Hampshire Artillery Volunteers


The revival of the Volunteer movement was a result of the three main factors, the invasion panic, concern about the state of the regular army and a wish to revive the 'old constitutional force, the militia. The impetus came from outside the regular army, moreover it would avoid the expenditure of increasing both the regular army and militia.

In 1861 the 1st (Portsmouth) Administrative Brigade of the Hants Artillery consisted of the 1st. 2nd. and 3rd. Corps of the Hants Artillery with the officers; Lieutenant-Colonel A.B. Sturdee, Major S. Macnaghten, Adjt. W.M. Naish, surgeon W.H. Garrington and assistant surgeon J. Osborn.

1st Hants (Bitterne) Artillery

2nd Hants (Southsea) Artillery

3rd Hants (Portsmouth Dockyard) Artillery


In 1880 the Portsmouth News reported that:

The volunteer returns for the past year show that the enrolled strength of the forces has risen from 206,213 in 1878 to 206,250 and the effectiveness from 194,197 to 197,485, or a percentage of 95.74 against 26.55. {?} The Proficients, Officers and Sergeants, are likewise increased to the highest figure yet known, being 5,586 and 11,825 respectively, or a total of 17,411, whereas in 1878 they were 5536 and 11,818.
The increase is general throughout the country and in all areas with the exception of light horse and mounted rifles which show a diminution.

....The artillery too, displays a gratifying increase in numerical strength and in efficiency, the arm now mustering 35,894 trained soldiers.


By 1888 the Artillery Volunteers had been formed into Brigades or local "Batteries of position".



1st. Hants Artillery Volunteers Bitterne Southampton


1st Hants Volunteers RGA cap badge

The 1st Hants Volunteers were formed at Southampton on 25 April 1860. Captain Macnaughten was commissioned in April 1860. The corps originally consisted of one battery with 50 men of all ranks. In 1886 it consisted of two batteries with 137 men, 100 of whom were designated 'proficient'. They practised at Hamble Common with two 24pounder guns and a mortar. At their platform battery for drill at Southampton docks they had two more 24pounder guns. A spacious drill hall was built within the docks premises in which there was a 28pounder gun for drill in the Winter months. By 1886 they also had two 12pounder field guns. They had a captain and two lieutenants to each battery and an honorary chaplain and surgeon. They were under Captain-Commandant Bance, later Colonel, (served from 1863 to 1896). The land on which the Hamble battery was sited was rented from Winchester College for £1 per annum although in 1878 the College withdrew permission for the carbine range to continue on site. In June 1879 an explosion occurred at the battery when the 24pdr gun was being drilled on. An enquiry found that it was caused by a defect in the metal of the extreme end of the bore. Two men were seriously injured and one had a narrow escape when the breech weighing 12cwt passed close in front of him making a large hole in the earthworks, and passing back again damaging the gun carriage. The Volunteer Artillery Drill Hall in St Mary's Road Southampton, later their H.Q. (built in 1889), became the St. Mary's Sports Hall in St. Mary's Road Southampton. A prime mover in the erection of the building was Col. Edward Bance, three times Mayor of Southampton in 1890, 1904 and 1910.


The Portsmouth News regularly contained details of the activities and meetings of the Artillery Volunteers, such as this one on 24 April 1880:

1st. Hants Artillery Volunteer Corps Lieut-Colonel C.L. Owen, Commanding. Drills for the week ending May 2nd. 1880.

Monday, 26th. April, at 7.30 p.m. A muster of all the batteries, officers and men. Full dress with helmets.

Wednesday, 28th. April - Batteries to assemble at 7.30 p.m., under their own officers, and such drills as each captain of the batteries may
think proper.

Thursday 29th. April, - The batteries to be under the Sergeant-Major, and general superintendence of the
adjutant, at 7.30 p.m., for questions and answers on artillery and repository subjects. The Colonel chiefly desires junior officers, non-commissioned
officers and those lately joined to attend this instruction.

Saturday, 2nd. May(weather permitting) - A march out of the whole corps to Cosham under the same arrangements as on previous occasions,
including advance and rear guards. uniform, full dress with gaiters and haversacks rolled, Band to attend. Fall in at 5.33 p.m.


1881 Colonel Lanyon Owen and Adjutant Major Naish retire.

1890 1st Hampshire Artillery Volunteers (Southern Division Royal Artillery) Southampton under Hon Col. C. Owen, Lieut Col. E. Bance, Majors MacLauchlan and Bee.

