After an absence of nearly 22 years, an Army Reserve Infantry company has been re-established in Lisburn.
The Company of nearly 100 personnel has just moved into Thiepval Barracks, and is part of the 2nd Battalion The Royal Irish Regiment (2 R IRISH); Northern Ireland’s only Army Reserve Infantry unit.
Lisburn has had a long association with The Royal Irish Regiment, its antecedent Regiments and their Reservists, especially during the last decade of operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.
On the formation of the Territorial Army Infantry in Northern Ireland in 1947, a company of the 6th Battalion The Royal Ulster Rifles was formed in Lisburn, before becoming a company in the North Irish Militia, and then The Royal Irish Rangers until disbandment in 1992. More recently Lisburn City Council conferred the Freedom of Lisburn City to The Royal Irish Regiment on May 21 2011.
Reservist Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Colonel Owen Lyttle, is also looking forward to the move into Lisburn,
“The Regiment has always had close links with Lisburn, and although we may not have been physically based in Lisburn, the Battalion has continued to attract recruits from the area – this move will make it more convenient for people to join and experience the opportunities of the Army Reserve. We are looking forward to contributing to the fabric of the City and the local community.”
The new Company in Lisburn opened for business on May 15, a significant date for the Regiment as it was the 70th Anniversary of its antecedent Regiments, as part of 38 (Irish) Brigade, commencing operations across the Gustav Line in Italy during World War 2. The operations allowed Monte Cassino to be isolated and captured.
Northern Ireland’s top Army officer, Brigadier Ralph Wooddisse, who commands the present day 38 (Irish) Brigade, highlighted the importance of the move,
“The move of 2nd Battalion The Royal Irish Regiment into Thiepval Barracks is an important part of the integration of the Regular and Reserve forces in Northern Ireland. It will see 38 (Irish) Brigade renew a close relationship with 2 R IRISH which was forged 70 years before as their predecessors fought their way through Italy during the Second World War.“
“The Brigade served with distinction throughout the war but particularly in Italy where they suffered significant casualties and were in the thick of the fighting.”
If you are interested in finding out more about the Army Reserve Infantry and the 2nd Battalion The Royal Irish Regiment then telephone 028 92260042, or text INFO to 07920 232380.