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The Royal Horse Artillery
The Royal Horse Artillery can be traced back to the 16th century. On 1 July 1899, the Royal Artillery was divided into two groups: the Royal Horse Artillery and Royal Field Artillery comprised one group, The Royal Garrison Artillery, being the other. In effect the three operated as separate corps until they were amalganated in 1924. The Royal Horse Artillery, has always had separate traditions, uniforms and insignia, still retains a separate identity to this day, and is considered by many to be an élite.
during the Great War 1914-1918, The RHA was responsible for light, mobile guns that provided firepower in support of the cavalry and supplemented the Royal Field Artillery. In 1914 there was one battery to each Brigade of Cavalry. The original BEF included only one Division of Cavalry, with 4 Brigades, leading to four batteries RHA, which were organised into two Brigades. As the war progressed further brigades were formed.
A battery included 5 officers and 200 men, 228 horses and six 13-pounder field guns.
There were 16 Brigades RHA in the Regular Army and a number of Territorial batteries:
- "A" The 1st City of London Horse Artillery Battery, Honourable Artillery Company
- 1914: The 1st "A" served in Great Britain as part of the 2nd Brigade.
- 1915-1918: The 1st "A" moved to Egypt and formed the 1st Brigade RHA TF amalgamating with the 1st "B" serving in the Middle East until 1918.
- 1914-1917: The 2nd "A" served in Great Britain
- 1917: The 2nd "A" went to France, serving with 2nd "B" as part of the 126th Army Brigade RFA. until the end of hostilities
- “B” (2nd City of London Horse Artillery Battery) HAC
- Battery HQ was at Armoury House in the City of London
- "B" Battery provided artillery support to the South Eastern Mounted Brigade.
- 1914: The Battery was split into 1st and 2nd "B"
- 1914-1915 1st "B" served in Great Britain as part of the 2nd Brigade RHA TF with 1st "A" and the Berkshire and Nottinghamshire batteries
- 1915-1918: The 1st "B" moved to Egypt and formed the 1st Brigade RHA TF amalgamating with the 1st "A". serving in the Middle East until 1918.
- 1916: 309th (Honourable Artillery Company) Siege Battery RGA was formed.
- 1917-18: The 309th served in France.
- Ayr Battery
- HQ was at Ayr
- Ayre Battery provided artillery support to the Lowland Mounted Brigade.
- 1914-15. Ayre battery served in Great Britain
- 1915-18: Ayre Battery served in the Middle East
- 1916: Ayre Battery and Inverness-shire Battery formed the 4th Brigade RHA TF
- 1917: 4th Brigade RHA TF was joined by the Somerset Battery to form 18th Brigade RHA TF.
- Berkshire Battery
- HQ was at Reading with a Section at Ascot.
- Berkshire Battery provided artillery support for the 2nd South Midland Mounted Brigade
- 1914-1915: 1/1st Battery served in Great Britain.
- 1915-1918: 1/1st Battery served in the Middle East
- 1917: 1/1st Battery joined the 6th Mounted Brigade.
- late 1917: 1/1st Battery joined with the Hampshire and Leicestershire Batteries to form the 20th Brigade RHA TF
- 1914-1917: 1/2nd Battery served in Great Britain.
- 1917-1918: 1/2nd Battery served in France as part of the 158th Army Brigade RFA..
- Battery HQ was at Market Road, Chelmsford, with sections at Chelmsford, Colchester and Ingatestone.
- Essex battery provided artillery support to the Eastern Mounted Brigade
- 1914: 1/1st Essex Battery was formed
- 1914-1915: 1/1st Essex Battery served in Great Britain.
- 1915-1918: 1/1st Essex Battery served in the Middle East
- 1915: 1/1st Essex Battery with the Hampshire and West Riding Batteries, was part of the 263rd Brigade RFA.
- 1917: 1/1st Essex Battery transferred to the 20th Brigade RHA TF, the artillery support of the 7th Mounted Brigade.
