Meetings / Events
26/07/2017 - PFS evening visit to Fort Purbrook
The PFS evening visit will be to Fort Purbrook on Portsdown Hill, from 1900hrs to 2100hrs.
Please note that this visit is only suitable for members who are capable of completing a route that involves navigating obstacles such as ropes, hanging curtain, piles of mats and other such items, and also that there is low lighting in many areas. Torches and suitable footware are essential.
There is plenty of parking on the approach to the fort.
23/09/2017 - PFS 2017 Outing to Fort Burgoyne
The PFS Annual Outing this year will be on the 23rd September to Fort Burgoyne, Dover, not visited by the Society as an organised visit before.
As with previous years the outing will begin and end at Fort Nelson, departing 0800 sharp and returning around 2000. Full details of the outing and an application form will be available in due course
27/09/2017 - Members' Photo Evening
PFS members are invited to share their fortification photographs with those at the meeting.
The Western Heights Preservation Society are pleased to announce
their Spring Open Weekend. On the 20th and 21st May the
Drop Redoubt fort and Grand Shaft staircase will be open to explore from 10:00 –
17:00 both days.
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The PFS Committee is pleased to advise the membership that 2016 edition of The Redan is now being distributed, those to our overseas members having been just been mailed. The Redan to our UK members will be mailed on the 27th February.
...> read more
PAV Events Programme 2017:
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.