The Artists Rifles Association
2010 will be the 150th Anniversary of the formation of the Artist's Rifles. This Regiment is well known in some military circles but many members of the public may never have heard of it.
Mike Powell would like details of any Artists in your family and any anecdotes being passed down or titles of stories written by them. As Artists served in almost every Unit of the British Army and in almost every campaign between 1914 and 1919 there hopefully will be a mass of information to come forward. A sample list of names is within the attached document.
A suitable prize will be given to the person who sends in the most interesting entry.
This offer is open until 31 August 2009 in order for something to be prepared for the internet hopefully for 2010.
History of the The Artists Rifles Association
First opportunity to serve overseas
On 1 January 1900 the Lord Mayor attended the Guildhall to preside over the enrolment of the City Imperial Volunteers. As the contingents marched from their headquarters to the Guildhall, they were enthusiastically cheered. King Street and Cheapside were almost impassable with crowds assembled to greet the various detachments - the pick of the Volunteer Army, young and strong and trained men all of them. The Artists were the first to put in an appearance (fifty strong), then the 3rd London, then the Inns of Court, the London Irish, and the men selected from seven other corps, to the number of 411.
As the C.I.V.'s reached the streets they were at once greeted with deafening cheers. Five hundred likelier fellows never trod the streets of London - young men who had answered the summons of their Queen, their country, their City at the call of duty, to risk their limbs and their lives for the sake of the homeland.
The second opportunity came with the First World War.
On the 2 August, 1914, the 2nd London Division T.F. to which the Artists were allocated as Army Troops, assembled on Salisbury Plain for their annual camp. At midnight the Division was recalled post-haste to London and on the 5th August was mobilised for active service and placed on duty the same day and shortly afterwards despatched to France.
On their way up to Ypres they were dramatically halted at Bailleul by a Staff-Officer (as it happened, an old Artists Adjutant, Col. Romer) with an urgent message from the Commander-in-Chief who wished to see them. They de-bussed and were visited by him there. The result of an historic interview between him and Colonel May was that a few days later some 50 "other ranks", public school and University men who had taken to heart Lord Roberts' warning and trained in peace time, were rapidly given some practical tips, promoted to Second Lieutenant and the next day went straight into action (still wearing their Territorial private's uniform and Artists badge with the addition of a "pip") against some of Germany's most famous Regiments in command of seasoned regular soldiers of the immortal Seventh Division.
The records subsequently recorded;
Earl French the then Commander in Chief has since on several occasions written and spoken on this subject in generous terms and in particular at a recent reunion of survivors, when he said:-
"I shall never, never forget the first visit I paid to the Artists after they landed in France, or the wonderful impression they left on my mind of the possibilities which were in that Corps of furnishing a want which was so terrible to all of us at that time, the supply of officers. What really influenced me in trying the experiment I had to try was the appreciation I had of the splendid material of which I saw you were composed, and of the marked aptitude of Colonel May and those who helped him for organising and commanding such a Corps. Just at the period I am speaking of we had suffered fearful casualties, and the proportion of losses in officers was higher than in any other rank, and it was going on every day. I was really positively at my wits' end, suffering almost agony, to know where I could get officer reinforcements. You all know how any fighting force must deteriorate, and deteriorate badly, unless this supply of officers is kept up properly and regularly".
A later Commander in Chief, General Sir Douglas Haig, wrote in his memoirs
"Wednesday February 9 (1916). I got back to St. Omer about 2 o'clock. Lord Kitchener arrived soon after 5 p.m. I had a Guard of Honour of Artists Rifles for him. He was much pleased and said they were very smart. He had not before been given a Guard of Honour by Sir J. French. (General Sir Douglas Haig)
The unusual act of commissioning in the field by the Commander in Chief led to the dual functions of the Artists becoming an officer training corps with, at times a battalion in the line such as at Ypres. The OTC role produced many officers whose records are possibly more recorded under the regiment that received them.
Do you have an Artist in your family?
Have you researched how he got his decoration, is it one of the following?
