Bermuda Volunteer/Territorial Army Units 1895-1965 - Raising of Voluntary Units in Bermuda

Raising of Voluntary Units in Bermuda

Three Acts were passed in 1892 by the Bermudian parliament, authorising the creation of three separate military units.

The Bermuda Militia Act 1892, No. 3, authorised the creation of a battery of garrison artillery. Called the Bermuda Militia Artillery (BMA), this unit recruited part-time volunteers, and was not a Militia in the sense of the compulsory Militias of old. This unit assisted the Regular Royal Garrison Artillery (RGA) gunners, at first, but, as its numbers and experience grew, it began providing its own firing parties, and ultimately took over completely from the Regular gunners after the Great War. The bulk of the BMA volunteers were Black, although the Officer Corps was originally restricted to Whites.

The Bermuda Militia Act 1892, No. 4. This authorised the creation of a Company of infantry, intended to be titled the Bermuda Volunteer Infantry Force, but which was actually named the Bermuda Volunteer Rifle Corps (BVRC). This numbered 300 all ranks. BVRC recruitment was effectively restricted to Whites, from the outset.

The third act of 1892, The Bermuda Coast Defense Act, 1892, No. 5, called for the creation of the Coast Volunteers. This was to have been a unit of miners, assisting with the submarine mine defences of the colony. In the event, only the BMA and the BVRC were raised.

These two units began recruiting in 1895 and 1894, respectively. In the years leading to World War I, the two units concentrated on increasing their sizes and efficiencies. Their roles within the garrison were increased as their experience and capabilities grew, and as the regular garrison was slowly reduced.

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