This cap badge represents such an interesting band of volunteers, the Isle of Wight Rifles, also known as the 8th Territorial Battalion of the Hampshire Regiment or Princess Beatrice’s I.O.W Rifles

They were an artillery and infantry volunteer corps, raised in response to a threat from the French, during the Napoleonic Wars.

Small in numbers to start with , the corps grew, as they joined forces with troops in other Hampshire Regiments.

The badge says South Africa 1900-01, under the crown and they were allowed to display this on their badge, even though, out of the many who volunteered to serve in the Boer War, only ten were selected and of those ten, only three were fit enough to pass the medical.

They fought bravely in WWI, at Suvla Bay, Egypt and Palestine and in Mesopotamia.

INTRIGUING CONNECTIONS: 

  1. This I.O.W unit was known as the I.O.W   Gurkhas, one intriguing reason for this is that they were all of small stature, is there any truth behind this?
  2. When troops from the mainland came onto the island to join forces with the Rifles against threat of  French invasion, they were billeted all over the island, this was supposedly to give the island a wider gene pool but was this really the case?
Useful resources and sources on the I.O.W   Rifles: if you would like to find some further curated resources that will be useful in your study of the Isle of Wight Rifles:
Video  For a super with brilliant photos showing the history of the Rifles follow the link: or play on screen now as below