City of London Artillery

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City of London Artillery
City of London Artillery badge.jpg
Badge of the City of London Artillery
Active 15 April 1863 – 1 April 1971
Country  United Kingdom
Branch Flag of the British Army.svg Territorial Army
Type Artillery Regiment
Role Field artillery
Engagements Western Front (World War I)
North Africa
North West Europe
Lt-Col John Walmisley
Lt-Col William Hope, VC
Lt-Col George Dorrell, VC
1st London Artillery Volunteer Corps, 280th and 290th Brigades Royal Field Artillery, 90th, 138th and 254th (City of London) Field Regiments Royal Artillery redirect here

The 1st London Artillery Brigade or City of London Artillery was a volunteer field artillery unit of the British Army, part of the Territorial Force and later the Territorial Army, that existed under various titles from 1863 to 1971 and fought in World War I and World War II.


The enthusiasm of the Volunteer movement in 1859 and subsequent years saw the creation of many Rifle, Artillery and Engineer Volunteer units composed of part-time soldiers eager to supplement the Regular British Army in time of need. The 1st London (City) Artillery Volunteer Corps (AVC) was first raised in the City of London on 15 April 1863, with its HQ and five (later six) batteries at 5 Farringdon Road.[1][2][3] The titles '1st London' and 'City of London' were used interchangeably throughout the unit's history. As one of the later AVCs raised, the 1st Londons ranked 61st (later 65th) in order of precedence. The first commanding officer was Captain (later Lieutenant-Colonel) John Walmisley (1818–90), a London solicitor, famous oarsman and former officer in the Honourable Artillery Company.[4][5][6][7][8][9] The unit's first Honorary Colonel was HRH Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh.[10]

In 1873 the 1st London AVC became part of the 1st Administrative Brigade of Middlesex Artillery Volunteers under the command of Walmisley. Artillery Volunteer units proved expensive to maintain, and the Secretary of State for War, Edward Cardwell refused to pay for the upkeep of horses, harness and field-guns from the annual capitation grant. As a result, many Volunteer Field artillery units were wound up in the 1870s and the two batteries of the 1st (Hanover Square) Middlesex AVC were absorbed into the 1st London.[1][2][11] In 1883 the 1st London also absorbed the 1st Surrey AVC, and by now it had 16 batteries around the City and County of London (Nos 1–3 and 8 at Camberwell; Nos 4, 9, 11 and 13–16 at the HQ at the Barbican; No 5 at Peckham; No 6 at Norwood; No 7 at Tooting; No 10 at Kilburn; No 12 at Shepherd's Bush).[2] At first the brigade had consisted of Horse and Field artillery batteries, but now the 16 batteries became Garrison Artillery companies, divided into two wings, each commanded by a lieutenant-colonel. This made it one of the strongest brigades in the country, at one time boasting a strength of over 1500 volunteers.[1]

Walmisley retired in January 1875 and was succeeded by William Hope, who had won a Victoria Cross in the Crimean war and had afterwards become a City businessman.[12]

Drill Hall built in 1898 for some of the batteries of the 1st London Artillery Volunteers, Shepherd's Bush, London. Later used by the 7th London Brigade, Royal Field Artillery (TF)

In 1887 and 1890 the Corps won the Queen's Prize at the annual National Artillery Association competition held at Shoeburyness.[13] During the Second Boer War the brigade supplied volunteers to the City of London Imperial Volunteers and other branches of the Regular forces.[1]

The 1st Londons had been included in the 5th (London) Division of the Artillery Volunteers, but in 1897 they were assigned to the Eastern Division of the Royal Artillery. This divisional organisation was abandoned in 1902 and the unit was re-titled 1st City of London Royal Garrison Artillery (Volunteers). At this time the 16 companies were based at Staines House, Barbican (HQ and Nos 1-7), Shepherd's Bush (Nos 8–10) and Brixton (Nos 11–16).[2][10]

Territorial Force[edit]

Artillery House, Handel St, London. Opened in 1913 as headquarters of the 1st City of London Brigade, RFA, and shared with the 1st (City of London) Battalion, London Regiment. After World War II it was shared with the City of London Yeomanry. Today (2013) it is known as Yeomanry House and is HQ of the University of London Officers' Training Corps.

