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The history of the British Army spans over three and a half centuries and numerous European wars, colonial wars and world wars. From the early 19th century until 1914, the United Kingdom was the greatest economic and imperial power in the world, and although this dominance was principally achieved through the strength of the British Royal Navy, the British Army played a significant role.
 
In peacetime, Britain has generally maintained only a small professional volunteer army, expanding this as required in time of war, due to Britain's traditional role as a sea power. Since the suppression of Jacobitism in 1745, the army has played little role in British domestic politics (except for the Curragh mutiny), and, other than in Ireland, has seldom been deployed against internal threats to the state (one notorious exception being the Peterloo Massacre).
 
The Army has been involved in many global international conflicts, including the Napoleonic Wars, the Crimean War and the two World Wars. Historically, it contributed to the expansion and retention of the British Empire.
 
The British Army has long been at the forefront of new military developments. It was the first in the world to develop and deploy the tank, and what is now the Royal Air Force (RAF) had its origins within the British Army as the Royal Flying Corps (RFC). At the same time the Army emphasises the continuity and longevity of several of its institutions and military traditions.
The British Army in 1939 was a volunteer army that introduced conscription shortly after the declaration of war with Germany. During the early years of the war, the army suffered defeat in almost every theatre it deployed. With mass conscription the expansion of the army was reflected in the creation of more army corps, armies and army groups. From 1943, the army's fortunes turned and it hardly suffered a strategic defeat.
 
The pre-war British Army was trained and equipped to garrison and police the British Empire and, as became evident during the war, was woefully unprepared and ill-equipped to conduct a war against multiple enemies on multiple fronts. At the start of the war the army was small in comparison to its enemies', and remained an all-volunteer force until 1939. By the end of the war it had grown to number over 3.5 million.
 
The army fought around the world, with campaigns in Belgium and France in 1940 and, after the collapse of both countries, in Africa, the Mediterranean and the Far East. After a series of setbacks, retreats and evacuations the British Army and its Allies eventually gained the upper hand. This started with victory over the Italian and German forces in Africa. Italy was then forced to surrender after the invasions of Sicily and mainland Italy. Then in the last years of the war, the army returned to France, driving the German Army back into Germany and in the Far East forced the Japanese back from the Indian border into Burma. Both the Germans and Japanese were defeated by 1945, and surrendered within months of each other.
 
With the expansion of the British Army to fight a World War, new armies had to be formed, and eventually army groups were created to control even larger formations. In command of these new armies, eight Generals would be promoted to Field Marshal rank. The army commanders not only had to manage the new armies, but also a new type of soldier in formations that had been created for special service, which included the Special Air Service, Army Commandos and the Parachute Regiment.
The latter part of the 1940s saw the British state begin to withdraw from the Empire, the Army playing a prominent role in its dismantlement. The first colony the British withdrew from was India, the largest British possession as measured by population, though not the largest by geographical area.
 
In 1947 the British government announced India would become independent on 15 August, after being separated into two countries, one mostly Muslim (Pakistan) and the other mostly Hindu (India). The last British Army unit to leave active service in the Indian subcontinent was the 1st Battalion, The Somerset Light Infantry (Prince Albert's) on 28 February 1948.
 
In Palestine, there was a surge in attacks against the British mandate and occupation by Zionist organisations such as Irgun and the Stern Gang after the British attempted to limit Jewish immigration into Palestine. British military and other forces eventually withdrew in 1948 and the State of Israel was established on 14 May.
 
Elsewhere within British territories, Communist guerrillas launched an uprising in Malaya, starting the Malayan Emergency.
 
In the early 1950s, trouble began in Cyprus, and in Kenya—the Mau Mau uprising. In Cyprus, an organisation known as EOKA sought unity with Greece, the situation being stabilised just before Cyprus was given independence in 1960. Kenya was one of many deployments for the Army in Africa during the 1950s, most of the others being former Italian colonies placed in the temporary control of Britain and the British Army
The British Army also took part in the Korean War (1950–53), fighting in battles such as Imjin River which included Gloster Hill
Elsewhere, the Army withdrew from the Suez Canal Zone in Egypt in 1955. The following year, along with France and Israel, the British invaded Egypt in a conflict known as the Suez War, after the Egyptian leader, President Nasser nationalised the Suez Canal which privately owned businesses in Britain and France owned shares in. The British Army contributed forces to the amphibious assault on Suez and British paratroopers took part in the airborne assault. This brief war was a military success. However, international pressure, especially from the US government, soon forced the British government to withdraw all their military forces soon afterwards. British military forces were replaced by UN peacekeeping troops.

In 1969 a surge of sectarian violence and attacks in Northern Ireland against Catholics by Protestants, loyalists and the RUC in which seven people were killed, hundreds more wounded and thousands of Catholic families were driven from their homes led to British troops being sent into Northern Ireland to try and stop the violence. This became Operation Banner. Among those killed in the attacks by the RUC was Trooper Hugh McCabe, the first British soldier to die in the conflict.The troops were initially welcomed by the Catholic community as they believed the troops would protect them; however, this developed into opposition as the troops began to support the RUC, and the Provisional Irish Republican Army (PIRA), a militant break-away from the IRA which had been quiet since the 1962 cessation of the Border Campaign, began to target British troops. The British Army's operations in the early phase of its deployment had it placed in a policing role, for which, in many cases, it was ill suited. This involved seeking to prevent confrontations between the Catholics and Protestants, as well as putting down riots and stopping Republican and Loyalist paramilitary groups from committing terrorist attacks.
 
