- A.N. Other and NHSA Webmaster
- History - pre-Federation
- RAN Ships
- None noted.
- September 1990 edition of the Naval Historical Review (all rights reserved)
During 1882 concern was being expressed in Western Australia as to the efficiency of the Volunteer Forces in general and the Fremantle Naval Volunteers in particular. Reason for some of this concern was the Volunteer Act, which was proving to be ineffective as an instrument with which to govern the Volunteer Force. The Naval Volunteers were at this stage going through a recruiting slump and the strength of the unit had dropped to 28 effectives in December 1882. The strength of the unit fluctuated significantly throughout the Naval Volunteer’s history. The reason for this was the recruiting base of the unit. As employment opportunities for seamen varied so did the number of personnel available and willing to join the Fremantle Naval Volunteers. Action was initiated in 1887 to improve the equipment of the Fremantle Naval Volunteers when the Commandant of the Western Australian Volunteers Force recommended that the unit’s obsolete guns be replaced with more modern ones. This recommendation was supported and two 9 pdr 8 cwt Mk II RML guns which were due to arrive in the colony in January 1888 were allocated to the Fremantle Naval Volunteers. The guns, which were a gift from the Imperial Government, eventually arrived, complete with limbers and 100 rounds of ammunition per gun, in February 1889.
The allocation of new equipment only addressed problems relating to the material state of the Naval Volunteers. Lieut F. Wemyss, who had relieved Lieut Forsyth on 16 December 1884, recommended that the Naval Volunteers be disbanded and reconstituted along the same lines as the Perth Artillery Volunteers. These recommendations were accepted and on the 20 December 1888, one month after the publishing of new regulations governing the administration of the Volunteer Force, the following General Order was published.
- His Excellency the Governor and Commander-in-Chief has been pleased to sanction the following changes in respect of the Fremantle Naval Artillery:
(a) The title of the Corps to be Fremantle Artillery.
(b) The uniform to be similar to that of the Perth Artillery except that the letters on the shoulder straps of the Non-Commissioned Officers and men will be FAV.
- The above alterations do not in any way affect the legal constitution of the Corps, nor the enrolment of the present members.
- Petty Officers will be given equivalent army ranks to what they now hold counting from the date of their original appointment.
Commandant Volunteer Forces
Head Quarters Perth
18 December 1888
Even though this order spelt the end of the Fremantle Naval Volunteers the unit soldiered on, firstly under the designation of Fremantle Artillery Volunteers and then as No. 2 Battery Field Artillery. In 1901 the unit was absorbed into the new Federal military structure until it was disbanded in 1907 to form part of No. 2 WA Company Australian Garrison Artillery. The wheel had turned a full circle and the unit had been originally raised to provide for the defence of the port of Fremantle once more had that responsibility.