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P.D. GRIFFIN
ENCYCLOPEDIA OF MODERN BRITISH ARMY REGIMENTS

MUSIC

The regimental quick march, Killaloe, was written around 1887 and is punctuated by veils from the ranks. The Irish Fusiliers' war cry Faugh a Ballagh! (Clear the way!) is now the regimental motto.

The slow march, Eileen Alannagh, was adopted in 1972. Regimental marches played prior to amalgamation, and now on suitable occasions, are Sprig o' Shellalagh and Rory o' More (Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers), Off, Off Said the Stranger, adopted by the 83rd around 1879 (Royal Ulster Rifles) and, from the Royal Irish Fusiliers, St Patrick's Day, Garryowen, Barrosa and Norah Creina.

TRADITIONS

Vesting, or Rangers' Day (1 July) commemorates the 1968 amalgamation, the 1881 amalgamations, and the day in 1916 when eighteen battalions of the Northern Irish Division fought in the opening Battle of the Somme.

Shamrock is worn on Paddy's Day', a custom of the old Irish regiments now lost to most natives of the Emerald Isle.

The Royal Irish Regiment

On Barrosa Day (5 March) the Rangers maintained a mess custom in which brandy, whiskey, curacao and sherry were mixed together in the Barrosa Cup to celebrate an unfortunate direct hit on the liquor wagon, which resulted in a sudden drop in the 87th's drinks ration. A sad poem sting by officers at the anniversary dinner recounted the battle's events, and a speech made by the newest subaltern related the story and order of battle.

Pipers of the Royal Irish Fusiliers in Tripoli, 1959

Pipers of the Royal Irish Fusiliers in Tripoli, 1959. (Regiment)

On Waterloo Day (18 June) regimental custom dictates that officers fall in on parade and then fall out again to allow the sergeants command of their companies. This practice highlights the officer casualties of the 27th (Inniskilling) Regiment at the Battle of Waterloo.

A succession of Irish Wolfhound mascots has been maintained since 1971, all endowed with the name of the ancient Irish chieftain, Brian Boru.

THE PARACHUTE REGIMENT

Volunteers for parachute training were recruited during the early years of the Second World War, though parachute trials for military use had been pioneered by the Italians in 1927, the Russians in 1930 and the Germans in 1936. Parachute battalions formed in 1942 were put together as a regiment seven years later.

In 1950 King George VI presented colours to each battalion with the motto Utrinque paratus (Ready for anything) embroidered on. The Parachute Regiment recruited in its own right from 1952 from its base at Browning Barracks in Aldershot. Regimental headquarters are now located in the Colchester Garrison.

DRESS DISTINCTIONS

The maroon beret, which has been used to distinguish all airborne units since 1942, is worn by all personnel in most orders of dress. The regimental badge, a spread of wings with an open parachute and royal crest thereon, is worn on the beret, parade uniform collars, belts and buttons. Uniforms conform to standard infantry pattern except for the smock, which is designed for parachuting.

All trained members wear a wings emblem at the top of the sleeve to show they have passed through training and made the required number of jumps, one of which is made at night.

Stable belts and distinguishing stripes on No. 1 dress 'blues' are maroon, though lanyards are worn to battalion colours.

MUSIC

The inspiring quick march Ride of the Valkyries was arranged for the regiment in 1950 from Wagner's Die Walkurie, which retold the Norse legend of Odin's Valkyrja, the 'Choosers of the slain' who rode through the sky to the battle.

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