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A super Regimental Silver Table lighter retailed by Aspreys and hallmarked 1922 


The Finsbury Rifles


The unit began as the Clerkenwell Rifles, formed in the Clerkenwell and Finsbury districts of London during the invasion scare of 1859–60 that led to the creation of hundreds of Rifle Volunteer Corps (RVCs). It was adopted by the Lord Lieutenant of Middlesex as the 39th Middlesex RVC, and he issued the first officers' commissions on 6 March 1860, the commanding officer (CO) being Lieutenant-Colonel Colvill, Governor of Coldbath Fields Prison and a former Captain in the 71st Foot. The corps was based at 16 Cold Bath Square, Clerkenwell. Colvill was later obliged to relinquish the command by the Middlesex magistrates, who considered it incompatible with his prison duties. He was replaced as CO by Major Henry Penton (1817–1882) of the 3rd (Royal Westminster) Middlesex Militia, a local landowner in Clerkenwell whose grandfather had developed the district of Pentonville. The unit's HQ later moved to 17 Penton Street in Pentonville,[8][10] and it became known from the beery ways of its members as the 'Pentonville Pissers'

Together with the Central London Rangers, the Clerkenwell unit initially formed the 3rd Middlesex Administrative Battalion of RVCs, but because both units soon consisted of eight companies they were made independent battalions and the administrative battalion disbanded. In 1862 The Finsbury Rifle Volunteer Corps was officially added to its title, and it continued to expand, reaching a strength of 10 companies in 1870. Other Middlesex RVCs had been less successful and disappeared, so the Finsbury Rifles became the 21st Middlesex RVC in a general renumbering carried out in 1880.

Following the Childers Reforms the Finsbury Rifles became the 7th Volunteer Battalion of the Kings Royal Rifle Corps (KRRC) in 1881, but without changing its title. It had already adopted the Rifle green uniform with red Facing colour of the KRRC. The Stanhope Memorandum of December 1888 proposed a Mobilisation Scheme for Volunteer units, which would assemble in their own brigades at key points in case of war. In peacetime these brigades provided a structure for collective training. Under this scheme the Finsbury Rifles formed part of the North London Brigade which would assemble at Caterham under the command of the CO of the Coldstream Guards.

During the Second Boer War the battalion was increased from ten to twelve companies,and formed a service company of volunteers to serve alongside the Regulars in South Africa, earning the Battle honour South Africa 1900–1902.

Finsbury Rifles Officer Mess Table Lighter by Aspreys

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