As the sun set over Salisbury Plain yesterday evening, The 5th Battalion The Rifles (5 RIFLES) signalled the completion of their move from Paderborn in Germany to Bulford in Wiltshire by Sounding the Retreat, a practice which dates back to a time when sounding ‘The Retreat’ called a halt to the days fighting, a return to camp and the mounting of the guard for the night.
The ceremony was attended by family and friends of the battalion with the salute taken by Gen Sir Nick Carter, in his role as the Colonel Commandant of the Battalion and the Lord Lieutenant of Wiltshire, Mrs Sarah Troughton. Other distinguished guests included the leader of Wiltshire Council, Baroness Scott of Bybrook OBE.
The Band and Bugles of The Rifles gave the guests a rousing performance of both modern and traditional tunes concluding with the hauntingly beautiful ‘Sunset (bugle call)’.
Commanding Office Lieutenant Colonel Mark Wilson said: “The move has not been without its challenges, we comprise of 700 soldiers and about 500 families and it has taken a great deal of planning but it has gone well. We have had exceptional help from Wiltshire Council, we have settled in well and the families are very happy.
“We are looking forward to putting down our roots in Wiltshire, in and around Bulford, a place which has always been extremely welcoming to the British Army.”
Since its formation in Feb 07, 5 Rifles has won its spurs through a steady cycle of deployments to both Iraq and Afghanistan and regular exercises to Canada, the UK and Germany. Created from the First Battalion The Light Infantry, 5 Rifles has deployed on Op TELIC 1, 3, 8 and 13 and Op HERRICK 15 and 20 where it was the last fighting unit in Helmand province.