In 1908 the Haldane Reforms created the Territorial Force (TF), which subsumed the previous Volunteers. The large 1st London corps provided three field brigades of the Royal Field Artillery in the new force: the companies at Shepherd's Bush became the VII London Brigade while those at Brixton became the VIII London Brigade. The remaining companies based at the Barbican became the I City of London Brigade RFA (TF):[1][2][14]

  • 1st City of London Battery – from Nos 1 and 4 Companies
  • 2nd City of London Battery – from Nos 2 and 6 Companies
  • 3rd City of London Battery – from Nos 3 and 5 Companies
  • 1st London Ammunition Column – from No 7 Company

I City of London Bde, along with II, II and IV London Bdes, was assigned to the 1st London Division of the TF. The three batteries were each equipped with four 15-pounder guns. In 1913 the brigade moved to a new headquarters at Artillery House, Handel Street, in Bloomsbury. The building was shared with the 1st Battalion, London Regiment.[2][15][16][17][18]

World War I[edit]

Mobilisation and organisation[edit]

Annual training for 1st London Division had just started when war was declared on 4 August 1914, and the City of London Brigade promptly mustered at Bloomsbury for mobilisation.[19] The infantry of the division were soon posted away to relieve Regular Army garrisons in the Mediterranean or to supplement the British Expeditionary Force on the Western Front. By January 1915, only the artillery and other support elements of the division remained in England, and these were attached to the Second Line TF division (58th (2/1st London) Division) that was being formed. The City of London Brigade became 1/I City of London Bde and formed 2/I City of London Bde, which served with the 58th Division throughout the war.[19][20][21][22]

Colonel J. Stollery, who commanded I City of London Brigade, had been with the unit since 1874 and was too old for overseas service, so he remained behind to train the 2/I Brigade. So many recruits came forward, including many who had previously served with the brigade and whose training could be quickly refreshed, that the 2/I Brigade was soon completed, and a 3rd Line Brigade was also formed to supply reinforcements to the other two.[1]

The artilleryman depicted on the London Troops Memorial.

1/I City of London Brigade[edit]

The brigade left Handel Street on 23 August 1914 and underwent training in various locations. During the winter of 1914–15, it spent five months guarding the Northumbrian Coast. In August 1915 the 36th (Ulster) Division was being readied for service. Its infantry were largely drawn from the Ulster Volunteers and had already received weapons training before the war; the artillery however were newly raised Londoners, and the drivers were still being taught to mount and dismount from wooden horses. The 1st London Divisional Artillery were therefore attached to the Ulster Division until its own gunners were ready for active service. In September 1915 the 1/I City of London Bde moved to Bordon to re-equip with modern guns and prepare for overseas service. It then accompanied the Ulster division to France, landing at Le Havre on 4 October 1915. 1/I Bde went into the line on 9 October, and first went into action at Colincamps.[1][23][24][25]

In December, the Ulster Division's artillery arrived from England, and the London Divisional Artillery was transferred to the 38th (Welsh) Division, which had also arrived in France minus its own artillery. 1/I City of London Bde served with the Welsh Division from 11 December 1915 to 1 February 1916. It was next attached to 16th (Irish) Division until 25 February 1916, when the 16th Divisional Artillery arrived. By now, 1st London Division (now numbered 56th (London) Division) was being reformed in France and its divisional artillery was finally able to rejoin.[21][24][26]


In April 1916 a Regular battery (93 Battery, from XVIII Brigade Royal Field Artillery, which had been serving with Indian and Canadian formations) joined 1/I City of London Bde. In May, TF artillery brigades were numbered in sequence with the Royal Field Artillery: 1/I City of London became CCLXXX Brigade (280 Brigade), and the batteries became A–D. Shortly afterwards D (93rd) Battery was exchanged with a battery (formerly 11th County of London Battery) from the divisional howitzer brigade, equipped with 4.5-inch howitzers. Brigade Ammunition Columns were also abolished at this time, and the men distributed between the batteries and the Divisional Ammunition Column. By mid-May the division had formed its three medium trench mortar batteries: 1/I City of London Bde provided the manpower for X Battery. In the winter of 1916–17, TF field artillery batteries were reorganised from a four-gun to a six-gun establishment, so B Battery was split between A and C Batteries, and to make up the numbers 93rd Battery rejoined together with a section from 500 Battery (a New Army howitzer unit). For the remainder of the war, therefore, 1/I City of London had the following organisation:[1][16][19]


  • 93rd Battery
  • A Battery
  • C Battery
  • D (Howitzer) Battery


18-pounder Mk II field gun preserved at the Imperial War Museum.

The first major action for CCLXXX (280) Bde came at the Battle of the Somme, and there are detailed accounts of its actions. 56th Division's task for the opening day of the Somme Offensive (the 'Big Push') was to attack the south side of the Gommecourt Salient as a diversion to support the main attack further south.[27][28][29][30]

The divisional artillery was disposed in three groups. Lt-Col L.A.C Southam of 280 Bde commanded the Northern Group (called 'Southart') with B/280 and C/280 Btys (together with D (H)/282 and A/283 Btys), while A/280 and D (H)/280 Btys were in the Wire Cutting Group under Lt-Col A.F Prechtel of 282 Bde ('Peltart'), though A/280 Bty reverted to 'Southart' at Zero Hour. During the preliminary bombardment Southart was under VII Corps control, but from Zero Hour it was assigned to support the assaulting infantry of 169th (3rd London) Brigade. The batteries began moving into position in late May 1916, A/280 and B/280 being the last to arrive on 3 June. The batteries then began to register their targets during June.[31][32][33]

