The Honourable Artillery Company
The Honourable Artillery Company (HAC) was incorporated by the royal charter in 1537 by King Henry VIII, it is a now registered charity whose purpose is to attend to the “better defence of the realm”. This is primarily achieved by supporting the HAC Regiment and a detachment of City of London Special Constabulary. The HAC regiment is the second-oldest military corps in the world. The word “artillery” in “Honourable Artillery Company” does not have the current meaning that is generally associated with it, but dates from a time when in the English language that word meant any projectile, including for example arrows shot from a bow. The equivalent form of words in modern English would be either “Honourable Infantry Company” or “Honourable Military Company”.
In the 17th century, its members played a significant part in the formation of both the Royal Marines and the Grenadier Guards. More recently, regiments, battalions and batteries of the Company fought with distinction in both World Wars and its current Regiment, which forms part of the Army Reserve, is the oldest surviving regiment in the British Army, and the second most senior in the Army Reserve. Members of the Regiment and Specials are drawn, for the most part, from young men and women working in and around the City and Greater London. Those leaving the active units may become Veteran Members and remain within the fraternity of the Company.