1889 A detachment was formed at Eastleigh by Captain Lees recruiting thirty seven men. By the end of 1890 there were over seventy men and in 1891 there were over one hundred. At first they drilled in the back yard of the Home Tavern, then they moved to the old cheese market.

May 1891 the 1st Hants were under canvas at Fort Gilkicker.


The Volunteer Service Gazette and Military Dispatch - Saturday 27 September 1890 reported that :

Colonel Bance has been granted the honorary rank of Colonel. Colonel Bance has been identified with the 1st Hants Artillery since 1863. He joined the corps in February of that year, and in July 1872, he took his first commission as Lieutenant. He was promoted to Captain in May 1873, Major in January 1881, and Lieut.-Colonel in April 1886 Shortly after the latter step, Colonel Bance was successful in inducing the Government to make the Southampton companies into a separate brigade, and recently the brigade has had restored to it the title of Ist Hants Artillery to which its priority of formation entitled it. The members of the corps will feel gratification at the promotion of their commanding officer, and Colonel Bance will receive the hearty congratulations of his fellow townsmen, who fully appreciate his efforts to promote the success of the brigade with which he has been so long associated.


The Government are recognising the fact that if the Volunteers are to be a real arm of defence they must be drilled with the weapons they would have to man in case they were called out. The Ist Hants Artillery are detailed to assist in the defence of Portsmouth in case of invasion, and on Saturday last 120 men and eight officers proceeded by rail to Gilkicker Fort, at the entrance to Portsmouth Harbour, for the purpose of drilling with the heavy ordnance—the 9-inch and 10-inch guns there and the various modern appliances of warfare. This is the first of a series of drills arranged by the Government for the purpose of making them thoroughly acquainted with the fort and the Stokes Bay lines. After an interesting drill and partaking of some refreshment the men and officers returned to Southampton. These drills are to be continued at frequent intervals, and the next takes place on the 27th inst. It will be remembered that when the Right Hon. E. Stanhope, the Secretary of State for War, opened the new Drill Hall, Colonel Bance asked him to use his influence to get a modern gun for the use of the corps, and it is gratifying to know that the request has been granted. The new gun is known as an 18 ton 9-inch gun, and some of the stores have already arrived. The Royal Engineers are shortly expected to proceed with the laying down of suitable foundations and racers required for the purposes of mounting this heavy piece of ordnance, which will be of immense value in improving the members of this corps in a knowledge of modern guns. For the Eastleigh Battery, which is being raised, a new 64-pounder with all modern appliances has been supplied by the Government for the men to drill with.


1891 December. A new drill hall for the Eastleigh detachment was opened at Eastleigh. The hall was located in Desborough Road.

In April 1892 the 1st. Hants Artillery Volunteers drilled on the heavy guns at Fort Gilkicker, this included the No.6 Bitterne company and the Nos 8 and 10 Eastleigh companies. (the 10 company was later referred to as the Woolston company) No.5 company was at Shirley. They drilled again at Gilkicker on 7th May 1892 and again in 1897.

1896 September Major MacLauchlan promoted to Lieut-Colonel as officer in command after the retirement of Colonel Bance.

In June 1900 the strength of the 1st Hants Volunteer Artillery was reported as 10 Garrison companies with an authorized strength of 805, and a total enrolled of 562. Seventeen officers and 524 non-commissioned officers and men were efficients. There were 21 non-efficients. Eleven officers and 38 sergeants were proficients and had earned the special grant of 56s; and 6 officers had earned that for tactics or artillery. The muster at inspection was 496;

1908 Hon Col Sir B. Simson; Lt. Col Harrison Hogge; Majors Leas and Shiel.


2nd. Hants Artillery Volunteers Portsmouth


The 2nd Hants Artillery Volunteers were formed at Southsea in May 1860 when 65 men 'attested'. Their first commandant was Major Hall. By the end of 1860 240 members had attested and the headquarters moved from the market house to a large room at the bottom of the High street. During the next two years 40 more men were added and nearly 180 resigned, the average number of 'effectives' being 175. Major Hall resigned and Captain Galt took command. Large premises in Penny Street were used as their headquarters and a drill shed was erected opposite Landport Police Station. In January 1878 the corps paraded at their headquarters and marched out headed by their band, described in the press as "excellent". Lieut-Col. Owen was in command. On 22nd July 1879 they paraded on Governor's Green Portsmouth where 450 officers, NCOs and men were present. The press reported that "The march past was most satisfactory, the military bearing of the men calling forth frequent encomiums from the assembled spectators." . A few battalion movements were then created after which the men proceeded to gun and gyn drill. At the conclusion of the inspection the corps proceeded to Portchester where they had tea, returning to Portsmouth at 10:20 p.m. The 2nd Hants drilled on the guns at Southsea Castle.