World War I (1914-1919)
In the First World War of the 15,022 Artists, 2,003 were killed, 3,250 wounded, 533 posted missing and 286 taken as prisoners of war. Amongst them they won:
- 8 Victoria Crosses
- 52 Distinguished Service Orders and 4 bars
- 822 Military Crosses with 63 bars (and 6 second bars)
- 23 Distinguished Flying Crosses with 3 bars
- 15 AFCs
- 6 DCMs
- 15 MMs
- 14 MSMs and
- 564 Mentions in Dispatches
During WWI, 10,256 officers were commissioned after training with the Artists' Rifles. They went to the Foot Guards, every infantry regiment and to many of the Corps. Some examples of the units are:
Royal Artillery, Royal Engineers plus other Corps of the British Army, Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders; Royal Berkshire Regt; Border Regt.; Cameron Highlanders; Channel Islands Militia; Cheshire Regt.; Connaught Rangers; Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry; Devonshire Regt.; Dorsetshire Regt.; Dublin Fusiliers; Durham Light Infantry; Essex Regt.; Royal Fusiliers; Gloucestershire Regt.; Gordon Highlanders; Hampshire Regt.; Highland Light Infantry; Royal Highlanders (The Black Watch); Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers; Royal Irish Fusiliers; Royal Irish Regt.; Royal Irish Rifles; East Kent Regt.; Royal West Kent Regt.; King's Royal Rifle Corps; Lancashire Fusiliers; East Lancashire Regt.; Loyal North Lancashire Regt.; South Lancashire Regt.; Royal Lancaster Reg.; Leinster Regt.; Lincolnshire Regt.; Liverpool Regt.; London Regt. Including Post Office Rifles, Queen Victoria's Rifles, Princess Louise's Kensingtons', the Rangers, Civil Service Rifles, Popular and Stepney Rifles; Monmouthshire Regt.; Royal Munster Fusiliers; Norfolk Regt.; Northamptonshire Regt.; Northumberland Fusiliers; Notts and Derby Regt.; Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry, Rifle Brigade; Royal Scots Fusiliers, Kings own Scottish Borderers; Scottish Rifles; Seaforth Highlanders; Shropshire Light Infantry; Somerset Light Infantry; North Staffordshire Regt.; South Staffordshire Regt.; Suffolk Regt.; East Surrey Regt.; Royal West Surrey Regt.; Royal Sussex Regt.; South Wales Borderers; Royal Warwickshire Regt.; Royal Welch Fusiliers; Welch Regt.; West Riding Regt.; Wiltshire Regt.; Worcestershire Regt.; York and Lancaster Regt.; Yorkshire Light Infantry; Yorkshire Regt.; East Yorkshire Regt.; West Yorkshire Regt. The Artists Rifles in the line served as part of the Royal Naval Division.
2010 will be the 150th Anniversary of the formation of the Artist's Rifles. This Regiment is well known in military circles but many members of the public may never have heard of it. It has been of great importance because of the Regiments that officers commissioned into the Artist's Rifles subsequently served in as well as the service of officers and men within the Regiment's own battalions.
If members of your family served in the Artists, or served alongside men commissioned from the Artists, I would like details. This includes any anecdotes passed down or titles of stories written by them. There must be many cases of genealogists who have members in their family who won some of the awards listed. Grandfather or Great Grandfather's Regiment may be shown as one of those listed here but some of you may have carried your research to a point where you know what unit he was commissioned into. A suitable prize will be given to the person who sends in the most interesting entry. This offer is open until 31 Augut 2009 in order for something to be prepared for the internet hopefully for 2010. As Artists served in almost every Unit of the British Army and in almost every campaign between 1914 and 1919 there hopefully will be a mass of information to come forward. Is you family name amongst this sample list? There are hundreds more.
Amor, Ernest Hamilton; Apergis, Tasso Scott; Benjafield, Harry Wilfred; Betbeder, Garton Louis; Canter, L/Cpl. Francis; Cushing, Ernest Charles; Dewson, Leslie Jackson; Durston, Charles Giles; Easterbrook, Henry George; Easton, Phillip; Fairney, Leonard; Fransham, William Henry Elwin; Glenton, Frederick; Goldsbury, Charles Melville; Hasslacher, Alfred John; Hounsell, Frank William; Imrie, David Patrick Cuthbert; Iveson, Cyril Charles; Jago, Edward Gordon; Jolley, James; Keddie, George Douglas F.; Keller, Francis Frederick; Lewin, Wilfred Eusebius; Lintott, Sgt. Harry Chamen; Maxted, Claud Brotherton; Minshull, John Lewis; Newton, Geoffrey Broughton; Norton, Howard Stead Marston; Oakenfull, Herbert Joseph; Ormiston, Walter Hugh; Powell (17 in all); Powl (1 only); Rundell, Leslie Eric; Ruxton, James; Seligsohn, Henry Leon; Steckley, Harold Brodie; Tew, Arthur Healey; Trotter, Stuart Ernest; Vanderplank, Hubert Cecil; Villenoweth, Alexander Ch. A; Walmisley, Shaftesbury Edgar; Wilhelm, Primus Maximillian; Yeates, L/Cpl. Stanley Charles; Young, Albert Louis Gwynne; Zeylmans, Peter Cornelius
Some further background to the regiment is on www.artistsriflesassociation.org and those who consult it will see the areas at present not working which I hope later we can complete, to give a roll of honour with additional information on as many men as possible.
Information derived from the "Artists Rifles Regimental Roll of Honour and War Record 1914-1919."
Publishers, Howlett & Son. 10 Frith Street, Soho Square W1. 1922
Current publisher's Address:
Naval & Military Press, Unit 10, Ridgewood Industrial Park, Uckfield, East Sussex, TN22 5QE.
I have been impressed by the results family historians have printed in their society journals and I feel that for every piece of information used there have been many more noticed but not relevant. I am hoping that over the coming months anything about "Artists" can ultimately come my way. With so many pairs of eyes the possibilities are endless. One caution however, because my time is limited in the amount of correspondence I can deal with. I cannot deal with a series of general enquiries such as "my great grandfather was in the First World War, is he listed as an Artist?
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