Rangoon Port Defence Volunteer Corps

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The Rangoon Port Defence Volunteer Corps boasted Artillery, Naval and Electrical Engineering Units. The Rangoon Volunteer Artillery Corps had been raised in October 1879 and the Naval and Engineering Units in September 1892. (At this time a Fife Band was attached to the Rangoon Naval Volunteers Corps.[1]) To overview these three branches, the Rangoon Port Defence Volunteers Corps was formed as an Administrative Battalion by Sir Richard Carnac Temple in 1893.

In April 1902 the engineering unit was restructured and divided into a submarine mining corps and an electrical engineering corps but the Corps was reorganised in May 1905 and, subsequently, only the electrical engineering corps continued.[2]

The Volunteer Artillery Corps had adopted the motto of "Repose and Defense" - which was later discarded.


The uniform of the Artillery was white, although the working apparel was khaki -see photo at note [2]. The Electrical Engineers wore khaki and the Naval Unit had a formal blue naval uniform with a Lace of gold. The working dress of the naval unit was, however, white.


By 1914 the land units comprised 2 Artillery Companies, 1 Electrical Engineer Company and 1 Machine Gun Company. Enrolled strength 1913-1914 = 560. Efficients = 580 [3]

First World War

During the First World War, a unit known as the Volunteer Artillery Battery (Rangoon Contingent) was raised, which most likely had a connection with the Rangoon Volunteer Artillery Corps. It was the major component of the Volunteer Artillery Battery which took part in the Mesopotamia Campaign and was captured at the fall of Kut. Many members of the Battery died in Turkish POW camps.

British Library holdings

  • "Memoirs of Colonel Harry Ross, Indian Army 1892-1924" Mss Eur B235 1869-1929 at the British Library includes Mss Eur B235/5 1921-1924 which includes a reference to 'Incompetence of Rangoon Port Defence Artillery'.

External Links


  1. Notes & Statistics in Four Parts – Rangoon 1892 archive.org
  2. 2.0 2.1 Wright, Arnold (Ed) Twentieth Century Impressions of Burma (1910) - Rangoon Port Defence Volunteers, page 264. Website of Cornell University. Section discussing the history and activities of the Corps. Also contains a photograph showing Uniform of the Rangoon Port Defence Artillery Volunteer Officers, page 259
  3. Indian Army List April 1915