Yeomanry and Militia

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A Council of War (1898)

Left to Right - Captain Lee, R.E., Colonel Middleton, Major Friend, N.F., Colonel Vandeleur, C.B.

Cyclists, 2nd V.B. Hants  in action (1898)

A Field Day with the Hants Brigade. (1898)

The Brigade System, as part of the national mobilisation system, introduced a few years ago, for volunteers, permanently groups regimental units within more or less widespread areas. The brigades are set forth in the Army List - the battalions and the brigadiers.  In order to teach all concerned how the sytem is to work, the authorities have in recent years especially favoured brigade camps, and have discouraged the regimental camps that were formerly in vogue.  The brigade camps bring together those who would serve together in actual war, under their own leaders.  On these occasions, by means of continuous field days and manoeuvres, the men receive valuable training in camp, learn to know what life on the march means, and in general are taught to become soldiers.  The volunteer brigade camps are usually formed at Whitsuntide or August, and generally last a week.  One great disadvantage of volunteer field days is usually the absence of cavalry and artillery.  The place of the former is, however, often taken for the occasion by the cyclist companies, which are now such a feature in volunteer regiments, and in a few cases by mounted infantry, while artillery is represented by a few maxim guns.  with all its make believe , a field day in a piece of country like the new Forest affords invaluable training.  Our illustrations of a field day of the Hants Brigade show the men engaged in a sham fight - which is, by the way, the invariable occupation of a brigade on a field day.  Here we see the men lying in ambush, fighting under cover in broken ground, and otherwise taking advantage of the open country - learning, in fact, what cannot be taught on a parade ground.  Military authorities complain sometimes that volunteer regiments occupy themselves at brigade camps too much with regimental drill, which can be equally well taught on their own parade grounds.  The men, of course, ought to be practically perfect at drill before they are brought to a brigade camp, where there is much to learn and little time to learn it, and where the ignorance of drill in one regiment will spoil the work of a whole brigade, and waste for the other regiments the opportunity of acquiring much necessary knowledge.  Lately we have heard words of strong commendation on the work done by volunteers in brigade camps.  Lord Wolseley, who recently witnessed two field days of the Hants Brigade, expressed himself as being pleased with what he had seen.  He regretted that the forces engaged had not been larger.  A small muster at brigade camps cannot always be helped in the case of battalions of non-professional soldiers, who cannot get leave of absence from business all at the same time.  The Commander in Chief went on to say that the operations had, in his opinion, been well carried out, and he was glad to see that the men defending positions took up good cover.  He thought that the commanding officers did not look sufficiently well after their men sighting their rifles - a most important matter even in mimic warfare.  He concluded by saying that the men had kept well together, and he was pleased to see that the officers exercised so much authority over the men.

The Field Artillery Prepare to Advance (1898)

Officers of the Duke of Edinburgh's Own Artillery (1898)

The Duke of Edinburgh's Own Edinburgh Artillery, which has just been undergoing its annual training at the station at which it would be quartered in the event of a mobilisation for defence, is a very fine regiment of Militia Artillery hailing from "Auld Reekie" Cliff End, in the Isle of Wight, is far away from the "Land O' Cakes", but a very important portion of the kingdom in war time, as behind it our ships would often be at anchor at Spithead.  Probably the branch of our auxiliary forces which would be most efficient at the outbreak of hostilities would be the Garrison Artillery.  It goes without saying that we are not in any way attempting to disparage our gallant volunteer and militia infantrymen; but whereas for them a certain amount of training as distinct from drill and the  handling of their weapons would be necessary before they could take the field, the same limitation does not apply to the artillery who would man the big guns along our seacoast fortifications.  For them drill at and practice with their ponderous pieces should enable them to give a very good account of any stray cruiser which has the temerity to approach their batteries.  The present strength of the Duke of Edinburgh's Own Edinburgh Artillery is 22 officers and 702 non-commissioned officers and men - three times its numbers when first raised in September 1854, under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel W Geddes, C.B.  Its present commanding officer is Colonel A J Colquhoun, C.B., who appears seated in the midst of his officers here.  The regiment shares with several others the honour of having as its honorary colonel the Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, the date of his appointment being January 24th 1874, and the year following the regiment was permitted to assume the title it still bears.  Among the officers who have held commissions in this regiment, perhaps the best known is Lieutenant-Colonel Alexander Moncrieff, C.B., who was in command from January 1878, to March 1883.  This officer achieved a worldwide reputation by the invention of a disappearing gun carriage, adopted for the armament of fortifications, and was the pioneer of many other systems of lowering guns under cover for the purpose of loading and elevating them to fire over the parapet behind which they are mounted.

3rd Middlesex Artillery in Action at Shoeburyness (1898)

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