Cambridgeshire Regiment - The Volunteer Force

The Cambridgeshire Regiment traces its history to the formation of the Cambridgeshire Rifle Volunteer Corps in the year 1860. The County was one of the first to raise its own Volunteer Force and, in fact, a volunteer semi-military body had already been formed in the previous year under the guise of the Cambridge Rifle Club, which was later assimilated en bloc into the 1st Cambridgeshire Rifle Volunteer Corps - the RVC. In all, ten separate RVCs were raised in Cambridgeshire and the Isle of Ely during 1860, each having their own uniform, some grey and others green. The first combined ceremonial parade of these RVCs took place at Wisbech in 1863 on the occasion of the visit of the Prince and Princess of Wales.

In time, the various Corps were amalgamated and became the 1st Cambridgeshire RVC. A standard uniform was adopted, consisting of a scarlet tunic and dark blue facings and silver lace. Usually, such facings are only permitted to a Royal regiment and it is probable that their adoption was due to the influence of the Duke of Clarence, who took a close interest in the unit.

The Regiment's long association with The Suffolk Regiment began in 1887 when the 1st Cambridgeshire RVC became the 3rd (Cambridgeshire) Volunteer Battalion The Suffolk Regiment. Since that time the regular army Permanent Staff have been provided by The Suffolk Regiment, with the exception of the post-war period 1947-1956 when The Regiment was part of the Royal Artillery. (Since 1959 the Permanent Staff have come progressively from the East Anglian and the Royal Anglian Regiments.)

During the South African War, in response to an appeal for members of the Volunteer Force to offer themselves for active service, a contingent of 3 officers (including the Padre) and 43 Other Ranks joined the Volunteer Service Company, The Suffolk Regiment. The party saw much heavy fighting in its service and earned the Regiment's first Battle Honour 'South Africa 1900-1901".

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