Unit History: Royal Artillery
On 1 April 1722 these companies were expanded to four, and grouped with independent artillery companies in Gibraltar and Minorca to form the Royal Regiment of Artillery, commanded by Colonel Albert Bogard. In 1741 the Royal Military Academy formed in the Royal Arsenal, Woolwich (RWA). The regiment expanded rapidly and by 1757 there were 24 companies divided into two battalions, as well as a Cadet Company formed in 1741.
During 1748 the Presidential Artilleries of Bengal, Madras and Bombay, India were formed and then in 1756 saw the creation of the Royal Irish Regiment of Artillery. The Regiment grew to 32 companies by 1771 organised into four battalions, as well as two Invalid Companies comprising older and unfit men employed in garrison duties. 1782 brought the move of the Royal Artillery to RA Barracks (front parade) on Woolwich Common.
The Napoleonic Wars saw the need to provide fire-support for the cavalry so a formation of Horse Artillery was created in 1793 with two troops of Royal Horse Artillery (RHA) being raised, joined by two more in November 1793. The Royal Irish Artillery was absorbed into the Royal Artillery in 1801 to produce twelve RHA troops and a hundred RA companies in 10 battalions. Before 1825 batteries had been called after their commander's name this was to cease and RA batteries known by a number and RHA batteries a letter. During 1805 RWA moved to Woolwich Common for all RA and RE officers.
The Crimean War saw the increase of the Royal Artillery to 199 batteries and in 1855 the abolition of the Board Ordnance, which had until then controlled the Royal Artillery. Thereafter the regiment came under the War Office along with the rest of the army. A School of Gunnery was established in Shoeburyness, Essex in 1859. In 1862 the regiment absorbed the artillery of the British East India Company – 21 horse batteries and 48 field batteries – which brought its strength up to 29 horse batteries, 73 field batteries and 88 heavy batteries.
On 1 July 1899, the Royal Artillery was divided into three groups: the Royal Horse Artillery and Royal Field Artillery comprised one group, while the Coastal Defence, Mountain, Siege and Heavy artillery were split off into another group named the Royal Garrison Artillery. The third group continued to be titled simply Royal Artillery, and was responsible for ammunition storage and supply. The RFA and RHA both dressed as mounted soldiers, whereas the RGA dressed like foot soldiers. The First World War brought with it a massive expanse of the Royal Artillery By 1917 there were 1,769 batteries in over 400 brigades totalling 548,000 men.
In 1920 the rank of Bombardier was instituted in the Royal Artillery. The three sections effectively functioned as separate corps. This arrangement lasted until 1924, when the three amalgamated once more to became one regiment. The Royal Horse Artillery, which has always had separate traditions, uniforms and insignia, still retains a separate identity within the regiment, however, and is considered, by its members at least, to be an élite.
Before the Second World War, Royal Artillery recruits were required to be at least 5 feet 4 inches tall and men in mechanised units had to be at least 5 feet 8 inches tall. In 1938, the Royal Artillery Brigades were renamed Regiments. In the Second World War over a million men were serving in over 960 Gunner regiments. With the coming of peace the Gunners reduced to 250,000 men and 365 batteries in 106 regiments.
At the beginning of 1939 the regular and TA strength of the Royal Artillery totalled about 105,000. In mid 1943 the RA reached its peak strength, some 700,000 strong (about 26% of total British Army strength and about the same size as the Royal Navy), including about 5% officers, in some 630 regiments, 65 training regiments and six officer cadet training units.
These included 130 regiments converted from TA infantry and yeomanry often retaining their previous regimental title as part of their artillery unit designation as well as badges and other accoutrements. However, the strength of the field branch (including anti-tank) in mid 1943 was about 232,000. The Regiment suffered some 31,000 killed during the course of the war.
Of the 630 or so regiments about 240 were field artillery, excluding about 60 anti-tank.
