Meetings / Events
27/06/2018 - The Pompey Pals Project
By the end of the First World War more than 1,400 men from Portsmouth had made the ultimate sacrifice. Tonight's talk is by Chris Pennycook, co-founder of the Pompey Pals Project, who will tell the personal stories of some of those men.
25/07/2018 - PFS evening visit HMS Sultan Forts
The PFS evening visit will be to the HMS Sultan Forts of Rowner and Grange from 1900hrs to 2100hrs. Because these forts are on MOD land certain security protocols will have to be observed, including pre-booking with all visitor's names and vehicle details being required two weeks in advance of the visit. The Membership Secretary will announce these requirements by email to all members in due course, so no need to respond until requested to do so. Photograph identification will be required by all visitors
22/09/2018 - PFS 2018 Outing to the Western Heights at Dover
The PFS Annual Outing this year will be on the 22nd September to the Western Heights, Dover, not visited by the Society as an organised visit before. The visit coincides with an Open Day put on by the Western Heights Preservation Society (WHPS) and will include the Drop Redoubt, the Grand Shaft and many of the other interesting sites on the Heights.
As with previous years the outing will begin and end at Fort Nelson, departing 0800 sharp and returning around 1930. Full details of the outing and an application form can be found in Newsletter No. 146
Fort Brockhurst will be open to the public on the second Saturday of each month until September, the next date being the 9th June, with opening times from 1100 to 1500hrs. Refreshments are available.
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PAV Recruitment Days - 28th April & 26th May 2018
Uniformed members of the PAV will be in the 'Voice of the Guns' at Fort Nelson on Saturdays 28th April & 26th May 2017 to encourage members of the public to join the PFS and, if suitable, the PAV.
All PFS members are welcome to come along to give the boys their support.
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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.