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Jon-Paul Carr, 2008
Territorial Army
The Drill Hall
The Drill Hall in Victoria Road was built in 1928

One Comany of Volunteers raised in Northamptonshire
Formation of Volunteer Companies in Daventry, Northampton, Kettering etc.
Formation of 40 Volunteer Companies of Infantry and 16 Troops of Volunteer Cavalry
Volunteer Companies formed into two Regiments named East and West Northamptonshire.
Volunteers converted into Militia
The Militia Disbanded.
At that time it was felt that the position of the country was insecure with a threat of invasion from France, a war in China, difficulties with the United States and the events of the Indian Mutiny in 1857. At any time the Regular Army might be engaged in operations overseas, leaving the company defenceless as regards land forces. A War Office Circular of 25th May 1859 allowed the establishment of volunteer companies within counties.
The role of these volunteer companies was to act as skirmishers, or riflemen who obviously had intimately acquainted with the country in which they would be required to operate if the country was invaded.
Earl Spencer established the first company in the county at Althorp on 28th August 1859, this became known as the 1st Company.
The 7th Company (which would have taken men from Rushden) was established at Wellingborough in September 1860 with Captain H H Stockdale of Mears Ashby Hall as command.
In August 1860 all the companies where grouped together into one administrative battalion known as the 1st Administrative Battalion The Northamptonshire Volunteer Rifles.
By April 1867 there where 9 companies in the county. Each had a strength of 60 men and one of them acted as a mounted infantry. The uniform selected for Northamptonshire by the Lord-Lieutenant was grey with scarlet facing and consisted of a shako or peaked cap; single-breasted tunic cut long in the skirts, trousers or knickerbockers and leather leggings; whilst the equipment needed was a waistbelt, bayonet front, ball-bag containing cap pocket and a twenty-round pouch, all of either black or brown leather. The rule that the corps should bear the whole expense of their equipment and maintenance except in the event of their being assembled for active service necessarily restricted the entrants to the upper and middle class sections of the population as they had to pay an annual subscription to belong to their Company.
The shako was discarded and replaced by the spiked helmet.
Under the Cardwell Reforms the regulars units of the 48th and 58th Regiments of Foot become the 1st Battalion The Northamptonshire Regiment and the 2nd Battalion The Northamptonshire Regiment respectively.
The 1st Administrative Battalion, The Northamptonshire Volunteer Rifles became the 1st Volunteer Battalion The Northamptonshire Regiment. The permanent staff of the battalion was now provided by the regular battalions of the Regiment. On the shoulder-straps of the rank and file the letter T being placed over the letter V with the whole of the county title of Northamptonshire.
The battalion was up to a total strength of 1,208.
Detachments of the battalion were sent to London to form part of the guard of honour lining the streets on the occasion of Queen Victoria Diamond Jubilee Celebrations in 1897, when they were posted on London Bridge.
By 1900 O Company existed at Rushden.
I Company of the 1st Volunteer Battalion The Northamptonshire Regiment serves in the 2nd Boer War in South Africa (1899-1902). This did have other Volunteers from the other companies within Northamptonshire and may have included Rushden Volunteers from O Company.
Kelly's Directory 1903
O Company - 1st Volunteer Battalion of Northamptonshire Regiment met in Church Street, under Captain H W Jackson. Surgeon-Lieut. H S Baker, medical officer, Colour-Sergt. Instructor John Thomas Bettle.
The Battalion, consisted of 44 Officers and 1773 Non-Commissioned Officers and men, with headquarters at Northampton.
The Mounted Infantry Company has ceased to exist, but a Cyclist Company existed at this time at Kettering.
The uniform has remained unchanged, with the exception that the busby has replaced the shako.
The Government passes the Territorial and Reserve Act which authorises a new Territorial Force (TF) and appoints 1st April 1908 as its 'birthday'.
The Territorial Force, administered by local associations and intended for home defence comes into being, consisting of 14 infantry divisions, 14 mounted brigades, troops to defend Britain ports and supporting services. Existing volunteers given until 30 June to transfer to the new force. 1st Volunteer Battalion The Northamptonshire Regiment becomes the 4th Territorial Battalion The Northamptonshire Regiment. Eight Companies existed in the county, H Company being the Rushden and Irthlingborough Company. The grey uniform disappeared and was replaced with the scarlet uniform with white facing of the Regular battalions of The Northamptonshire Regiment. The letter T was substituted for the letter V on the shoulder-straps of the tunics and jackets of the non-commissioned offices and men.
On 25th June 1909 a parade was held at Windsor Castle for the presentation of Colours to the new 4th Battalion by King Edward VII. The Colours, which were the gift of hue ladies of the county, are similar in design to those of a Regular battalion The Colours are now on display in the Regimental Museum in Abington Park, Northampton.
Sgt Bullard
Sgt Bullard c1916 by E Virgo
August. War declared on Germany and Territorial Force embodied. Although only liable for home service, for the duration of the war the TF ceases to exist as a separate organization, although many units perpetuate and are proud of their TF origins.