B/280 and C/280 Batteries were positioned west of Gommecourt to take the German lines in enfilade at ranges of 2000 and 3000 yards respectively. Their role was to 'search' the enemy trenches, villages, woods and hollows. In the wire cutting group A/280 Bty was in a fold of ground about 1500 yards west of the British-held village of Hébuterne and about 2500 yards from the German lines while the howitzers of D (H)/280 Bty were dug into the gardens and orchards behind Hébuterne where they could range into the German rear areas. One section (two howitzers) was on call to assist the heavy counter-battery guns in addition to their wire-cutting task.[32][34]

4.5-inch Howitzer preserved at the Royal Artillery Museum

Five days of intense bombardment were planned leading up to the attack, designated U,V, W, X and Y days, but the whole attack was delayed by two days, so there was seven days of bombardment culminating in Z Day on 1 July. The two additional days were used for Interdiction of enemy movement and repairs, to complete the wire-cutting and counter-battery tasks, and to deceive the enemy. The Southart Group found that by Y Day (28 June) the guns were showing signs of strain, with recoil springs having to be frequently replaced, and the extension to Y2 Day (30 June) made the situation worse.[32][34][35] The division's batteries and observation posts (OPs) also suffered from German counter-battery fire.[36]

Each afternoon the bombardment paused between 16.00 and 16.30 to allow a BE2c aircraft of No. 8 Squadron, Royal Flying Corps, to photograph the German positions. Analysis of these pictures on 30 June revealed large areas of uncut wire, especially in the centre of the area to be attacked by 56th Division.[34][37] Night patrols confirmed these reports.[38][39]

Each day of the firing programme had included an intense bombardment starting at 06.25, reaching a crescendo at 07.20 and lifting at 07.45; on Z Day (1 July) this lifted 15 minutes earlier than usual, in an attempt to deceive the enemy. 56th Divisional artillery was allocated 11,600 rounds for this final 65 minutes, amounting to three rounds per minute for each 18-pounder gun and 4.5-inch howitzer. A smoke screen was laid at 07.25, and under its cover the infantry went 'over the top' and assembled in No man's land. Then at Zero Hour, 07.30, the guns lifted to pre-arranged targets in the German support and reserve lines while the infantry began their assault.[40][41][42]

Having reverted to divisional control at Zero Hour, the 18-pounders had a series of very short lifts, almost amounting to a creeping barrage. The first lift was onto the German reserve trench, on which they fired for four minutes, then they fired for six minutes just beyond it, and then swept the communication trenches for 12 minutes. Next they shifted to the infantry's second objective for eight minutes. This programme was intended to conform to the infantry's plan of attack.[43]

At first this went well for 56th Division. Despite casualties from the German counter-bombardment on their jumping-off trenches, the smoke and morning mist helped the infantry, and they reached the German front line with little loss and moved on towards the second and reserve lines. The artillery OPs reported the signboards erected by the leading waves to mark their progress. On 169 Bde's front, the London Rifle Brigade found the wire well cut, except at Point 94 where the shelling had piled it into mounds that still presented an obstacle, and the battalion reached Gommecourt Park and began to consolidate. But the Queen Victoria's Rifles struggled to get through narrow gaps in uncut wire and met fierce resistance at the Cemetery, so that the following battalion, the Queen's Westminsters, got mixed up with them while trying to push through to the second objective, the Quadrilateral. The Germans began counter-attacking about an hour after Zero, and their heavy barrage on No man's land and their own front trenches made it almost impossible for reinforcements and supplies to be got forward to the assaulting battalions, who were now cut off. On the other side of the Gommecourt Salient, the assault of the 46th (North Midland) Division was a disaster, bogged down in mud and uncut wire, and the defenders could turn all their attention to the 56th Division.[44][45][46][47]

Although VII Corps' heavy guns and 56th Division's howitzers tried to suppress the German artillery, and the Southart guns dealt with some counter-attacks coming down communication trenches, the situation was too confused for the OPs and spotter aircraft to allow the divisional artillery to provide close support for the infantry. Several of the field guns were also out of action with broken springs: at 12.05 Southart reported only 13 out of 20 18-pounders were firing. By 15.45 the group only had three guns from A/280 firing from near Hébuterne and one of C/280 firing at Gommecourt Park, and only four guns from the other three batteries were in action. Even when repaired, the guns had to conserve ammunition later in the day.[48]

At about 13.00 the isolated battalions in the German lines began to crumble, and by 16.00 169 Bde only held the German front line trench. The Southart Group now had 14 serviceable guns and was firing just over the heads of the men. By nightfall, all of the 56th Division's gains had been reduced to a single stretch of trench, and this had to be abandoned after dark.[49][50][51][52]

