Royal Regiment of Artillery

The Royal Regiment of Artillery, generally known as the Royal Artillery (RA), is, despite its name, a corps of the British Army It is made up of a number of regiments.



Before the 18th century, artillery 'traynes' were raised by Royal Warrant for specific campaigns and disbanded again when they were over. On 26 May 1716, however, by Royal Warrant of George I two regular companies of field artillery, each 100 men strong, were raised at Woolwich. On 1 April 1722 these companies were grouped with independent artillery companies at Gibraltar and Minorca to form the Royal Regiment of Artillery, commanded by Colonel Albert Bogard. The regiment expanded rapidly and by 1757 had 24 companies divided into two battalions, as well as a Cadet Company formed in 1741. By 1771 there were 32 companies in four battalions, as well as two Invalid Companies comprising older and unfit men employed in garrison duties. In January 1793, two troops of Royal Horse Artillery were raised to provide fire support for the cavalry, joined by two more in November 1793. All RHA personnel were mounted. The Royal Irish Artillery was absorbed in 1801.

The regiment was under the control of the Board of Ordnance until the Board was abolished in 1855. Thereafter the regiment came under the War Office along with the rest of the army. In 1861 the regiment also absorbed the artillery of the British East India Company – 21 horse batteries and 48 field batteries – which brought its strength up to 29 horse batteries, 73 field batteries and 88 heavy batteries. On 1 July 1899, the Royal Artillery was divided into two groups: the Royal Horse Artillery and Royal Field Artillery comprised one group, while the coastal defence, mountain, siege and heavy batteries were split off into another group named the Royal Garrison Artillery. The three sections effectively functioned as separate corps. This arrangement lasted until 1924, when the three amalgamated once more. The Royal Horse Artillery, which has always had separate traditions, uniforms and insignia, still retains a separate identity within the regiment, however, and is considered (by its members at least) to be an Úlite.

The Royal Artillery Today

The Royal Artillery is equipped with a variety of equipment and fulfils a wide range of roles, including:

Long range observation, Unmanned air vehicle surveillance, Amphibious / Airborne artillery, Armoured Artillery, Long Range Missile Systems, Air defence.

The Royal Regiment of Artillery comprises both regular (full-time) and volunteer (part-time) units. The current regiments of the Royal Artillery are:

Regular Army

  • 1st Regiment Royal Horse Artillery (Armoured Artillery)
    • A Battery (The Chestnut Troop)
    • B Battery
    • E Battery
    • L/N (NÚry) Battery (The Eagle Troop)
    • O/HQ Battery (The Rocket Troop)
  • 3rd Regiment Royal Horse Artillery 'The Liverpool and Manchester Gunners' (Armoured Artillery)
    • C Battery
    • D Battery
    • J (Sidi Rezegh) Battery
    • M (HQ) Battery
  • 4th Regiment Royal Artillery 'The North East Gunners' (Armoured Artillery)
    • 3/29 (Corunna) Battery
    • 88 (Arracan) Battery
    • 94 (New Zealand) HQ Battery
    • 97 Battery (Lawson's Company)
  • 5th Regiment Royal Artillery 'The North, East & West Yorkshire Gunners' (Surveillance and Target Acquisition)
    • K (Hondeghem) Battery
    • P Battery (The Dragon Troop)
    • Q (Sanna's Post) HQ Battery
    • 4/73 (Sphinx) Special Observation Post Battery
    • 53 (Louisbourg) Battery
  • 7th (Parachute) Regiment Royal Horse Artillery (7 PARA) 'The Airborne Gunners' (Field Artillery [Airborne])
    • F (Sphinx) Parachute Battery
    • G Parachute Battery (Mercer's Troop)
    • H Parachute HQ Battery (Ramsay's Troop)
    • I Parachute Battery (Bull's Troop)
  • 12th Regiment Royal Artillery (Air Defence Artillery)
    • T/HQ Battery (Shah Sujah's Troop)
    • 9 (Plassey) Battery
    • 12 (Minden) Battery
    • 58 (Eyre's) Battery
  • 14th Regiment Royal Artillery (Training and Support)
    • 1st Battery 'The Blazers'
    • 24 (Irish) Battery
    • 34 (Seringapatam) Battery
  • 16th Regiment Royal Artillery 'The London and Kent Gunners' (Air Defence Artillery)
    • 11 (Sphinx) HQ Battery
    • 14 (Cole's Kop) Battery
    • 30 Battery (Rogers's Company)
    • 32 (Minden) Battery
  • 19th Regiment Royal Artillery 'The Highland Gunners' (Armoured Artillery)
    • 13 (Martinique 1809) HQ Battery
    • 19/5 (Gibraltar 1779–1783) Battery
    • 28/143 Battery (Tomb's Troop)
    • 52 (Niagara) Battery
    • 127 (Dragon) Battery
  • 26th Regiment Royal Artillery 'The West Midland Gunners' (Armoured Artillery)
    • 16 Battery (Sandham's Company)
    • 17 (Corunna) Battery
    • 55 (The Residency) HQ Battery
    • 159 (Colenso) Battery
  • 29th (Commando) Regiment Royal Artillery 'The Commando Gunners' (Field Artillery [Commando])
    • 7 (Sphinx) Commando Battery
    • 8 (Alma) Commando Battery
    • 23 (Gibraltar 1779–1783) Commando HQ Battery
    • 79 (Kirkee) Commando Battery
    • 148 (Meiktila) Commando Forward Observation Battery
  • 32nd Regiment Royal Artillery (Surveillance and Target Acquisition – Unmanned Air Vehicles)
    • 18 (Quebec 1759) Battery
    • 22 (Gibraltar 1779–1783) Battery
    • 42 (Alem Hamza) Battery
    • 46 (Talavera) HQ Battery
    • 57 (Bhurtpore) Battery
  • 39th Regiment Royal Artillery (MLRS)
    • 56 (Olpherts) HQ Battery
    • 74 Battery (The Battle Axe Company)
    • 132 (The Bengal Rocket Troop) Battery
    • 176 (Abu Klea) Battery
  • 40th Regiment Royal Artillery 'The Lowland Gunners' (Armoured Artillery)
    • 6/36 (Arcot 1751) Battery
    • 38 (Seringapatam) Battery
    • 49 (Inkerman) HQ Battery
    • 129 (Dragon) Battery
    • 137 (Java) Battery
  • 47th Regiment Royal Artillery 'The Hampshire and Sussex Gunners' (Air Defence Artillery)
    • 10 (Assaye) Battery
    • 21 (Gibraltar 1779–1783) Battery
    • 25/170 (Imjin) Battery
    • 31 HQ Battery
    • 43 (Lloyd's Company) Battery
  • Band of the Royal Artillery

