Essex Regiment & Essex Militia History

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Volunteer Training Corps

The start of the Great War and the recruitment of so many men encouraged a swell of patriotism.

The initial German success through Belgium and the arrival of Zeppelins over England brought a perceived risk of German invasion to many residents which led to the development of unofficial units throughout the South of England which mainly comprised of men who judged as unsuitable for service in the Forces. These units were required to finance their uniform or equipment although they were not authorised to carry weapons.

In November 1914 a central organisation called the Volunteer Training Force was established by the Home Office although the new organisation was not given formal control of all of the unofficial units.

By 1916 the units were at last formally recognised and became Volunteer Battalions of their respective county regiments. With this recognition came the issue of weapons and a formal training.

The Volunteers were suspended in December 1918 and formally disbanded in 1920.