Honourable Artillery Company

This article looks at the role of the Honourable Artillery Company during the First World War and will help you research soldiers who served with it. This page is one of my guides to help you research soldiers who served in the British Army:

Honourable Artillery Company in the First World War

Honourable Artillery Company Soldier WW1

This photograph was published in The Sphere in April 1915 and shows the new waterproof cape which the HAC had been issued with being used as a groundsheet. The cap badge of the Honourable Artillery Company for its infantry battalions was a flaming grenade with the monogram HAC. The shoulder title was the letters HAC.

1st Battalion, Honourable Artillery Company

2nd Battalion, Honourable Artillery Company

A and B Batteries

Siege Battery

2/A and 2/B Batteries

Researching a Soldier who Served in the Honourable Artillery Company

If you are researching a soldier who served in the Honourable Artillery Company, then you’re in luck as there’s a lot of information available online. Combine my generic British Army Research Guides with the HAC archive for the First World War period has been digitized by FindmyPast:

  • HAC – 1st Battalion, Register: These entries record when a soldier joined and which draft they were in. Also, if they were wounded, promotion dates etc.
  • HAC – 2nd Battalion, Nominal Roll and Other Papers: Nominal Roll of the officers and men who proceeded overseas on 1 October 1916 and a variety of other documents including records relating when a soldier joined the Battalion.
  • Admission and Depot Registers and Membership books which record a variety of information.
  • World War One Record Cards: Record when a soldier went overseas, if they became a casualty, where they served etc. These are very useful documents.
  • HAC next of kin Photographs & Letters: Photographs of members of the HAC who lost their lives during the war often accompanied by letters from their relatives.
  • HAC officers 1910-1915: Contains the services of officers who were serving with the HAC 24 December 1914.

Clicking on the banner below will take you to FindmyPast.

Officers: A service record is the key document you need to find but not all have survived. If an officer left the British Army prior to April 1922 then a surviving service record will be held at the National Archives. There are over 250 HAC officer service records at the National Archives. After April 1922, then the record will still be with the Ministry of Defence and you’ll have to apply for a copy: Ordering a Service Record from the MOD. If you’re researching an officer who was serving in December 1914, look at the officer registers on FindmyPast as well as their other resources. Also, look through both the regimental history and relevant war diaries (see below for both) as officers are mentioned throughout. Both the London Gazette and Army Lists will help you find promotion dates. I would recommend searching newspapers, especially The Sphere and Tatler.

Honourable Artillery Company Officers WW1

Photographs of both officers and other ranks regularly appeared in newspapers throughout the war. Due to the background of the original members of the HAC prior to the outbreak of war, you may find them in sporting or society papers available to search on FindmyPast. This photograph appeared in Tatler in 1915 which is an important source if you’re looking for photographs of officers.

Other Ranks: A service record is the most important document to find but not all have survived. If a soldier served past January 1921 then their service record will still be with the Ministry of Defence and you’ll have to apply for a copy. Search all the HAC records on FindmyPast as this will provide you with a very good foundation. Look through my generic British Army Research Guides, especially those concerning Medals and Abbreviations and Acronyms. Many other ranks, especially those serving prior to the outbreak of war, would receive commissions in other regiments later in the war.

War Diaries of the Honourable Artillery Company

1st Battalion, Honourable Artillery Company

  • Date: September 1914 – June 1915
  • 7th Brigade, 3rd Division
  • Reference: WO95/1415/4
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Regimental History of the Honourable Artillery Company

The is a regimental history with covers both the infantry and artillery units of the Honourable Artillery Company: The Honourable Artillery Company in the Great War 1914-1919 by Major G. Goold Walker. This a very good regimental history which contains many maps and photographs. There is a roll of honour recording all those who died while serving with the Honourable Artillery Company during the war which lists when they joined, went overseas and where they were killed. There is also a list of “Members of the Honourable Artillery Company who Fell Serving with Other Regiments”. The names of soldiers who were awarded honours and decorations serving with the HAC and by members serving with other regiments were also recorded. These appendices record the period served overseas.

Extract from the War Diary of the Honourable Artillery Company




Honourable Artillery Company Beaumont Hamel

The headstones of Second-Lieutenant Clement John Byron and Private Frederick Arthur Scott of the 2nd Battalion Honourable Artillery Company who are buried in the British Beaumont Hamel Cemetery. Both men were killed by a shell which fell at the entrance of their dugout at 2.15 pm on 10 January 1917. They were buried later that day but with difficulty due to enemy shelling.