The Royal Regiment of Artillery, commonly known as the Royal Artillery or the “Gunners”, is the artillery arm of the British Army. It provides the firepower and surveillance and target acquisition for the British Army.
It comprises a number of individual regiments, batteries, the Royal School of Artillery, the ceremonial King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery and associated support elements; it is manned by Regulars and Reservists.
English artillery had been seen on battlefields since the 14th century, but a permanent body of artillery was first established by George I in 1716 at Woolwich. The Regiment grew significantly over the next two centuries, and in World War Two over a million men and women served in 960 Gunner regiments.
The Royal Artillery had its headquarters at Woolwich until 2003 when the decision was taken to move it to Larkhill on Salisbury Plain. Gunners had already been training on the Plain since the late nineteenth century, with the School of Artillery being established there in 1915.
Today, the Royal Artillery’s connection with Salisbury Plain is stronger than ever, with around half of the serving Regiment based there following the withdrawal of the final regiment from Germany in 2019. The Regiment also retains strong royal connections: Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth is its Captain General, and is also the Patron of the museum.
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