No. 2 Royal Westminster Grenadiers
Westminster, a central area of London, became a city in 1539. (See map). For centuries Westminster and the City of London were geographically quite distinct. (See Map). It was not until the sixteenth century that houses began to be built over the adjoining fields, eventually absorbing nearby villages such as Marylebone and Kensington, and gradually creating the vast Greater London that exists today. Westminster is bordered by the City of London to the East and, until 1965 by Marylebone and Paddington to the North (which were both then absorbed into Westminster) and by Kensington and Chelsea to the West. The River Thames forms the Southern border.
This Corps was an earlier creation than many of the other volunteer units – formed in 1779. At that time Britain was at war on three fronts: The Revolutionary War in America, the East India Company, with British troops, fighting the Marathas in Wadgaon, India, and were forced to return all territories acquired since 1773 and the Siege of Gibraltar had began. The London & Westminster Volunteers were a group of well connected gentry from across the whole of London (London and Westminster by this time being two neighbouring cities).
Original Description of the unit from 1799:
This Corps was originally formed in the parish of St. Ann’s, Soho, which name it bore till the year 1797, when, having increased to two Companies, and it appearing probable that the numbers might improve much more, if a more general name were adopted; application was accordingly made for that purpose, and leave granted by His Majesty to take the name of
THE ROYAL WESTMINSTER VOLUNTEERS.
The names of the Officers, when first formed, were: Captain, Bryant Higgins. First Lieutenant, R. West. Second Ditto, — Greenwood.
The Corps at present consists of one Grenadier Company, six Battalions ditto, and one of Light Infantry.
NAMES AND RANK OF OFFICERS AT PRESENT: Grenadiers, Captain Pettitt; Lieutenants Gordon and Bowman. Light Company, Captain Russell; Lieutenants Rowe and Wrench. First Battalion, Captain Fowler, Lieut. Hopkins, Ensign Tullock. Second Ditto, Captain Allen, Lieut. Jennett, Ensign Wellington. Third Ditto, Captain Broadwood, Lieut. Smithwaite, Ensign Elliott Fourth Ditto, Lieut. Col. Birch, Lieut. Cragg, Ensign J. Bowman. Fifth and Sixth, reserved for the Colonel and Major; the other Officers not yet appointed. All Officers elected from the ranks.
The Royal Westminster Volunteers were reviewed in 1795, in: Mr. Lord’s Cricket Ground, Marylebone, by the Right Hon. Field Marshal Conway: in 1796, on Wimbledon Common, by Lord Onslow; and the day after called out by the Magistrates to quell a riot in St. Ann’s parish. In 1797, they were again reviewed by General Gwyn, in the King’s Mews: and in 1798, in Harley Fields, by General D’Oyley. Lady Southampton, on the 25th of May 1799, honoured this Corps a presentation of their Colours, in the King’s Mews, Charing Cross.
Blue turned up with Red, and trimmed with Gold; Hat, with Red Feather tipped White: The Light Company wear Helmets, with a Bugle Horn: ROYAL WESTMINSTER VOLUNTEERS.
Breast Plate, oval, with a Portcullis; ROYAL WESTMINSTER VOLUNTEERS round the Portcullis.
Cartouch Box, same as the inner part of Breast Plate.
Buttons, Portcullis and Crown, with R. W. V. in Cypher.
Military Boots &c.
|Dimensions||25.5 × 32.5 cm|