Welcome to The RAF in Essex, WW1 to the Cold War

Website about all the RAF Airfields and auxiliary sites in Essex.

Hare Hall OTC WW1

"Never was so much owed by so many to so few"
- Winston Churchill

La Petite Foret is a camping and caravan site located at the WW1 Battlefield sites. To plan your visit click on the icon above.

Artists Rifles OTC, Gidea Park, Essex



The Artists Rifles OTC trained 10,256 officers from 1914 to 1918. Many went into the regular regiments, 1635 in total, 936 officers went into service in the RFC. The biggest group of 3,090 went into the new armies which came about from various recruitment drives. The complete list of recruits can we viewed via the link below. Many of these young officers would die on the battlefields going over the top with their men.

Click Here for the complete: Artists Rifles Roll of Honour WW1

Hare Hall camp in Gidea Park Essex trained many artists including Paul Nash, Wilfred Owen, Edward Thomas, Alfred Leete and Noel Coward, to name just a few. Both Wilfred Owen and Edward Thomas would die on the battlefield.

The regiment itself has a grand history starting it's life on the 28th February 1860 as the 38th Middlesex (Artists) Rifle Volunteer Corps with its headquarters at Burlington House, London. When WW1 broke out NCO"s of the Artists Rifles were selected to be officers and sent to other regiments, known as "The First Fifty". Massively outnumbered, many of these men would die before the year ended, as they fought to stop the German advance. Their training was second to none but still the sheer number of the German military was no match. The Kaiser himself said that the BEF (British Expeditionary Force) was a "contemptible little army". While some saw this statement as a slur, it was in fact meant to be praise, as such a small army had managed to stop the German advance in it's tracks.

In 1915 selected officers and Non commissioned officers (NCO's) were transferred to run an Officers Training Corps (OTC) at Hare Hall, Gidea Park which is now the Royal Liberty School. During the Great War the regiment received 8 Victoria Crosses and many battle honours. These and the names of the "First Fifty", can be seen by clinking on the link above, Artists Rifles Roll of Honour.

Click Here for: Artists Rifles Regiment BBC Story



Click Here for: More Hare Hall Camp photographs


Artists Rifles commemorative film 1860 - 1960