The Royal Artillery (RA)Susannah Walbank
The Royal Artillery (RA) provides firepower to the British Army and is more commonly known as the ‘Gunners’.
Regular and reserve units make up the Royal Artillery and are located all around the UK and Germany. Originally formed in 1716, the RA found its regimental home in Woolwich for almost 300 years until it was recently relocated to Larkhill in Salisbury Plains.
The Regiment has sub-units, or batteries, which can be deployed independently and move around regiments. It is able to perform many different roles within a single regiment.
The Royal Artillery answers directly to the reigning sovereign, currently Queen Elizabeth II through the Master Gunner who is Her Majesty’s chief advisor on artillery matters.
The modern battlefield means that new equipment is constantly developed so soldiers and officers in the Royal Artillery have to be flexible enough to cope with the demands of this.
Before World War II, Royal Artillery recruits were required to be at least 5 feet 4 inches tall. There were 960 artillery regiments during WWII with over one million men. Today the RA has a wide range of roles including: Commando and Airborne artillery, Air Defence, Surveillance and Target Acquisition and Self Propelled Artillery.
Its ceremonial role is through the King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery and the regiment’s motto is ‘Ubique’ which means ‘Everywhere’. This comes from the fact that the unit has taken part in every Army campaign. The RA doesn’t have regimental colours as its guns are accorded the same symbolic status – if the RA lost its guns in action it, would be considered equally dishonourable.
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