The attack at Gommecourt had only been a diversion, so it was not continued after the first day., and 56th Division remained in position, holding its original line. On 13 July the divisional artillery made a demonstration to help the continuing Somme Offensive, and on 17 July all the brigades made raids in the enemy line, but otherwise the period was quiet. On 20 August it was relieved and move south to rejoin the Somme Offensive.[53]

Thereafter CCLXXX Bde supported 56th Division in the following actions:[19][21]

Battle of the Somme[edit]



  • First Battle of the Somme (1918): The weight of the German Spring Offensive (Operation Michael) initially fell on British Fifth Army to the south, but on 28 March 1918 the focus of German attacks (Operation Mars) shifted to British Third Army in front of Arras, resulting in what became known as the 1st Battle of Arras (1918). After a heavy bombardment of the British positions, including those held by 56th Division, the attacking German troops swept into the lightly-held outpost line, but there they were shot down by rifle, machine-gun and field gun fire.[54][55][56] The artillery were presented with 'many excellent targets'. 280 Brigade was covering the infantry holding Gavrelle on the slope of Vimy Ridge, with a section of 93 Battery well forward in position to fire at the attackers in enfilade. As the defenders of Gavrelle were forced back, Lt G.J. Palfrey, commanding this forward section of two 18-pounders, was ordered to fire off all his ammunition, destroy his guns and withdraw his men. He poured shells into the advancing German infantry until they were close enough to throw grenades and the British defensive barrage was falling on his position. He then destroyed his guns, and he and his crews, taking the breech blocks and sights, and carrying their wounded, fought their way back through the scattered Germans who had already passed the position.[55][57] Palfrey was awarded the Military Cross for his actions that morning.[58] The German attack was completely stopped, having suffered extraordinarily heavy casualties.[54][55][56]
  • Second Battle of the Somme (1918)
    • Battle of Albert, 23 August
  • Second Battles of Arras
    • Battle of the Scarpe, 26–30 August
  • Battles of the Hindenburg Line
  • Final Advance in Picardy

Throughout this period, even when the infantry of the division were resting, the divisional artillery were frequently left in the Line supporting other formations. 56th Division was relieved and drawn back into support by midnight on 10 November 1918, but its artillery remained in action until 'Cease Fire' sounded at 11.00 on 11 November when the Armistice with Germany came into force. The cadre of the brigade returned to England on 14 June 1919. The 93rd (Regular) Battery returned to India, where it had been serving when the war broke out.[1][19]

2/I (City of London) Brigade[edit]

After the First Line divisional artillery left for France, 2/I City of London Bde joined 58th Division on 25 September at Ipswich with the following composition:[20]

2/I (City of London) Brigade

  • 2/1st City of London Battery
  • 2/2nd City of London Battery
  • 2/3rd City of London Battery
  • 2/I City of London Brigade Ammunition Column

The division remained in East Anglia, digging trenches, manning coastal defences. and training, until July 1916, when it moved to Salisbury Plain for final training. By then the artillery had received their 18-pounders and 4.5-inch howitzers. As with the other TF artillery, the brigade was assigned a number and became CCXC Brigade (290 Brigade). The batteries were redesignated A–C, a howitzer battery was added and became D Battery, and the brigade ammunition columns were abolished. To bring the batteries up to six guns, the 2/I London Bde was reinforced by a battery from 2/III London Bde and a howitzer battery from 2/IV London Bd.[1][20] The division began embarking for France on 20 January 1917 and CCXC Brigade first went into action in February at Bienvillers. The brigade remained on the Western Front for the rest of the war.[1][20][22][24]

CCXC Bde supported 58th Division in the following actions:[20][22]



After the Armistice came into force, skilled men began to return home. Full demobilisation got under way in March 1919 and the artillery left for England on 4 April.[1][20]


On 7 February 1920, the brigade was reformed at Handel Street in the renamed Territorial Army, by Captain and Adjutant (later Lieutenant-Colonel) George Dorrell, who as a Battery Sergeant-Major had won a Victoria Cross at Néry in 1914. The brigade once again shared its headquarters with 1st London Regiment. The City of London Artillery was initially numbered 3rd London, but soon became 90th (City of London) Field Brigade, Royal Artillery, with the following organisation:[1][2][16][59]

Royal Artillery Brigades were redesignated Regiments in 1938. The prewar expansion of the Territorial Army saw 359 and 360 Batteries split off in April 1939 to form a duplicate regiment numbered 138th (City of London) Field Regiment.[2][16][64]

World War II[edit]

90th (City of London) Field Regiment[edit]


