Palmerston Forts Society

The Portsmouth Artillery Volunteers 1797-1908

The Palmerston Forts Society has published this excellent book about the Volunteer Artillerymen that would have manned the nations fortifications from the late 18th to early 20th centuries. This full colour 36 page booklet, published in 2021, covers three different eras of the Volunteer Artillery, beginning with the units formed during the Napoleonic wars, through those formed for the protection of the Royal Dockyards in the mid 19th Century, then the Artillery Volunteers that were formed in 1859 when, once again, the country was in fear of invasion from the French: this Artillery Volunteer force lasted until 1908 when it became part of the territorial army. Although the book uses the units formed in Portsmouth to illustrate the development of the nation's Volunteer artillery force, the information would be useful to anybody with an interest in a rarely covered topic on British military history or the local history of Portsmouth.

It has the following sections:

  • Introduction.
  • The first formation of the Artillery Volunteers.
  • 1845 - The state of the maritime defences.
  • The Dockyard Battalions.
  • A Bonaparte returns to power.
  • Heightened risk of invasion.
  • Britons to Arms!
  • The formation of the Hampshire Artillery Volunteer Corps.
  • Initial Organisation of the Artillery Volunteers.
  • The first years of the Portsmouth Corps.
  • Royal Commission review the condition of the Volunteer Force.
  • New Head Quarters for the 3rd Hants.
  • Easter Volunteer Review.
  • 1868 Easter Volunteer Review.
  • 1869 Hampshire Volunteer Review.
  • Amalgamation of the Portsmouth Corps.
  • Army Organisation Reforms and Increased Regulation for the Volunteers.
  • Portsmouth Corps name changes.
  • 1882 Easter Volunteer Review.
  • Further Reorganisation and Name Changes.
  • Portsmouth Attacked - Whitsuntide Manoeuvres.
  • Drill Halls and Headquarters.
  • Awards and Trophy's.
  • The end of the Artillery Volunteers.
  • The Officers and Men of the Portsmouth Artillery Volunteers.
  • The Legacy of the Portsmouth Artillery Volunteers.

The book is richly illustrated with:  8 maps ■ 23 photographs including 15 antique illustrations and photographs.

This book can be purchased at the Fort Nelson museum shop or via Paypal using the button below including Royal Mail p&p:

Your Location  Total
       Buy it Now using Paypal
 United Kingdom  £8.65  
 Europe  £10.85  
 The Rest of the World  £13.40  


OR to purchase a copy of both British Fortifications and The Portsmouth Artillery Volunteers including Royal Mail p&p:
Your Location  Total
       Buy it Now using Paypal
 United Kingdom  £13.65  
 Europe  £16.25  
 The Rest of the World  £20.85  


Meetings / Events

10/09/2022 - PFS 2022 Outing to the Chatham forts Horsted and Luton

The PFS Committee is pleased to announce that the 2022 Annual Outing to the Chatham forts Horsted and Luton that was cancelled due to the current Covid-19 situation, is now back on the calendar for 2022! Please see newsletter 165, Spring 2022, for details
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15/10/2022 - PFS Annual General Meeting 2022

The PFS will hold the 2022 AGM on Saturday 15th October at 14.00hrs. The meeting will take place at Fort Nelson, as has been the venue in the past,  but will also be virtual by Zoom (as last year) to give members who are unable to attend the opportunity to do so. The meeting will be held with Royal Armouries' approval and in accordance with whatever safety requirements they determine. All PFS members are invited to attend.


Fort Gilkicker sold for £1.386M

The online auction on the Clive Emson site has just ended with Fort Gilkicker being sold for £1.386 million against a guide price of £1.5 million.  There were four bidders willing to pay at least £1.35 million. We also have just had a recent report that intruders to the site – which is hardly secure – have done more permanent damage to the barracks block. We can only hope that the new owner – whatever their intentions – gets this site secure and safe very soon.


The PORTSMOUTH AND GOSPORT HISTORY WEEK, held during 1st to 7th August, includes a couple of talks that will be of interest to fortification enthusiasts.....
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Fortifications Events Calendar

New fortifications events calendar available. This covers events at many Victorian Fortifications across the UK. Click on "Information" then "Fortifications Events".
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Merry Christmas!

The PFS Committee would like to take this festive time to wish the members of the Society a 'Very Happy Christmas and a Prosperous 2022'.

Horse Sand Fort sold for £715,000

The BBC website has just announced the following.... 'A derelict sea fort built to deter a French invasion in the 19th Century has been sold for £715,000.
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PFS New Publication - 'The Portsmouth Artillery Volunteers 1797 - 1908'

The PFS has just launched a new publication - 'The Portsmouth Artillery Volunteers 1797-1908' .
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English Heritage Statement on Hurst Castle

EH have issued a statement on their web site concerning the collapse of part of the castle and the work currently being carried out.
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PFS Official Statement regarding Hurst Castle

At this morning's PFS Committee, the catastrophe that had struck the East Wing Battery of Hurst Castle was discussed. The committee felt it appropriate that an official public statement should be made.
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Hurst Castle Front Seaward-Facing Wall Collapse

Terrible news form Hurst Castle as the front seaward-facing wall collapses due to coastal erosion. A report from the BBC news website follows....
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Exciting news about Eastney Fort East

Earlier this week, a delegation from the Palmerston Forts Society met with the new owners of the site of the former Royal Marines Museum which includes the battery. The owners plan to develop the site into Portsmouth's first five star hotel. We were invited to discuss options for the future of the battery site.
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Amazon Smile

The PFS have registered with Amazon Smile. If you use Amazon why not use Amazon Smile instead, there is no difference to you as the customer, but for every £1 you spend, those nice folk at Amazon will give the PFS a ha'penny!
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