The Origin of the Regimental Motto
Regimental Records state that Major-General James Wolfe was so impressed with the alertness, intrepidity and spirited conduct of the grenadier companies of the 2nd and 3rd Battalion of the 60th Royal Americans before Quebec that he conferred on them the motto Celer et Audax (Swift and Bold). The exact occasion on this 'spirited conduct' is not certain. An analysis of the possibilities is included in the Annals, Volume I, Appendix 1. Most probably it was on 9 August 1759 when it is believed that the grenadier companies, who were escorting Wolfe at the time, had a sharp encounter with the enemy and that he was extremely pleased with the outcome.
The relevance and significance of General Wolfe's gesture seems to have attracted little attention thereafter until, sixty-five years later, permission was sought to resume use of the Motto. The reply, dated 11 October 1824 and addressed to the Regiment's commanding officers from the Deputy Adjutant General at Horse Guards, stated:
I have the honour to acquaint you, by direction of the Commander-in-Chief, that His Majesty has been pleased to permit the 60th Regiment, 'The Duke of York's Own Rifle Corps', to resume the motto 'Celer et Audax', which was formerly worn by the Regiment in commemoration of its distinguished bravery whilst employed with the British Army in North America, under Major-General Wolfe, in the year 1759.
The Motto subsequently played a central role in underpinning the Regimental approach to soldiering, occupying pride of place on the Regiment's cap badge and accoutrements. On 1 January 1966 the English translation 'Swift and Bold' was adopted as the Regimental Motto of The Royal Green Jackets. The Motto was later taken up by the newly formed The Rifles in February 2007.