The regiment was embodied on 1 September 1939, and on 3 September went to its war station defending London's Royal Docks. By November it was in Sussex helping to guard Southern England with 1st London Division. At first the regiment was equipped with four 4.5-inch howitzers of World War I vintage. In November 1939 the regiment provided a cadre for the formation of 56 (Newfoundland) Heavy Battery, RA. By the time the Battle of France opened, the regiment was in the Canterbury area, equipped with four 18-pounders and four 18/25-pounders. It provided a party to man anti-aircraft and light machine guns on small craft for the Dunkirk evacuation. On 1 April 1941, the regiment formed a third battery, numbered 465. By July the regiment was operating eight French-made 75mm guns of 1897 design and six 25-pounders; a later reorganisation gave it eight 75mm guns and four 4.5-inch howitzers.[65][66][67] It appears to have been fully equipped with modern 25-pounders before proceeding overseas. On 18 November 1940 the division regained its historic number and was renumbered as the 56th (London) Infantry Division.[68]

In August 1942, the 56th (London) Division embarked for the long voyage to the Middle East, arriving in Iraq in November, where it joined Paiforce. 90th Field Regiment was stationed at Kirkuk and took part in training exercises in Iraq and Iran.[66][69]

North Africa[edit]

The following March, 168th (London) Infantry Brigade (comprising 1st London Irish Rifles, 1st London Scottish and 10th Royal Berkshire Regiment) and supporting units, including the 90th Field Regiment, was detached from the 56th Division and sent overland to Egypt to join 50th (Northumbrian) Infantry Division, which had suffered heavy casualties in North Africa (including a whole brigade at Gazala), in particular during the Battle of Gazala the year before, and had been withdrawn from the Tunisia Campaign to prepare and train in amphibious warfare for the landings in Sicily (Operation Husky).[70][71][72]


The 90th Field Regiment landed at Syracuse in Sicily on 13 July 1943 and went into action three days later, operating round Mount Etna.[65][72][73] In October, the 50th Division returned to the United Kingdom[73][74] to prepare for the Normandy landings in which, once again, it would spearhead the amphibious attack. After initial training with US-supplied M7 Priest self-propelled 105mm guns, 90 Field Regiment was equipped with Canadian-built Sexton self-propelled 25-pounder guns for this campaign, with Sherman V and Universal Carrier Observation Posts (OPs). The regiment practised landing from tank landing craft (LCTs).[65][75]


The 90th Field Regiment was assigned to support the assault of 231 Infantry Brigade Group on Jig Beach of the Gold Assault Area, the most westerly assault sector of British Second Army on D-Day. It also had two troops of the 1st Royal Marine Armoured Support Regiment equipped with Centaur IV tanks mounting 95mm howitzers.[75][76] At 0650 the Sextons and Centaurs began their shoot from the landing craft on the run-in to the beach. Unfortunately, two control vessels had been lost on the passage across the Channel, so the field artillery were unable to fire at the village of Hamel, which dominated the East end of Jig Beach. When the 1st Battalion, Hampshire Regiment landed and moved towards Hamel, they met heavy fire and suffered casualties among senior officers, artillery observation officers and signallers, and were unable to call down support fire from the SP guns offshore. Only 5 of the 10 Centaurs were able to land, and four of these were quickly put out of action by fire from Hamel. A, C and E Troops of 90 Field Regiment landed at 0825, despite difficulties caused by beach obstacles and the heavy swell, and went into action at 0845. Their Sextons were the first artillery to land on Jig Beach, followed an hour later by B, D and F Troops.[75][77][78]

Despite the hold-ups, Hamel was captured later in the day, and after 50th Division's follow-up brigades had landed, 151st Brigade advanced towards Bayeux, supported by 90 Field Regiment's Sextons. By nightfall they were still three miles short of Bayeux, their objective for the day, but the town fell to 50th Division the following day.[75][79][80] In succeeding weeks the division saw hard fighting in Operation Perch and other actions to expand the bridgehead that had been secured – it took a month to take Hottot, for example.[81][82] On 30 July, the division led British Second Army's push from Caumont towards Mont Pincon (Operation Bluecoat), which resulted in more heavy fighting before the German resistance in Normandy crumbled a month later.[83]

North West Europe[edit]

At the end of October 1944, the 50th Division, very weak at this time, was broken up to provide infantry drafts to replace casualties in other formations, due to a shortage of infantrymen in the British Army at the time. The 90th Field Regiment was transferred to Second Army control for the remainder of the year.[65][84] Early in 1945, 90 Field Regiment was supporting formations of First Canadian Army, including 1st Polish Armoured Division and 4th Commando Brigade.[85]

On 4 May 1945 the regiment heard on the wireless that the German forces in NW Europe had surrendered, and the officers drank a bottle of brandy they had bought in Alexandria in 1943, which had gone ashore with the regiment in Sicily and on D-Day.[85]

After Victory in Europe Day, 90 Field Regiment undertook occupation duties at Lünen, under the command of 49th (West Riding) Infantry Division. As postwar demobilisation proceeded, the regiment was placed in suspended animation on 18 May 1946. The regimental war diary for that day says: 'Black Saturday. Regiment ceases to exist until T.A. is reformed, hope this is soon ... Rear party prepares to clear up to hand over in true Gunner style. Long Live 90th'.[86]

