The Royal Irish Regiment was formed in 1992 by the merger of the Royal Irish Rangers and the Ulster Defence Regiment. The regiment originally had nine battalions but following various mergers and the draw-down of forces in Northern Ireland as part of the peace process and today just two battalions remain. The regiment has seen service in both Iraq as part of Operation Telic and in Afghanistan as part of Operation Herrick. Tonight’s object comes from one of those operational tours and is a desert DPM helmet cover with a tactical recognition flash for the regiment:The TRF takes the form of a green shamrock on a black square and is machine sewn to one side of the helmet cover:It was common in the regiment to sew the badge onto the side of the helmet cover, here we see an example of this type of cover with the TRF from 2008 in Afghanistan:There is an interesting story relating to this from 2010 as related by a member of the regiment, Corporal Tommy Creighton:
I saw a round hit the ground in front of me. My reaction was to lower my head, tilting it forward, and then I felt the thud against my helmet as the round struck me. When we got back to the patrol base, the lads were all saying how lucky I was. The round had struck me right on my ‘shamrock’ regimental badge, which I guess is kind of symbolic!
My helmet cover belonged to a Ranger called ‘Booysen’, and he has written his name in black marker on one of the elastic straps on the front of the helmet:This helmet cover is a large/outsize version and this is indicated on the internal label:This is just as well as the Mk 6 helmet I have is massive and anything smaller would have struggled to go over the dome!
Here we see a Ranger holding the later Mk 7 helmet, although the helmet and cover are different, the tradition remains and the TRF can be clearly seen sewn onto the side:I have seen a number of units who wore TRF patches sewn to the sides of their helmet covers, but the Royal Irish Regiment seem to have embraced the use of this insignia to a far greater extent than most other units. It certainly makes for a most attractive helmet cover and as it is the first badged example I have been able to add to my collection, I am very pleased to have got hold of it.