Title: The Honourable Artillery Company 1914 – 1919
Author: Edited by G. Goold Walker
Edition: 2nd Edition
Publication Date: 2002
Cover: Soft Cover without Dust Jacket – 592 pages & 9 maps
Comments: The HAC consisted of two infantry battalions, four field artillery batteries and one siege battery. Two of the RFA batteries served with the EEF, all the other units fought on the Western front.
This history covers each unit in turn. Combined Roll of Honour and list of Honours and Awards.The HAC, a Territorial regiment, was unique in that it was composed of both artillery and infantry, and it is also the oldest regiment in the British Army., London’s ancient Artillery Company. In August 1914 it consisted of an infantry battalion and two field artillery batteries, “A” and “B”. On the outbreak of war, as with other TF units, they all formed second line units and eventually third line, though none of the latter went overseas. Because many members of the HAC were taking commissions in the Royal Garrison Artillery in the summer of 1916, it was decided to form an HAC Siege Battery; this was done in November 1916 and it was designated “309th Siege Battery, RGA.”
The history of this brigade has been written by W.R.Kingham under the title The London Gunners, also reprinted by N&M Press. The 1st Battalion went to France in September 1914 and remained there throughout the war. The 2nd Battalion followed in October 1916, joined the7th Division and in November 1917 went with it to Italy where it remained to the end. The newly created 309th Siege Battery went to France in April 1917 and fought there to the end of the war. The two first line artillery batteries sailed for Egypt in April 1915 and served with the Egyptian Expeditionary Force in the desert and in Palestine while the two second line batteries, “2/A” and “2/B”, both went to France in June 1917 as part of the 126th Army Field Artillery Brigade.
The history of this somewhat complex regiment has been admirably handled. Each of the units has a section to itself and each section has its own chapters numbered separately. The story begins with the 1st Battalion, then follow ‘A’ Battery. ‘B’ Battery, the Siege Battery, 2nd Battalion, 2/A Battery, 2/B Battery and finally the third line units and the regimental Depot. There is a combined regimental Roll of Honour, arranged alphabetically (officers and men together), and each entry gives name and christian names (no regimental number); the date he was admitted to (i.e joined) the HAC; his unit (battalion or battery); the date he went overseas; the date and circumstances of death and place of death. In a number of cases more information on the man’s service is given.
Likewise the list of Honours and Awards is a combined one giving service details of each recipient (there were two VCs to the 1st Battalion), and members of the HAC receiving awards while serving with other units are shown in a separate list, again with service details. There are three indexes, one of persons, one of places and one of units. There are some interesting photos and though the maps are clear they lack tactical/operational details. Nevertheless this is a good, well-written history, clearly intended for the members of the Regiment.