138th (City of London) Field Regiment[edit]


On the outbreak of war, 138 Field Regiment mobilised at Handel Street as part of 2nd London Division. Shortly afterwards it moved out to Hertfordshire and Buckinghamshire, and in the summer of 1940 moved to Crickhowell in Wales to continue its training, also on World War I vintage 18-pounders and 4.5-inch howitzers. On 21 November 1940 the division was renumbered as the 47th (London) Infantry Division.[87] In December a third battery numbered 502 was organised. During 1941, the regiment spent much of its time in Sussex and Oxfordshire.[64][88][89]

The 47th Division served in Home Forces throughout the Second World War but, in July 1942, 138th Field Regiment was transferred to help create a new 78th Battleaxe Infantry Division being formed for Operation Torch, the landings in North Africa.[64][90]


138 Field Regiment supported 78th Infantry Division during Torch and the succeeding actions in North Africa and the Tunisia Campaign:[90]


The Battleaxe Division then prepared for Operation Husky, the Allied invasion of Sicily, where 138 (City of London) Field Regiment fought alongside 90th (City of London) Field Regiment, as part of 50th Division. 78th Division captured Adrano on the slopes of Mount Etna on 3 August 1943.[90]


The 78th Division next fought in the Italian Campaign. Landing on 22 September, it participated in breaking through the Barbara Line, crossing the Sangro River and closing up to the German Winter Line 19 November–3 December 1943. 138 Field Regiment supported 78th Division in the following actions during the remainder of the campaign:[90]

78th Infantry Division ended the war in Austria


On 1 January 1947, the regiment was reconstituted in the Territorial Army as 290th Field Regiment, RA (City of London), based once more at Artillery House, Handel Street, which was now shared with the City of London Yeomanry (Rough Riders).[2][91] It now formed part of 56th (London) Armoured Division.[92][93] In 1961, 290 Field Regiment merged with 254 (7th London) Field Regiment, 452 Heavy Anti-Aircraft Regiment (London) and 353 (London) Medium Regiment to form a single regiment designated 254 (City of London) Regiment RA, with 290 Regiment providing HQ (City of London) Battery at Artillery House.[2][94]

Further reductions in the TA saw 254 Regiment disbanded in 1967 and replaced by S Battery (City of London) in The Greater London Regiment RA. In 1971 this regiment was itself reduced to a single company in a TA infantry battalion[which?] and the 1st London Artillery's lineage was discontinued.[2]

Honorary Colonels[edit]


Memorial at St Lawrence Jewry in 2016 after restoration

The World War I memorial plaque of the 1st London Brigade is on the exterior wall of St Lawrence Jewry Church facing Guildhall Yard in the City of London. It depicts the unit's badge: the escutcheon of the City of London's arms surmounted by the badge of the Royal Artillery. The memorial was unveiled by the Lord Mayor on Saturday 22 October 1921, with a Guard of Honour, trumpeters and band from 90th (1st London) Brigade RFA.[1][98] The brigade is also listed on the City and County of London Troops Memorial in front of the Royal Exchange, with architectural design by Sir Aston Webb and sculpture by Alfred Drury.[99][100] The left-hand (northern) figure flanking this memorial depicts a Royal Artilleryman representative of the various London Artillery units.


