – UK MOD © Crown copyright 2022

Accompanying The Massed Bands and Bugles of The Rifles was The English National Opera, The Band of the Brigade of Gurkhas, Quirinus Band and Bugle Corps from Germany, Cadet Bands and Bugles of The Rifles and The Bugle Branch of The Rifleman’s Association.  

In the regiment’s 15th year, the occasion was also used to launch The Rifleman’s Association, bringing together veterans from across the campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as providing an anchor for more senior troops who served in the forming and antecedent regiments.

HRH Camilla Duchess of Cornwall and General Patrick Sanders KCB CBE DSO ADC Gen watch the event at Horse Guards. Photographer: Sgt Donald C Todd RLC Photographer – UK MOD © Crown copyright 2022

In addition, it aims to shine a light on the Always A Rifleman Programme which was launched last year with the mission of providing crisis support for veterans during the most challenging of real-life problems. 

HRH Camilla Duchess of Cornwall and General Patrick Sanders KCB CBE DSO ADC Gen watch the fireworks at Horse Guards. Photographer: Sgt Donald C Todd RLC Photographer – UK MOD © Crown copyright 2022

The Rifles was formed in 2007 and is the British Army’s largest infantry regiment with seven battalions based across the United Kingdom. It’s Colonel-in-Chief is Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall.  

With a motto of Swift and Bold, the regiment holds a record 913 battle honours including 117 Victoria Crosses. The Rifles was involved throughout the Iraq and Afghanistan campaigns and more recently was deployed to Estonia. 

Riflemen first emerged in the late 1700’s where the concept of infantrymen, dressed in green uniform, armed with rifles rather than muskets, operated across the battlefield on their own initiative and who were separate to the red coated line infantry regiments.

Drummers were unable to communicate instructions across the wide distances and noise of battle and instead the bugle, with its clarion call, was selected for use by Riflemen. For that reason, The Rifles’ uniquely Sound Retreat, rather than Beat Retreat like the rest of the British Army. 

The Massed Bands and Bugles of The Rifles Sounded Retreat at Horse Guards Parade, London in the presence of the regiment’s Colonel-in-Chief and Royal Colonels. Photographer: Sgt Donald C Todd RLC Photographer – UK MOD © Crown copyright 2022

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