The 5th Battalion, The Rifles (5 Rifles) marked the Battle of Salamanca today, Thursday, August 8 at Bulford Camp.

Soldiers and officers serving with the infantry unit celebrated their Regimental Day with families and friends at their barracks on Salisbury Plain.

The Regimental Day recognises the gallant efforts of the Rifles’ four antecedent regiments during The Battle of Salamanca. Fought on  July 22, 1812 during the Peninsular War, they helped the Duke of Wellington accomplish a great victory over the French Empire, in which he defeated 40,000 French troops in 40 minutes.

Lieutenant Colonel Andrew Ridland, Commanding Officer said:

“For us it is an important way to mark, celebrate and remember our history, our historical roots and our forebears. Today it is much about the current Riflemen and their friends and families, bringing them together and thanking them for all that they have done over the course of the last year. In particular what the families have done to support us, and without their love and patience, humour and understanding there is no way we can achieve half of what we do manage to achieve.”

Salamanca Day is celebrated with pride throughout the Regiment, ancestors’ actions during the Napoleonic Wars are remembered, and brought to life in Bulford with a display from the 3/95th Living History Society.

Marcus who re-enacts a soldier of the Battle of Salamanca said:

“It is lovely that the modern army still looks back to its past, and as a living history civilian society it is a real honour to be invited to an event of this kind. It’s our hobby, our interest, our passion and it is nice to talk to serving soldiers and veterans and their families about it and where their traditions come from.

“The Riflemen have been genuinely interested, they can see what we are wearing is what they, as soldiers, would have worn over 200 years ago.”

Today’s Salamanca anniversary was a family affair, celebrated with a series of sporting competitions, light hearted entertainment, military music and a food fest.

But 5 Rifles has a diverse regimental family with a range of nationalities and this was a great occasion to showcase their culture and cuisine.

Army wife Ashia Defreitas from Guyana was cooking on the Caribbean food stall:

“It is great to cook your own food for others to sample. This is the first time I’ve had the opportunity to cook for the regiment, we’ve served jerk chicken and the lesser known pine tart. I’ve had fantastic feedback, it has been a lovely afternoon.”

Sounding Retreat was performed by The Band of the Brigade of the Gurkhas to signal the end of the day.

CPL BEN BECKETT RLC /MoD Crown Copyright

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