22 (Gibraltar 1779-83) Battery

22 Bty was raised at Woolwich in 1758 as Dover’s Company for service in North America.
In 1779 it was stationed in Gibraltar, and was present at the Great Siege (1779-83). It celebrates its service in the siege by observing Sortie Day on 27thNovember. 
Sortie day takes its name form the Siege of Gibraltar (1779-1783) during which time the British, under General Elliot, were continuously besieged by overwhelming French and Spanish Land and Naval Forces. The Garrison, never more than 7000 men facing constant hazards of disease and starvation and withstanding successive attacks from fire ships, heavy bombardment and battering ships, held out for year after year against an enemy which numbered 40,000

The morale of the garrison was sustained throughout by the commander’s indefatigable and resolute handling of the Rock’s defence. At the height of the siege, when 6000 shells were daily being fired into the town, General Elliot led an epic sortie that in a single night – 27thNovember 1781 – set the enemy back 14 months. At 2am on this moonless night 2,264 handpicked men, including over 100 artillerymen, armed only with sword and bayonet, marched swiftly to the enemy lines. In one hour, under muzzles of 135 pieces of heavy artillery not 300 yards distant, they destroyed 28 guns and mortars, trenches traverses bombproof and all the magazines. The keys to the magazines were seized by Captain Abraham Whitham and to this day are held as trophies from the action. British casualties were but 4 killed and 25 wounded. The success of the daring action was due to clear planning based on accurate knowledge of the exact position of the enemy guns and works gained by the regular and energetic surveillance.

 

22 (Gibraltar 1779-83) Battery

The siege was raised on the 5thFebruary 1783 after 3 years, 7 months, and 12 days of appalling hardships. Of the 1,231 men killed the Royal Artillery suffered the heaviest losses. To commemorate their courage and steadiness, 5 batteries now bear the honour title – Gibraltar. To this day we remember that gallant action and those who fell by commemorating Sortie Day.
During the Napoleonic Wars, the Bty served throughout the Mediterranean, and took part in the disastrous Walcheren Expedition in 1809. In the Victorian Era, the Bty participated in the Second Afghan War (1878-80) and the Boer War (1899-1902). The Bty avoided the Western Front during the First World War, instead serving in the Afrikaaner Rebellion of 1914 and on the Salonika Front (1916-18).

In the Second World War the Bty fought through Dunkirk, North Africa, and Italy.
Its post-war history saw service in Aden (1965), Borneo (1965-6), Oman (1970-71, and 74-5). Several tours to Northern Ireland and Yugoslavia were followed by heavy commitments to Op TELIC (including Op TELIC 1 in 2003), and Afghanistan.
22 Bty is currently serving as an Armoured MUAS Bty in 32 Regt RA.

 

RA RHQ, Artillery Barracks, Larkhill, Salisbury SP4 8QT

©2017 by The Royal Artillery Historical Trust.