1860: S. Hall Captain Commandant; In March 1861 he retired as Major Hall

August 1864 Captain Galt promoted to Major.

1865 Lieutenant-Colonel Galt Commanding. (He was mayor in 1869)

1890 2nd Hampshire Artillery Volunteers Southern Division Royal Artillery headquarters in Marmion Road Southsea under Hon. Col. A. Sturdee, Lt Col. Twiss, Major Totterdell and Major Reynolds.

1892 November: Major and Honorary Lieutenant-Colonel Matthew Totterdell. Captain and honorary Major Henry Poulden Holley

Saturday 12 June 1897. The 2nd Hants Volunteers were at Fort Gilkicker firing the 10-inch RMLs. Eight companies competed all hitting the target and the Gosport Company won with four hits

In 1900 the 2nd Corps had 10 garrison companies and an authorised strength of 805. The total enrolled was 777. Twenty two officers and 730 non-commissioned officers and men were efficients. Sixteen officers and 4 sergeants were proficients and had earned the special grant of 50s; and 10 officers that for tactics or artillery. The muster at inspection was 559.

1908 H.Q. St Pauls Road Southsea Hon Col. Field-Marshal Roberts; Lieut-Col. Sir W.T. Dupree; Majors Thackara & Alexander.

2nd Hampshire Volunteer Artillery at their Penny Street HQ in 1895


The 2nd Hants had 10 companies (called Batteries before 1891) in 1894:
The HQ was at Southsea, Portsmouth.
Companies 1 to 5 and 8 to 10 were at Portsmouth
No 6 was at Gosport
No7 was at Freshwater Isle of Wight
No9 was at Cosham.

No. 11 Company was raised by 1908.


More details here: Wikiwand 2nd Hampshire Volunteer Artillery


3rd Hants Artillery Volunteers Portsmouth

The 3rd Hants (Dockyard) Artillery Volunteers was composed entirely of civil servants or 'dockyard citizens'. It was raised in August 1860. Their drill hall was at first in the dockyard but a new drill hall and offices were erected on Governor's Green.

Their H.Q. and drill shed on Governors Green Portsmouth was opened on 26 August 1865. It was constructed in such a manner that it could be 'removed at a small outlay and reconstructed in any other place.' The building was 100ft by 40ft and the sides were of a skeleton construction with a roof of corrugated zinc sheets.


1861: Lieutenant Colonel A.B. Sturdee commanding, then Assistant Master Shipwright of the dockyard.

August 1864 Lieutenant-Colonel Richards commanding. Cashier of the dockyard.

In May 1865 a field battery of four guns was given to the corps by the War Department.

1869: Lieutenant Colonel Francis T Weston commanding

By 1868 there were six batteries with 410 men.

In 1868 the 6th battery of the 3rd Hants assembled at Gosport under Captain H.D.P. Cunningham J.P. In 1869 this battery took second prize in a competition firing 32 pounders at Lumps Fort, Portsmouth.


They had a band which was often acclaimed in the local news.


4th Hants Artillery Corps

It was proposed to establish an Artillery Corps at Bournemouth and guns were sent by the Government for their use. It was decided to raise a force of rifles instead. When the number increased it was decided to form a battery of artillery which was attached to the 1st Hants Administrative Brigade at Portsmouth. There were 137 'efficients' in the cops in 1868. They were supplied with 24pounder garrison guns.


1st Hants (Winchester) Corps

This corps under O.C. W.B. Simonds Esq. M.P. consisted of two companies as party of the 1st. Hants Administrative Brigade. In 1868 the strength was 150.



4th Hampshire Volunteer Battalion Hampshire Regiment Cyclist Company 2nd Hampshire Volunteers 3rd Hampshire Volunteers

4th Hampshire Volunteer Battalion Hampshire Regiment Cyclist Company 1902

2nd Hampshire Volunteers

3rd Hampshire Volunteers