The story of artillery goes back to pre-Roman times when slings, catapults and ballistas were used to project missiles. Later, longbows propelled arrows both as direct and indirect fire.
The English first used guns in battle alongside longbows at Crécy in 1346. Since then it has used them in almost every war and campaign it has fought throughout the world, but it was almost four hundred years before a permanent force of artillery was formed. In peacetime, guns were kept in castles and were looked after by Master Gunners, skilled in their manfacture and so most knowledgeable in their use. In wartime, men were recruited and trained into a Trayne of Artillery, until on 26 May 1716 the first two Companies of Artillery were formed by Royal Warrant at Woolwich
By Royal Warrant of King George I in 1716, two companies of Artillery were formed at Woolwich.
In April of 1722 these joined with Companies in Gibraltar and the island of Minorca to form the Royal Regiment of Artillery. By 1757 there were 24 Companies divided into 2 Battalions.
The Regiment continued to grow so that by 1771 there were 4 Battalions on strength. In the year of 1793 the Royal Horse Artillery was formed. In 1833, by the Royal Warrant of King William IV, the Battle honours and motto:- 'UBIQUE' (Everywhere) followed by 'QUO FAS ET GLORIA DUCUNT' (Whither Right and Glory Lead) were granted to the Regiment.
By 1861 the regiment's strength consisted of 29 Batteries of Royal Horse Artillery, 73 Field Batteries and 88 Garrison Batteries. In 1899, by Royal Warrant of Queen Victoria, the Royal Garrison Artillery was established as a separate corps, although in 1924 it was reunited with the Field Regiments to become the Royal Artillery.
During the Great War (1914-1918) approximately 900,000 men, a quarter of the whole Army. In 1947 all Batteries except those of the Royal Horse Artillery were placed on a single roll. Since the end of the Second World War, major reorganisation has resulted in the Coast Artillery being disbanded, the Anti Tank role being discontinued and the Anti Aircraft Command abolished.
The Regiment of today consists of 9 Batteries of Royal Horse Artillery and 71 other Batteries with a firepower of medium self propelled howitzers (AS90), rocket launchers (MLRS), light guns, Close and Area Air Defence systems (HVM and Rapier) and an array of targeting equipment, ranging from acoustic weapon locators, surveillance and target acquisition radars and unmanned air vehicles (Phoenix). In addition to all of this there is the King's Troop Royal Horse Artillery, the Army's official saluting Battery, who have the distinguished honour of taking 'Right of the Line' when they have their Guns on parade.
The Royal Regiment has Regiments who are trained in the Commando and Airborne light role and Regiments who support the various armoured Brigades and which are based mainly in the UK and Germany.
THE CAP BADGE The guns of the Royal Artillery are the Regiment's Colours, in the same way that the flags and guidons of infantry regiments are theirs, leading them into battle. The Colours represent pride in the Regiment, so the guns are protected and retained at all costs. If the situation demands that they are left behind they must be disabled or destroyed. The gun depicted on the cap badge is a 9pdr Rifled Muzzle Loader of about 1871, and the rammer used to ram the charge into the muzzle is also seen, to the left of the carriage wheel. A gun of this type can be seen in Firepower. Ubique, surmounting the gun, means "Everywhere", and the Motto below Quo Fas et Gloria Ducunt, "Where right and glory leads"
2 HEAVY BATTERY
2 Battery was formed as Roger Hind's Company on lst November, 1759, at Woolwich under the authority of the Royal Warrant of the 16th August, and it mustered into 3 Battalion on 15th December. It saw its first active service in Germany, from where it is coming to join the Junior Leaders Regiment in January 1973. The Battery Commander in 1760 was Captain J. Stephens, and he led the unit through the campaign visiting Osnabruck, Warburg, Buhne, Minden and Bad Salzuflen. This first tour in Germany lasted six years and was followed by a posting to North America.
The Battery fluctuated between America and Canada, with postings to Niagara, New York and Philadelphia until the 1780's when it went to the Caribbean. The exotic postings of Barbados, St Kitts, and St Lucia were not so well favoured in those days but the Battery flourished. At one time it was stationed in Antigua, but by 1790 it had returned home and was stationed again at Woolwich.
