Thursday, 10 February 2011


A general view of Artillery Fields, Finsbury Place the home of the HAC
The Honorable Artillery Company (HAC) is one of the City and the Army's great institutions.  Located just North of the Hall at Finsbury Place it was traditionally the City's volunteer force.  It was incorporated into the Territorial Army (TA) some hundred years ago and, despite constant changes in role, still flourishes.  As well as being an effective military unit it provides an essential and the flourishing link between the Army and the wider City community that has sadly eroded elsewhere in many towns and cities across the country as the TA has been successively reduced in size.  For more details go to
The Company of Pikemen and Musketeers (Musketeers on the flanks and Pikemen in the centre) on parade at Artillery Fields.
My links with the HAC go back over forty years.  My brother, David, joined at the same time as Past Master Stephen Foakes in 1970.  Both are still serving in the Company of Pikemen and Musketeers, a revival from the trained band period of the HAC's history.  The Company is frequently seen on City ceremonial occasions in their seventeenth century uniforms using what now appears to be the theatrical drill movements of the same period.

The January HAC Club Dinner is designed to reinforce the links between the City and the HAC.  Many members of the HAC, both serving and veterans, are members of various City liveries and are encouraged to invite their Masters and Clerks.  The Dinner was held in the handsome panelled dining room at Artillery Fields.  It still looks just the same as it did when I went to my first mess-night there over forty years ago but I think the food has got a bit better.  I went as guest of Past Master Stephen Foakes who looked resplendent in the scarlet tunic and lace of Sergeant of Pikemen.

Major General Simon Lalor, in his capacity of the President of the HAC Club, made us most welcome and my host had been asked to make the speech of welcome to the guests which he did most skilfully fitting together a string of individuals most elegantly.  The principal speaker was General Sir Nicholas Parker the current Commander in Chief Land Forces who made a wide ranging and challenging speech on the issues facing the Army.

Being back at the HAC brought back many memories and it is good to see how the unit has continued to adapt and flourish so successfully.

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