1969 THE ROYAL GREEN JACKETS REGIMENTAL CHRONICLE REGIMENTAL DRESS 1958-1969 by Colonel C A S Hinton
When the regular Army was reformed in 1958, the 43rd & 52nd joined The King's Royal Rifle Corps and The Rifle Brigade. The existing 1st Battalions of each regiment then became the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Green Jackets but retained their regiments' names in the titles. The Brigade Depot remained at Winchester. Changes in dress were agreed between the three regiments. This included the various Territorial Battalions and affiliated Cadet Units. An outline of the 1958 dress is shown at Annex 'A'.
In general appearance the main changes were that the 43rd & 52nd adopted black buttons, a new brigade cap badge was introduced and an embroidered shoulder title of red letters—GREEN JACKETS—on a rifle green background was designed to be worn with battledress. On the shoulder straps of service dress and battle dress, regimental titles were worn as follows, 43rd & 52nd, K.R.R.C., R.B. They were of black metal. The titles and the new brigade cap badge were worn with effect from 7th November, 1958. From the same time a plain black rifle horn button was introduced, although The King's Royal Rifle Corps continued to wear ball buttons down the front of the jacket.
The 43rd & 52nd continued to wear the double strapped regimental belt and the gorget buttons on the lapels of the service dress jacket. The King's Royal Rifle Corps and The Rifle Brigade continued to wear the Sam Browne belt with service dress and the cross belt in No. 1 Dress. While the other two regiments retained their breast badges, the 43rd & 52nd adopted an enlarged version of the new brigade badge as their breast badge. The King's Royal Rifle Corps and The Rifle Brigade also continued to wear their respective black and green whistle cords (lanyards) and the 43rd & 52nd their leather whistle strap buttoned to the top button of the jacket.
A new officers mess kit was introduced based on the 1902 pattern. It was of rifle green with a two inch stand collar (not buttoned), five waved loops of black cord in front with five rows of knitted olivettes. Black overall trousers were worn with a two inch braid stripe. The 43rd & 52nd jacket had a red lining and lighter green velvet collar and cuffs and this was worn with their traditional white waistcoat and white tie. The King's Royal Rifle Corps jacket had red piping on the collar and red cuffs and was worn with a high buttoned waistcoat with black and red edging. The Rifle Brigade jacket and waistcoat were the same except that no red was shown and the collar and cuffs were black.
The No. 1 dress continued to be worn as before by The King's Royal Rifle Corps and The Rifle Brigade except for the change in the cap badge. The 43rd and 52nd changed to black buttons and continued to wear their dark blue trousers with a one inch green stripe. All regiments of the Brigade wore the cross belt with No. 1 dress only.
1966 In 1965 the Colonels Commandant decided that with the sanction of Her Majesty the Queen a Large Regiment with the title "The Royal Green Jackets" should be formed with Her Majesty as CoIonel-in-Chief. The battalions of the Regiment would continue to be linked to the three former regiments, but certain changes in dress would be made as the outward and visible sign of the closer ties of a Large Regiment. An outline of the agreed dress is shown at Annex "B".
The main changes again were the cap badge and breast badge of the cross belt. It was decided by the Colonels Commandant and the Regimental Dress Committee that as the 43rd & 52nd had laid up their colours there was a strong case for the reintroduction of certain selected battle honours on these badges. The badge was redesigned with a much smaller bugle horn and eighteen selected battle honours. The 1st Battalion (43rd & 52nd) gave up wearing their regimental belt and whistle strap. The 2nd Battalion (The King's Royal Rifle Corps) and 3rd Battalion (The Rifle Brigade) gave up the Sam Browne and all battalions adopted the wearing of the cross belt with service (or No. 2) dress as well as with No. 1 Dress.
All battalions also adopted the black buttons to be worn down the front of service dress and No. 1 dress. A regimental shoulder title, R.G.J. in gothic script surmounted by a small bugle base, was introduced for wear by all battalions. The smaller officer's badges of rank, formerly worn by the 43rd & 52nd only, were adopted by all.
New badges of rank and chevrons were introduced for other ranks for wear with No. 1 and No. 2 dress. They were black with gold edging; on a rifle green background for the 1st and 3rd Battalions and on a red background for the 2nd Battalion.
Black trousers were adopted for wear with No. 1 dress and the red piping previously worn by the 2nd Battalion was no longer authorised. Similar changes were made to bring the jacket of the mess kit to the same pattern in all battalions although the waistcoats remained different and the white tie continued to be worn by the 1st Battalion. A note was made in the dress instructions that new mess jackets need not be bought or existing ones altered until they were worn out.
