About the 20th... Pre WW1
The London Regiment (Blackheath and Woolwich), was a unit of Britain's Territorial Force formed in 1908 from Volunteer corps dating back to 1859. It saw considerable service on the Western Front, at Salonika and in Palestine during World War I. It served as a searchlight regiment and later as an infantry regiment during World War II.
The London Regiment was created in 1908 as part of the Haldane Reforms, and consisted entirely of Territorial Force (TF) infantry battalions, with no Regular component. Its Blackheath and Woolwich Battalion was formed by merging two Volunteer battalions that had previously been affiliated to the Queen's Own Royal West Kent Regiment, but whose recruiting areas (the boroughs of Deptford, Greenwich, Lewisham and Woolwich) had been transferred from Kent on the formation of the County of London in 1889.
Early history 3rd Kent (West Kent) Rifle Volunteers.
The invasion scare of 1859 led to the creation of the Volunteer Force and huge enthusiasm for joining local Rifle Volunteer Corps (RVCs). The 1st Administrative Battalion, Kent RVC, was established on 12 June 1860 with headquarters at Blackheath, to bring together a number of small RVCs that had sprung up in the West Kent suburbs of London. By 1880 its composition was as follows:
Lt-Col Edmund Henry Lenon, retired Brevet Major in the 67th Foot, who had won a Victoria Cross in China in 1860, was commanding officer of the 1st Admin Bn from 16 November 1871 to 15 December 1883. In 1876 the battalion's uniforms were Rifle green faced with black. In 1880 the 1st Admin Bn was consolidated as the 3rd Kent (West Kent) Rifle Volunteers, becoming a Volunteer Battalion of the Queen's Own Royal West Kent Regiment the following year. In 1883 the battalion was designated the 2nd Volunteer Bn of the Queen's Own RWK.
In 1888 the battalion took over Holly Hedge House on Blackheath as its headquarters. By 1900 the battalion's strength stood at 13 companies, one of them composed of cyclists, and the cadet corps at Blackheath Proprietary School and Quernmore School were affiliated to it.
4th Kent (Royal Arsenal) Rifle Volunteers
The 26th Kent (Royal Arsenal) RVC was raised from workmen at the Royal Arsenal at Woolwich in February 1860 (who also formed the 10th (Royal Arsenal) Artillery Volunteer Corps), and soon reached a strength of 16 companies in two battalions. In 1864 the 1st Battalion was numbered the 21st Kent RVC, replacing a disbanded unit, the 2nd Battalion retaining the number 26; both kept 'Royal Arsenal' in their titles. They merged again under the 26th (Royal Arsenal) title in 1870. In 1880 the unit absorbed the 4th (Woolwich Town) Kent RVC, also based at Woolwich and previously part of the 1st Administrative Battalion (see above); the combined unit became the 4th Kent (Royal Arsenal) RVC. It was designated as the 3rd Volunteer Battalion of the Queen's Own RWK in 1883. The uniform was Rifle green with red facings until 1893 when it adopted the red uniform and blue facings of the QORWK.
Territorial Force In 1908 the 2nd and 3rd Volunteer Bns of the QORWK Regiment were merged to form 20th (County of London) Battalion, The London Regiment (Blackheath and Woolwich), with HQ at Holly Hedge House.
The regimental badge was the white horse of Kent, derived from the QORWKs, and the uniform was red, with the black facings of the old 50th Foot (West Kents) before they had altered to blue with the change of title to 'Queen's Own Royal'. The Regimental Colour bore the Battle honour South Africa 1900–02 in recognition of the detachments of volunteers from the parent units who had served in the Second Boer War.
The new battalion formed part of 5th London Brigade in the TF's 2nd London Division.