London Irish Rifles Association

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Frequently Asked Questions.

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We shall start to add here answers to some of the questions asked about the London Irish Rifles.

Please feel free to send in your questions or if you wish to query any of the answers. do not hesitate to write to us here   This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .



Q: What is the origin of the caubeen?

A: A full description can be found elsewhere on the web site - click here to read the story.


Q: Why is there no female figure on the harp on the LIR badge?

A: Our cap badge, Regimental Crest etc has always incorporated the Tara Harp.  The harp embellished with a female figure was exclusively the Royal Irish Rifles and Royal Ulster Rifles/Royal Irish Rangers/ Royal Irish Regiment.


Q: The Pipes & Drums wear the “augmented” badge with the shamrock wreath – is the cap badge properly worn with or without the shamrock wreath?

A: When the Irish Guards formed a pipe band during  the 1st World War they were assisted by the London Irish.   After the war they adopted the dress of our pipe band in all respects, including the cap badge over the right eye.


Q: What was the stable belt of London Irish Rifles after the Second World War?

A: The post war 1st Bttn LIR wore a green stable belt with a thin black stripe, officers and WOs also wore a dark green jersey pullover.


Q: Are the battle honours of the London Irish Rifles shown on the cross belts of officers?

A: The battle honours of all Rifle Regiments are displayed on the cross belts of the officers and on the drums.


Q: When was the rank of Rifleman introduced into the British Army?

A: Rifleman was not an officially recognised rank in the British Army until 1923. Despite the creation of the Experimental Corps of Riflemen (later The Rifle Brigade) as a Rifle regiment in 1800 and the re-designation of the 60th (Royal American) Regiment as a Rifle Corps in 1824, the most junior rank across all infantry and cavalry Regiments remained Private until 1923.

During the 19th and early 20th century, Privates in several Regiments, including the London Irish Rifles, were often referred to as Riflemen. The London Irish Rifles had been using the term Rifleman since 1910 from the time when they were renamed 18th Battalion, County of London Regiment (London Irish Rifles).

The War Office, however, resisted calls for a change in rank title until finally relenting in June 1923, when they published Army Order No: 222, which stated that In future, private soldiers of the following corps will be described as shown:

Cavalry of the Line - Trooper,

Foot Guards - Guardsman,

Fusilier Regiments - Fusilier,

Rifle Regiments - Rifleman.


Q: Why is the Regiment's motto "Quis Separabit?

A: Quis Separabit has been the motto of the London Irish Rifles since its foundation in 1859. Originating as the motto of the Most Illustrious Order of St Patrick, which was founded in 1783. it translates as "Who would separate?: a rhetorical question referring to the separation of Ireland from the British Crown.

Although the man appointed as Colonel in Chief on foundation, FMI Viscount Gough was a Knight of St Patrick and there is a possibility that the motto was adopted in honour of him, the founding members probably had the same notion in mind about it being unthinkable that anyone should stop Irishmen from being able to serve Britain in the Volunteer Rifle Corps movement.

It was a sentiment that the Irish Guards also adhered to on their formation in 1900, with the motto and the date of foundation of the Order of St Patrick on their capstar.