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|Royal Regiment of Artillery
The Company has a close association with the Royal Regiment of Artillery and a number of Liverymen are either past or serving members of the Regiment. We are proud to have had former Master Gunner, St. James Park, Field Marshall The Lord Vincent, GBE, KCB, DSO and also his successor, General Sir Alexander Harley, KBE, CB as Honorary Court Assistants. General Sir Timothy Granville-Chapman the present Master Gunner St. James Park was made a Freeman of the Company in July 2009 with a view to his joining the Court as an honorary member once he has received the Freedom of the City of London and been clothed in the Livery. In order to maintain continuity Elliott Porte has been appointed as the Company's 'Military Liaison Officer'.
The association stems from the wheel and in the 1670 Bylaws of the Company it is decreed
It is also worth recording that the Royal Artillery is the only regiment in the British Army to have the traditional wheel incorporated within their cap badge.
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 manufacture and knowledgeable in their use. In wartime, men were recruited and trained into a Trayne of Artillery until on the 26th May 1716 the first two Companies of Artillery were formed by Royal Warrant at Woolwich.
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. Ubique, surmounting the gun, means "Everywhere", and the motto below Quo Fas et Gloria Ducunt, "Where right and glory lead us".
More information regarding the history and traditions of the Royal Regiment of Artillery can be found by visiting the Royal Artillery Museum at Woolwich or visiting their website at www.firepower.org.uk. The Company has supported the Museum with a grant of money in the 2011.
In recognition of the close links between the Livery Company and the Royal Artillery, the Company makes an annual award in the form of 'The Openshaw Cup' to the best Warrant Officer on the Gunnery Career Course in July each year at The Royal School of Artillery, Larkhill and the best Gunner Students at the Army Foundation College in Harrogate. Likewise to the best NCO of 106 (Yeomanry) Regt RA.
106 (Yeomanry) Regiment Royal Artillery
Royal Artillery Army Cadet Force
The Company in addition to affiliating with 96, 97 and 109 (Cadet) RA Detachments of the South East Army Cadet Force, based at Erith, Grove Park and Woolwich have recently entered into a further affiliation with 106 (Yeomanry) Regiment RA based at Grove Park.
Each year the Master and other members of the Company will visit the Regiment during its annual camp and The Master will present 'The Wheelwrights Cup' to the best junior NCO. The Cup was presented to the Company by Past Master Kenneth M. Davidson for the purpose.
Royal Horse Artillery
The King's Troop, Royal Horse Artillery is a ceremonial unit of the British Army, quartered at Woolwich. It is a mounted unit and all of its soldiers are trained to care for and drive teams of six horses pulling each of six First World War-era 13-pounder state saluting guns.
Its duties include the firing of royal salutes on royal anniversaries and state occasions is most often seen providing gun salutes on state occasions in Hyde Park, and Green Park. In addition, its gunners have an operational role in the defence of the United Kingdom and members of the troop have been deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq. The troop has recently moved from its barracks in St John's Wood to the Napier Lines at Woolwich.
Royal Horse Artillery
The Company has formed an affiliation with 1st Regiment, Royal Horse Artillery who are based at Tidworth.
In July 2010 members of the Company attended the medals parade of 1 RHA at Tidworth on the Regiment’s return from operations. The Military Liaison Officer had the rare privilege of assisting General Sir Timothy Granville-Chapman present campaign medals to the Regiment.
No 12 (Bomber) Squadron
Royal Air Force
A History of 12(B) Squadron
“Leading the Field for over 100 Years”
12(B) Squadron was formed on 14th February 1915 at Netheravon, Wiltshire, with BE2c aircraft. During WWI the Squadron, flying RE8 aircraft, distinguished itself in action over many Western Front battlefields, including Loos and The Somme. In 1926, the Squadron was equipped with the ‘Immortal’ Fairey Fox which they used to revolutionise bomber tactics, earning its motto ‘Leads The Field’. The Fairey Fox was the first all metal aircraft and its performance was far superior to any of its contemporaries, resulting in the Squadron winning numerous bombing trophies. Consequently the Squadron adopted a Fox’s mask as a symbol of its superiority; a symbol that has survived to this day.
During the inter-war years the Squadron flew Hawker Harts and then Hinds until re-equipping with the Fairey Battle in 1938. On the first day of WWII the Squadron deployed to France in preparation for the fight ahead. The Squadron saw a great deal of action in the Battle of France, where aircrew of 12(B) Squadron won the first two VCs awarded to the RAF in the conflict. These were awarded to Fg Off Garland and Sgt Gray, who were the lead aircraft of 6 attacking the Maastricht Bridge, over the Albert Canal, Belgium. Only 1 of the 6 aircraft returned from the mission. As the war progressed the Fairey Battle was felt to be outdated and the Squadron rerolled to the Vickers Wellington in November 1940 and then the Avro Lancaster in 1942.
Following WWII, the Squadron re-equipped with Avro Lincolns and then, in 1951, the Canberra, flying from RAF Binbrook. From 1962 to 1968 the Squadron was part of the V-Force, flying the Avro Vulcan, armed with the Yellow Sun one megaton nuclear weapon, the Sqn operated from RAF Cottesmore. It was during this time when the Squadron won the 1964 US Strategic Air Command bombing competition.
In 1969 the Squadron switched to the maritime strike/attack role and re-equipped with the Buccaneer at RAF Lossiemouth, which it would operate for the next 24 years, seeing action once more in the Gulf War as laser designators for Tornado precision bombing operations. They also retained a nuclear strike capability, equipped with WE.177 tactical nuclear bombs.
In 1993, 12(B) Squadron converted to the Tornado GR1, keeping both its nuclear attack capability and maritime strike role. On 17th December 1998 the Squadron, who were on standby in Kuwait, carried out attacks on military targets in Iraq as part of the aptly named Operation Desert Fox. In 2003 the Squadron played a major role in Operation TELIC during the Gulf conflict. This commitment in Iraq continued until 2008, when British troops withdrew from the country. The Tornado fleet based in the region also returned to the UK, marking the end of a long era of the aircraft operating in that theatre (or so we assumed at the time).
Shortly after returning from Iraq it was announced that the Tornado GR4 was to replace the Harrier in Afghanistan. Number 12(B) Squadron were specifically asked to be the first GR4 Squadron in theatre, setting off from Lossiemouth with 10 aircraft and, via a short stop in Cyprus, duly arrived at Kandahar with 8 aircraft in June 2010. The Squadron ultimately completed 4 tours in Afghanistan, finally returning in November 2013. During this period, 12(B) Squadron also supported Operation ELLAMY, deploying to Gioia del Colle in Italy with II(AC) Squadron, as well flying long-range Stormshadow missions deep into Libya from RAF Marham.
Having disbanded at RAF Lossiemouth in April 2014, the Squadron was reformed at RAF Marham on 9 January 2015, where it will remain one of the 3 Tornado GR4 frontline squadrons tasked with support of Operation SHADER – the RAF’s ongoing operation against D’aesh formerly known as Islamic State – the terrorist organisation reaping havoc across Syria and Iraq. As of September 2016 the Squadron has completed 2 busy three-month tours of Operation SHADER from RAF Akrotiri, Cyprus and is working towards starting their next turn of the wheel towards the end of the year.