The Royal Horse Artillery

The RHA was responsible for light, mobile guns that provided firepower in support of the cavalry. It was the senior arm of the artillery, but the one that developed and grew least during the Great War. In 1914 the establishment of the RHA was one battery to each brigade of cavalry. A battery had six 13-pounder field guns and included 5 officers and 200 men. Motive power was supplied by the battery's 228 horses. The original BEF included only one division of cavalry of 4 brigades, and thus it had four batteries RHA, which were organised into two brigades.

RHA units of the regular army

As with all elements of the regular army, these units were, after being mobilised in August 191,4 manned by a mixture of serving regulars, army and Special Reservists. From around October 1914 they began to be supplemented by wartime recruits and by the war's end the majority of the complement of most regular units were not career soldiers. The regular brigades were generally under command of the British or Indian cavalry divisions, but a shortage of field artillery by late 1914 meant that some were at first joined to the newly-formed 7th, 8th and 29th Infantry Divisions.

Brigade
History
I Originally A and B Batteries RHA, based in August 1914 in Ambala, India. A Battery, also known as the Chestnut Troop, joined the Ambala Brigade in the 1st Indian Cavalry Division. B Battery moved to England in November 1914, and joined XV Brigade RHA.
II Originally only C Battery RHA, which transferred to XIV Brigade in September 1914.
III Originally D, E (both based at Newbridge) and J (Aldershot) Batteries RHA. All moved to France in August 1914 with 1st Cavalry Division: D with 3rd Cavalry Brigade, E with 5th and J with 4th. D and E moved with their Brigades to 2nd Cavalry Division on 15 September 1914. The Territorial 1/1st Warwick Battery RHA joined this Brigade on 4 December 1914 and went to 1st Cavalry Division on 14 April 1915. J Battery was with Third Army in March 1917, and with 2nd Cavalry Division by February 1918.
IV Redesignated from XV Bde in May 1915. C and K Batteries were with First Army in January 1917, and 3rd Cavalry Division again in February 1918. G Batt joined 17th RHA Brigade in March 1918.
V Originally G, O and Z Batteries RHA based at Ipswich. Under 8th Division Sept 1914 to Jan 1917, when became an Army Brigade RHA. G moved to 3rd Cavalry Division in November 1914. Z Battery joined on reforming, Oct 1914. A section from each of 55 and 57 Howitzer Batteries RFA joined in May 16 and redesignated were D Battery, which was then broken up Jan 1917. O and Z Batteries were in Fourth Army in January 1917.
VI Originally H and K Batteries RHA, based at Trowbridge and Christchurch. H moved to replace L Battery in VII Brigade in late September 1914, and K moved to the new XV Brigade.
VII Originally I and L Batts RHA, based at Aldershot. Under 1st Cavalry Division from August 1914. Following very serious losses at Affair of Nery on 1 September 1914, L Battery was withdrawn from action, returning to the UK to be reformed. It was temporarily replaced by a battery made from various other units and designated Z Battery. L's permanent replacement, H, joined from VI Brigade in England in late September 1914.
VIII Originally M and Q Batteries RHA, based in Risalpur and Sialkot respectively and part of the 1st (Peshawar) Division. Q Battery joined the Sialkot Brigade in the 1st Indian Cavalry Division. M Battery remained in India.
IX Originally N and S Batteries RHA, in Secunderbad and Bangalore respectively. N was attached to the Secunderabad Cavalry Brigade which moved to France in November 1914. S Battery remained in India until 1915 when moved to Mesopotamia attached to 6th Indian Cavalry Brigade.
X Redesignated X Reserve Brigade. Originally P and R Batteries RHA, in Woolwich.
XI Originally T Battery RHA, in Abbassia, Egypt, and U Battery RHA in Lucknow, India. T moved to XIV Brigade in December 1914, and U joined the Lucknow Brigade in the 1st Indian Cavalry Division.
XII Originally V and W Batteries RHA in Meerut, India. V Battery joined the Meerut Brigade in the 2nd Indian Cavalry Division. W Battery remained in India.
XIII Originally X and Y Batts RHA in Mhow, India. X Battery joined the Mhow Brigade in the 2nd Indian Cavalry Division. Y Battery moved to England in November 1914 and joined XV Brigade.
XIV Originally C and F Batteries RHA. Under 7th Division Sept 1914 to Feb 1917, when became an Army Brigade RHA. C moved to 3rd Cavalry Division, joining XV Bde in Oct 1914. T Battery joined from Egypt in Dec 1914. D/XIV joined from Corps June 1915. A section from each of 31 and 35 Howitzer Batteries joined May 16 and redesignated D Batt. 509 (H) joined Oct 1916, but broken up Feb 1917. B/CLXIX and a section of C/CLXIX joined Feb 1917, redesignated C/XIV. F and T Batteries were re-armed with 18-lbr guns June 1915.
XV Formed to join the new 3rd Cavalry Division on 1 October 1914. C Battery RHA joined from XIV Brigade, and K Battery from VI Brigade. Redesignated IV Bde in May 1915.
XVI Originally B, L and Y Batteries RHA (L after being reformed following the Affair of Nery). Under 29th Division January 1915 to Feb 1917, when became an Army Brigade RHA. Y Battery moved to 1st Cavalry Division in Dec 1916, being swapped for the Territorial 1/1st Warwick Battery RHA. 460 (H) Battery, formerly D/XVII, joined Sept 1916.

