Essex Volunteer History

Militia units were formed and disbanded at many times in the history of Essex.

On 12 May 1859 , following the Crimea Campaign and increasing tension with France the Government authorised Lord Lieutenants of Counties to raise Volunteer Rifle Corps and Volunteer Artillery units.

The Volunteers were designed to be used in the case of invasion or rebellion as a rifle skirmisher defence force to slow down the invaders.

They were required to attend 24 days drill or exercise in each year or 8 days in each 4 month period.

While under arms they were bound by military regulations and entitled to relevant military pay.

In 1872 control of the Volunteers passed from the Lord Lieutenant to the Secretary of State for War and the Essex Rifle Volunteers were designated volunteer battalions of the Essex Regiment.

Some switched immediately although others took several years before using the new title.

In 1907 the Government again stepped in with the mandatory formation of the Territorial Army by merging the volunteer battalions with the yeomanry units. The battalions then lost their independence and became part of the new territorial force.