Unit History: Royal Kents
The Royal Kent Regiment was an infantry regiment of the British Army from 1961 to 1966. Its lineage is continued by the Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment.
The regiment was formed on 1 March 1961, as a consequence of defence cuts implemented in the 1950s, by the amalgamation of The Buffs (Royal East Kent Regiment) and The Queen’s Own Royal West Kent Regiment.
In 1961 the regiment was deployed in Kenya, then a British colony. One of its predecessor regiments, The Buffs, had earlier seen distinguished service in Kenya during the Mau Mau uprising. In the following year the regiment returned to the UK, where the 1st Battalion was presented with its first colours by its Colonel-in-Chief, HM King Frederick IX of Denmark at Folkestone on 23 June. In 1964 the regiment was deployed to British Guiana after violence broke out there, at a time when the South American colony was experiencing turbulent times. The regiment assisted in operations designed to prevent the opposing ethnic groups from descending into conflict with each other. The regiment departed South America for the Far East the following year, joining the Hong Kong garrison.
In June 1966 the regiment deployed on a six-month tour-of-duty in the jungles of Borneo to take part in the Indonesian Confrontation. This had started in 1962 after an Indonesian-inspired rebellion took place in Brunei, which was successfully quelled. The ’Confrontation’ officially ended a short while after the regiment arrived; it returned to Hong Kong upon the end of its tour.
The regiment existed for less than six years: on December 31, 1966, the four regiments of the Home Counties Brigade were merged to form The Queen’s Regiment. Each of the four regular battalions in the brigade became a battalion of the new "large regiment". The 1st Battalion, Queen’s Own Buffs, still in Hong Kong, were redesignated as 2nd Battalion (Queen’s Own Buffs), The Queen’s Regiment. In 1969 the Queen’s Regiment was reduced to three regular battalions, and the county subtitles abandoned.