RHA units of the Territorial Force

Mirroring the purpose of the regular RHA, the Territorial RHA was originally intended to provide firepower for the Mounted (Yeomanry) Divisions of the TF.

Battery
Remarks

Honourable Artillery Company

The HAC also provided infantry units: click here

“A” (1st City of London Horse Artillery Battery) HAC

Battery HQ was at Armoury House in the City of London and was allocated as artillery support to the London Mounted Brigade. In 1914 the Battery was split into 1st/A and 2nd/A.

1st/A served in the UK from 1914 to 1915 as part of the 2nd Brigade RHA TF with 1st/B and the Berkshire and Nottinghamshire Batteries, before going to Egypt in 1915 where it left this Brigade to form the 1st Brigade RHA TF (with 1st/B), serving in the Middle East until 1918.

2nd/A served in the UK until 1917 when it went to France, serving until the end of the war along with 2nd/B as part of the 126th Army Brigade RFA.

“B” (2nd City of London Horse Artillery Battery) HAC

Battery HQ was at Armoury House in the City of London and the unit was allocated as artillery support to the South Eastern Mounted Brigade. In 1914 the Battery was split into 1st/B and 2nd/B.

1st/B served in the UK from 1914 to 1915 as part of the 2nd Brigade RHA TF with 1st/A and the Berkshire and Nottinghamshire Batteries before going to Egypt in 1915 where it left this Brigade to form the 1st Brigade RHA TF (with 1st/A) serving in the Middle East until 1918.

The HAC batteries had a strong officer-producing role for the RHA and RFA, and due to the high quality and number of officers provided it was sought to extend this service to the RGA. Thus in 1916 the 309th (Honourable Artillery Company) Siege Battery RGA was formed. This served in France from 1917 until the end of the war.

Ayr
Battery HQ was at Ayr and the unit was allocated as artillery support to the Lowland Mounted Brigade.

The battery served in the UK to 1915 before going to the Middle East for the rest of the war. In 1916 with the Inverness-shire Battery it formed the 4th Brigade RHA TF, and in 1917 they were joined by the Somerset Battery to form 18th Brigade RHA TF.

Berkshire
Battery HQ was at Reading with a Section at Ascot, and the unit was allocated as artillery support to the 2nd South Midland Mounted Brigade

The battery was duplicated in 1914 forming 1/1st and 2/1st Berkshire Batteries.

1/1st served in the UK until 1915 when it went to the Middle East for the rest of the war where it initially served as artillery support to the 22nd Mounted Brigade. In 1917 it moved to to the 6th Mounted Brigade, and later the same year formed 20th Brigade RHA TF with the Hampshire and Leicestershire Batteries.

2/1st served in the UK to 1917 when it went to France, serving for the rest of the war in 158th Army Brigade RFA. War diary on site

Essex
Formed from a nucleus of the Essex Yeomanry. Battery HQ was at Market Road, Chelmsford, with sections at Chelmsford, Colchester and Ingatestone. The ammunition column was divided between Colchester and Chelmsford. The unit was allocated as artillery support to the Eastern Mounted Brigade

The battery was duplicated in 1914, forming 1/1st and 2/1st Essex Batteries.

1/1st served to 1915 in the UK before proceeding to the Middle East where it spent the rest of the war, initially as part of the 263rd Brigade RFA with the Hampshire and West Riding Batteries. In 1917 the battery transferred to the 20th Brigade RHA TF which was the artillery support of the 7th Mounted Brigade.

2/1st served in the UK to 1916 before being sent to France for the rest of the war as part of the 298th Brigade RFA.

Glamorgan
Battery HQ was at Port Talbot, and the unit was allocated as artillery support to the South Wales Mounted Brigade.

The battery was duplicated in 1915 forming 1/1st and 2/1st Glamorganshire Batteries.

1/1st served from 1914 to 1916 in the UK. In 1916 it joined the 293rd Brigade RFA, which went to France in 1917 where it then remained.

2/1st served in the UK from 1915 to 1918, in 1916 joining first the 297th Brigade RFA and then the 298th. When the 298th left for France the battery remained in the UK as an independent Field Battery.

Hampshire
Battery HQ was at Southampton with the ammunition column at Basingstoke, and the unit was allocated as artillery support to the 1st South Western Mounted Brigade.

