This regiment was formed in 1964 by amalgamating the 1st, 2nd and 3rd East Anglian Regiments and The Royal Leicestershire Regiment. These became the new unit's 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th Battalions respectively. It also had three territorial battalions.
It continues to recruit from 10 counties across the east of England: Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire, Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire, Essex, Lincolnshire, Leicestershire, Northamptonshire and Rutland.
The regiment’s 1st, 3rd and 4th Battalions all spent time in Aden in the 1960s during the insurgency against British rule there. In 1965, 1st Battalion moved to West Germany for three years and 2nd Battalion deployed to Cyprus for two years.
The 4th Battalion was reduced to a single company in 1970, before being disbanded completely five years later.
For the three remaining regular battalions, the 1970s and ‘80s were largely marked by rotation between West Germany, Northern Ireland and Britain. However, 3rd Battalion was also posted to Cyprus for two years from 1976.
The band of the 3rd Battalion performed in the opening titles for the comedy series ‘Blackadder Goes Forth’ (1989).
In 1992, the regiment was reduced to two regular battalions. Both of these served as peacekeepers in Bosnia, in 1994 and 1995 respectively. Tours of Northern Ireland continued until 2001 for 1st Battalion and 2005 for 2nd Battalion.
In 1999, the two remaining territorial battalions merged with 3rd (Volunteer) Battalion, The Worcestershire and Sherwood Foresters Regiment. The resulting unit was initially called the East of England Regiment, but was renamed 3rd Battalion, The Royal Anglian Regiment in 2006.
The Royal Anglian Regiment's 21st-century deployments have included operations in Sierra Leone, Afghanistan, Iraq, Kenya, Mali and South Sudan, as well as overseas training exercises in Egypt, Canada and the USA.
Today, it is composed of two regular infantry battalions (1st and 2nd) and one Army Reserve light infantry battalion (3rd). These carry the nicknames 'The Vikings', 'The Poachers' and 'The Steelbacks' respectively.
The National Army Museum works with a network of Regimental and Corps Museums across the UK to help preserve and share the history and traditions of the Army and its soldiers.
Discover more about The Royal Anglian Regiment by visiting the Royal Anglian Regiment Museum at IWM Duxford.Royal Anglian Regiment Museum