The 2nd Durham (Seaham) Artillery Volunteers: The elite Artillery Corps that history forgot (Paperback)
  • The 2nd Durham (Seaham) Artillery Volunteers: The elite Artillery Corps that history forgot (Paperback)
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The 2nd Durham (Seaham) Artillery Volunteers: The elite Artillery Corps that history forgot (Paperback)

(author)
£10.99
Paperback 200 Pages
Published: 08/03/2023
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By the middle of the 19th century the clouds of war were gathering over Europe. The British army was involved in conflicts around the world in Afghanistan, India, Burma, Crimea, Persia, and China and they also had to maintain a presence in the new colonies in South Africa. For four decades Britain had gone through a process of de-militarisation as Parliament had demanded major reductions in the strength of the army since the end of the Napoleonic Wars. In contrast. almost all other European powers had spent decades increasing their military power particularly France, Prussia, Austria, Russia and Turkey.

The British government was becoming increasingly alarmed at the potential threat posed by their European neighbours. The Duke of Wellington took every opportunity to remind the British people that in the event of invasion Britain was totally unprepared in the event of an invasion on British soil. Parliament was under increasing pressure to find a solution throughout the 1850's. What would happen if Britain was invaded by one of these military giants and our armies were fully occupied in far-off countries? Something had to be done! 

The idea of "citizenly obligation" to the defence of the country began to grow. All political parties fiercely debated the issue and after great exposure in the national press the government eventually supported the introduction of the Volunteer Act 1859 to create a new home defence force to be called the Volunteer Corps. The moto of this new Corps was "Defence not Defiance". 

Very few histories of the volunteer corps in the United Kingdom have been committed to paper. This is not surprising as very few records were maintained in the early days of the volunteer movement. This book attempts to describe the rise and progress of the volunteer movement and in particular the 2nd Durham (Seaham) Artillery Volunteers hereafter referred to as the 2nd Durham's. It is a record of the past service of many men from Seaham, Silksworth, Rainton and Durham who voluntarily gave their time, during peacetime, to prepare for war. The majority of the brigade was composed of working men who were full of enthusiasm on joining the volunteer corps. The attraction of patriotic duty was sufficient to motivate the 2nd Durham's for almost half a century until the corps was subsumed within the new Territorial Force in 1908. In 1920 the Territorial Force was re-named The Territorial Army. 

The rank and file of the 2nd Durham's were recruited from bottle workers, labourers, shopkeepers and agricultural workers but the backbone of the brigade was provided by miners from Lord Londonderry's collieries. The land-owning classes and middle-class professionals such as bank managers, solicitors, doctors etc. were commissioned as officers of the brigade. The Londonderry's and many other influential business owners required all of their managers to enrol as officers in the volunteer corps.

Patriotism was not the sole motive for joining the volunteer movement. In an era of limited access to recreation and leisure the opportunity of becoming a volunteer with the 2nd Durham's offered the chance to participate in military skill and shooting competitions in which prizes, trophies and money were often donated by officers and the local community. The brigade supported attendance at gunnery instruction and training camps giving men access to travel and a wide variety of new experiences. For many, becoming a member of the 2nd Durham's had its reward in social companionship and standing in the community and in gaining increased respect from their employers. This is a record of the journey that many officers, NCO's, and men of the 2nd Durham's made that contributed to the security of our nation between 1860 and 1908.

Publisher: Fred Cooper
ISBN: 9781916017443
Number of pages: 200
Dimensions: 210 x 150 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS

Very well researched and written; Amazing the detail the author has found; A well presented and printed book; An excellent, well researched, and well written history of a significant regional artillery corps.

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