The Royal Irish Rangers (27th (Inniskilling), 83rd and 87th) was a regular infantry regiment of the British Army with a relatively short existence, formed in 1968 and later merged with the Ulster Defence Regiment in 1992 to form the Royal Irish Regiment.
The Royal Irish Rangers came into being on 1 July 1968 through the amalgamation of the three regiments of the North Irish Brigade: the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, the Royal Ulster Rifles and the Royal Irish Fusiliers. The date was initially known as “Vesting Day” (and then “Rangers Day”), emphasising that the traditions of the old regiments were “vested” in the new large regiment. Soon after creation in December 1968, and as part of a general reduction in the Army, the 3rd Battalion (former Royal Irish Fusiliers) was disbanded. The three regiments had old and differing traditions (Rifle and Fusilier) and to avoid favouring one above another, the unique designation “Rangers” was adopted. The title had not existed in the British Army since 1922. With the creation of the “Divisions of Infantry”, the Royal Irish Rangers became part of the King’s Division, along with regiments from the north of England.
The 1st Battalion moved to Barrosa Barracks in Hemer, Germany in September 1970 from where units were deployed to Cyprus on peace-keeping duties in November 1971. The battalion returned home in July 1974 before being sent to Berlin in May 1979. After returning home in April 1981 the battalion moved to Belfast Barracks in Osnabrück in January 1985 The battalion undertook a deployment to Northern Ireland during the Troubles in September 1988.
The 2nd Battalion, which had been based in Gibraltar on formation, returned home in October 1969. It moved to Barrosa Barracks in Hemer in July 1974 from where it deployed to Cyprus in January 1975. After returning home in March 1979, it moved to Berlin in October 1981 and back to England in March 1983. It deployed to Cyprus in May 1985 and to the Falkland Islands in March 1987
Options for change
Under the Options for Change reorganisation, the Royal Irish Rangers were amalgamated with the Ulster Defence Regiment to form the new Royal Irish Regiment (27th (Inniskilling) 83rd and 87th and Ulster Defence Regiment) in 1992.
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