Alt Ref NoRSR/MSS/5/1-124
AdminHistoryIn 1794, owing to the fear of invasion from France, the government encouraged the raising of extra troops for the defence of the Realm, including a large body of Cavalry and Infantry recruited by voluntary enlistment. Local companies of part-time volunteers were formed in the Cinque Ports and remained in service until the signing of the Peace of Amiens in 1802. A year later, amidst renewed fears of invasion, William Pitt the Younger, Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports, helped to re-form the local companies of 1794-1802 into a new Regiment of Cinque Ports Volunteers. This regiment remained in service until 1810 when changes in the militia system came into force. The demands of the Peninsular War necessitated the drafting of militia men into the regular army and the establishment of a new local militia, primarily for home defence. The Local Militia Act of 1808 created a new reserve force intended to replace the volunteers and in 1810 the Earl of Liverpool, who had succeeded Pitt as Lord Warden, established the Cinque Ports Regiment of Local Militia. With the end of the Peninsular War in 1814 and the eventual defeat of Napoleon in 1815 the need for a reserve force ceased. The volunteers were disbanded in 1814 and the local militia were disembodied in 1816
During the ensuing period of peace various companies of the Cinque Ports Volunteers preserved some continuity by forming themselves into rifle clubs. In 1859, to meet the threat of a resurgent France under Napoleon III, Lord Palmerston promoted the revival of the volunteer movement, and the formation of local bodies of rifle volunteers was officially encouraged. In the Cinque Ports the rifle club at Hastings was the first to volunteer, forming the 1st Corps of the Cinque Ports Rifle Volunteers, and by the end of the following year the strength of the volunteers had increased to eight companies
In November 1861 the War Office authorised Palmerston to organise the Cinque Ports Volunteers into two Administrative Battalions, one in Sussex (based at Hastings) and the other in Kent (based at Dover). In 1880 the former became known as the 1st Cinque Ports Rifle Volunteer Corps. It was the third volunteer battalion to be affiliated to The Royal Sussex Regiment, the others being the 1st Volunteer Battalion (at Brighton) and the 2nd Volunteer Battalion (at Worthing)
During the Boer War the three volunteer battalions formed Volunteer Active Service Companies to serve with the regular battalion, the 1st, in South Africa. In 1908 the old volunteer movement came to an end, and on 1 April the 1st Cinque Ports Rifle Volunteer Corps was transferred to the new Territorial Force. It became the 5th (Cinque Ports) Battalion, The Royal Sussex Regiment, in the 44th (Home Counties) Division
During the First World War the 5th (Cinque Ports) Battalion initially served with the 2nd Battalion. The Royal Sussex Regiment, as part of the 2nd Brigade of the 1st Division, but from August 1915 it acted as the Pioneer Battalion to the 48th Division, in France, Belgium, Italy, and Austria. In the Second World War the two territorial battalions of the regiment, the 4th and the 5th (Cinque Ports), were linked with the 2nd Battalion in the 133rd Infantry Brigade of the 44th Division, and served in France, Belgium, and North Africa. The 4th Battalion suffered heavy casualties during the Battle of El Alamein in October 1942, and the title 4th/5th (Cinque Ports) Battalion was taken by the 5th (Cinque Ports) Battalion in order to preserve the identity of the old 4th Battalion
The Territorial Army was reconstituted after the Second World War with only one infantry battalion, the 5th (Cinque Ports) Battalion, in Sussex. In 1948 the title 4th/5th (Cinque Ports) Battalion was re-introduced to preserve the identity of the old 4th Battalion. On 31 December 1966 The Royal Sussex Regiment became part of the newly formed Queen's Regiment, and on 31 March 1967 the long history of the Cinque Ports Battalion came to an end. In its place were formed `C' Company (Cinque Ports) of the 5th (Volunteer) Battalion, The Queen's Regiment, and 9th (Territorial) Battalion, The Queen's Regiment (Royal Sussex), both of the newly constituted Army Volunteer Reserve
RSR/MSS/5/125-135 are records of the 4th/5th (Cinque Ports) Battalion, The Royal Sussex Regiment (T.A.)
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