Jun 282017

The Artists Rifles

The Artists Rifles is a Regiment of the British Army Reserve. Raised in London in 1859 as a volunteer light infantry unit, the regiment saw active service during the Second Boer War and WWI, earning a number of battle honours. It did not serve outside Britain during WWII, as it was used as an officer training unit at that time. The regiment was disbanded in 1945 but in 1947, it was re-established to resurrect the Special Air Service Regiment. Today, the full title of the Regiment is 21 Special Air Service Regiment (Artists) (Reserve) (21 SAS(R)) and with 23 Special Air Service Regiment (Reserve) (23 SAS(R)), it forms the Special Air Service (Reserve) (SAS(R)).

Formation and The 19th Century

The regiment was formed in 1859, part of the widespread volunteer movement which developed in the face of potential French invasion after Felice Orsini`s attack on Napoleon III was linked to Britain. The group was organised in London by Edward Sterling, an art student, and comprised various professional painters, musicians, actors, architects and others involved in creative endeavours; a profile it strove to maintain for some years. It was established on 28 February 1860 as the 38th Middlesex (Artists’) Rifle Volunteer Corps, with headquarters at Burlington House. Its first commanders were the painters Henry Wyndham Phillips and Fredric Leighton. The unit’s badge, designed by J. W. Wyon, shows the heads of the Roman gods Marts and Minerva in profile. Until 1914 the regimental full dress uniform was light grey with white facings, silver buttons and braid. This distinctive uniform dated from the regiment’s foundation as a volunteer unit. After World War I standard khaki was the normal dress.

In September 1880, the corps became the 20th Middlesex (Artists’) Rifle Volunteer Corps, with headquarters at Duke’s Road, off Euston Road, London (now The Palace, home of the Contemporary Dance Trust). It formed the 7th Volunteer Battalion of The Rifle Brigade from 1881 until 1891 and the 6th Volunteer Battalion from 1892 to 1908. During this period, The Artists Rifles fought in the Second Boer War as part of the City Imperial Volunteers.

After the 1860s the voluntary recruitment basis of the regiment gradually broadened to include professions other than artistic ones. By 1893 lawyers and architects made up 24% of the unit, doctors followed with 10% and civil engineers 6%. Sculptors and painters totaled about 5%

20th Century

Following the formation of the Territorial Force, the Artists Rifles was one of 26 volunteer battalions in the London and Middlesex areas that combined to form the new London  Regiment. It became the 28th (County of London) Battalion of The London Regiment on 1 April 1908.

The Artists Rifles was a popular unit for volunteers. It had been increased to twelve companies in 1900 and was formed into three sub-battalions in 1914, and recruitment was eventually restricted by recommendation from existing members of the battalion. It particularly attracted recruits from public schools and universities; on this basis, following the outbreak of the first World War, a number of enlisted members of The Artists Rifles were selected to be officers in other units of the 7th Division.

 This exercise was so successful that, early in 1915, selected Artists officers and NCOs were transferred to run a separate Officers Training Corps, in which poet Wilfred Owen trained before posting to the Manchester Regiment; the remainder being retained as a fighting unit. Over fifteen thousand men passed through the battalion during the war, more than ten thousand of them becoming officers. The battalion eventually saw battle in France in 1917 and 1918. Casualties suffered by both members of this battalion and amongst officers who had trained with The Artists Rifles before being posted to other regiments were 2,003 killed, 3,250 wounded, 533 missing and 286 prisoners of war. Members of the Regiment won eight Victoria Crosses (though none did so while serving with the Regiment), fifty-six DSO`s and over a thousand other awards for gallantry.

In the early 1920s, the unit was reconstituted as an infantry regiment within the Territorial Army, as the 28th County of London Regiment. In 1937, this regiment became part of The Prince Consort’s Own Rifle Brigade.

The regiment was not deployed during the Second World War, functioning again as an Officers Training Corps throughout the war.

It was disbanded in 1945, but reformed in The Rifle Brigade in January 1947 and transferred to The Army Air Corps in July as the 21st Special Air Service Regiment (Artists Rifles). The number 21 SAS was chosen to perpetuate two disbanded wartime regiments 1 SAS and 2 SAS, with the 1 and the 2 being reversed into 21. The unit was active during the Malayan Emergency and in many subsequent conflicts. In 1952, members of The Artists Rifles who had been involved in special operations in Malaya formed 22 SAS Regiment, the regular special forcers regiment – the only time a Territorial Army unit has been used to form a unit in the Regular Army.

For much of the Cold War 21 SAS’s role was to provide stay-behind parties in the event of a Warsaw Pact invasion of Western Europe, forming (alongside 23 SAS) I Corps` Corps Patrol Unit.