- 1914: 2/1st Essex Battery was formed
- 1914-1916: 2/1st Essex Battery served in Great Britain
- 1916-1918: 2/1st Essex Battery served France as part of the 298th Brigade RFA.
- Glamorgan Battery
- Glamorgan Battery HQ was at Port Talbot
- Glamorgan Battery provided artillery support to the South Wales Mounted Brigade. The battery was duplicated in 1915 forming 1/1st and 2/1st Glamorganshire Batteries.
- 1914-16: 1/1st Glamorgan Battery served in Great Britain.
- 1916: 1/1st Glamorgan Battery joined the 293rd Brigade RFA.
- 1917-18: 1/1st Glamorgan Battery served in France.
- 1915: 2/1st Glamorgan Battery was formed
- 1915-1918: 2/1st Glamorgan Battery served in Great Britain.
- 1916: 2/1st Glamorgan Battery joined first the 297th Brigade RFA and then the 298th. (When the 298th left for France the 2/1st Glamorgan Battery remained in Britain as an independent Field Battery.)
- Hampshire Battery
- Hampshire Battery HQ was at Southampton with the ammunition column at Basingstoke.
- Hampshire Battery provided artillery support to the 1st South Western Mounted Brigade.
- 1914-16: 1/1st Hampshire Battery served in Great Britain.
- 1916-18: 1/1st Hampshire Battery served in the Middle East as part of the 263rd Brigade RFA with the Essex and West Riding Batteries.
- 1917: 1/1st Hampshire Battery served joined the 20th Brigade RHA TF, the artillery support of the 7th Mounted Brigade.
- 1914-16: 2/1st Hampshire Battery served in Great Britain.
- 1916-18: The 2/1st Hampshire Battery served in France with the 298th Brigade RFA.
- Inverness Battery
- HQ was at Margaret Street, Inverness.
- Inverness Battery provided artillery support to the Highland Mounted Brigade.
- 1914-15: The 1/1st Inverness Battery served in Great Britain.
- 1915:18: The 1/1st Inverness Battery served in the Middle East.
- 1916: The 1/1st Inverness Battery with the Ayrshire Battery, formed the 4th Brigade RHA TF
- 1917: The 4th Brigade RHA TF was joined by the Somerset Battery to form 18th Brigade RHA TF.
- 1914-18: The 1/1st Inverness Battery served in Great Britain as artillery support to the 2/1st South Midland Mounted Brigade.
- Leicester Battery
- Leicester Battery HQ was at No.1 Magazine Square, Leicester
- Leicester Battery provided artillery support to the North Midland Mounted Brigade.
- 1915: 1/1st Leicestershire Battery was formed by a split of the origional Battery.
- 1914-1916: 1/1st Leicester Battery served in Great Britain
- 1916-1918: 1/1st Leicester Battery served in the Middle East, forming 3rd Brigade RHA TF with the Somerset Battery.
- 1917: 1/1st Leicester Battery transferred to the 20th Brigade RHA TF.
- 1915: 2/1st Leicestershire Battery was formed by a split of the origional Battery.
- 1914-1916: 2/1st Leicester Battery served in Great Britain as artillery support to the 1st Mounted Division
- 191-18: 2/1st Leicester Battery served in France as part of the 223rd Brigade RFA.
- Nottingham Battery
- HQ was at Nottingham with a section at Wiseton.
- Nottingham Battery provided artillery support to the Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire Mounted Brigade.
- 1914: The battery was split forming 1/1st and 2/1st Nottinghamshire Batteries.
- 1915-1918: 1/1st Nottinghamshire Battery served in the Middle East with the 2nd Brigade RHA TF in support of the 2nd Mounted Division and independently as part of the Western Frontier Force fighting against the Senussi in the desert.
- 1917: 1/1st Nottinghamshire Battery joined the 19th Brigade RHA TF, providing artillery support to the Australian Mounted Division.
