Meetings / Events
28/02/2018 - Queen Victoria's Forgotten Navy - Part III
PFS member James Doherty continues the story of how the Royal Navy developed during the reign of Queen Victoria.
28/03/2018 - Southampton - Water, Slaughter and Trade - Part II
Popular local historian Andrew Negus continues the fascinating story of the history and development of Southampton, continuing on from part I which took us to the middle of the nineteenth century, to the present day.
25/04/2018 - The German Ardennes Offensive - December 1944
Popularly known as the 'Battle of the Bulge', PFS member Michael Forrest recounts one of the largest and most costly campaigns of the Second World War.
The PFS Committee would like to take this festive time opportunity to wish the members of the Society a 'Very Happy Christmas and a Prosperous 2018'.
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News Update - The 2017 issue of The Redan is now available, having been distributed to members who attended this year's AGM on the 14th October. A general mail out to members who have renewed will commence from the 16th October.
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PAV Events Programme 2018:
The uniformed section of the Society is the Portsdown Artillery Volunteers (PAV) who dress as the 2nd Hampshire Volunteer Artillery from the 1880’s to carry out authentic Victorian gun drills at Fort Nelson.
The original Volunteer corps was initially raised following a decision taken by the War Office in 1859. The decision allowed for Light Horse (Cavalry), Artillery, Engineers, Mounted Rifles and Rifle units to be formed using men from the general public to form an Army of "amateur soldiers”. Without the use of part-time gunners, it was impossible for the War Office to have provided sufficient artillerymen to man all of the Forts built in the 1860’s following the Royal Commission’s report.
At its peek the Volunteer Artillery movement had a maximum strength of 49,062 efficient soldiers spread across many of the counties of Great Britain. The 2nd Hampshire Volunteers were the local Portsmouth unit, and they would have drawn their membership from all sorts of trades with a number coming from the Dockyard.
The Artillery Volunteers ceased to exist on the 31st March 1908 when the Territorial Force was formed, the precursor to today’s Territorial Army.
The PAV draw its membership from the PFS in a similar way to the original volunteers. Most members have no knowledge of forces life, which is an advantage as the Victorian drills are very different from those used today. Using original drill manuals the PAV is able to demonstrate Victorian gun firings to the public – probably the best way to explain why the Victorian Forts were built. The Society is fortunate to have a very high level of cooperation from the Royal Armouries at Fort Nelson, who actively support the firing of selected guns at the museum, including:
16 pr. Rifled Muzzle Loader field gun
32 pr Smooth Bore Breech Loader
64 pr. Rifled Muzzle Loaders
7-inch Armstrong Rifled Breech Loader
Fortunately for the members of the PAV they are able to fire the guns a lot more often than the original Artillery Volunteers ever did, as the Victorian government was very frugal when it came to supplying ammunition to the Volunteers.
If you are interested in joining the PAV and demonstrating this forgotten part of Britain’s history, we are always looking for new members. Uniforms and training are provided, but you must be a member of the PFS to take advantage of this very interesting and unusual hobby.