21st Century

During Operation Herrick the reservists were involved in the training of the Afghan National Police. Following a review of the unit’s operational capability they were withdrawn from front line operations and the task handed over to a “regular” infantry unit.

During the Cold War, the Reserve SAS Regiments had a clearly defined and understood role but since then, the requirement for them appears to be less clear and more difficult to articulate. A number of reviews have been conducted over the years and included the prospect of a merger or disbandment which was considered to be presentationally unpalatable. A review was conducted of the unit’s operational capability and role in 2009/10, it was found that the SAS Reserve lacked a clearly defined role, and also stated that the reservists lacked the capability, equipment, and skills to serve alongside the regular Special Forces. As an outcome of this review, on 1 September 2014, 21 SAS was placed alongside 23 SAS under the command of 1st Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance Brigade, a brigade under Force Troop Command which provides combat specialist support to the British Army’s Reaction and Adaptable Forces.


21 Special Air Service Regiment (Artists) (Reserve) currently consists of:

‘HQ’ Squadron (Regent’s Park)

‘A’ Squadron (Regent’s Park)

‘C’ Squadron (Basingstoke/Cambridge)

‘E’ Squadron (Newport/Exeter)

Battle Honours

Battle honours

Boer War: South Africa 1900-1901.

The Great War (3 battalions): Ypres 1917, Passchendaele, Somme 1918, St. Quentin, Bapaume 1918, Arras 1918, Ancre 1918, Albert 1918, Drocourt-Quéant, Hindenburg Line, Canal du Nord, Cambrai 1918, Pursuit to Mons, France and Flanders 1914–18.

War memorial

The unit’s war memorial in the entrance portico of the Royal Academy at Burlington House commemorates the 2,003 men who gave their lives in the Great War with a second plaque to those who died in World War II.

Victoria Cross

The following soldiers, who were members of the regiment at one time, were awarded the Victoria Cross in the Great War (none won the VC while serving with the Artists Rifles):

2nd Lt Rupert Price Hallowes, 4th Battalion, The Middlesex Regiment (Duke of Cambrige`s Own)

2nd Lt Arthur James Terence Fleming-Sandes, 2nd Battalion, The East Surrey Regiment

Capt The Rev Edward Noel Mellish, Royal Army Chaplins` Department

Lt Geoffrey St George Shillington Cather, 9th Battalion, The Royal Irish Fusiliers

Lt Eugene Paul Bennett, 2nd Battalion, The Worcestersdhire Regiment

2nd Lt George Edward Cates, 2nd Battalion,The Rifle Brigade (PrinceConsort`s Own)

Lt Donald John Dean, 8th Battalion, The Queen`s Own Royal West Kent Regiment

Lt Col Bernard William Vann, 1/8th Bn, Sherwood Foresters.

Officers of the Artists Rifles


Patrick Baty (born 1956) is a British Historian of Architectural paint and colour, who works as a consultant in the decoration of Historic buildings.

Charles Vyner Brooke (26th September 1874 – 9th May 1963) was the third and last White Rajah of Sarawak


Alfred Gardyne de Chastelain (1906–1974) was a British-Canadian businessman, soldier, and secret agent


Robert William Edis (13th June 1839 – 23rd June 1927) was a British architect.


Ranulph Fiennes (born 7th March 1944), commonly known as Ranulph “Ran” Fiennes, is an English Explorer


Morris Gelsthorpe (26th February 1892 – 22nd August 1968) was the first Bishop in the Sudan.

Godfrey Douglas Giles (9th November 1857 – 1st February 1941) was a painter of horses, military scenes and battles


Percy Heming (6th September 1883 – 11th January 1956) was an English operatic baritone singer and actor

Gurth Hoyer-Millar (13th December 1929 – 6th March 2014) was a Scottish sportsman

Robert George Spencer Hudson (17th November 1895 – 29th December 1965) was a Geologist and Paleontologist


Frederic Leighton (3rd December 1830 – 25th January 1896), known as Sir Frederic Leighton between 1878 and 1896, was an English painter and sculptor


Henry Allan Roughton May (23rd August 1863 – 10th April 1930) Commanding Officer (1912 and 1920)

Michael Maybrick (31st January 1841 – 26th August 1913) was an English composer and singer

John Everett Millais (8th June 1829 – 13th August 1896) was an English painter and illustrator


Charles Edward Perugini (1st September 1839 – 22nd December 1918), originally Carlo Perugini, was an Italian-born English painter of the Romantic and Victorian era

Henry Wyndham Phillips (1820 – 1868) was a British portrait painter

Rowland Plumbe (2nd February 1838 – 2nd April 1919) was an English Architect

Valentine Cameron Prinsep (14th February 1838 – 11th November 1904) was a British Painter of the Pre-Raphaelite school


Edward Rigby (5th February 1879 – 5th April 1951) was a British character actor

Robert Tor Russell (1888-1972) was a British architect


Brandon Thomas (24th December 1848 – 19th June 1914) was an English actor, playwright and songwriter, best known as the author of the farce Charley`s Aunt


Henry Woods (painter)

David Wilkie Wynfield (1837–1887) was a British painter and photographer.