During the Napoleonic Wars the Battery saw service in Spain and at sea and it was at Copenhagen that it served as a Commando Battery in the bomb ketches. It was all too short a time with the Royal Navy and in 1801 it was sent to deal with trouble in Northern Ireland, postings in those days were for two years in the 'Emerald Isle' After a further spell at Woolwich the Troops embarked on HMS Castor and left for Northern Spain where they remained until' 1839
. Other postings between major wars included service at Malta, Acre, Halifax and Carlisle until the 18th August, 1855, the Company left Sheerness on the Troopship Perseverance, arriving at Kamlesch Bay just under a month later. Serving as a Siege Train Company mustered in camp at Sebastopol, it fought in that campaign. Afterwards it went to Balaclava where again it took part in the battle. The inevitable return to Woolwich and England took place in the middle of 1856 and very little is known about the movements of the Company from that time until it left for India as 6 (Mountain) Battery, F Brigade, Royal Artillery, on 15th September, 1883.
On arrival at Rawalpindi, the Battery was again redesignated, this time as 2 Mountain Battery, Ist Brigade, Scottish Division, Royal Artillery. initially equipped with seven pounder RML it soon changed these for the 2.5 RML .'Screw Gun ". On the threat of hostilities with Russia in April, 1885, the Battery left Pindi for Quetta. Over the next two years, the Battery, marched around India, eventually, in September 1885, being selected for field service and being detailed for the River Column, Hazara Field Force, proceeding against the Black Mountain tribes. The diary for 4th October, 1888, records: "Hard day's fighting. Enemy swordsmen charged to within 100 yards of the guns, where they were shot down. Right Division (Section ) Commander dangerously wounded." Early in November the Tribesmen submitted to terms and the Battery returned to Pindi
The next real action that involved the Battery started on 29th July, 1897, when orders were received to proceed at once to join the Malakand Field Force under Sir Bindon Blood. To quote from the diary entry of 6th August, 1897, " Arrived Malakand and joined 2nd Brigade. Spent most of the month burning villages in Lower swat as a reprisal for attacks on Malakand and Chakdara." This proved to be an exception and for most of the. rest of that year, gunnery was both the primary and secondary role and lot's of it. But routine work soon became the order of the day. By this time the Battery strength had risen to a staggering 350 all ranks, being reduced to a peace establishment under an Indian Army Order of March 1908 of a mere 331!
The First World War saw the Battery still in India where it continued its actions against dissidents. Indian Other Ranks were sent to Mesopotamia. One Section (Centre Section) proceeded on Field Service to Waziristan and two days later, two of the Battery Subalterns were assasinated by fanatics at the Bari Gali Mess. But service in India was coming to an end. Altogether the Battery had taken part in no less than five campaigns on the North West Frontier
. On 16th April, 1920, the Battery was reformed at Bulford as part of Ist British Mountain Artillery Brigade. By early 1921 the 3.7 Howitzers had arrived, together with Reservists who had been called up because of the Coal Strike. The Battery served on strike duty at Didcot and Corsham, but this did not last long and by June the Reservists had left. Towards the end of the same year, the Battery left for Egypt with orders to proceed to Palestine. The recruiting problem had then eased and the embarkation strength was 5 Officers and 188 Other Ranks. After travelling around the Middle East for a year, the battery ended up in the Dardanelles, where it made gun positions and placed the guns into them, where they stayed until return to Cairo in August, 1923. At the outbreak of mutiny among Sudanese troops at the end of November, 1924, the Battery was despatched at great haste to Khartoum where it stayed for a year. Returning to England in November, 1926, establishment was again reduced, this time to 22 Other Ranks, as it had been decided that Pack Batteries in the United Kingdom should be used only in the event of a draught! Renamed Ist Light Battery of 5th Light Brigade, Royal Artillery, in 1927, it returned to Bulford in 1930. In 1935, with the abolition of Light Artillery, the Battery became Field, taking part in the campaign in France in 1939-40 and at Dunkirk with the designation 101 Field Battery. It returned to France and fought also in the 1944-45 campaign in France and Germany. At the end of hostilities, it once again went to Palestine and Trans-Jordan, returning to the United Kingdom in 1948 and serving with Ack-Ack Command until its disbandment in 1955. Between 1956 and 31st July, 1972, the Battery served with 24th Regiment, Royal Artillery, firstly as a Medium and later, in Paderborn, as a Heavy Battery equipped with the 8-inch Howitzer. Upon amalgamation with 34 (Seringapatam) Heavy Battery, Royal Artillery, on that date, this wandering ex-Company went in name only to the Junior Leaders Regiment at Bramcote where perhaps its travels may come to an end and it may take a well earned rest. Having quoted once or twice from the diary during this short history, I think it only fair to finish with a quote which shows how amusing and misleading one spelling mistake can be. On Christmas Eve, 1897, the diary records, "Battery marched via Ali Musjid into the Bavar Valley and destroyed China.'. What a beautiful thought