After considerable discussion it was agreed that the 1st Battalion officers and warrant officers should continue to wear the gorget and cord and the 2nd Battalion officers the red backing behind the badges of rank and these items continued to be the main differences between battalions. In the 1st Battalion, W.O. and N.C.O.'s chevrons were worn on both arms in No. 2 dress and in the 2nd and 3rd Battalions on the right arm only.
1969 Further changes made at the end of 1968 brought a completely standardised dress for all regular battalions. In 1968 when the announcements of the formation of the new Infantry Divisions and second stage reductions were made, the Colonels Commandant decided that The Royal Green Jackets as such should represent all the former regiments. In January 1968 they instructed battalions to drop their former bracketted titles and have no demonstrable connections with any former regiment. Thus the minor battalion differences remaining in 1966 were eliminated.
There was considerable discussion as to whether this should be achieved by adding the 1st Battalion gorget button and the 2nd Battalion red backing to all battalions or by removing them. The Colonels Commandant, after hearing many opinions expressed decided that the simpler form of dress should be worn which excluded the gorget button and red backing to badges of rank. As it turned out this left some items of dress of each former regiment to be worn by all as follows:
(a) Green Cherry on fore and aft cap—ex 43rd & 52nd. (b) Small badges of rank—ex 43rd & 52nd. (c) Ball buttons on front of officers service dress and No.1 dress jackets—ex King's Royal Rifle Corps. (d) Red piping to mess kit waistcoat—ex King's Royal Rifle Corps. (e) Black Cuffs and collar of mess kit jacket—ex Rifle Brigade. (f) Green and black whistle cords—ex Rifle Brigade.
In addition, it was instructed that the W.O.'s and N.C.O.'s badges of rank and chevrons would be black and gold on rifle green and worn on both arms with no red backing. It was also agreed that W.O.'s II would wear the same items of dress as W.O.'s I except for the cross belt. As an exception the 4th (Volunteer) Battalion were allowed to wear the old Kenya Regiment whistle cord.
The proposals were ordered to be put into effect by the 1st January, 1969, although official approval was not received until 2nd January 1969 from the Ministry of Defence.
Annex A OFFICERS DRESS FORMATION OF THE GREEN JACKETS BRIGADE 1958
Item and Description.
1. Breast Badge. Regimental badges in silver or silver plate. Regimental Differences 1st Battalion, 43rd & 52nd. Large size brigade cap badge. Plain wreath, Maltese Cross, 2/3rd size bugle horn, all surmounted by a Queen's crown. 2nd Battalion Kings Royal Rifle Corps. Maltese Cross as previously worn. 3rd Battalion Rifle Brigade. Maltese Cross with battle honours, Wreath surmounted by crown as previously worn.
2. Cap Badge. For all. Main Maltese Cross, 2/3rd size bugle horn embossed, surrounded by a wreath. At the head PENINSULA all surmounted by a Queen's Crown. Officers in silver or silver plate, others in anodized aluminium.
3. Shoulder Titles. For all wearing battledress. Embroidered on worsted dark green cloth the words GREEN JACKETS in red letters.
In addition in black metal worn on shoulder strap as follows: 1st Battalion—43rd & 52nd. 2nd Battalion—K.R.R.C. 3rd Battalion— R.B.
4. Side Hats. Dark green with coloured boss and 1/2 size plain silver bugle horn. Regimental Differences 1st Battalion—Green boss. 2nd Battalion—Red boss. 3rd Battalion—Black boss
5. Whistle Cords Regimental Differences 1st Battalion—Leather whistle strap worn on top button of jacket. 2nd Battalion—Black Lanyard. 3rd Battalion—Black and Green lanyard.
6. Stable Belt. 3" wide with leather strap and buckles. Regimental Differences 1st Battalion—Dark Green. 2nd Battalion—Green and Red. 3rd Battalion—Green and Black.
7. No 1 Dress. A jacket of rifle green with collar fastened at neck. Rifle green hat, silver cap badge, oak leaf band, black strap. Black horn buttons. Black metal badges of rank on black twisted cord shoulder strap. Black cross belt with pouch and regimental breast badges. George boots. Regimental Differences 1st Battalion—Dark blue trousers with 1" green stripe. Gorget button and cord on collar. 2nd Battalion—Rifle green trousers, red piping on collar of jacket. Ball buttons down front of jacket. Red backing to badges of rank. 3rd Battalion—Rifle green trousers.
8. Service (No. 2) Dress. Jacket and trousers dark khaki of approved colour and pattern. Black horn buttons. Khaki S.D. hat with badge. Black metal badges of rank. Sam Browne belt/regimental belt. Black shoes. Regimental Differences 1st Battalion—Leather whistle strap. Double strapped regimental belt. Small badges of rank. Gorget button and cord on collar. 2nd Battalion—Black whistle cord, red backing to badges of rank, Sam Browne belt. Black ball buttons down front. 3rd Battalion—Black and green whistle cord. Sam Browne belt.