Soldiers of the Artists Rifles


A. V. Alexander, 1st Earl Alexander of Hillsborough (1st May 1885 – 11th January 1965)

Cuthbert Alport, Baron Alport (22nd March 1912 – 28th October 1998)

Martin Armstrong (writer) (2 October 1882 – 24 February 1974)

Maxwell Ayrton (1874–18 February 1960)


Joseph Ridgard Bagshawe (1st July 1870 – 1st November 1909)

William Swinden Barber (29th March 1832 – 26th November 1908)

Geoffrey Barkas (27th August 1896 – 3rd September 1979)

Joseph Barnby (12th August 1838 – 28th January 1896)

John Barraclough (RAF officer) (2nd May 1918 – 10th May 2008)

Cyril Henry Barraud (1877-1965)

Herbert Rose Barraud (24th August 1845 – 1896)

William Barribal (1874–1952)

James Basevi (21st September 1890 – 27th March 1962)

James Bateman (artist) (22nd March 1893 – 2nd August 1959)

Eugene Paul Bennett VC (4th June 1892 – 6th April 1970)

Edwyn Bevan (15th February 1870 – 18th October 1943)

Charles Bell Birch (28th September 1832 – 16th October 1893)

Eric Blore (23rd December 1887 – 2nd March 1959)

George Price Boyce (24th September 1826 – 1897)

Thomas Brock (1st March 1847 – 22nd August 1922)

Clive Brook (1st June 1887 – 17th November 1974)

Ford Madox Brown (16th April 1821 – 6th October 1893)

Guy Brunton (1878 – 17th October 1948)

John H. Buckeridge (1857–1934)

William Burges (2nd December 1827 – 20th April 1881)

John Bagnold Burgess (21st October 1829 – 2nd November 1897)

Edward Burne Jones (28th August 1833 – 17th June 1898)

A. M. Burrage (1889 – 1956)

Edward Henry Busk (10th February 1844 – 4th November 1926)


Philip Hermogenes Calderon (3rd May 1833 – 30th April 1898) 

William Frank Calderon (1865 – 21st April 1943)

Henry Caldwell Cook (1886–1939)

John Tiplady Carrodus (20th January 1836 – 13th July 1895)

George Edward Cates VC (9th May 1892 – 8th March 1917)

Geoffrey Cather VC (11th October 1890 – 2nd July 1916)

Philip Lindsey Clark (1889–1977) was an English sculptor.

Geoffrey Hornblower Cock (7th January 1896 – 16th February 1980)

Frederick Pepys Cockerell (March 1833 – 4th November 1878)

Jack Cohen (businessman founder of TESCO) (6th October 1898 – 24th March 1979)

George Vicat Cole (17th April 1833 – 6th April 1893)

Josiah Conder (architect) (28th September 1852 – 21st June 1920)

Edward Dutton Cook (30th January 1829 – 11th September 1883)

Arthur Stockdale Cope (2nd November 1857 – 5th July 1940)

Stephen Courtauld (1883 – 1967)

Noël Coward (16th December 1899 – 26th March 1973)

John Crocker (4th January 1896 – 9th March 1963)

William Hayman Cummings (22nd August 1831 – 10th June 1915)

William Cusins (14th October 1833 – 31st August 1893)


David Davis (British politician)  (23rd December 1948)

Donald John Dean VC (19th April 1897 – 9th December 1985)

George Devey (1820–1886)

Lowes Cato Dickinson (27th November 1819 – 15th December 1908)

Frank Dicksee (27th November 1853 – 17th October 1928)

Herbert Dicksee (14th June 1862 – 20th February 1942)

Frank Dobson (sculptor) (18th November 1886 – 22nd July 1963)

John Charles Dollman (1851–1934)

Charles Henry Driver (23rd March 1832 – 27th October 1900)


Reginald Engelbach (9th July 1888 – 26th February 1946)


George Eric Fairbairn (18th August 1888 – 20th June 1915)

Roger Fenton (28th March 1819 – 8th August 1869)

