Topic: Militia - LHW - WA
Western Australian Militia
Perth Company of W.A. Rifle Volunteers
The following is an extract from the book written in 1962 by George F. Wieck called The Volunteer Movement in Western Australia 1861-1903, pp. 32 – 36:
Perth Company of W.A. Rifle Volunteers
An upsurge of international tension in 1872 revived interest in the Volunteer Movement in Western Australia. There was alarm in official circles and steps were taken to raise new corps. Naturally, Perth was to the fore and phoenix-like a new body arose from the ashes of the defunct Perth Volunteer Rifles. The "firebrands", after adequate apologies and promises of better behaviour, rallied around themselves most of personnel of the disbanded corps. Progress was rapid. The Gazette of 17 June 1872 authorized the formation of a corps to be designated the "Perth Company of W.A. Rifle Volunteers" with a strength of 100 all ranks, and to be commanded by Captain E. Birch. The title of Metropolitan Rifle Volunteers had been asked for but was not granted then. However, the approved designation must have proved cumbersome for from 1874 onwards the latter was used, even in official documents. The new corps inherited the accumulated knowledge and experience, as well as the weapons, of its predecessor and was reasonably efficient from the outset.
On 17 June 1872 there were 71 names on the roll. A detachment was formed at Guildford in 1873. By 1875 the strength had increased to 126, plus 12 honorary members and 30 cadets. Strength reached a maximum of 143 in 1881 which led to approval being given to form a second Company. Later for some unknown reason strength declined steadily and by 1895 had fallen to 75.
Plans were completed in 1883 to rearm the corps with new Snider breech-loading rifles of .56 calibre, the old Enfields being handed down to other corps who presumably were armed with still more obsolete weapons.
Corps activities were varied. Combined parades, field days, rifle matches, and guards of honour were numerous. In 1874 the corps became grouped with the Fremantle and Guildford corps for purposes of field and battalion training as the 1st Battalion Volunteers under the direct orders of the Military Commandant, but this in no way affected the former administrative independence of each corps; on parade the Perth corps provided two Companies, Fremantle and Guildford one each. In 1884 the corps attended the 4-day camp of training (the first held in the Colony) at Bullen's Grounds, Albion.
The Band appears to have had an exalted idea of its own importance, for although a component of the corps it claimed the right to absent itself from corps parades when such action suited its own convenience. After a blatant act of defiance in 1877, the Military Commandant suspended the Bandmaster and as a punishment for insubordination reverted all bandsmen to the ranks. Special rules were then issued for the control of all Volunteer Bands. Later, a request by the Band that it be allowed to give a recital in the Supreme Court Gardens, and charge admission thereto, was refused.
The only other recorded act of insubordinate concerned a senior officer who some years after the Band episode was found guilty by a Court-Martial of an offence connected with the wearing of a uniform. Apart from an occasional display of high spirits the corps was sound and reliable, being w trained and the centre of most forms of military activity in the Colony. A Queen's Colour, provide at Government expense, was presented to the corps early in 1895 and consecrated on 24th May. This was the first Queen's Colour to be borne by W.A. Volunteers.
On 1 July 1899 the corps became a component of the 1st Infantry Regiment.
Officers of the Perth Company W.A. Rifle VolunteersCaptain E Birch – 17 June 1872
Lieutenant WH Knight - 17 June 1872
Major AJ Hillman - 1 October 1872
Captain RA Sholl - 24 May 1875
Major T Sherwood - 24 May 1875
Lieutenant CL Clifton - 24 May 1875
Captain CY Dean - 18 September 1882
Sub Lieutenant E Sholl - 27 September 1882
Major J Rose - 6 April 1885
Major JC Strickland - 6 April 1885
Lieutenant JF Shaw - 20 June 1888
Captain HV de Satge - 27 March 1896
Second Lieutenant R Strelitz - 27 March 1896
Lieutenant WG Abbott - 13 January 1899
Lieutenant HB Collett - 17 February 1899
Captain Townsend - 28 March 1899
Lieutenant S Inglis - 12 May 1899
Second Lieutenant JP Doyle - 22 June 1899
Second Lieutenant JS Denton - 22 November 1899
Second Lieutenant WB Good - 22 November 1899
Second Lieutenant JEF Stewart - 15 December 1899
Second Lieutenant CR Davis - 5 March 1900
Second Lieutenant CW Randle - 5 March 1900
Second Lieutenant AO McClaughan - 5 April 1900
Second Lieutenant ALB Lefroy - 1 May 1900
Second Lieutenant AM Cook - 21 May 1900
Second Lieutenant JS Scott - 21 May 1900
Second Lieutenant WT Bryan - 21 May 1900
Previous: Union Troop of W.A. Mounted Volunteers
Citation: The Volunteer Movement in Western Australia, Perth Company of W.A. Rifle Volunteers