v 6.30.00
28 Jan 2022
updated 28 Jan 2022

4th East Riding of Yorkshire Artillery Volunteer Corps

Though often abbreviated in various ways, and sometimes just called the Hull Artillery Corps, this is in fact the correct title, as per the London Gazette.

Another point of interest, to me anyway, is its considerable size. A corps is rather a vague term, and as we can read below most Volunteer Corps were originally of about 30 men, commanded by a Captain, or about 100 men commanded by a Lieutenant. But they soon started to amalgamate into groups of Battalion size commanded by a Lieutenant Colonel, and could comprise about 800 men, as did the 4th East Riding of Yorkshire Artillery Volunteer Corps.

Following Saner's promotion from Major to Lieut Colonel in Mar 1877, there were in fact two of that rank, himself and Lieut Colonel Humphrey, and I can well imagine that he embarked on a campaign of what would nowadays be called negative briefing against Humphrey, whose dismissal would leave Saner as obvious candidate for promotion to Colonel Commandant of the 4th East Riding of Yorkshire Artillery Volunteer Corps ...


The Volunteer Force was a citizen army of part-time rifle, artillery and engineer corps, created as a popular movement throughout the British Empire in 1859. Originally highly autonomous, the units of volunteers became increasingly integrated with the British Army after the Childers Reforms in 1881, before forming part of the Territorial Force in 1908. Most of the regiments of the present Territorial Army Infantry, Artillery, Engineers and Signals units are directly descended from Volunteer Force units.


On 12 May 1859 the Secretary of State for War, Jonathan Peel issued a circular letter to lieutenants of counties in England, Wales and Scotland, authorising the formation of volunteer rifle corps (VRC, a.k.a. corps of rifle volunteers and rifle volunteer corps), and of artillery corps in defended coastal towns.


Originally corps were to consist of approximately 100 all ranks under the command of a captain, with some localities having subdivisions of thirty men under a lieutenant. The purpose of the rifle corps was to harass the invading enemy's flanks, while artillery corps were to man coastal guns and forts.


The large number of small independent corps proved difficult to administer, and, by 1861, most had been formed into battalion-sized units, either by "consolidation": increasing an existing corps to battalion size (usually in large urban areas), or by forming administrative battalions or brigades by the grouping of smaller corps (in rural areas).


[The] government passed the Territorial and Reserve Forces Act 1907, which merged the Volunteer Force with the Militia (United Kingdom) and Yeomanry to form the Territorial Force in 1908.

The following detailed account reveals the amalgamations that occurred in this particular instance:

which is reproduced from the following excellent publication: