Bombed during World War II, St George’s Garrison Church survives as an evocative ruin with recently conserved mosaics, and a modern canopy roof, for all to enjoy.

History > Royal Artillery
  • Painting of the Royal Artillery
    Painting of the Royal Artillery
  • Royal Artillerymen visiting St. George's 1860s
    Royal Artillerymen visiting St. George's 1860s

Royal Artillery

The Royal Regiment of Artillery, known as the Gunners, was raised by Royal Warrant at Woolwich in 1716, and a military academy was established to provide training for Royal Artillery officers. 

The Gunners in Woolwich

Around 800,000 men served as Gunners in the First World War. 48,499 of these gave their lives in the conflict. 

Over 1.2 million Gunners served in the Second World War. 

The RA mottoes ‘UBIQUE’ and QUO FAS ET GLORIA DUCUNT, mean ‘Everywhere’ and ‘Where Right and Glory Lead’.

The VC Memorial

Britain’s highest award, the Victoria Cross, was bestowed on 62 members of the Royal Regiment of Artillery. 

In 1915 Major General Sir Albert Williams proposed that a memorial to men of the Royal Artillery who had received the Victoria Cross should be installed at St George's. This resulted in the enameled-mosaic panel depicting St. George and the Dragon. It was placed centrally behind the altar  with inscribed Hopton Wood marble panels above and to either side with mosaic borders. These tablets record Royal Artillery service men awarded the Victoria Cross, from the Crimean War to the middle of World War II. 

Recent Developments

After the bombing of the church in 1944, occasional open-air services were held in the shell of the building, with most relocated to St. Michael and All Angels at the Royal Military Academy just up the road. 

In 2003, the Headquarters of the Royal Artillery moved to Larkhill in Wiltshire (the RA’s training ground and Royal School of Artillery since 1915).  The last Royal Artillery troops left Woolwich Barracks in 2007 and other troops have since assumed residence. The King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery relocated to Woolwich from St. John’s Wood in 2012.

St George's remains a special place for the Royal Artillery; the Church walls bear memorial plaques to individual personnel with plants and flowers in the border below. St George's maintains its relevance with a variety of Services and events throughout the year.

Stay in touch

St George's Garrison Church in Woolwich, with its modern canopy roof and stunning mosaics, is both an evocative ruin and a contemporary space. Designed by Thomas H Wyatt in an Italian-Romanesque style, the Church was built between 1862-63 to serve the Royal Artillery in Woolwich. Today it is run by a local group, the Woolwich Garrison Church Trust who are committed to making it available for all to visit and enjoy. Directly opposite the Barracks in Woolwich, South East London, come and enjoy its beauty and peaceful garden.

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