- 1914-16: The 2/1st Nottinghamshire Battery served in Great Britain, as artillery support to the 2/2nd Mounted Brigade.
- 1917-1918 The 2/1st Nottinghamshire Battery served in India as part of the 215th Brigade RFA
- Shropshire Battery HQ was at Shrewsbury with a section at Wellington and the ammunition column at Church Stretton.
- Shropshire Battery provided artillery support to the Welsh Border Mounted Brigade.
- 1914: The battery was duplicated to become the 1/1st and 2/1st Shropshire Batteries.
- 1914-17: 1/1st Shropshire Battery served in Great Britain
- 1916: 1/1st Shropshire Battery became part of the 293rd Brigade RFA.
- 1917-18: 1/1st Shropshire Battery served in France.
- 1914-17: 2/1st Shropshire Battery served in Great Britain
- 1917-18: 2/1st Shropshire Battery served in France as part of the 158rd Brigade RFA.
- Somerset Battery
- Somerset Battery HQ was at Taunton with a section at Glastonbury.
- Somerset Battery provided artillery support for the 2nd South Western Mounted Brigade.The battery was duplicated in 1914 forming 1/1st and 2/1st Somerset Batteries.
- 1914-16: The 1/1st Somerset Battery served in Great Britain
- 1916-18: The 1/1st Somerset Battery served in the Middle East, with the Leicestershire Battery as part of 3rd RHA Brigade TF.
- 1917: The 1/1st Somerset Battery joined the 18th Brigade RHA TF with the Inverness-shire and Ayrshire Batteries.
- 1914-17: The 2/1st Somerset Battery served in Great Britain
- 1917-18: The 2/1st Somerset Battery served in France.
- Warwick Battery
- Warwick Battery HQ was at Clarendon Place, Leamington Spa, with a section at Coventry.
- Warwick Battery provided artillery support to the 1st South Midland Mounted Brigade.
- 1914-18: The 1/1st Warwick Battery served in France. They were the first Territorial artillery unit to go overseas on active service.
- 1915: Warwick battery joined the 7th Brigade RHA
- 1917: Warwick battery joined the 15th Brigade RHA.
- 1914-18: The 2/1st Warwick Battery served in Great Britain
- West Riding Battery.
- West Riding Battery HQ was at Wentworth Woodhouse, Rotherham.
- West Riding Battery provided artillery support to the Yorkshire Mounted Brigade.
- 1916-1918: West Riding Battery served in the Middle East as part of the 263rd Brigade RFA.
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Please note we currently have a backlog of submitted material, our volunteers are working through this as quickly as possible and all names, stories and photos will be added to the site. If you have already submitted a story to the site and your UID reference number is higher than 213858, your information is still in the queue, please do not resubmit without contacting us first.
Those known to have served with The Royal Horse Artillery during the Great War 1914-1918.
Select a story link or scroll down to browse those stories hosted on this site.
- Ernest Worrell Gustave Armand Read their Story.
- Gnr. Joseph Benfield MM & Bar. Read their Story.
- Gnr. Harry Border Read their Story.
- A/Sjt. John William Deacon Read their Story.
- Gnr. George Noble Oliver Forster Read their Story.
- Ernest Alfred "Glen" Glenister
- Pte. Joseph William Hubert Read their Story.
- Sjt. Thomas Humphrey DCM. Read their Story.
- John Keywood Read their Story.
- Capt. Richard Knox Read their Story.
- Boy Robert George Matthews Read their Story.
- Robert George Matthews Read their Story.
- Michael McNamara Read their Story.
- Sgt Alfred Mole Read their Story.
- Bdr. Walter Pollard Read their Story.
- Dvr. Robert Baxter "Racka" Rackstraw Read their Story.
- Cpl. Ezra Read (d.1st Sep 1917)
- George Sewell Read their Story.
- John Stringer
- Sdlr. Harold Taylor (d.1914) Read their Story.
- Thomas Turnbull Read their Story.
- Brig. George Walker (d.22nd October 1918) Read their Story.
