badge, headdress, British, The Gloucestershire Regiment, other ranks
Cap badge of Sphinx on a tablet inscribed 'Eygpt' above two sprays of laurel. Below is a scroll inscribed "Gloucestershire". All in anodised aluminium. Slider to reverse.
Badge of pattern worn from around 1898 to 1958 and 1968 to 1994.
The predecessor Regiment had an uncertain start, being raised in 1694 as Colonel John Gibson’s Regiment of Foot, only to be disbanded in 1697. A regiment of the same name and under the same Colonel was again raised in 1702, and was known by a succession of colonels’ names until 1747 when it was ranked 28th of Foot, being formally named as such in 1751. In 1782 the Regiment was re-named 28th (North Gloucestershire) Regiment of Foot.
The 28th were granted a distinction unique in the British Army of wearing a badge both to the front and the back of their headdress. The badge commemorates the Battle of Alexandria, 21 March 1801, when the 28th (North Gloucestershire) Regiment was attacked by the French from both front and rear and had to fight back-to-back. The formal approval for the ”back badge” was given in May 1830, but it is clear that at that stage the Regiment had been wearing some unofficial distinction of the kind for some time.
In the Cardwell reforms of 1881 the Regiment merged with the 61st (South Gloucestershire) Regiment of Foot to form the Gloucestershire Regiment. Both parent Regiments had been awarded the Sphinx distinction for their service in Egypt in 1801-2 and this device, on a tablet marked EGYPT, was chosen as the principal image of the new Regiment’s badge. The right to the back badge was carried forward.
The Regiment was awarded the United States Presidential Citation for its heroic stand on the Imjin River, Korea, 23 – 25 April 1951 and were authorised to wear the blue ribbon in a gilt frame of this award at the top of both arms.
In 1958 the Regiment became part of the Wessex Brigade and the regular battalions were expected to wear the Brigade badge. When the Brigade was broken up in 1968 the Regiment emerged as an independent unit and re-adopted their previous cap badge.
In 1992 the Regiment merged with the Duke of Edinburgh’s Royal Regiment (Berkshire and Wiltshire) to become the Royal Gloucestershire, Berkshire and Wiltshire Regiment, with a new cap badge. In 2005 this Regiment was converted to Light Infantry and in 2007 its 1st Battalion merged with 1st Battalion the Devonshire and Dorset Light Infantry to become 1st Battalion of the newly formed The Rifles.