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Formerly known as the Bermuda Regiment, the Royal Bermuda Regiment (RBR) is the home defence unit of the British Overseas Territory of Bermuda. Originally two voluntary units: the Bermuda Militia Artillery (BMA) and the Bermuda Volunteer Rifle Corps (BVRC), in 1965 the two were amalgamated.
The regiment’s original manpower was about 400. The regiment now stands at approximately 600, with three rifle companies. After a review in the 1990s, the regiment’s establishment reduced to its present format;
The 420 men and women in the Regiment are mostly reserves. The members of the Royal Bermuda Regiment take a month out every year to serve their country.
The Bermuda militia originally existed from 1612 to 1815 but ceased to exist after the American War of 1812 as it was seen as an unnecessary expense. For years the local government resisted pleas to restore the reserve, but it wasn’t until 1894 and 1895 that the Bermuda Volunteer Rifle Corps and the Bermuda Militia Artillery were raised to allow the Regular Army component of the Bermuda Garrison to be reduced.
Both units served through the two World Wars defending Bermuda and its many strategic assets. They were recognised as Territorial Army units between the World Wars and joined the Bermuda Volunteer Engineers in 1931 and the Bermuda Militia Infantry in 1939.
The new Bermuda regiment’s stand of colours were presented in 1965 by Princess Margaret, who also later presented a second stand of colours to replace the first in 1990 to mark the regiment’s 25th anniversary.
The Royal Bermuda Regiment is not entitled to inherit the battle honours of the units amalgamated into it. This means they cannot display the colours and are rarely mentioned.
Today the Bermuda regiment is still tasked with supporting the civil police during emergencies, it has also had to adapt new roles such as disaster relief. On 1st September 2015 HM Queen Elizabeth II awarded the title ‘Royal’ to the regiment to mark the 50th anniversary of its formation. On average the regiment has been mobilized once every two years to assist in returning Bermuda back to normal after disasters that have hit the country.
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