Royal Regiment of Artillery
The Company’s longest standing and closest military relationship is with the Royal Regiment of Artillery. A number of Liverymen are either past or serving members of the Regiment. We are proud that several former Master Gunners of St. James’s Park have become Honorary Liverymen, including Field Marshall The Lord Vincent, GBE, KCB, DSO; General Sir Alexander Harley, KBE, CB; General Sir Timothy Granville-Chapman and the present Master Gunner Lt Gen Sir Andrew Gregory KBE, CB.
This important association can be traced back to the 1670 Bylaws of the Company in which, inter alia, it is decreed:-
“That if at any time hereafter notice and command shall be given too this Company to furnish “His Majestys Trayne of Waggons or Artillery” with wheelwrights to attend the service thereof Thereupon this Company shall appoint fit and able persons admitted to this Society for the said work”.
It is also worth recording that the Royal Artillery is the only regiment in the British Army to have the traditional wooden 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”.
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. Awards are also made to the best RA badged student at their passing-out parade at Harrogate.
1st Regiment, Royal Horse Artillery
Formed in 1938 but created from pre-existing batteries, two of which have served continuously since the 1790s and one since 1855, the Regiment is immersed in its proud history. The Regiment’s most recent deployments have seen all three batteries deploy to Estonia on Op CABRIT in order to deter our nation’s adversaries and re-assure allies as part of NATO’s enhanced Forward Presence.
There has been a flourishing relationship between the Company and the Regiment. In recent years the Master has attended selected Regimental events including the Passing Out parade for the Bombardier and Lance Bombardier leadership courses in Nov 19. The Company presents awards to each course for the best student. These awards are sponsored by the Company and presented by the Master during the course closing parade.
King’s Troop, Royal Horse Artillery
The King’s Troop, Royal Horse Artillery was formed on 24th October 1947 by King George VI. It 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 QF 13-pounder guns used today to fire salutes on state occasions. Its duties include the firing of royal salutes on royal anniversaries and state occasions and providing a gun carriage and team of black horses for state and military funerals. The unit is most often seen providing gun salutes on state occasions in Hyde Park, and Green Park.
There has been a positive and ever-growing relationship between the Company and the Regiment since its formation. With members of the Company invited to royal salutes and visits throughout the year. The Regiment also benefit greatly from the support of the Company
7 Parachute Regiment (RHA)
7 Parachute Regiment (RHA) is based at Melville Barracks, Colchester and is an integral part of 16 Air Assault Brigade. The Regiment was formed on 27 June 1961 with the re-designation of 33rd Parachute Light Regiment Royal Artillery as 7th Parachute Regiment Royal Horse Artillery. The regiment first saw action in the middle-east in Kuwait in 1961 and then in Aden in 1963–65 where it was involved in fierce fighting in the Radfan mountains.
Since the formation of 16 Air Assault Brigade in 1999, 7 Para RHA has been involved in numerous overseas operations. The Sierra Leone campaign in summer 2000 was followed by Op Essential Harvest in Macedonia a year later and then two batteries were deployed to the Kabul area of Afghanistan in early 2002.
On the afternoon of 19th March 2003 7 Para RHA fired the first shots of the Iraq war by any coalition ground forces. The next day they crossed the border in support of the US I Marine Expeditionary Force. The regiment was instrumental in securing the strategic Rumalya oilfields and supporting the MEF in their move north to Nasiriyah.
106 Regiment (Yeomanry) RA
106 is the only yeomanry regiment left in the Royal Artillery and is unique in that it is also the only reserve close air defence regiment. It is based in London, Portsmouth and Southampton. Equipped with the Lightweight Multiple Launcher (LML) system, the battery supports 12 (Minden) Air Assault Battery, part of 16 Air Assault Brigade. The battery found itself heavily involved in Op Olympics in 2012 providing security and manning Air Defence sites throughout London.
The Regiment is composed of three batteries namely 265 based in Grove Park, London; 457 based at Southampton and 295 based in Portsmouth.
Each year the Company award the best NCO with the Davidson Cup and an engraved tankard.
Greater London South East Sector Army Cadet Force (GLSESACF) Detachments 96, 97 and 109
The Company has a long tradition of supporting the activities of the GLSESACF particularly those companies attached to the Royal Artillery namely 96, 97 and 109 Detachments.
In 2016 these detachments were paraded at the home of the King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery, Napier Lines in Woolwich, and were issued their new Royal Horse Artillery cap badges.
Each year the Company awards the best RA badged cadet NCO with a purse of £200, a framed citation and a model of the Nery Gun. To be selected for this award is highly prestigious and competitive. The award is made annually at the Installation Court and is attended by the winner, the Detachment Commander and the Regimental Commandant.
