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

25/05/2022 - PFS Evening Meeting - Restoration and Reuse of Victorian Fortifications and the Sustainable Conservation Trust

This evening's talk is by Deniz Beck, the founder of Deniz Beck Partners. An accredited conservation architect, she specialises in the sensitive regeneration of historic buildings and monuments, particularly those considered at risk and with complicated issues.  In 2020, she founded the Sustainable Conservation Trust, a non-profit organisation dedicated to the preservation, regeneration and use of historic structures.  Deniz will talk to us about the trust and a number of conservation and development projects which include The Hotwalls Studios, Spitbank Fort, Martello Tower P in Felixstowe and the Fraser Range. The meeting will be at Fort Nelson, with access via the Lower West Gate which opens at 7.00pm. There is car parking in this gate area and also on the approach road to the Upper West Gate. The meeting commences at 7.30pm and the gate will be closed at this time.

22/06/2022 - PFS Evening Meeting - Subject t.b.d.

27/07/2022 - PFS Evening visit to Fort Blockhouse

The evening visit to Fort Blockhouse is currently over-subscribed, but if any member wishes to go on to the reserve list then see Newsletter 165, Spring 2022, for details.


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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PFS Meetings at Fort Nelson 2022

The PFS  will soon be issuing details of the PFS meetings at Fort Nelson.
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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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Palmerston Forts Society Members' Survey

In February and March this year, we surveyed the PFS membership on the subject of the PFS website...
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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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Latest news concerning Fort Gilkicker

On Wednesday 5th May, four members of the Palmerston Forts Society meet with two directors of the development company that has bought Fort Gilkicker and their architect.  We were invited to the meeting after approaching the developers with a request for clarification of their plans for the fort.
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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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Fort Nelson reopens on 12th April

Fort Nelson will be open from 12 April 2021.
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Fort Gilkicker - interesting news (perhaps)

Interesting news about FORT GILKICKER (perhaps)  
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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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