The Devonshire and Dorset Regiment, usually just known as the Devon and Dorsets, was an infantry regiment of the British Army formed in 1958 by the amalgamation of two county regiments, the Devonshire Regiment and the Dorset Regiment. In 2007 it was itself merged into The Rifles, a “large regiment”
As part of the 1957 Defence Review, it was announced that there would be a reduction in the number of infantry battalions in the British Army. The reduction was to be effected by the merging of a number of pairs of regiments.
Among the mergers to be carried out were those of the regiments of the two neighbouring counties of Devon and Dorset.
Devonshire Regiment (the former 11th Regiment of Foot, originally raised in 1685)
Dorset Regiment (the successor to the 39th Foot, raised in 1702; and the 54th Foot, dating from 1755
The amalgamation took place in Minden, Germany, on 17 May 1958. The new 1st Battalion, Devonshire and Dorset Regiment was commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel Guy Young, formerly commanding officer of the 1st Devonshires, while the colonel of the regiment was Major-General George Neville Wood, formerly of the Dorsets.
Conversion to light infantry
In 2003 a defence white paper, Delivering Security in a Changing World, was published. Among the changes proposed was the amalgamation of all single-battalion infantry regiments into multi-battalion large regiments. As a result, discussions were undertaken between The Light Infantry and the Devonshire and Dorset Regiment concerning the formation of a three-battalion regiment. In December 2004 details of the amalgamations to be carried out were announced The Devonshire and Dorset Regiment would integrate Gloucestershire elements of the Royal Gloucestershire, Berkshire and Wiltshire Regiment to form a new battalion of The Light Infantry As part of the preparation for this, the regiment moved from the Prince of Wales’ Division to the Light Division, and was renamed the Devonshire and Dorset Light Infantry, on 22 July 2005
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