9. Battle Dress (No. 5 Dress). Issue pattern jacket and trousers. Rifle green beret with Brigade cap badge. Black shoes or boots. Web belt. Shoulder titles as in 3 above. Whistle cords as in 5 above. Rifle green side hats were often worn with coloured bosses as in 4 above.
10. Mess Kit (Temperate Climate). 1902 pattern. Rifle green mess jacket. 2" stand collar five waved loops of black cord in front with five rows of knitted olivettes. Black overall trousers with 2" braid stripe. No badges of rank. Mess Wellingtons or George boots. Regimental Differences 1st Battalion—Red lining to jacket. Green velvet cuffs and collar. White tie and white waistcoat. 2nd Battalion—Red piping on collar. Red cuffs. 3rd Battalion—Black cuffs and collar.
Annex B. CHANGES IN DRESS ON THE FORMATION OF THE ROYAL GREEN JACKETS
1966 and 1969 General note: Battle Dress had ceased to be worn by this time. The rifle green beret continued to be worn with various other forms of dress such as shirt sleeve order, denims and also with the new combat kit. The worsted shoulder title was therefore discontinued by regular battalions but continued to be worn by affiliated cadet units.
Item and Description 1.Breast Badge. A new badge was designed for the breast badge and cap badge. The bugle horn in the centre was made 1\4 size and placed in the centre of the Maltese Cross surrounded by the words, "THE ROYAL GREEN JACKETS". Four battle honours were embossed on each arm of the Maltese Cross. At the base was placed the Naval Crown with the words COPENHAGEN 2nd April, 1801. The whole surmounted as before by the battle honour PENINSULA and the Queen's Crown.
2.Cap Badge. The same design as the breast badge above but smaller. To be worn on all hats except the side hat.
3.Shoulder Titles. Regimental titles were removed and replaced by the black metal letters in gothic script R.G.J. surmounted by a small 1/4 size black bugle horn. To be worn on the shoulder strap of No. 2 Dress by all ranks and on shirts in shirt sleeve order or tropical dress.
4.Side Hats. Remained as in 1958 dress with different coloured bosses.
5.Whistle Cords. The 1st Battalion discarded the leather whistle strap. The 2nd and 3rd Battalions kept their black and black and green cords.
6.Stable Belt. The Stable belt was the same as previously worn by the 1st Battalion, i.e. dark green 3" wide with black leather straps
7.No. 1 Dress. Jacket of rifle green as before. All battalions were instructed to adopt the black overall trousers with 2” braid stripe. The 2nd Battalion were to remove the red piping on the collar. Battalions kept the other differences, i.e. 1st Battalion gorget and cord, 2nd Battalion—red backing to badges of rank. Black ball buttons were to be worn by all battalions down the front of the jacket.
8.Service (No. 2) Dress. In service dress the wearing of the Sam Browne and regimental belt was discontinued. All battalions adopted the black cross belt and black ball buttons down the front of the jacket. The 1st Battalion continued to wear the gorget and cord and the 2nd Battalion the red backing to badges of rank.
9.Mess Kit. The Mess kit jacket was standardised for all battalions with black silk lining and black velvet collar and cuffs. Battalions retained their different waistcoats and the 1st Battalion their white tie.
10. Final Changes to Standardized Dress On 5th December the Army Dress Committee approved the changes proposed by the Colonels Commandant, The Royal Green Jackets, to standardize the dress of all battalions and the remaining 4th (Volunteer) Battalion. These merely removed any differences between battalions outlined above. They were as follows: (a) Side Hat. A rifle green boss to be worn by all. (b) Whistle Cord. A black and green whistle cord to be worn. (As an exception it was agreed that the 4th (Volunteer) Battalion should wear the old Kenya Regiment cord of black, green and red). (c) Rank Badges. The red backing to badges of rank (and N.CO.'s chevrons) previously worn by the 2nd Battalion to be removed. W.O.'s and N.C.O.'s to wear rank insignia on both arms. (d) Mess Kit. The Jacket, already standardized in 1966 to remain the same. The waistcoat to be the same as previously worn by the 2nd Battalion when purchased in future, i.e. red and black edging and black tie. (e) The cummerbund when worn to be rifle green. (f) In future web anklets and "1937" pattern web belts when worn to be black.
A further standardization was in the dress of the Bands and Bugles. Previously battalions had worn different coloured plumes. Now plumes were to be worn by all battalions as follows: Bandsmen —Black Buglers —Black and Red Bandmasters and Bugle Majors—Red
It was also ruled by the Colonels Commandant that W.O.'s II should be allowed to wear the same items of dress as W.O.'s I except for the cross belt.