The new drill hall for the accommodation of the Staffordshire Yeomanry and the 6th Battery, R.F.A. is now completed , and is to be opened tomorrow (Saturday). The headquarters of the former will be removed from Lichfield to the county town on January 1st, and a magnificent suite of rooms has been provided for the two units of the Territorial Force.
Standing in about an acre of ground, the new building is situated in Friars Walk, and presents quite an imposing appearance. It is constructed of red bricks with Grinshill stone dressings, and has an elevation of 22ft., while the total length of the building at the front is 88ft. There are no less than eighteen windows in the front, and in addition to the one over the main entrance the outer door itself is fitted with lead lights. The main drill hall and the gun room are covered with blue asbestos cement slates, the remainder of the building being tiled.
The main entrance is situated in Friars Walk, but the entrance to the parade ground for the guns and horses is through a massive pair of oak doors in Bailey street. Over the front entrance, which leads into the main vestibule, are the words: “Staffordshire Territorial Force Association” in stone letters. From the entrance hall direct admission is gained to the artillery orderly room on the left hand side, and the Yeomanry orderly room is situated on the opposite side. The former is 20ft. by 18ft., and the latter 20ft. by 15ft.6in. Adjoining the Yeomanry orderly room is the Yeomanry clerks’ office, 20ft. by 19 ft., and close by is situated the Yeomanry store room, which is fitted with racks and shelves. Entrance to the Artillery quartermaster’s stores, 35ft. by 10ft., is also gained through the main hall, and the gun park room is also situated on the left hand side of the building. The latter is 36ft. by 32ft., and possesses large sliding doors opening into the main drill hall. It also leads to the harness room, which is 20ft. by 20ft., and fitted in an up-to-date manner.
A long passage from the main hall leads to the drill hall, which is situated at the rear of the building. It is a spacious hall, 75ft. by 40ft., with a concrete floor, and large sliding doors leading to the parade ground on the left of the building. In the roof, which is constructed of wrought boards resting on iron principles, is a sky-light, and the walls are water painted with a dado. The Yeomanry Regimental Stores, 35ft. by 15ft., are also situated on the ground floor, and the lavatories have been placed on the right hand side of the passage leading to the drill hall. the officers and N.C.O.s rooms are on the first floor, the former being 29ft. by 16ft. 6in., and the latter 8ft. by 16ft. The recreation room for the men, which is 25ft. by 20ft., and the servery are also situated on the first floor. The former and the N.C.O.s room are fitted with let down tables on one side, and the whole of the rooms possess tiled hearths and grates. A large store room has been added on the first floor, and coal houses and other outbuildings are situated at the rear of the building.
The building has been erected at a cost of £3,850. Mr. George Hodges, of Burton-on-Trent, is the contractor, and Mr. C. G. Cowlishaw, of Hanley, the architect.
We are enabled to give an illustration of the new building by the courtesy of the Editor of the “Staffordshire Chronicle”.
The Queen’s Own Regiment of Staffordshire Yeomanry, whose new Headquarters are situated in the building, was officially established on July 4th, 1794, and it consisted of five troops, or divisions, as they were then called, viz., The Newcastle Division, the Stafford Division, the Lichfield Division, the Leek Division and the Walsall Division, and they were commanded respectively by Colonel Earl Gower, Lieut. Colonel the Hon. E. Monckton, Major E. P. Eliot, Captain James Bulkeley and Captain William Tennant. Immediately after Parliament granted permission for the Yeomanry and Volunteer Cavalry to be raised, liberal subscriptions were forthcoming for the purchase of clothing and arms, and the funds were administered by a committee consisting of the Deputy-Lieutenant of the county and magistrates, who met fortnightly at Stafford. At that time the officers’ commissions were signed by the King himself, and the regiment was styled as “The Staffordshire Regiment of Volunteer Infantry”. The members were enrolled for the “internal defence and security of the Kingdom” on the following conditions: “To receive no pay unless when embodied or called out, but to attend mounted on a serviceable horse, not less than fourteen and a half hands high, for the purpose of exercise. When embodied to receive pay as cavalry and to be subjected to military discipline. Each person attending on the day of exercise to wear a uniform provided at the expense of county subscriptions, together with arms and accoutrements provided by the Government.” Each troop was to consist of not less than fifty men, including the officers, and at that time the uniform consisted of a short scarlet coatee, very much like an open tunic, turned back at the collar with yellow cloth, which was also the colour of cuffs and collars. The breeches were of white leather, and were worn with military knee boots. The helmet, which was of the bear-skin (Light Dragoon) pattern, had a black cloth turban with silver chain work, and a white-over-red feather at the side. The waistcoat, gloves and belt were white, the officers wearing a crimson sash over their waistcoats. The Regiment adopted for its motto, “Pro aris et focis” (“For our altars and for our hearths”) and for its badge the county emblem – the Staffordshire Knot.