December. 70,000 Territorial serving on the Western Front in France. The 1st Battalion becomes known as the 1/4th Battalion. A 2/4th Battalion was formed which saw Home Service until it was disbanded in 1917. A 3/4th Battalion also formed which operated as Draft-Finding (training) and was disabled in 1919.

Kelly's Directory 1914
Territorial Force - H Company - 4th Battalion Northamptonshire Regiment met in Church St, under Colour-Sergt. Instructor W. Bullard.
The 4th Battalion was at annual camp at Ashridge Park, carrying out annual training when war was declared. The Battalion was mobilised and went into training at Romford and later moved to Bury St. Edmunds, Thetford, Norwich and St. Albans. It sailed for the East in 1915, and landed on the Gallipoli Peninsula, and, at the end of the year, proceeded to Egypt. The Battalion took part in the advance across the Sinai Peninsula and was heavily engaged in the Second Battle of Gaza. In November 1916 the Battalion earned fresh laurels at Wilhelma where, though only 400 strong, it repulsed an attack by 3,000 Turks. When the armistice was concluded with the Turks, the battalion had reached Beirut. From here they embarked for Egypt on 4th December 1918.
Demobilisation commenced and on the 4th November 1919, the cadre of the battalion reached Northampton and the territorial Force is disbanded in Northamptonshire and across the county.
The Territorial Force is reformed in February. All volunteers are now liable for overseas service.
The establishment was fixed at 20 officers and 584 other ranks, and the four companies were distributed at Northampton, Rushden, Wellingborough and Kettering. Rushden becomes known as B Company.
The Territorial Force is renamed the Territorial Army (TA). Horsed Yeomanry units are no longer considered essential and convert to armoured cars or other arms such as the Royal Artillery or Royal Signals.
B Company 4th Battalion The Northamptonshire Regiment TA opens Rushden's New Drill Hall in Victoria Road, opened on Wednesday 23rd May 1928 by Lieut-Colonel Styles MC, Commanding Officer of Battalion. Irchester Platoon attached to Rushden.
A machine gun company was introduced which correspond to that of the Regular Army and the 4th Battalion was re-organised. C Company covers Wellingborough, Rushden, Raunds and Irthlingborough.
The TA becomes responsible for all the Anti-Aircraft (AA) defences of Great Britain. Infantry units become conversions to AA gunners or searchlight crews.
Rushden members of the 4th Battallion The Northamptonshire Regiment transfered into the 5th Battalion The Northamptonshire Regiment. The 4th Battalion re-roled as an Anti Aircraft Battalion RE TA [eventually becoming 50 (Northants Regt) Search Light Regt RA TA and then in January 1945 became 637 (Northants) Regt RA]. 5th Battalion (founded 1920 Huntingdonshire) took over Rushden B Company.
Women join the TA in the newly established Auxiliary Territorial Service.
April. The TA is doubled in size. Recruiting takes place at Rushden as Rushden's Company of the 5th Battalion The Northamptonshire Regiment TA who have new Bren-guns for new recruits.
Major R A Marriott, a former Major in 4th Battalion The Northamptonshire Regiment TA and resident of 86 Portland Road, Rushden appeals to former members of the 4th Battalion to reform a new Unit under War Office Directions. A new 4th Battalion was formed in 1939 and was disbanded in 1946.
August. TA anti-aircraft units are mobilised
September. War is declared on the 3rd September - Remainder of TA, with a strength of 12 infantry divisions, is called up.
As in the First World War the TA ceases to exist as a separate organisation and becomes part of the Regular Army, Although many units continue to be proud of their TA origins.
TA divisions arrive in France to join the British Expeditionary Force (BEF).
May and June. Germans attack Holland, Belgium and France. TA units in thick of battles.
Lt Alec Horwood, originally a Sergeant in a Bermondsey Territorial Battalion, wins a posthumous VC in Burma whilst attached to a Battalion The Northamptonshire Regiment. He had already won a Distinguished Conduct Medal whilst serving with the BEF.
April. The Territorial Army is revived as a peacetime force.
National Servicemen are posted to the TA after their regular service.
The TA's role is redefined and co-operation with Civil Defence at home is given priority. Only two divisions are now liable for service overseas with NATO.
The TA celebrates its Golden Jubilee. HM The Queen reviews 8,000 Territorials in Hyde Park.
National Service ends. The 'Ever-Readies' - Territorials who volunteer for a rapid call-up to serve anywhere in the world - created.
A major restructuring shrinks the size of the TA. Units at all levels amalgamate or disappear. The official name of the force becomes the Territorial & Army Volunteer Reserve (TAVR).
The title of Territorial Army is restored.
Reserve Forces Act allows TA to be called up for service at any time. Individual soldiers now serve with the Army worldwide.
Strategic defence review sees TA reduced in size - again.
TA soldiers called up in large numbers for service in Iraq.
Radical restricting of the Army sees TA with a role as regular Army reserves.
TA soldiers serve in Iraq and Afghanistan.

1926 Photo B Company

T A Notes

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