The names on this list have been submitted by relatives, friends, neighbours and others who wish to remember them, if you have any names to add,, or any recollections or photos of those listed, please get in touch.
Ernest Worrell Gustave Armand Royal Horse ArtilleryMy grandfather served in First World War in the Royal Horse Artillery, was awarded the Mons Star and fought in the battle of Ypres. His name was Ernest Worrell Gustave Armand. I cannot find any info regarding his call up dates, birth date etc. could anyone please help?
Gnr. Harry Border Royal Horse ArtilleryMy Granfather, Harry Border was injured during the great war. I know he was in the RHA and his regimental number, however his military records were destroyed apart from his medal records. It is unclear from these records where he served what regiments he supported and where he was trained.
John Keywood Royal Horse ArtilleryMy grandfather, John Keywood, was born in Dec 1895 in London. He served with The British Royal Artillery, during the Great War. We know he lied about his age in order to be allowed to join up and was in the Battle of the Somme, in the Royal Horse Artillery. Can anyone help us find any information about him?
Michael McNamara Royal Horse ArtilleryMy grandfather, Michael McNamara (extreme right against post in this photo), served I am told with the Royal Horse Artillery during WW1.
If anyone could give me some more info on this attached photo I would be very thankful.
George Sewell Royal Horse ArtilleryI am in the process of constructing my family tree. My mother when she was alive told me that my Grandad George Sewell was a long-serving member of the Royal Horse Artillery. He was killed in a road accident in Sheffield, around 1930 and the Royal Horse Artillert supplied a horse drawn gun carriage and a guard of honour. My mother used to have a cutting about his funeral from the Sheffield Newspaper.
I would like to know more about him and if possible find a copy of the paper.
A/Sjt. John William DeaconMy mother’s grandfather was in the First World War his name was John William Deacon, he was born in 1877 at 40 Clark Street, Leicester. He was in the R.H.A. before he went in to the corps he was a steeple jack, which we didn’t know until I started to research him. He fell 40 foot down a chimney, after that he joined up. I have photos of him in uniform with some of his men and with his wife Sarah Pryor who was born in Barkby Leicester in 1872, they married in 1904
We know that before the regiment went to fight they did there training on Salisbury Plain and then went out to Egypt and were based in Mustafa.
On the 5th of September he got in to some sort of trouble and he got 7 days field punishment N0.2 and on 30th Dec 1916 he forfeits 3 days pay under royal warrant for Absence. On his medical record he was sent home due to his knee problem, when he embarked home he came back via Caldonia, Portsaid
We would like to know more about the Egyptian Exp. Force as we don’t know much about them and the x a park raf at Romtaraonm where he was employed in packing duties in 1918.
Pte. Joseph William Hubert Royal Horse ArtilleryMy Great Grandfather, Joseph William Hubert who was actually born William Joseph Hubert on 18/2/1885 in Rotherhithe. He enlisted for military service in Woolwich on 16/10/1905 and was a horseman of the Royal Horse and Field Artillery.
He served during the Great War as a Head Horseman and according to family history would lead a group of six horses towing a field gun on to the battle field. During the conflict he lost three horses and their loss was paid for from his own wages. He also rode the horses bareback. One such time he did this was during a Royal tournament of the armed forces to which he presented the Queen with her handkerchief which she had dropped. This being all part of the display. We also know that Joseph fought in the Battle of the Somme in 1916.
He was discharged from the Army in consequence of termination of a period of engagement serving 16 years and 61 days and 304 days in the Army Reserve. His description is: 5'6" in height, grey eyes, dark hair and bears tattoos on both the right upper and lower arm of flags crossed. He married Catherine Sinclair in 1909. He survived the war and died in the late fifties. Unfortunately I have been unable to find out his battalion number or rank number but I do know he had the Great War of Civilisation medal plus two others which have since disappeared.
