Topic: Militia - LHW - WA
Western Australian Militia
Naval Artillery 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. 46 - 47:
Naval Artillery Volunteers
The necessity for some form of Artillery defence in the vicinity of the Port of Fremantle was recognised at an early (late but as provision of fixed defences is always a costly business successive schemes were studied and then pigeon-holed. Eventually Mr. G. A. Forsyth proposed to raise a corps at Fremantle to be designated the "Naval Artillery Volunteers." Approval to raise the corps, and for Lieut. G. A. Forsyth to Command, appeared in the Government Gazette and was dated 10 February 1879.
Enrolment in the corps was restricted to ex-R.N. personnel and persons with seafaring associations. The technical description of the corps was a "half-battery". Naval type uniforms were worn, naval ranks used, and naval drill practised. It was in effect a naval corps under army control. The original enrolment was 25 all ranks, the highest strength of 38 being reached in 1884.
The corps was armed with two extremely obsolete muzzle-loading guns of unknown origin; these were mounted on wooden carriages but were without limbers or wagon. The corps attended the Camp held in 1884 and so far as can be ascertained this was the only occasion the guns were moved from Fremantle. When taking part in combined parades members normally carried carbines, the guns remaining at Fremantle.
On 16 December 1884 Lieutenant Forsyth was suspended from duty and ordered to hand over Command to F. Wemyss who was appointed Lieutenant (Army rank) on 23 May 1885.
About 1885 seafaring types were scarce so recruits were sought among landsmen. Soon there was a preponderance of the latter in the corps which in 1888 prompted Lieut. Wemyss to recommend that the corps designation be changed to "Fremantle Artillery Volunteers" and that uniforms and training of Royal Artillery pattern be adopted. Approval for the change was granted on 17 December 1888. Very soon all traces of naval characteristics disappeared. The new uniform was worn with the letters F.A.V. on the shoulder-straps.
The history of the corps will be continued in Fremantle Artillery Volunteers.
Officers of Naval Artillery VolunteersLieutenant GA Forsyth, 10 February 1879
Lieutenant F Wemyss, 23 May 1885
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Western Australian Militia, Light Horse
Western Australian Militia, Infantry
Citation: The Volunteer Movement in Western Australia, Naval Artillery Volunteers