Exeter

Drill Hall, 24 Friars Walk
Drill Hall, Bedford Circus
Drill hall, 10 Longbrook street
Topsham road
The Priory, Colleton crescent
Leighton Terrace, York road
9 Dix's Field

HQ, 1 Devonshire Battery 4th Wessex Brigade Royal Field Artillery
'Wessex Divisional Signal Co. Royal Engineers; head quarters, The Priory, Colleton Crescent' - 1,2,3,4 Sections
'Devonshire Fortress Royal Engineers; Nos. 2 & 3 Works Cos., The Priory, Colleton Crescent.' '4th Battalion Devonshire Regiment, head quarters [plus A, B & C Cos.], Bedford Circus.'
'7th (Cyclist) Battalion Devonshire Regiment, head quarters [plus B & C Cos.], Leighton terrace, York road.'
'Wessex Divisional Transport & Supply Column, Army Service Corps; Head quarters, 14 Oxford road.'
'1st Wessex Field Ambulance, Royal Army Medical Corps; head quarters [plus A, B & C sections], 91 Holloway street, Heavitree.'
HQ,ds 'B' Squadron K14 'Royal (1st) Devon Yeomanry; head quarters and store at Dix's Field
Wessex Clearing Hospital
References above from Kelly, 1914.

Besley's 1913 Exeter Streets Directory gives '4th Wessex 1st Battery R.F.A. Drill Hall, 24 Friars' Walk.'

Topsham road:
'The Artillery barracks, in the Topsham road, are built of brick and form a large square, with officers' quarters facing the entrance gates, quarters for the men, and stables on either side; adjoining the entrance gates are various offices, mess room &c.' Kelly, 1914

Bedford Circus
Kelly, 1914, states that, 'The Drill Hall, in Bedford circus, was erected in 1892 on the site of the old theatre, at a cost, including the site, of about 4000, and is a structure of brick, the hall being 100 feet ling by 45 feet wide, and having a balcony capable of seating 200 persons; on the first floor are recreation rooms and canteen, and in the basement is an armoury, holding 300 stand of arms, a store room and a Morris tube range; on the first floor are meeting rooms for officers and sergeants, and on the third floor is a band practice room. Adjoining the hall are quarters for the sergeant-major.'

The drill hall was on the south west side of Bedford Circus. It was the Home Guard Headquarters in the Second World War and took a direct hit from bombing in 1942.

Other locations:
According to the Exetermemories website, one of the uses of the Victoria Hall on Queen street was as a drill hall for the 1st Devonshire Rifles. The building burned down in 1919.

Kelly, 1914, records, '7th (Cyclist) Battalion Devonshire Regiment, head quarters [plus B & C Cos.], Leighton terrace, York road.' Previously this is listed in the Post Office Directory of Exeter and Suburbs 1912: 'Drill hall, 10 Longbrook street.'

Exeter City Council lists the Priory Drill Hall (Eastgate / Colleton Crescent) as a Grade II Listed Building. [Riverside Court (Priory Drill Hall); Wall and fence of Riverside Court]

9 Dix's Field is not far from Bedford place, the unit having moved there from 1889's Palace Gate (see 1889 reference below).

Earlier references include:
Kelly, 1889:
  • Royal (1st) Devon Yeomanry headquarters/stores: Palace Gate, E Troop: Stoke Hill
  • 8 Battery Devonshire Volunteer Artillery Fore street, Heavitree
  • Headquarters 1st (Exeter & South Devon) Volunteer Battalion Devonshire Regiment 16 Castle street
  • 1st Gloucs Engineers E Company James street
Kelly, 1893:
  • 5 & 6 Companies 1st Devonshire Volunteer Artillery, Holloway street
  • 8th Co. 1st Devonshire Volunteer Artillery, Heavitree
  • Headquarters, 2nd Devonshire & Somersetshire R.E., Bedford circus
  • Head quarters, Co. 3rd Volunteer Battalion Devonshire Regiment, 7 Well street
Photograph not available
© All material is copyright - refer to the Terms of Use

the first attempt at content

The Drill Hall Project - Charting a neglected legacy