The 2nd Durham (Seaham) Artillery Volunteers were raised in 1860 at Seaham Harbour. The corps exemplified the bonding of old feudal ideals with spirit, pride and patriotism. Its formation was chiefly due to the initiative, influence, energy and enthusiasm of Lady Frances Anne Vane, Marchioness of Londonderry and her son Earl Vane. The Volunteer movement in Britain was a response to a real threat from France and a government appeal for Counties to establish a civil home defence Corps. More than 7,000 men from the colliery districts of Seaham, Silksworth, West Rainton and Old Durham enrolled as members of the Corps between 1860 and 1908. For three generations these men drilled to military precision at the six drill halls; they became proficient in the use of big guns and carbines; they competed against other Artillery Volunteer Corps and they had an undisputable and distinguished record amongst the Volunteer Artillery Brigades of Britain. This book reveals everything about the drill halls, the brigade bands, the Adjutants, uniforms and equipment, big guns and carbines, and brigade inspections and annual reviews. An artillery volunteer uniform would be found in every other household in the colliery districts between 1860 and 1908. The 1888 Muster Roll and the appointment, promotion, achievements and awards of many of the officers, NCO’s and gunners are listed in the book.
This book is a record of the past service of many men from Seaham, Silksworth, Rainton and Old Durham who voluntarily gave their time, during peacetime, to prepare for war. Members of the Old 2nd Durham’s and their descendants have a right to be proud of their record and achievements.