From 1969 to 2009 The Wiltshire Battalion of The Boys’ Brigade was one of the smallest in the West of England and Channel Islands District and in England as a whole. Approval for the formation of the Battalion was given by the Brigade Executive during the 1969/70 session where the strength was eight Companies, 29 Officers, 13 Warrant Officers, four Staff Sergeants, and a total of 254 Boys.
Prior to this, Companies in the county of Wiltshire had been a part of the Wilts and East Somerset Group. The move to the new Battalion brought to an end previous close connections and ‘BB’ friendships with Companies from East Somerset, most notably the 2nd Bath, who moved to join the Avon Battalion.
The Wiltshire Battalion was best known at the District level for its proficiency at drill competitions. During the 1960s and 1970s the 2nd Swindon, representing Wiltshire, dominated the Squad Drill competitions. During the period from 1963 – 1975 the 2nd Swindon won the District competition five times and were second placed an additional five times.
This excellence in drill-based activities was continued by the 5th Swindon and their Junior Section Figure Marching team who were successful representing Wiltshire at District competitions in the 1990s. Between 1994 and 1999 the 5th Swindon team had five top three finishes in the competition, which included back-to-back wins in 1998 and 1999.
A red letter day for the Battalion came on 27 March 1993 when the Battalion entertained spectators at the London District Display with a Grand Prix performance. In front of an audience of 5,500 at the Wembley Conference Centre, teams from Swindon, Devizes, and Trowbridge constructed and raced model cars, showing great teamwork and enthusiasm.
In 2009 only two Companies remained in the Wiltshire Battalion; the 2nd Trowbridge and the 5th Swindon. With this, the decision was made to close the Battalion, with the 2nd Trowbridge moving to the Somerset Battalion and the 5th Swindon joining the Gloucestershire Battalion.
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The Wiltshire Battalion
The Wiltshire Battalion March
* left the Wiltshire Battalion in 1970
** indicates a data change and duplicate entry
Wilts Battalion AD 2000 Badge
Yellow chromium plated enamel badge sanctioned for wear on uniform from January 1999 until December 2000.
The Boys’ Brigade Archives