At the end of the Second World War, the RA was larger than the Royal Navy. In 1947 the Riding Troop RHA was renamed The King's Troop RHA, and in 1951 the appointment of regiment’s Colonel-in-Chief became Captain General. Following the end of National Service and the Cold War, the Royal Artillery fell further to its lowest strength since the 1820s; 14 Regular and 7 Territorial Artillery Regiments.
The Royal Artillery Prayer
O Lord Jesus Christ,
Who dost everywhere lead thy people in the way of righteousness,
Vouchsafe so as to lead the Royal Regiment of Artillery,
That wherever we serve, on land or sea or in the air,
We may win the glory of doing thy will
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Forces Reunited Gallery Images Matching Royal Artillery
Memories of Royal Artillery
(Memories written by members of Forces Reunited)
Royal Artillery Trg C amp Oswestry in 1959
Written by Tony HynesDoes anybody out there have any memories of 68 Selection Regt RA cica March 1959 and then 17 Trg Regt RA Apr/June 1959. My Service Number was: 23615273 as if you ever forget!!!!. I can remember winning 10bob for swimming the static water tanks? Pulling 25pounders around the square. I think the Sgt's name was Smith. Any memories??
5field regiment royal artillery. in 2009
Written by john j o connorI rember gooing on leave with a bob millward to midlands,i:e birmingham.should he be on forcesreunited please get in touch. i think we were stationed in perham down near andover hampshire,in the sixtys.
Locating Battery - Royal Artillery, Hildesheim in 1956
Written by Don KnightBilleted in the ex german fire station on the apron in amongst the hangers in which the 2nd reg. RHA kept their 25 pounder S/Ps. Muckers were John Meagan. George Lees. Phil Welman. Kliener Davies. Grosser Davies. Brummie Crumpton. Ginger Killock. Dennis Briggs. Geoff Thompson. Lowe from manx. Gordie Atkinson. Kaiser. BSM was Hobbs. Sargeant Sully Sullivan. C.O. Capt. Roachrook. we had some good times at the Hookup.
12 Light Anti Aircraft Regiment - Royal Artillery in 1955
Written by ronald french1956,celle,harwood bks herford
Royal Artillery Locating Germany, Dortmund,Paderborn,Sennelager in 1967
Written by Tom StewartDoes anyone remember the 4 day marches at Nijmegan starting the 25th July.1967. Great time. Was in 19 (Gibralter) Battery, Royal Artillery, of 19 Missile Regiment,RA.
Dortmund Gunners. April 1977. Speed marching around Dortmund. Was in 26 Field Regiment, Royal Artillery. Signaller with " Two Six" which was one of the biggest Gunner Regiments.
Was at Larkhill summer of 1969 as a instuctor. Was always going on about Crystal Palace as the greatest football club in the world.
Forces Reunited Forum Posts Involving Royal Artillery
"I am trying to establish where the Ark was going, when she left Devonport dockyard quickly in late 1961 or early 1962, I recall she was going to the Far East - but where?. She had a full complement on board including aramaments from the Royal Artillery stationed in the Citadel on Plymouth Hoe, Royal Engineers, et. al. I was a National Serviceman in the Royal Signals billeted at the Citadel at the time. I recall that servicemen were being called back from leave on the Friday, and on the..."
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"I am trying to obtain information on or about the history of the 62nd heavy Anti-Aircraft Regiment of the Royal Artillery. (WW11) Any assistance would be gratefully appreciated. "
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" i am looking for any old mates from the 3rd light regiment of the 47 reg, royal artillery. from 71-73."
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"Hello I am researching the units my Father Arthur Seymour served in during the 1939-45 war, they were the 131st Field and 551 Coast Regiments Royal Artillery. If you have any information about these units I would very much like to hear from you. I have records from the war diaries but I would like to discover personal accounts of life in these Regiments. Best Wishes, Edward Seymour"
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"Can anyone tell me if there was a Royal Artillery Battery in Lawe Road,South Shields 1935-1941? I am trying to find out some info about my Grandad and this was his Address when he got married. "
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