Greenfinch Becomes First Woman to Complete Infantry Training

Fri, 10/01/1993 - Sun, 10/31/1993

In October 1993, Private Daphne Rea, a 'Greenfinch' from the 8th (County Tyrone and County Armagh) Battalion, made British military history when she became the first ever female soldier to complete the Basic Infantry and Combat Infantry (NI) Courses at the Regimental Depot The Royal Irish Regiment at St Patrick's Barracks in Ballymena.

Private Rea's qualification was achieved more than 25 years before the British Army opened close combat roles to women soldiers. Although the general exclusion preventing women from serving in the Infantry role was only lifted in October 2018, women served with distinction in the Ulster Defence Regiment since 1973, and in all battalions of the Royal Irish Regiment since its formation in 1992 until the conclusion of Operation BANNER in 2007.

Please click on Greenfinches to learn more about the origins and former role of the Greenfinches.