Sjt. Thomas Humphrey DCM. O Battery Royal Horse ArtilleryThomas Humphrey joined the Royal Horse Artillery in 1905 and served until 1912. He was then on the reserve list and recalled in August 1914.
O Battery were involved in the battle of Neuve Chapelle in March 1915. During the battle Thomas was at a forward observation post approximately 100 yards from the German front line. The telephone lines linking the observation post to the guns had been cut by shell fire. He went out on two occasions with a comrade to repair the wires during a heavy enemy bombardment. For most conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty he was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal. His story is recorded in the book "Deeds That Thrill the Empire".
Capt. Richard Knox Royal Horse ArtilleryCaptain Richard Knox was apparently my grandfather. I am 64 yrs old now and have gone through life assuming my mother was illegitimate as granny never spoke of a husband. But I came across my mother's wedding certificate which had Richard Knox as her father. I would be most grateful if someone out there could point me in the right direction to find out more about him.
Thomas Turnbull Royal Horse ArtillerySadly I did not get to know my Grandad Thomas Turnbull very well as he was estranged from my grandmother for many years. I only got to know him briefly before he died. I understand he was in the Royal Horse Artillery.I have a few of his medals which were left to me in a will.
I would love to know anything about his exact regiment, anything really would be useful, I would be really grateful.
Sdlr. Harold Taylor F Troop Royal Horse Artillery (d.1914)My Grandad Harold Taylor, was a saddler with F Troop and was killed at Ypres very early in the War.
Bdr. Walter Pollard Royal Horse ArtilleryMy Grandad Walter Pollard was in the Royal Horse Artillery as a Bombadier, his medals are the `1914- 1915 Star` `Victory Medal` and `British Medal`. On his records there is a reference to `R.F.A 346B` I assume this is the Royal Field Artillery (346 Battery, Battalion, bombadier?) Family members think that he may have been at The Battle of Mons. I am afraid that is all I know about his war. But, when he came to live with us (near Salisbury in the late 60`s) in the last years of his life,and as a young boy (about 10 years old),I would see him waving a clenched fist, and shouting `Bloody Hun`. This used to frighten me and I would leave the room.Nobody in the family would talk about it.
In WW2, Grandad worked on a Lightship near Gt Yarmouth, I think it had `Cromer` on the side. Grandad told me a story when on board the lightship he and his mates were watching a dog fight, when a German plane attacked their ship and several of his mates were killed.
Dvr. Robert Baxter "Racka" Rackstraw 6th. Reserve BatteryMy father, Robert Baxter Rackstraw, was in France for part of the war, he was in the 2/4th Battalion Royal Scots No 4973, 4th Res and was transferred to the Royal Field Artillery, No91930 driver, 6 Res Battery, after being claimed by his older brother, George Stevens Rackstraw. Date of the transfer was 16th July 1916. When he was in the Royal Scots he was based at Terling Camp, Witham and when the transfer was complete he was based at Forrest Row, Sussex.
George Stevens Rackstraw(Sitting Hat On) & Robert Baxter Rackstraw (Standing Hat On).
Boy Robert George Matthews HMS InvincibleBorn in Kentish Town London, Robert lived a rather full life. His father and three generations before him had all been Blacksmiths. His Mother was a laundry assistant. He was the oldest of a family of 12.
When he was 15, Robert ran away from home and joined the Navy No. J 26013 at the beginning of WW1. After training in Portsmouth and Plymouth, he sailed on the Invincible, as a boy, to the South Atlantic to the first Battle of the Falkland Islands. It was a very hard life aboard ship. One of his duties was to take the Captains dinner to his cabin and afterwards he was allowed to eat the leftovers. One day he mistakenly ate some of the food thinking the Captain had finished, and was flogged.
After coming back to England he jumped ship and went absent without leave, staying around London for a while, working as a Pot boy in the pubs. A very wise move, as the Invincible was sunk in the Battle of Jutland, with most hands and I would not be here to put these notes together.