Luke Fildes (3rd October 1843 – 28th February 1927)

Bernard Fleetwood-Walker (22nd March 1893 – 30th January 1965)

Arthur Fleming-Sandes VC (24th June 1894 – 24th May 1961)

Charles Folkard (6th April 1878 – 26th February 1963)

Eric Forbes-Robertson (1865 – 1935)

Johnston Forbes-Robertson (16th January 1853 – 6th November 1937)

Fougasse (cartoonist) (17th December 1887 – 11th June 1965)

Charles Edwin Fripp (4th September 1854 – 1906)


William Gale (painter) (1823–1909)

Sidney Gambier-Parry (9th January 1859 – 17th November 1948)

Montague Glover (May 5th 1898 – 1983)

Frederick Goodall (17th September 1822 – 29th July 1904)

Michael Goodliffe (1st October 1914 – 20th March 1976)

Andrew Carrick Gow (15th or 18th June 1848 – 1st February 1920)

Edward John Gregory (19th April 1850 – 22nd June 1909)

B. F. Gribble (10th May 1872 – 21st February 1962)

Bear Grylls (7th June 1974 –

Herbert James Gunn (30th  June 1893 – 30th December 1964)


Carl Haag (20th April 1820 – 24th January 1915)

Rupert Price Hallowes VC (5th May 1881 – 30th September 1915)

Herbert Hamilton (30th April 1895 – 13th June 1918)

William Lee Hankey (1869 – 1952)

Vincent Harris (26th June 1876 – 1st August 1971)

Percy Heming (6th September 1883 – 11th January 1956)

Roy Henderson (baritone) (4th July 1899 – 16th March 2000)

Hubert von Herkomer (26th May 1849 – 31st March 1914)

Albert Hodge (17th July 1875 – 31st December 1917 or 27th January 1918)

John Evan Hodgson (1831 – 1895) 

Henry Holiday (17th June 1839 – 15th April 1927)

Frank Holl (4th July 1845 – 31st July 1888)

Charles Holroyd (9th April 1861 – 17th November 1917)

Roy Horniman (1874–1930) 

Victor Horsley (14th April 1857 – 16th July 1916)

Arthur Hughes (artist) (27th January 1832 – 22nd December 1915)

John Pyke Hullah 27th June 1812 – 21st February 1884)

William Holman Hunt (2nd April 1827 – 7th September 1910)


John William Inchbold (29th August 1830 – 23rd January 1888)


Charles Sargeant Jagger (17th December 1885 – 16th November 1934)

Charles Holloway James (1893–1953)

Leander Starr Jameson (9th February 1853 – 26th November 1917)

Edmund John (27th November 1883 – 28th February 1917)

Horace Jones (architect) (20th May 1819 – 21st May 1887)

George W. Joy ( 7th July 1844 – 28th October 1925)

John Junor (15th January 1919 – 3rd May 1997)


Charles Keene (artist) (10th August 1823 – 4th January 1891)

Richard Kerrin (4th July 1898 – 4th November 1988)

Edward King-Harman (3rd April 1838 – 10th June 1888)

George Kruger Gray (25th December 1880 – 2nd May 1943)


Stanley Lane-Poole  (18th December 1854 – 29th December 1931)

Wilfrid Lawson (actor) (14th January 1900 – 10th October 1966)

John Leech (caricaturist) (29th August 1817 – 29th October 1864) 

Alfred Leete (1882 – 1933)

Peter Lewis (British Army officer) (11th August 1918 – 12th December 2008) 

Desmond Llewelyn (12th September 1914 – 19th December 1999)

George Edward Lodge (3rd December 1860 – 5th February 1954)

Hugh Lofting  (14th January 1886 – 26th September 1947) 

Edwin Long (12th July 1829 – 15th May 1891)

Horatio Walter Lonsdale (1846 -1919) 

John Seymour Lucas (21st December 1849 – 8th May 1923)


Robert Walker Macbeth (30th September 1848 – 1st November 1910)

Arthur Cruttenden Mace (17th July 1874 – 6th April 1928)

John Eric Miers Macgregor (4th October 1890 – 31st January 1984)

Philip Magnus (7th October 1842 – 29th August 1933)

Howard Marion-Crawford (17th January 1914 – 24th November 1969)

Henry Stacy Marks (13th September 1829 – 9th January 1898 )

Walter Marsden (1882–1969)

Robert Braithwaite Martineau (19th January 1826 – 13th February 1869)

Nevil Story Maskelyne (3rd September 1823 – 20th May 1911)

William McMillan (sculptor) (31st August 1887 – 25th September 1977)

