Royal Mounted Military Police


The history of the Royal Military Police can be traced back further than any other Regiment or Corps to a period of at least 1241 AD when, a ‘Military Sergeant of Peace’ was appointed by Henry II. This unit formed the basis of the modern Royal Military Police.

During the many years that followed between this period and 1877 there were many non-permanent units formed under Provost Marshalls especially during the Napoleonic wars under the auspices of the Duke of Wellington. He had realised that discipline amongst his troops needed to be maintained both on and off the Battlefield, not only for their own protection but, for the protection of the local civilian population in whatever theatre they were operating at the time.

CENTENARY OF THE MILITARY MOUNTED POLICE 1955 (Taken from Royal Military Police Journal Centenary Supplement 1955)
It was not until 1855, in response to a recommendation from the Provost Marshal at Aldershot for additional men, that a War Office circular letter dated 13th June, 1855, called upon certain cavalry regiments to supply N.C.Os. and men "of five or ten years' service, sober habits, intelligent, active and capable of exercising a sound discretion," to form the first permanent Corps of Mounted Police. This was the first occasion of the use of the term "police" in the military vocabulary.

On 4th July, 1855, one sergeant, one corporal and eighteen privates were dispatched to Aldershot to form the new Corps and were granted Corps pay, although they were retained as supernumeraries on the muster rolls of their parent cavalry regiments. It is interesting to note that the "one sergeant" was Troop Sergeant-Major T. Trout, who fifteen years later was commissioned and appointed Provost Marshal, the first Provost Marshal to rise from the ranks of the Corps.

Although the centenary of the formation of the first body of Military Police was therefore cele¬brated in 1955, it was not until 1877 that the Corps became a separate entity and the records of the men were transferred from the muster rolls of their regiments to the custody of the Provost Marshal.

On 1st August, 1877, the Military Mounted Police was formed into a distinct Corps consisting of one sergeant-major, seven sergeants, thirteen corporals, fifty-four privates and seventy-one horses. On expansion of the Corps it was then divided into the Military Mounted Police and the Military Foot Police in 1885, and this remained the basic organization of the Corps until the two branches were re-united on 27th February, 1926.

With the mechanization of the Army before the Second World War came a lessening in the demand for Mounted Police, and the Corps increasingly relied on the motor-cycle and the truck for carrying out their varied duties. Some horses remained, however, in such unlikely places as Syria and Gibraltar until the final disbandment of the Mounted Branch shortly after the war. Like a phoenix, the Mounted Branch was re-born and since 1950 has occupied a secure and honoured position in the Corps, carrying out varied and useful ceremonial and disciplinary duties in the United Kingdom. May it long remain!


On 1st August 1877 the Mounted Military Police was formed as an official Corps within the British Army. This was the first time that a permanent standing official unit had been formed with a responsibility for policing the British armed forces.

The Corps was posted into various units both in the UK and abroad as required by the War Office at the time. It was not until 1885 that a separate Foot Police Corps was raised as a permanent unit.

Before the First World War both these units operated separately with a combined strength of about 508 members (all ranks). By the end of that war the numbers had increased to around 25,000 members (all ranks) however, these numbers were reduced at the end of the war as the army was disbanded back to its pre-war figures and the MMP and MFP units went back to their original number of around 508 members (all ranks).

In 1927 both of these units MMP and MFP were amalgamated into the Corps of Military Police, effectively becoming one standing police force within the ranks of the British Military establishment.

During the following years the Corps grew along with the British forces and by the time of the outbreak of World War II the Corps had around 4,121 members. By 1943 the number of personnel had grown to over 32,000.

In 1946 in recognition of the Corps outstanding war record His Majesty King George VI granted the 'Royal' prefix to the Corps, so it became Corps of Royal Military Police (RMP).

Around 1978 Cpl's Phil Matthews & Bob Woolnough opened the detachment at Longmoor. Longmoor was originally the main train depot area run by the Royal Engineers for the whole of the UK but, by then an annual training camp for the RAMC TA units from around the UK. The other main area of policing for this detachment was the Military base at Borden a few miles up the A325 from the Longmoor camp.

As well as the Borden and Longmoor camps there were the vast range areas to patrol.

On 5th March 1995 The Mounted Troop of the Royal Military Police was officailly disbanded after 118 years of service to the Crown and Colours. This was a sad loss to the Corps as even though the Troop which had only been around 20 strong for many years, had carried out effective and necessary policing duties throughout the UK. Many of these duties were unable to be carried out by normal units of RMP due to the unsuitability of terrain and area etc.

The Display Team had annually drawn crowds all over the UK to wonder at the precise timing of both Horse and Motorcycle riders and to cheer them on in the never-ending competition each year.

This page is from The Navy And Army illustrated July 23rd 1897 and shows the new Police Barracks at Aldershot plus the Foot Company (Top Picture) and the Mounted Company (Bottom Picture)

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