Volunteer Battalions of British Army

What were the Volunteer Battalions of the British Army?

The raison d’etre and the naming of the various battalions and regiments of the British Army can be confusing.

The Volunteer Force came about as a response to the threat of attack from the Continent. It seems that as a country, we lived under this constant fear that an attack was imminent.

volunteer battalions british army

    • The army was heavily deployed across Europe and troops at home were few and far between.
    • The threat in 1859, following the assassination of Napoleon III and the hostilities between France and Austria, was of enough consequence to bring about the creation of the Volunteer Force.
    • The lieutenants of the counties were asked to form Volunteer Rifle Corps. There would be 100 men under command of a Captain.
    • The men had to supply their own weapons, at that time there were many gun clubs or people had guns for shooting vermin or meat for the pot.
    • As long as they were under arms the men received pay and a billet.
    • It was expected they would only be called in case of an actual invasion.

volunteer battalions british army

The Volunteer Battalions of the British Army began to be formed

The loosely defined units were eventually pulled together under the 1881 reforms under one badge, the Volunteers. They were then consolidated into battalions and so it continued until 1908 when the Territorial Force replaced the Volunteers.

We have a number of military cap badges from the Volunteer units,in our Intriguing cap badges collection, use our search facility to find out more.