From time to time the Company provides financial support to the cadets to enable as many as possible to take part in visits to places of historic military interest. Examples would be a trip to the Somme battlefields and a visit to the Ypres Salient.
The Master and Military Liaison Officer (MLO) review the RA badged cadets annually during an evening visit on one of their usual troop nights.
The cadets also provide a carpet guard at Mansion House and other events. To be part of this group is regarded as very special and there is a waiting list of cadets who wish to be involved.
No 12 Squadron Royal Air Force
12 Squadron is based at RAF Coningsby, Lincolnshire and holds the unique and very special privilege of being the RAF’s only joint squadron since the Second World War.
12 Sqn can trace it’s history back to the Royal Flying Corps and the Great War. Formed in 1915 at Netheravon Airfield the Squadron first saw action over the Western Front. During the Second World War personnel from 12 Sqn were the first RAF recipients of the Victoria Cross. Flying Officer D Garland and Sgt T Gray were involved in a daring attack on the bridges to the west of Maastricht. Leading 6 Fairey Battle aircraft Flying Officer Garland attacked the bridges over the Albert Canal whilst experiencing intense aerial bombardment by enemy aircraft and ground based defences. Both were killed in the attack but were subsequently awarded the VC due to their actions on the day for their actions in helping slow the German advance into France.
Throughout the Cold War 12 Sqn continued to operate, flying the English Electric Canberra followed by the Avro Vulcan V bomber in the nuclear deterrent role. In 1991 12 Sqn deployed with their Buccaneer aircraft in order to participate in Op GRANBY, the UK response to the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. Using their targeting pods the Buccaneers were able to provide precision guidance, which had been lacking until the arrival of the Buccaneer, to Tornado GR1 aircraft. The Buccaneers were retired in 1993 and replaced by the Tornado GR1 and later the Tornado GR4. Operating their Tornado GR1 aircraft 12 Sqn was involved in Op DESERT FOX, the four day air campaign against Iraq. This action against Iraq continued during the invasion of Iraq in 2003 with 12 Sqn providing aircraft and personnel.
In 2009 12 Sqn led the field with the first Tornado GR4 deployment to Afghanistan in support of Op HERRICK. Replacing the venerable Harrier GR9, the Tornado provided an upgraded recce capability using their RAPTOR targeting pods as well as other modern weapons. After near continuous operations since 1991, 12 Sqn was disbanded in 2014, only to reform just a year later to conduct operations against ISIS in Iraq and Syria, once again operating the Tornado GR.
12 Sqn was disbanded once more on 14 February 2018 and its personnel assigned to other Tornado squadrons. However, in late 2017 the UK MOD announced that 12 Sqn would reform as a Joint Typhoon squadron at RAF Coningsby with the unique task of providing frontline training to Qatar Emiri Air Force (QEAF) air and ground-crew on operating and maintaining Typhoon FGR4 following the Qatari purchase of 24 Typhoon ahead of their hosting the FIFA World Cup in 2022. Being a multi-role aircraft, the Typhoon possesses air-to-air capability, including Quick Reaction Alert, and air-to-surface capability in support of ground and maritime forces and is the backbone of today’s RAF combat air frontline.
Royal Navy HMS SEVERN (P282)
The Company’s newest Armed Forces affiliation: HMS Severn is a River-class offshore patrol vessel built by Vosper Thornycroft at their Woolston yard in 2002. With her sisters Tyne and Mersey, she is one of three patrol vessels ploughing the seas around the UK almost every day of the year.
Severn is the ninth Royal Navy vessel to bear this name. The first three were 50 gun 4th Rate sailing battleships built in 1695, 1747 and 1786, with the next three built in the 19th century. The 7th Severn was a shore bombardment monitor built for the Brazilian Navy but taken over by the RN in 1914 and involved in the sinking of the German cruiser Konigsberg in the Rufiji River in 1916. The last Severn, a Vickers built submarine, was launched in 1934.
Her wartime service started in the South Atlantic before transferring to the Norwegian campaign in which she sank the SS Monark, then deploying to Novia Scotia as a convoy escort. She was then based in Gibraltar, and in June 1941 sank the Italian SS Polinnia and Ugo Bassi. In 1943 she was based in Algiers helping with special operations in Sardinia and Sicily (Operation Husky). She then transferred to the Far East where she took part in interception patrols.
The second of the original batch of River Class ships, ‘Lucky Severn’ – a nickname she owes to the namesake submarine – patrolled home and overseas waters (including an eight-month stint in the Caribbean in 2015) for 14 years until 2017 when she paid off. She became the first Royal Navy vessel in nearly 40 years to be reactivated, brought back to life in 2020 and formally re-commissioned in 2021, when she gained her affiliation with the Company.
If you would like further information on HMS Severn then please follow her on Twitter: @hmssevern