Unit History: Ulster Defence Regiment

Ulster Defence Regiment
The Ulster Defence Regiment (UDR) was an infantry regiment of the British Army formed in 1970 to replace the B Specials in assisting with security duties within Northern Ireland. It was the largest regiment in the British Army, formed with an initial seven battalions. An extra four were added later. The regiment consisted overwhelmingly of part-time volunteers until 1976 when a full time cadre was added. Recruiting from the local community at a time of intercommunal strife, it was accused of sectarian attitudes and collusion with Loyalist paramilitary organisations through most of its term. Even though intended to be non-partisan, and beginning with up to 18% Catholic recruits, the regiment’s image problems with nationalists, including sectarianism amongst some Protestant soldiers, as well as IRA attacks on Catholic UDR soldiers. resulted in the Catholic membership declining, with only 3% being Catholic when it amalgamated in 1992 with the Royal Irish Rangers, forming the Royal Irish Regiment. In 2007 the Conspicuous Gallantry Cross was awarded to the regiment for its service during Operation BANNER, and the regiment is now allowed to use the postnominal letters CGC as part of its name (The Ulster Defence Regiment CGC).

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