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 normal establishment of the RHA was one battery to each brigade of cavalry.

Imperial war Museum image Q 6925.  Battle of Amiens. Gunners of the Royal Horse Artillery (RHA) examining a captured German 77mm field gun and Maxim machine gun. Malard Wood, 9 August 1918.

Imperial war Museum image Q 6925. Battle of Amiens. Gunners of the Royal Horse Artillery (RHA) examining a captured German 77mm field gun and Maxim machine gun. Malard Wood, 9 August 1918.

The composition of the Battery and Ammunition Column of the Royal Horse Artillery

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.

Brigades of the RHA at 1 August 1914

BrigadeComposition and locations on 1 August 1914
IA and B Batteries RHA both at Ambala, India
IIC Battery RHA at Canterbury
IIID and E Batteries RHA both at Newbridge in Ireland
IVF Battery RHA at St John's Wood and J Battery RHA at Aldershot
VG and O Batteries RHA both at Ipswich
VIH Battery RHA at Trowbridge and K Battery RHA at Christchurch
VIII and L Batteries RHA both at Aldershot
VIIIM Battery RHA at Risalpur and Q Battery RHA at Sialkot
IXN Battery RHA at Secunderabad and S Battery RHA at Bangalore
XP and R Batteries RHA both at Woolwich
XIT Battery RHA at Cairo and U Battery RHA at Lucknow
XIIV and W Batteries RHA both at Meerut
XIIIX and Y Batteries RHA both at Mhow

Ammunition Columns of the RHA at 1 August 1914

Ammunition ColumnsLocations on 1 August 1914
ACampbellpore
BSialkot
CAmbala
DAhmednagar
EMhow
FMeerut
GLucknow
HSecunderabad
ILahore

