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Volunteer Rifle Corps 1859

Following the Crimean War, it was obvious that army troop resources were severely stetched and that, faced with a new area of conflict, Britain would be unable to quickly rally an effective force.

  • Following the assassination attempt on Napoleon II, on 14th January 1858, it was found, that the would be assassin had had the bombs manufactured in Britain, in Birmingham.
  • Needless to say the French were outraged and it was feared that Britain may have to protect itself against a threat from the French. This fear strengthened when Austria and France went to war in April 1859.

On 12th May 1859 therefore, a letter was sent to the Lieutenants of the counties of Britain authorising the formation of a Volunteer Rifle Corps.
This volunteer force was the start of the Territorial Army, whose infantry, artillery, engineers and signals are directly descended from the Volunteer Rifle Corps.

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