1st Artillery Brigade
103rd (Lancashire Artillery Volunteers) Regiment Royal Artillery is part of the Army Reserve and has sub-units throughout the North-West of England. Its purpose is to provide reinforcements for units that use the 105 mm L118 Light Gun.
The Lancashire Artillery Volunteers were first raised in 1859 as part of the Volunteer Force raised in response to threats of French Invasion. A total of 23 Artillery companies were raised initially. However, in Manchester, numerous units that would later form the Lancashire Artillery Gunners had existed from as early as 1804, when the Duke of Gloucester inspected the Heaton Artillery Volunteers before they were shipped off to the fronts of the Napoleonic Wars.
20th Century History
Officers and men of the Lancashire Artillery Volunteers continued to give service during the two world wars of the 20th Century.
In 1967, some of these units were amalgamated to form 103rd (Lancashire Artillery Volunteers) Light Air Defence Regiment Royal Artillery (Volunteers). Its units were Headquarters Battery at Liverpool, 208 (3rd West Lancashire) Light Air Defence Battery at Liverpool and 209 (The Manchester Artillery) Light Air Defence Battery at Manchester. In 1969 213 (South Lancashire Artillery) Light Air Defence Battery was formed at St Helens and joined the regiment.
In 1976, the regiment changed its designation to 103rd (Lancashire Artillery Volunteers) Air Defence Regiment Royal Artillery (Volunteers) upon being equipped with the Blowpipe missile air-defense weapon. Then, in 1986, 216 (The Bolton Artillery) Battery was formed at Bolton and joined the regiment.
In 1992, as a result of the Options for Change, the regiment lost one Air-Defence Battery (213 Air-Defense Battery, which was amalgamated with HQ Battery at St Helens) and Regimental Headquarters were moved from Deysbrooke Barracks, Liverpool, to St. Helens to be co-located with HQ Battery.
In 2001, the regiment transferred from Air Defence to the Field Artillery as a Light Gun Regiment.
In the future under Army 2020, 209 (Manchester & St Helens) Battery Royal Artillery will increase to a battery size. 210 (Staffordshire) Battery Royal Artillery, based in Wolverhampton, will join this regiment from 106th (Yeomanry) Regiment Royal Artillery, and re-role to a light gun battery. 103 RA will pair with be paired with the regular 4th Regiment RA under the 1st Artillery Brigade.
The batteries are as follows:
The 103rd Regiment is equipped with the 105mm Light Gun, a versatile, air-portable and air-mobile artillery piece that can be carried around the battlefield slung under a SA 330 Puma or a CH-47 Chinook helicopter. It has been in service since 1975, when it was developed to replace the 105mm Pack howitzer.