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n 'A short history of the City of London Artillery', in Ceremonial ...
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m 1st London Artillery at
  3. ^ Beckett, Appendix VIII.
  4. ^ Francis Family website accessed 14 October 2013
  5. ^ Old Francis Family website accessed 14 October 2013
  6. ^ Retirement as Captain from HAC, London Gazette, 30 May 1854.
  7. ^ Commission as Captain in 1st London AVC dated 15 April 1863, London Gazette, 8 May 1863.
  8. ^ Commission as Major-Commandant dated 16 March 1864, London Gazette, 22 March 1864.
  9. ^ Commission as Lt-Col of 1st Administrative Bde dated 13 September 1873, London Gazette, 12 September 1873.
  10. ^ a b c d e Monthly Army List, passim.
  11. ^ Beckett, p. 179.
  12. ^ Monthly Army Lists, passim, Hope's commission as Lt-Col dated 26 January 1876.
  13. ^ Litchfield, N and Westlake, R, 1982. The Volunteer Artillery, Sherwood Press, p189
  14. ^ Barnes, Appendix IV.
  15. ^ Becke, Pt 2a, Appendix I.
  16. ^ a b c d Litchfield.
  17. ^ Times (London), 24 February 1913.
  18. ^ Post Office London Directory, 1914.
  19. ^ a b c d e Becke, Pt 2a, pp. 141–7.
  20. ^ a b c d e f Becke, Pt 2b, pp. 9–15.
  21. ^ a b c 56th (1st London) Division at Long, Long Trail
  22. ^ a b c 58th (2/1st London) Division at Long, Long Trail
  23. ^ Becke, Pt 3b, pp. 61–9.
  24. ^ a b c Royal Field Artillery at Long, Long Trail
  25. ^ 36th (Ulster) Division at Long, Long Trail
  26. ^ Becke, Pt 3a, pp. 61–9; Pt 3b, pp. 61–9, 81–9.
  27. ^ Edmonds, pp. 252, 257, 308–11, 456–7.
  28. ^ MacDonald, pp. 20–37, 59–66.
  29. ^ Middlebrook, pp. 73–4.
  30. ^ Ward, pp.19, 36.
  31. ^ Edmonds, p. 460.
  32. ^ a b c MacDonald, pp. 207–11.
  33. ^ Ward, pp. 32–4.
  34. ^ a b c Edmonds, p. 299–300.
  35. ^ Edmonds, p. 305.
  36. ^ MacDonald, pp. 225–30, 236.
  37. ^ MacDonald, p. 212.
  38. ^ MacDonald, pp. 241, 51–2.
  39. ^ Ward, p. 35.
  40. ^ Edmonds, pp. 315, 463.
  41. ^ MacDonald, pp. 258–62.
  42. ^ Middlebrook, pp. 115–8, 122.
  43. ^ Edmonds, p. 461.
  44. ^ Edmonds, pp. 462–4, 471.
  45. ^ MacDonald, pp. 264–7, 282-302, 310-21, 324-32.
  46. ^ Middlebrook, pp. 148, 170–73, 185.
  47. ^ Ward, pp. 36–44.
  48. ^ MacDonald, pp. 289–90, 345, 359, 377–8.
  49. ^ Edmonds, pp. 472–3.
  50. ^ MacDonald, pp. 344–52, 361–4, 373–6, 385, 397–405.
  51. ^ Middlebrook, pp. 214–5.
  52. ^ Ward, pp. 41–2.
  53. ^ Ward, p. 48.
  54. ^ a b Blaxland, pp. 84–5.
  55. ^ a b c Farndale, p. 275.
  56. ^ a b Dudley Ward, pp. 225–35.
  57. ^ Brig-Gen R.J.G. Elkington, Commanding RA, 56 Division, quoted in Dudley Ward, pp. 234–5.
  58. ^ Palfrey citation, London Gazette, 21 June 1918
  59. ^ Post Office London Directory, 1922.
  60. ^ 3rd Kent Artillery Volunteers at
  61. ^ Dorrell relinquishes acting rank of Major and seconded to TF, London Gazette, 31 March 1920.
  62. ^ Dorrell's appointment as adjutant dated 2 March 1920, London Gazette, 18 March 1920.
  63. ^ Dorrell's promotion to Brevet Lt-Col dated 1 January 1929, London Gazette, 4 January 1929.
  64. ^ a b c 138 (City of London Field Regiment RA (TA) at RA39–45
  65. ^ a b c d 90 (City of London Field Regiment RA (TA) at RA39–45
  66. ^ a b Joslen, pp. 37–8.
  67. ^ 90th (City of London) Field Regiment War Diary September 1939–December 1941, The National Archives, Kew file WO 166/1512.
  68. ^
  69. ^ 90th (City of London) Field Regiment War Diary September & December 1942, TNA file WO 166/7003.
  70. ^ Joslen, pp. 37–8, 81–2, 230–1.
  71. ^ Montgomery, p. 172.
  72. ^ a b 90th (City of London) Field Regiment War Diary January–July 1943, TNA file WO 169/9502.
  73. ^ a b Joslen, pp. 81–2.
  74. ^ 90th (City of London) Field Regiment War Diary August–December 1943, TNA file WO 169/9503.
  75. ^ a b c d 90th (City of London) Field Regiment War Diary 1944, TNA file WO 171/982.
  76. ^ Ellis, Vol I, pp. 171–2.
  77. ^ Joslen, p. 581.
  78. ^ Ellis, Vol I, pp. 171–6.
  79. ^ Ellis, Vol I, pp 209–11, 231.
  80. ^ McKee, p.47.
  81. ^ Ellis, Vol I, pp. 250–6, 334.
  82. ^ McKe, pp. 105–12.
  83. ^ Ellis, Vol I, pp. 388–93.
  84. ^ Ellis, Vol II, pp. 158–9, 370, 376.
  85. ^ a b (City of London) Field Regiment War Diary, January–December 1945, TNA file WO 171/4830.
  86. ^ 90th (City of London) Field Regiment War Diary, January–May 1946, TNA file WO 171/9071.
  87. ^
  88. ^ Joslen, pp. 41–2.
  89. ^ 138th (City of London) Field Regiment War Diary September 1939–December 1941, TNA file WO 166/1550.
  90. ^ a b c d Joslen, pp. 101–2.
  91. ^ Post Office London Directory 1947.
  92. ^ Litchfield, Appendix 5.
  93. ^ Watson TA 1947 Archived December 5, 2013, at the Wayback Machine.
  94. ^ 289–322 Regiments at British Army units from 1945 on
  95. ^ List in Ceremonial ...
  96. ^ Francis, Duke of Teck at
  97. ^ 90th (City of London) Field Regiment War Diary January–July 1942, TNA file WO WO 166/7003.
  98. ^ UKNIWM Ref 46490
  99. ^ UKNIWM Ref 11796
  100. ^ 'Sir Aston Webb' and 'Alfred Drury' in Quinlan.


