History of the Small Arms School Corps 1853-2017

Richard Fisher

This is the first comprehensive history of the Small Arms School Corps. It has been commissioned by the Corps themselves to commemorate their history since the establishment of the School of Musketry in Hythe in 1853 through to them being awarded the Freedom of Brecon in 2017.

Centred on the people who have been members of the Corps throughout its
Date Published :
May 2019
Publisher :
Helion and Company
Illustration :
38 b/w photos, 31 tables
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Binding. : Hardback
ISBN : 9781912866212
Pages : 512
Dimensions : 9.75 X 6.75 inches
Stock Status : Out of stock. Available in 6-8 weeks


Commissioned by the Commanding Officer of the Small Arms School Corps himself, this book is the first comprehensive history of the Small Arms School Corps from the time of the formation of the School of Musketry at Hythe in 1853 through to it receiving the Freedom of the town of Brecon in 2017.

It begins with the establishment and development of the School at Hythe, alongside its Corps of Permanent Instructors who developed the first standardized training for musketry and small arms in the British Army. By the end of the Great War, the School had become the Small Arms School at Hythe and became the Corps of Small Arms and Machine Gun Schools in 1926 and then, as it’s known today, the Small Arms School Corps in 1929.

It has never been a large Corps and only began commissioning officers into it after the Second World War. It has never received direct entries and the soldiers within it all have their own experiences from across the Army. This makes it a Corps where personalities have a strong influence. It’s those people who feature throughout this book and they are profiled so the reader can understand what experiences they brought to the Corps and what they took from it.

Small arms development has been central to the Corps’ existence and the members’ involvement in experimental and trials establishments have influenced the choice and use of the weapons adopted by the British Army since 1853, starting with the Pattern 1853 Enfield through to the SA80A3. Their own experiences and the feedback they receive from the soldiers they’re training give them the information needed to ensure that the Army has been equipped with the right service weapons for the time.

Many regimental and Corps histories are able to analyze battles and discuss the part a unit played within them. That’s never been the role of the Small Arms School Corps but this book has discovered the operational roles they have had throughout their existence. It’s also been possible to compile a thorough, although maybe incomplete, roll of honor to the Corps, just in time for the unveiling of a memorial at the National Memorial Arboretum in October 2018.

This book won’t only be of interest to the serving members, the comrades and those with a direct relationship to the Corps but it will also be of value to technical small arms historians and those who wish to understand how, and by who, musketry and weapons training has been taught to the British Army since the 1850s.

About The Author

Richard Fisher is an academic working for Cranfield University where he specializes in contemporary issues relating to the defense industry. He also researches the history of Vickers machine gun and its use. He is the founder of the Vickers MG Collection and Research Association, which runs www.vickersmg.org.uk as well as managing an international-renowned collection. He has previously worked in the defense industry and for local government and is a Trustee of the Small Arms School Corps Infantry Weapons Collection Trust.


"…this is a comprehensive, well-researched reference text."

- Soldier Magazine

"It will appeal to a very wide readership; not only those who served at Hythe, Warminster or Netheravon. Strongly recommended."

- The Military Historical Society Bulletin

"Fisher and his publisher Helion and Company are to be congratulated for this landmark tome."

- Britain at War Magazine

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