Batteries of the RHA during the Great War

BatteryAlso known asGreat War history
AChestnut TroopIn Ambala, India when ordered to mobilise on 31 August 1914. Sailed from Bombay 10 October 1914 and landed at Marseilles exactly a month later. Under command of 3rd (Ambala) Cavalry Brigade in 1st Indian Cavalry Division. Brigade exchanged with 5th (Mhow) Cavalry Brigade of 2nd Indian Cavalry Division on 15 September 1915 but A Battery RHA remained and came under command of Mhow Brigade in October 1915.
BIn Ambala, India when ordered to mobilise on 31 August 1914. Moved to England in late 1914, coming under command of new 15 Brigade RHA which then came under orders of 29th Division. Departed with division for service at Gallipoli. Landed at Cape Helles 27 April 1915. Later went to France with the division.
CAt Canterbury in August 1914. Joined 14 Brigade RHA in September 1914 and went to Belgium with brigade, under command of 7th Division, 5 October 1914. Moved to 3rd Cavalry Division, joining 15 Brigade RHA later that month. Left to become Depot Battery at First Army Artillery School in December 1916. Was with 4 Brigade RHA by July 1917.
DIn Newbridge, Kildare, Ireland when ordered to mobilise on 4 August 1914. Under command of (1st) Cavalry Division. Landed at Le Havre 17 August 1914. Brigade transferred to 2nd Cavalry Division on 15 September 1914. Battery then remained with this formation for rest of the war, but was placed under tactical command of 3rd Cavalry Brigade.
EIn Newbridge, Kildare, Ireland when ordered to mobilise on 4 August 1914. Landed at Le Havre 17 August 1914 under command of (1st) Cavalry Divisional HQ. Fired first British artillery round of the Great War. Brigade transferred to 2nd Cavalry Division on 17 September 1914. Battery then remained with this formation for rest of the war, but was placed under tactical command of 5th Cavalry Brigade.
FAt St John's Wood in August 1914. Joined 14 Brigade RHA in September 1914 and went to Belgium with brigade, under command of 7th Division, 5 October 1914. Battery re-armed with 18-pounder guns June 1915. In February 1917 the brigade became an Army Brigade and not under dvisional command.
GIn Ipswich in August 1914. Brigade joined 8th Division in November 1914 and proceeded to France. On 25 November 1914 battery moved to 3rd Cavalry Division and came under orders of 4 Cavalry Brigade. Remained with brigade until March 1918, when it ceases to be mentioned in brigade diary. Arrived at Artillery Barracks in Cologne, Germany, 27 March 1919.
HIn Trowbridge in August 1914. Joined 2nd Cavalry Brigade of 1st Cavalry Division 28 September 1914, replacing L Battery. Then remained with it.
IIn Aldershot in August 1914, under command of VII Brigade RHA. Brigade to France with (1st) Cavalry Division. 7 September 1914 joined 4 Cavalry Brigade. 20 October 1914 attached 2 Cavalry Brigade. Returned to 1 Cavalry Brigade RHA and remained with it for the rest of the war.
JIn Aldershot in August 1914. Placed under orders of 5th Cavalry Brigade and was brought up to strength by men being posted from C Battery RHA. Sailed from Southampton 16 August 1914. The brigade joined 2nd Cavalry Division on 12 September 1914 and moved to come under tactical command of 4th Cavalry Brigade. Battery's No 2 Section was attached to Z Battery RHA 17-29 September 1914.
KIn Christchurch in August 1914. Moved to Windmill Hill Camp to join new XV Brigade RHA, which was formed to join the new 3rd Cavalry Division on 1 October 1914. Battery then placed under orders of 7th Cavalry Brigade. Landed at Ostend on 8 October 1914. XV Brigade RHA was renamed as IV Brigade in May 1915.
LIn Aldershot in August 1914 (although some sources say St John's Wood on 1 August). Under orders of 2 Cavalry Brigade of the [1st] Cavalry Division. Landed at Boulogne 17 August 1914. Fought notable action at Néry on 1 September 1914: three Victoria Crosses awarded. Battery ater became titled L (Néry) Battery. Returned home 19 October 1914 to be rebuilt and proceeded to Woolwich. Placed under orders of the new 15 Brigade RHA, part of 29th Division.
MIn Risalpur, India, in 1914. Remained in India throughout the war.
NIn Secunderabad, India, in 1914. Battery was then placed under command of Secunderabad Cavalry Brigade which moved to France in November 1914. Brigade was part of 2nd Indian Cavalry Division. Battery then remained with his formation.
OIn Ipswich in August 1914. Brigade joined 8th Division in November 1914 and proceeded to France. Placed under orders of V Brigade RHA and remained with that formation when it left the division to become an Army Brigade.
PDragon TroopRemained in Woolwich as a training unit.
QIn Sialkot, India,in 1914. Placed under command of Sialkot Cavalry Brigade in the 1st Indian Cavalry Division.
RRemained in Woolwich as a training unit.
SIn Bangalore, India, in August 1914. February 1915 placed under command of 6 Indian Cavalry Brigade. Proceeded to Mesopotamia and remained there. December 1916 brigade joined Indian Cavalry Division. Division broken up March 1918.
TShah Sujah'sIn Abbassia, Cairo, Egypt, in August 1914. Ordered home, it eventually arrived at Merville, France, on 21 December 1914 and came under orders of 14 Brigade RHA. Brigade remained under command of 7th Division until February 1917, when it became an Army Brigade. Served in Italy November 1917 to March 1918 when it returned to France.
UIn Lucknow, India, in August 1914. Under orders of 8 (Lucknow) Cavalry Brigade of 1st Indian Cavalry Division. Sailed from Bombay 16 October 1914 going via Aden and Port Said, landed at Marseilles 7 November. Then by train via Orleans, arrived Lillers 9 December 1914. When Division was broken up in February 1918 went to 16 Army Brigade RHA.
VIn Meerut, India, in August 1914. Placed with II Indian Brigade RHA but under orders of 7 (Meerut) Cavalry Brigade and proceeded to France with 2nd Indian Cavalry Division. June 1916 brigade renamed as 7 Indian Cavalry Brigade. It left France for service in Mesopotamia. December 1916 brigade joined Indian Cavalry Division. Division broken up March 1918.
WIn Meerut, India, in August 1914. Remained there until mobilised on 4 October 1917 and eventually sailed from Karachi on 20 November. Landed at Basra five days later for service in Mesopotamia. Re-equipped with 18-pounder field guns December 1917. Under orders of 11th Indian Cavalry Brigade. December 1918 moved to 3rd Indian Cavalry Brigade.
XIn Mhow, India, in August 1914. Joined 5th (Mhow) Cavalry Brigade in 2nd Indian Cavalry Division. 15 September 1915 Brigade transferred to 1st Indian Cavalry Division.
YIn Mhow, India, in August 1914. Ordered home, it was placed under orders of the new 15 Brigade RHA. Brigade was part of 29th Division. Arrived at Lemnos 18 April 1915 and landed at Gallipoli 27 April. Battery continued to serve with the Division until it was moved to 1st Cavalry Division in December 1916, being swapped for the Territorial 1/1st Warwickshire Battery RHA. It then came under operational orders of the Division's 9th Cavalry Brigade.
ZFour guns of I Battery RHA were attached to 1st Cavalry Brigade and called Z Battery for one month August-September 1914. No. 2 Section of J Battery RHA was attached 17-29 September 1914.

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 unit 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.

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.

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.

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