Territorial Army

  • 100th (Yeomanry) Regiment Royal Artillery (Volunteers) (Armoured/Field/Airborne Artillery)
    • 201 (Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire Yeomanry) Battery (Luton )
    • 266 (Gloucestershire) Parachute Battery (Bristol/Romford)
    • 307 (South Nottinghamshire Hussars Yeomanry RHA) Battery (Bulwell, Nottingham)
  • 101st (Northumbrian) Regiment Royal Artillery (Volunteers) 'The Geordie Gunners' (MLRS)
  • 103rd (Lancashire Artillery Volunteers) Regiment Royal Artillery (Volunteers) (Armoured/Field Artillery)
  • 106th (Yeomanry) Regiment Royal Artillery (Volunteers) (Air Defence Artillery)

The Royal Artillery's traditional home is Woolwich, in south east London but much of their training activity takes place on Salisbury Plain in Wiltshire.

Miscellaneous Facts

  • The Royal Artillery does not carry Colours. Its guns are its colours and are saluted on parade.
  • Since it is present in every campaign in which the British Army fights, the Royal Artillery does not have Battle Honours. Instead, it has the motto and battle honour Ubique ("Everywhere"), granted by William IV in 1833. Its subsidiary motto is Quo fas et gloria ducunt ("Where Right and Glory Lead").
  • Many Regular Army batteries bear an Honour Title (in parentheses) commemorating an exceptional act of service.
  • Battalions and Companies were renamed Brigades and Batteries in 1859. In 1938, Brigades were renamed Regiments.
  • Until 1794, the Royal Artillery hired civilian horses and drivers to haul its guns. In that year the Corps of Captains' Commissaries and Drivers was formed to provide these services. This was reformed as the Corps of Gunner Drivers in 1801. In 1806 these became the Royal Artillery Drivers. In 1822 these were disbanded and from that date all men enlisted into the Royal Artillery as "Gunner and Driver" until 1918, when they simply became Gunners. None of this applied to the Royal Horse Artillery, which had always had its own drivers.
  • On 1 April 1947, all Royal Artillery units (except the Royal Horse Artillery) were placed on a single roll. This meant that each battery and regiment carried a unique number (whereas before there could have been, for instance, a 10th Field Battery, 10th Heavy Battery, 10th Coastal Battery etc). The numbers of the batteries within a regiment bear no relation to the regiment or each other. Royal Horse Artillery batteries (and batteries that used to be RHA) bear letters instead of numbers.
  • All British coast defence artillery units were disbanded in the 1950s.
  • When on parade with its guns, the Royal Horse Artillery takes precedence over every other regiment and corps in the British Army (and parades at the right of the line). Otherwise it immediately follows the Household Cavalry. The rest of the Royal Artillery takes precedence immediately after the regiments of the Royal Armoured Corps.
  • In 1871 the Royal Regiment formed two batteries of garrison artillery which became the Royal Canadian Artillery.
  • During World War II, the Royal Artillery created a new type of formation, the Army Group Royal Artillery to command artillery assets at levels higher than division.
  • In recognition of its history, 25/170 (Imjin) Battery of 47 Regiment wears the United States Distinguished Unit Citation that was awarded to 170 Battery for its service at the Battle of the Imjin River during the Korean War (see Non-U.S. winners of U.S. gallantry awards).

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