However, as the Provisional IRA campaign 1969-1997 grew in ferocity in the early 1970s, the Army was increasingly caught in a situation where its actions were directed against the IRA and the Catholic Irish nationalist community which harboured it. In the early period of the conflict, British troops mounted several major field operations. The first of these was the Falls Curfew of 1971, when over 3,000 troops imposed a 3 day curfew on the Falls Road area of Belfast and fought a sustained gun battle with local IRA men. In Operation Demetrius in June 1971, 300 paramilitary suspects were interned without trial, an action which provoked a major upsurge in violence. The largest single British operation of the period was Operation Motorman in 1972, when about 21,000 troops were used to restore state control over areas of Belfast and Derry, which were then controlled by republican paramilitaries. The British Army's reputation suffered further from an incident in Derry on 30 January 1972, Bloody Sunday in which 13 Catholic civilians were murdered by The Parachute Regiment. The biggest single loss of life for British troops in the conflict came at Narrow Water, where eighteen British soldiers were killed in a PIRA bomb attack on 27 August 1979, on the same day Lord Mountbatten of Burma was assassinated by the PIRA in a separate attack. In all almost 500 British troops died in Northern Ireland between 1969-1997. Most of these deaths however occurred in the early 1970s, when British troops were placed at the forefront of the conflict and had little experience in dealing with a low intensity conflict in a predominantly urban, heavily populated area.

By the late 1970s, the British Army was replaced to some degree as "frontline" security service, in preference for the local Royal Ulster Constabulary and the Ulster Defence Regiment (raised 1970) as part of the Ulsterisation policy. By the 1980s and early 1990s, British Army casualties in the conflict had dropped. Moreover, British Special Forces had some successes against the PIRA - see Operation Flavius and the Loughgall Ambush. Nevertheless, the conflict tied up over 12,000 British troops on a continuous basis until the late 1990s and was ended with the Good Friday Agreement which detailed a path to a political solution to the conflict.
 
Operation Banner came to an end in 2007 making it the longest continuous operation in the British Army's history, lasting over thirty-eight years. Troop numbers where reduced to 5,000.
UPDATE :
763 died as a direct result of terrorist action all but 7 of those by Republican terrorists, we estimate and are still working on the figures that another approx 600 died in RTA's, Suicides, Firearm Accidents (ND's), Chopper Crashes, Fires,other accidents and Natural Causes (Heart Attacks etc) on duty.the violence was by no means one sided, the RUC which lost over 300 its self

In 1980, the Special Air Service emerged from its secretive world when its most high-profile operation, the ending of the Iranian Embassy Siege in London, was broadcast live on television. By the 1980s, even though the Army was being increasingly deployed abroad, most of its permanent overseas garrisons were gone.

One remaining garrison provided by the Royal Marines was the Falkland Islands in the South Atlantic, 6,000 to 8,000 miles (13,000 km) (11,000 to 15,000 km) from Britain. The Argentinians invaded the Falklands in April 1982. The British quickly responded and the Army had an active involvement in the campaign to liberate the Falklands upon the landings at San Carlos, taking part in a series of battles that led to them reaching the outskirts of the capital, Stanley. The Falklands War ending with the formal surrender of the Argentinian forces on 14 June
ng the BAOR in Germany, while others included Belize, The end of the Cold War did not provide the British Army with any respite, and the political vacuum left by the Soviet Union has seen a surge of instability in the world. Saddam Hussain's Iraq invaded Kuwait, one of its neighbours, in 1990, provoking condemnation from the United Nations, primarily led by the United States. The Gulf War and the British contribution, known as Operation Granby, was large, with the Army providing about 28,000 troops and 13,000 vehicles, mostly centred around 1 (UK) Armoured Division. After air operations ended, the land campaign against Iraq began on 24 February. 1st Armoured Division took part in the left-hook attack that helped destroy many Iraqi units. The ground campaign had lasted just 100-hours, Kuwait being offiThe British Army has also played an increasingly prominent role in peacekeeping operation, gaining much respect for its comparative expertise in the area. In 1992, during the wars in the Balkans provoked by the gradual disintegration of Yugoslavia, UN forces intervened in Croatia and later Bosnia. British forces contributed as part of UNPROFOR (United Nations Protection Force). The force was a peacekeeping one, but with no peace to keep, it proved ineffective and was replaced by the NATO IFOR though this was in turn replaced the following year by SFOR. As of 2005, Britain's contribution numbers about 3,000 troops. In 1999 the UK took a lead role in the NATO war against Slobodan Milošević's forces in Kosovo. After the air war ended, the Parachute Regiment and Royal Gurkha Rifles provided the spearhead for ground forces entering Kosovo. In 2000, British forces, as part of Operation Palliser, intervened in a civil war ravaged Sierra Leone, with the intention of evacuating British, Commonwealth and EU citizens. The SAS also played a prominent role when they, along with the Paras, launched the successful Operation Barras to rescue 6 soldiers of the Royal Irish Regiment being held by the rebels. The British force remained and provided the catalyst for the stabilisation of the countrycially liberated on 27 February.Brunei, Gibraltar, and Hong Kong.

The early 21st century saw the world descend into a new war after the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York by Al Qaida: the War on Terrorism.[139] A US-led invasion of Taliban-ruled Afghanistan followed, with the British contribution led by the RN and RAF; the most important Army element being the SAS. The British later took part in the invasion of invasion of Iraq in 2003, Britain's contribution being known as Operation Telic, The Army played a more significant role in Iraq than Afghanistan, deploying a substantial force, centred around 1 (UK) Armoured Division with, again, around 28,000 troops. The war began in March and the British fought in the southern area of Iraq, eventually capturing the second largest city, Basra, in April. The Army remained in Iraq upon the end of the war and subsequently led the Multi-National Division (South East), with the Army presence in Iraq numbering about 5,000 soldiers.

Which now brings us up to our present
Afghanistan and libya.

Let us hope and pray this will be our last.

  ... WE WILL REMEMBER THEM...