Noel Mellish VC (24th December 1880 – 8th July 1962)

Albert Joseph Moore  (4th September 1841 – 25th September 1893)

Cedric Morris (11th December 1889 – 8th February 1982)

Philip Richard Morris (4th December 1836 – 22nd April 1902) 

William Morris (24th March 1834 – 3rd October 1896)

Charles James Mott (1880 – 22nd May 1918) 

David Muirhead (30th December 1918 – 3rd February 1999)


John Nash (artist) (11th April 1893 – 23rd September 1977) 

Paul Nash (artist) (11th May 1889 – 11th July 1946) 

William Eden Nesfield (2nd April 1835 – 25th March 1888)


Dermod O’Brien (10thJune 1865 – 3rd October 1945)

Malcolm Osborne (1st August 1880 – 22nd September 1963)

Walter William Ouless (21st September 1848–1933) 

Wilfred Owen (18th March 1893 – 4th November 1918)


Sidney Paget (4th October 1860 – 28 thJanuary 1908)

Ambrose Macdonald Poynter (26th September 1867 – 31st May 1923) 

Edward Poynter (20th March 1836 – 26th July 1919)

E. W. Pugin (11th March 1834 – 5th June 1875)

Tom Purvis (12th June 1888 – 27th August 1959)


Bernard Alfred Quaritch (1870 – 1913)


Douglas Reed (11th March 1895 – 26th August 1976)

Sims Reeves (21st October 1821 – 25th October 1900)

Oscar Gustave Rejlander (1813 – 18th January 1875)

Brian Reynolds (RAF officer) (4th June 1902 – 6th December 1965)

William Blake Richmond (29th November 1842 – 11th February 1921)

Edgell Rickword (22nd October 1898 – 15th March 1982)

Horatio Ross (5th September 1801 – 6th December 1886)

Dante Gabriel Rossetti (12th May 1828 – 9th April 1882)


Edward Shanks (11th June 1892 – 4th May 1953)

Byam Shaw (13th November 1872 – 26th January 1919)

R. C. Sherriff (6th June 1896 – 13th November 1975)

Lance Sieveking (19th March 1896 – 6th January 1972)

Camille Silvy (18th March 1834 – 2nd February 1910)

Abraham Solomon (7th May 1823 – 19th December 1862)

Simeon Solomon (9th October 1840 – 14th August 1905)

Guy Standing (9th February 1948 –

John Roddam Spencer Stanhope (20th January 1829 – 2nd August 1908)

William Ernest Staton (27th August 1898 – 22nd July 1983)

Adrian Scott Stokes (1854 – 1935)

Marcus Stone (4th July 1840 – 24th March 1921)

John Melhuish Strudwick (6th May 1849 – 16th July 1937)

Algernon Charles Swinburne (5th April 1837 – 10th April 1909)


Lance Thackeray (1869 – 1916)

Bert Thomas (13th October 1883 – 6th September 1966) 

Edward Thomas (poet) (3rd March 1878 – 9th April 1917)

Percy Thomas (13th September 1883 – 19th August 1969)

Hamo Thornycroft (9th March 1850 – 18th December 1925)

Richard Tomlinson (13th January 1963 – 

Walter Tyndale (1855–1943)


Bernard Vann VC (9th July 1887 – 3rd October 1918) 

Edwin Campion Vaughan (30th November 1897 – 8thJune 1931)

 Rex Vicat Cole (1870 – 1940)


Frederick Walker (painter) (26th May 1840 – 4th June 1875)

Barnes Wallis  (26th September 1887 – 30th October 1979)

Leslie Ward (21st November 1851 – 15th May 1922)

John William Waterhouse (6th April 1849 – 10th February 1917)

Ernest Waterlow (24th May 1850 – 25th October 1919) 

John Millar Watt (14th October 1895 – 13th December 1975)

George Frederic Watts (23rd February 1817 – 1st July 1904)

Thomas Robert Way (1861 – 1913)

Aston Webb (22nd May 1849 – 21st August 1930)

Christopher Webb (1886-1966)

Henry Tanworth Wells (14th December 1828 – 16th January 1903)

William Whitaker (geologist) 

Bruce White(4th May 1836 – 15th January 1925

Frederick Whymper (20th July 1838 – 26th November 1901)

Alfred Wigan  (24th March 1814 – 29th November 1878)

Theodore Blake Wirgman (29th April 1848 – 16th January 1925)

William Barnes Wollen (1857–1936) 

Wilfrid René Wood (1st December 1888 – 18th February 1976)

Thomas Woolner (17th December 1825 – 7th October 1892)

Sourced from Wikipedia

Pictures from Google