Robert then joined the same regiment as his father. The Royal Artillery army no. 1048820 under an assumed name, Robert G. Smith and was sent to France. He was there in The Royal Field Artillery and The Royal Horse Artillery from July 1915 To May 1919. I cannot find his Army records, but do remember him talking of the area of Loos. He was sent home to England during these years with frost bite in his feet and was in hospital in The Nunnery, on Nunnery Lane in York. My grandparents, living in Nunnery Lane, would ask recuperating lads to tea on a Sunday and this is how my mother and father met. He went back to France for the rest of the war. In 1919 he transferred to Meerut, India with The Royal Field Artillery, training as a blacksmith, which had been a family profession going back four generations at least. He was in India, moving around quite a lot until November 1925, then going on the army reserve until 1931.
On leaving the Army in 1925 he lodged with a lady called Mrs Ball, in Altofts, and worked as a blacksmith at P & P Pit, shoeing the pit ponies. Later he worked as an ARP Warden during the Second World War and as a British Railways Goods Guard until his retirement in November 1967 at the age of 70.
Also from 1939 to 1963 Robert was a Special Constable in Normanton, becoming a section leader and rising to the rank of Sergeant. He was also very keen gardener, and for many years had two and three allotments. He always said food came before flowers, but there were usually a few flowers too. During the war and times of shortage he would have as many as 60 rabbits, for our own pot and neighbours too. Spare vegetables and fruit were also sold for coppers to make a bit of money for next year’s seed.
Robert had a long and happy retirement, living latterly in Attlee Street and died aged 92 in 1990. He is buried in Altofts cemetery with Rose who had died many years before.
If he had not jumped ship, I would not have been here to tell this short tale, as there were only 5 survivors from the Invincible in the battle of Jutland.
Robert George Matthews Royal Horse ArtilleryMy Grandfather Robert George Matthews, a blacksmith before the war, served with the Royal Horse Artillery.
Gnr. Joseph Benfield MM & Bar. "C" Bty. 124 Brigade Royal Horse ArtilleryJoseph Benfield is my granddad. We in the family know nothing apart from that he was wounded 3 times in France. He was mobilised in 1914 and demobed in 1920 although transferred to the Z reserves in 1919. I have confirmed with the RA museum the facts as stated.
If anyone can give me futher info I would be very greatful.
Gnr. George Noble Oliver Forster Royal Field ArtilleryMy Grandfather, George Noble Oliver Forster, was born in 1883. In Sept 1914, age 31 he was posted to France & served with the 12th Division Royal Field Artillery & Royal Horse Artillery for the duration of the war. Previously he had served in the Tynemouth Garrison Artillery (Volunteer) where he trained as a Gunner. Luckily he did not sustain any major injury & returned to his work as an Iron Founder.
In 1920 he married his fiance Ellen Maud Stone. In 1928 George was selected to form one of the Guard of Honour of Ex-Servicemen, to line the New Tyne Bridge at its official opening by King George & Queen Mary on Wednesday 10th October. A badge was issued to each member & a charge of 1d was made. A band was present to play all the old war tunes & the ex-servicemen were requested "to let their voices rip" - I still have the invitation letter & badge.
Brig. George Walker Royal Horse Artillery (d.22nd October 1918)George Walker was born on the 15th April 1895. He was the fourth of eight children born to Jonas Richard Walker who was manager of the corn mill in Longridge and Margaret(Houghton).
He appears on the 1911 census with his parents at Chapel Farm in Longridge. He is aged 15 and working as a carter for a corn dealer. He is noted on the memorial to his father in St Lawrence Churchyard as having died in Quetta India on 25/10/1918 aged 23.
Sgt Alfred Mole Royal Horse ArtilleryMy father, Alfred Moles at the age of 17, joined the RHA in 1914. He served throughout the War. His main complaint was that he loved horses but had to take the old and wounded horses to the Belgian "Knackers Yard". He did have campaign medals but they have been long lost and I believe that the relevant service records were destroyed by fire. He also served in the NFS during World War II
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