The 50th anniversary of the formation of the Royal Irish Rangers (27th Inniskilling 83rd and 87th) has been marked by a special event in Lisburn.
Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council hosted the ‘Beating Retreat’, which featured the Band of the Royal Irish Regiment, at its Lagan Valley Island headquarters on Friday evening, June 1.
The event was attended by the Deputy Lord Lieutenant, Mr Freddie Hall MBE, High Sheriff for County Antrim, Miss Gillian Bingham, freemen of the city, MLAs, the mayor and elected members, as well as the president and vice-president of the Royal Irish Rangers Association and veterans of the regiment.
Members of the public also attended the event to pay tribute to the regiment and witness the Beating Retreat - a tradition dating back to 16th century England.
President of The Rangers Association, General Sir Roger Wheeler, was delighted with the event at Lagan Valley Island.
“It is vitally important to keep the wonderful tradition of Beating Retreat alive and I was proud to be involved in this event remembering the Royal Irish Rangers,” he said.
“The regiment, the most distinguished and only remaining Irish Infantry Regiment of the line, was formed from three other famous Irish regiments spanning more than 300 years of service and loyalty to the Crown and their country, namely the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, the Royal Ulster Rifles and the Royal Irish Fusiliers.
“It later merged with the Ulster Defence Regiment in 1992 to form the Royal Irish Regiment.
“The regiment’s history, the officers, soldiers and the battles that were fought will never be forgotten.”
Mayor of Lisburn and Castlereagh, Cllr Tim Morrow commented: “As a council we are extremely proud of our close links with the armed forces and were delighted to host this spectacular event in honour of the Royal Irish Rangers.
“It was a fitting tribute to all the servicemen and women who were part of the regiment that we remember the courage and professionalism they displayed.”
The city of Lisburn has a long and proud association with the military and has long been home to the Army headquarters in Northern Ireland and more recently HMS Hibernia, the Royal Navy Reserve Unit, has also been based at Thiepval Barracks.
Last year the local authority signed the Armed Forces Covenant, which is on permanent display at Lagan Valley Island.