The First Battalion The Jamaica Regiment (1 JR) is the first regular fighting (Infantry) unit of the Jamaica Defence Force. It was formed on the 31 July 1962, along with three other units, to create the JDF just days before Jamaica’s Independence. Jamaica had gained independence from Britain and needed its own armed force as a new sovereign state. The members of this newly formed Infantry Regiment were drawn from the disbanded West India Regiment (former colonial forces).
By 1979 the Battalion had grown to eight companies. In May the Battalion was split in two; half remained as 1 JR and the other half formed the nucleus of the Second Battalion The Jamaica Regiment (2 JR), whose home-base became the Moneague Training Camp (MTC) in St Ann.
The Jamaica Regiment of which 1 JR is a part is allied to the Staffordshire Regiment (The Prince of Wales) of the British Forces (recently changed to the Mercian Regiments) and the Royal Canadian Regiment of the Canadian Forces. The Jamaica Regiment comprises 1 JR, 2 JR and the 3rd Battalion The Jamaica Regiment (National Reserve).
Presentation of New Colours
Jamaica’s Governor-General, The Most Honourable Professor Kenneth Hall, presented new Queen’s Colour and Regimental Colour to 1 JR on behalf of Her Majesty The Queen, during the Presentation of Colours Parade on 14 June 2007. Some 100 officers and men of the First Battalion paraded the square in Lathbury Barracks, Up Park Camp, for this historic occasion. The Unit received its first Stan of Colours in 1963 from General Sir Gerald Lathbury, after whom the infantry barracks, ‘Lathbury Barracks’, in Up Park Camp is named.
The receiving Commanding Officer in 1963 was the late Lieutenant Colonel Dunstan Robinson, who later rose to the position of Chief of Staff of the JDF. Now, 44 years later, his son, Lieutenant Colonel Derek Robinson, is the Commanding Officer of the Battalion, had the rare honour of receiving the replacement Colours. The Colours of a Regiment is referred to as a “Stan of Colours” and consist of two Colours or Flags – the Sovereign (Queen’s or King’s Colours) and the Regimental Colour. The Colours are most treasured by a Regiment as they constitute the sacred symbol of the Battalion’s honour and devotion to duty.