a collection of notes on areas of personal interest
The Honourable Artillery Company is the oldest regiment in the British Army, capable of tracing its history back to 1296. It received a Royal Charter from King Henry VIII in 1537, authorising the formation of a perpetual corporation for the defence of the realm to be known as the Fraternity or Guild of Artillery of Longbows, Crossbows and Handguns, more briefly, the Gentlemen of the Artillery Garden. In 1656 it was first referred to as the Artillery Company and, in 1685, the Honourable Artillery Company, though it was not until 1860 that Queen Victoria officially confirmed this name.
This early history to be filled in later.
The history of the HAC in the First World War is a little complex due in part to its unusual nature. It is my intention here only to give an outline of my understanding of its character in the First World War. For a better and more complete understanding you should search out the various books on the subject, though there is a site giving a little more detail.
At the beginning of the war the Company consisted of:
With the onset of war the HAC, in common with other Territorial Force units, formed second line units and, some time later, third line units – though the latter units were never sent overseas.
The 1st Battalion was sent to France in September 1914 where it remained for the whole of the war. The 2nd Battalion didn’t go to France until October 1916 and then moved on to fight in Italy in November 1917.
The HAC raised three infantry battalions and seven artillery batteries altogether, providing two infantry battalions and five batteries to the First World War:
The above breakdown has to be checked and verified.