The battery was duplicated in 1914 forming 1/1st and 2/1st Hampshire Batteries.

1/1st served from 1914 to 1916 in the UK before proceeding to the Middle East where it spent the rest of the war, initially as part of the 263rd Brigade RFA with the Essex and West Riding Batteries. In 1917 the battery transferred to the 20th Brigade RHA TF which was the artillery support of the 7th Mounted Brigade.

The 2/1st went to France from 1916 to 1918 with the 298th Brigade RFA.

Inverness
Battery HQ was at Margaret Street, Inverness, with the ammunition column at King Street, Nairn. The unit was allocated as artillery support to the Highland Mounted Brigade.

The battery was duplicated in 1914 forming 1/1st and 2/1st Inverness-shire Batteries.

The 1/1st battery served in the UK to 1915 before going to the Middle East for the rest of the war. In 1916 with the Ayrshire Battery it formed the 4th Brigade RHA TF, which in 1917 was joined by the Somerset Battery to form 18th Brigade RHA TF.

The 2/1st Battery was allocated as artillery support to the 2/1st South Midland Mounted Brigade and spent the whole war in the UK.

Leicester
Battery HQ was at No.1 Magazine Square, Leicester and the unit was allocated as artillery support to the North Midland Mounted Brigade.

The battery was duplicated in 1915 forming 1/1st and 2/1st Leicestershire Batteries.

1/1st served in the UK until 1916 when it went to the Middle East, forming 3rd Brigade RHA TF with the Somerset Battery> In 1917 it transferred to the 20th Brigade RHA TF. The battery remained in the Middle East until the end of the war.

2/1st served in the UK to 1916 as artillery support to the 1st Mounted Division, after which it served in France as part of the 223rd Brigade RFA.

Nottingham
Battery HQ was at Nottingham with a section at Wiseton. The unit was allocated as artillery support to the Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire Mounted Brigade.

The battery was duplicated in 1914 forming 1/1st and 2/1st Nottinghamshire Batteries.

1/1st moved to the Middle East in 1915 where it joined the 2nd Brigade RHA TF in support of the 2nd Mounted Division. During that year it served independently of the Brigade as part of the Western Frontier Force fighting against the Senussi in the desert. In 1917 the battery moved to 19th Brigade RHA TF, which provided artillery support to the Australian Mounted Division.

The 2/1st served in the UK from 1914 to 1916, from 1915 as artillery support to the 2/2nd Mounted Brigade. From 1917 to 1918 the battery served as part of the 215th Brigade RFA in India.

Shropshire
This was the only battery (outside the HAC) which pre-existed the establishment of the Territorials in 1908, having been a battery in the 1st Shropshire and Staffordshire Royal Artillery Volunteers.

Battery HQ was at Shrewsbury with a section at Wellington and the ammunition column at Church Stretton. The unit was allocated as artillery support to the Welsh Border Mounted Brigade.

The battery was duplicated in 1914 as 1/1st and 2/1st Shropshire Batteries.

1/1st served in the UK from 1914 to 1917, and from 1917 to 1918 in France. From 1916 the battery formed part of the 293rd Brigade RFA.

2/1st served in France in 1917 to 1918 as part of the 158rd Brigade RFA. War diary on site

Somerset
Battery HQ was at Taunton with a section at Glastonbury. The ammunition column was split between Shepton Mallet, Portishead and Wells. The unit was allocated as artillery support to the 2nd South Western Mounted Brigade.

The battery was duplicated in 1914 forming 1/1st and 2/1st Somerset Batteries.

The 1/1st remained in the UK to 1916, from when it served in the Middle East, initially with the Leicestershire Battery as part of 3rd RHA Brigade TF, but from 1917 to the end of the war in 18th Brigade RHA TF with the Inverness-shire and Ayrshire Batteries.

The 2/1st served in France from 1917 to 1918.

Warwickshire
Originally raised by Lord Brooke at Warwick Castle. Battery HQ was at Clarendon Place, Leamington Spa, with a section at Coventry. The ammunition column was divided between Leamington and Henley-in-Arden. The unit was allocated as artillery support to the 1st South Midland Mounted Brigade.

The battery was duplicated in 1914 forming 1/1st and 2/1st Warwickshire Batteries.

The 1/1st was the first Territorial artillery unit to go overseas on active service, spending the whole war in France. In 1915 the battery joined 7th Brigade RHA moving in 1917 to 15th Brigade RHA.

2/1st proceeded to France on 21 June 1917 and appears to have become B Battery of CXXVI Brigade RFA.

West Riding
Battery HQ was at Wentworth Woodhouse, Rotherham, and the unit was allocated as artillery support to the Yorkshire Mounted Brigade.

No second-line unit was formed for this battery.

The 1/1st Battery served in the Middle East from 1916 to 1918 as part of the 263rd Brigade RFA.