The Regiment were liable to be marched to any part of the kingdom on actual invasion, and also to be called out upon an order from the King or the Lord Lieutenant or Sheriff of the County for the suppression of riots or tumults in the county of Stafford or adjacent counties. The regiment has the distinction of having been embodied more times in aid of the civil power for the preservation of public peace than any other corps in the Yeomanry service, past and present, and it rendered invaluable service during the last South African War. On several occasions it has furnished escorts to Sovereigns and members of the Royal family, particularly the late Queen Victoria and the late King Edward VII. Since its formation, the regiment has undergone many changes, and the inauguration of the Territorial Force in 1908 has brought about a complete change in the uniform and equipment of the members. The old Hussars busby, with its scarlet bag, disappeared, and was replaced by the blue and red forage cap worn at the present time. The fighting dress is now of khaki, and consists of riding breeches, tunic and puttees, with a khaki forage cap for head-dress. At the present time the arms only consist of a Lee-Enfield rifle, so that for fighting at close quarters the members of the regiment are not so well equipped as the infantry, who possess a bayonet in addition to the rifle.
The regiment is at the present time commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel W. Bromley-Davenport, D.S.O., and the officers of the Battalion are:- Majors E. A. Wiggin, H. A. Clowes, T. A. Wright-Boycott, D.S.O., G. H. Heywood and H. Hardey; Captains W. H. Webb, Viscount W. Lewisham, C. R. H. Wiggin, and R. A. Ratcliff; Lieutenants C. A. Mander, R. Vaughan-Williams, G. H. Anson, and S. J. le P. Trench; Second-Lieutenants S. G. Loveridge, R. Sidebottom, J. G. B. Borough, P. H. Broughton-Adderley, E. Cameron, G. D. Paul, A. V. (?)Negut, R. S. Manley, and E. C. J. Wolseley; Adjutant, Captain A. C. Watson; Quartermaster, Hon. Major Z. Cartwright; Medical Officer, Sergeant Captain A. H. Palmer; and the Chaplain, Rev. H. Smith, M.A.
The 6th Staffordshire Battery of the R.F.A. – the other unit of the Territorial Force to occupy the new building – is still in its infancy, but during its three years’ existence, the regiment has made remarkable progress. Not only has the Battery reached full strength in the short period of three years, but in the various departments of work the members have attained a high standard of efficiency.
The 6th Battery was established at Stafford about three years ago. Temporary headquarters for the new battery were provided on the Green Bridge, and a temporary club was also established in Back Walls. in 1912 the membership of the Battery was about 140, but recruiting proceeded at a fast rate, and a year later the Battery was brought up to full strength, with a membership of about 200. At the three camps the Battery has attended the men have acquitted themselves with distinct credit, and in the various competitions have met with much success. Last year the 6th Battery secured the Salter Cup for general efficiency, punctuality, and turn-out. The 6th Battery also won the Goulburn Cup, awarded by the Commandant and the Gunnery Instructor for fire tactics, fire discipline, and fire effect. The following is an extract from the Camp Commandant’s remarks: “The march into camp up a hilly road in wet weather, the steadiness in camp and on parade, and their behaviour generally in the neighbourhood were, in his opinion, quite worthy of a regular Brigade. He (Major Metcalfe) had not had very much experience of Territorials, but he was glad there was such a brigade in England. The Batteries had all shot extremely well, and there was very little difference in the marks: still, only one Battery could win, and as a matter of fact, fire discipline had carried the day. As regarded the effect there was not very much difference.” The Football Club connected with the Battery carried off the Pageant Cup. The annual fortnight’s training near Lytham this year proved most successful, and the Battery retained possession of the Salter Cup for general efficiency.
Although a spacious parade ground adjoins the new premises, the Lammascote’s ground will continue to be used for riding and gun drill. it is the intention of the officer commanding the divisional artillery and also his Staff Captain to have offices in the county town.
The Battery is in command of Major H Y de Satge, and the officers include Captain F. H. Meynell, Lieutenant F J Wrottesley, Lieutenant H Wight-Boycott, Lieutenant C J Sa*t, and battery Sergeant-Major Beynon.
Lichfield Mercury, Friday, November 14th, 1913