Topic: Militia - LHW - WA
Western Australian Militia
Guildford 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. 39 – 41:
Guildford Rifle Volunteers
The proposal to form a corps to be designated the Swan Mounted Volunteer Corps, which originated at the meeting of citizens held at Guildford in 1861, was presented to the Governor by a deputation consisting of Messrs Barker and Brockman, and Dr. Weylen. The proposal received encouragement, so carbines were borrowed and training commenced.
The Military Commandant considered the number of men enrolled insufficient to form a corps of the strength desired by the deputation and suggested as an alternative that Guildford should raise a small Infantry detachment of the proposed Perth corps. The suggestion was not accepted. A further move was made in 1872-3 when it was proposed to raise an independent Infantry corps 30 strong; the Military Commandant repeated his former suggestion and this time it was accepted. The detachment prospered to such an extent that on 22 January 1874, when its strength stood at two Officers and 40 other ranks, it officially became the "Guildford Rifle Volunteers", with Sub-Lieutenant S. R. Hamersley in Command. Although administratively independent the new corps remained for some months under the supervision of the Perth corps Commander for purposes of training.
Difficulty was experienced in the supply of arms and uniform and for a few years only very obsolete rifles were available. It was not until 1892 that Snider rifles, themselves obsolete, were received. Records printed in 1874 show corps strength as two Officers, 45 Other Ranks, 10 Bandsmen, three Honorary Members and 20 Cadets. 34 members attended the Queen's Birthday Review held that year.
The residents of Gin Gin became interested and in 1878 offered to raise a detachment. However, as a suitable person was not available to take command the offer could not be accepted. Similar offers from Newcastle (Toodyay) and Northam in 1892 met a better fate, valuable detachments being formed at both places.
Ably commanded, the corps prospered exceedingly. By 1882 strength had increased to 78; there was a recession in 1885 when the total dropped to 54, it then increased by stages until 1890 when the maximum of six Officers and 114 Other Ranks was reached. By 1895 the total had fallen to eight Officers and 104 Other Ranks. At that time the strength of the Perth and Fremantle corps was 84 and 70 respectively.
When grouped with the Perth and Fremantle corps in 1874 Guildford furnished one Company but retained its administrative independence. In 1899 the Guildford corps became "E" Company of the newly constituted First Infantry Regiment.
The corps held a Voluntary Camp at Albany in 1889, members sharing the cost.
The Guildford Rifle Volunteer corps was a fine body: it was efficient, reliable, and commanded by a succession of able leaders. Further references to its career will be found in further chapters.
Officers of the Guildford Rifle Volunteers
Lieutenant SR Hamersley, 22 January 1874
Lieutenant S Gardiner, 2 January 1874
Lieutenant J Allpike, 1 June 1879
Captain FJ Reid, 11 December 1884
Captain JH Munday, 21 August 1888
Second Lieutenant HE Hamersley, 20 November 1888
Lieutenant H Hamersley, 30 May 1890
Captain J Mitchell, 10 July 1890
Lieutenant JMY Stewart, 7 March 1894
Second Lieutenant L Throssel, 13 April 1894
Second Lieutenant A Piesse, 13 April 1894
Lieutenant RT McMaster, 13 August 1895
Lieutenant S Harris, 14 December 1895
Captain EAF Compton, 2 June 1898
Lieutenant CA Barnes, 9 May 1899
Second Lieutenant L Monger
Second Lieutenant JEF Stewart, 15 December 1899
Previous: Fremantle Rifle Volunteers
Citation: The Volunteer Movement in Western Australia, Guildford Rifle Volunteers