  • Ceremonial for the dedication and unveiling of the Memorial Tablet affixed to the wall of the Church of St Lawrence Jewry facing the Guildhall in the City of London, to the Members of the 1st London (City of London) Brigade Royal Field Artillery who fell in the Great War 1914–1918, Saturday 22 October 1921.
  • Maj A.F. Becke,History of the Great War: Order of Battle of Divisions, Part 2a: The Territorial Force Mounted Divisions and the 1st-Line Territorial Force Divisions (42–56), London: HM Stationery Office, 1935/Uckfield: Naval & Military Press, 2007, ISBN 1-847347-39-8.
  • Maj A.F. Becke,History of the Great War: Order of Battle of Divisions, Part 2b: The 2nd-Line Territorial Force Divisions (57th–69th), with the Home-Service Divisions (71st–73rd) and 74th and 75th Divisions, London: HM Stationery Office, 1937/Uckfield: Naval & Military Press, 2007, ISBN 1-847347-39-8.
  • Maj A.F. Becke,History of the Great War: Order of Battle of Divisions, Part 3a: New Army Divisions (9–26), London: HM Stationery Office, 1938/Uckfield: Naval & Military Press, 2007, ISBN 1-847347-41-X.
  • Maj A.F. Becke,History of the Great War: Order of Battle of Divisions, Part 3b: New Army Divisions (30–41) and 63rd (R.N.) Division, London: HM Stationery Office, 1939/Uckfield: Naval & Military Press, 2007, ISBN 1-847347-41-X.
  • Ian F.W. Beckett, Riflemen Form: A study of the Rifle Volunteer Movement 1859–1908, Aldershot: Ogilby Trusts, 1982, ISBN 0 85936 271 X.
  • Gregory Blaxland, Amiens: 1918, London: Frederick Muller, 1968/Star, 1918, ISBN 0-352-30833-8.
  • Brig-Gen Sir James E. Edmonds, History of the Great War: Military Operations, France and Belgium, 1916, Vol I, London: Macmillan,1932/Woking: Shearer, 1986, ISBN 0-946998-02-7.
  • Major L. F. Ellis, "History of the Second World War, United Kingdom Military Series: Victory in the West", Vol I: "The Battle of Normandy", London: HM Stationery Office, 1962/Uckfield: Naval & Military, 2004, ISBN 1-845740-58-0.
  • Major L. F. Ellis, "History of the Second World War, United Kingdom Military Series: Victory in the West", Vol II: "The Defeat of Germany", London: HM Stationery Office, 1968/Uckfield: Naval & Military, 2004, ISBN 1-845740-59-9.
  • Gen. Sir Martin Farndale, History of the Royal Regiment of Artillery Western Front 1914–18, Woolwich: Royal Artillery Institution, 1986, ISBN 1-870114-00-0.
  • Lt-Col H. F. Joslen, Orders of Battle, United Kingdom and Colonial Formations and Units in the Second World War, 1939–1945, London: HM Stationery Office, 1960/Uckfield: Naval & Military, 2003, ISBN 1843424746.
  • Norman E. H. Litchfield and R. Westlake, The Volunteer Artillery 1859-1908, The Sherwood Press, Nottingham, 1982, ISBN 0-9508205-0-4
  • Norman E.H. Litchfield, The Territorial Artillery 1908–1988 (Their Lineage, Uniforms and Badges), Nottingham: Sherwood Press, 1992.
  • Alan MacDonald, Pro Patria Mori: The 56th (1st London) Division at Gommecourt, 1 July 1916, 2nd Edn, West Wickham: Iona Books, 2008, ISBN 978-0-9558119-1-3.
  • Alexander McKee, Caen: Anvil of Victory, London: Souvenir Press, 1964/Pan, 1966, ISBN 0-330-23368-8.
  • Martin Middlebrook, The First Day on the Somme, 1 July 1916, London: Allen Lane 1971/Fontana, 1975, ISBN 0-00-633626-4.
  • The Memoirs of Field Marshal Viscount Montgomery of Alamein, London: Collins, 1958.
  • Mark Quinlan, Sculptors and Architects of Remembrance, Sandy, Authors Online, 2007, ISBN 978-0755203-98-7.
  • Maj C. H. Dudley Ward, The Fifty Sixth Division, 1st London Territorial Division, 1914–1918, London: John Murray, 1921/Uckfield: Naval & Military Press, 2001, ISBN 978-1-84342-111-5.

External sources[edit]