The Depot

Friday, 13 May, 1977
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland takes Depot Passing out Parade
The Depot Adjutant and Parade Commander, Captain M J Deacon, addresses the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, the Rt Hon Roy Mason, accompanied by the Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Colonel R C Rothery MBE, at the Passing out Parade of Italy Platoon.

The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland reviewed the Passing Out Parade of Italy Platoon at the Depot The King's Division, The Royal Irish Rangers, St Patrick's Barracks, Ballymena on 13 May 1977.

It was a long-established custom to invite Senior Officers or civilian dignitaries to be guest Reviewing Officers of Passing Out Parades for Junior Soldier and Training Company Platoons at the Regimental Depot. This was always a special day for recruits and their families and the presence of such a senior guest marked its importance. The Training Company recruit marched off as a trained Ranger by the end of the parade and so began his military career. Some would go on to serve a minimum engagement of three years, others for nine, twelve, or eighteen years depending on their promotion prospects with a few soldiering for 21 years and more. A rare few would be commissioned as officers. One Ranger recruit from the early 1970s, following his commissioning, and eventual promotion to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel, became the Depot's Commanding Officer.

last POP RgrsAfter the merger of The Royal Irish Rangers and The Ulster Defence Regiment, the training organisation in St Patrick's Barracks was retitled as the Depot The Royal Irish Regiment. The Regiment did not become part of any of the Divisions of Infantry such as the King's Division. It became the largest regiment of the British Army and had its own Regimental Headquarters responsible for all regimental matters that was located in St Patrick’s Barracks. However, when the Home Service battalions were disbanded and the British Army infantry training system was reorganised, the Depot closed in 2008 and today all the Regiment's Regular and Reserve recruits are trained in England at The Infantry Training Centre (ITC), Catterick.

(Above left, Brigadier A P M J Naughten, as Reviewing Officer, presented the Champion Recruit Shield at the last Passing Out Parade for adult Royal Irish Ranger recruits in 1992; he was accompanied by the Commanding Officer of the Depot, Lieutenant Colonel C Linford.)

You can read more about the current training of Regulars for 1 R IRISH by clicking on ITC Catterick. To read about the training of Reserves for 2 R IRISH, scroll down that page to click on ATR Grantham where Reserves attend their Phase 1 Training.