About the Fusiler TA in London

Next year in 2008 the Territorial Army (TA) celebrates its centenary. This article tells the reader a little about the history of the Fusilier TA in London over the past hundred years. It is illustrated by the accompanying photographs from the earliest times of the TA Fusiliers to the present day which shows some of them serving in Afghanistan.

Photo: IVB RF c1904. Copyright RF Museum.

The London Regiment

The largest Infantry Territorial Regiment to be formed some hundred years ago was the London Regiment. The regular army Regiment to which it was linked appeared in the title. Hence there was, for example, the 1st City of London Regiment (The Royal Fusiliers). At the outbreak of World War 1 the Royal Fusiliers had four such battalions. These later expanded. They saw service in many theatres of war including the horrors of Gallipoli.

In 1930 the Fusilier TA found a home at Balham in south London. This is Fusilier House. The descendant unit-C (City of London Fusiliers) Company The London Regiment is there today. Fusilier House has its own fine museum and is a centre for Old Comrades gatherings.

Photo: 2VB RF c1890

1883 to Today

The “family tree” of the TA Fusiliers is far too complex to give here. But an outline shows that the name Fusiliers first appeared in 1883 with the 1st Volunteer Bn Royal Fusiliers (City of London Regiment). In 1922 we meet the 1st City of London Regiment (Royal Fusiliers) TA. In 1937 the famous 8th Bn Royal Fusiliers TA was formed. On the outbreak of war in 1939 the TA was doubled in size and the 11th Bn Royal Fusiliers was formed. After the war many more changes took place. The TA as such became what was known as TAVR. Our next major milestone was the re-constitution of the 8th Bn which absorbed the 11th Bn Royal Fusiliers. In 1967 the battalion shrank to company size and was called ‘C’ Company (RF) Fusilier Volunteers. A year later with the formation of The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers (RRF)- see elsewhere on the web –they became C Company (City of London) 5th (V) Bn RRF. The history is now approaching the present day. In 1988 they were known as C (City of London) Company 8th (V) Bn The Queens Fusiliers. Since 1993 they have been C (City of London) Company The London Regiment and are based at Balham and come under the command of The Guards Division.

Photo: A recruiting team in the Euston Road, March 1931. Copyright RF Museum Balham

Afghanistan 2007

The company has operated this year (2007) in Afghanistan with great bravery and skill. The company has provided invaluable service as reinforcements to the Grenadiers. Their morale is high and they are such a credit to the Fusiliers. In 2008 they will be well to the fore when the Fusiliers exercise their Right to march through the City of London past the Lord Mayor.

Afghanistan 1880-81

This is not the first time the Regiment has served in that country as the 2nd Bn Royal Fusiliers served there in 1880-81 and were involved in some very tough operations. Private (in those days they were known as Privates not Fusiliers) Thomas Ashford was awarded the Victoria Cross for his outstanding gallantry at Deh Khoja.

Picture: 46th MX VRC c1870 by Richard Simkin