The RFCA is to archive hundreds of historical records about the buildings and land used by the region’s reserve forces – some of which date back to before the official birth of the reserves in 1908.
The project is just a small part of the organisation’s overhaul of the way it records and stores the legal documents about the 650-plus buildings it manages that are home to cadet and reserve units in the region.
Facilities management officer
Last month, the RFCA appointed its long-time administrative officer Karen Wheeler to the new post of facilities management officer. Part of her role will be to create and manage a database of all leases and legal documentation relating to the reserve and cadet estate – including their terms, expiration dates and key legal constraints. This will help the RFCA improve long-term planning by highlighting risks and opportunities as long as several years in advance.
Pictured is RFCA deputy chief executive Wayne Pledger with a draft lease from 1907 in which the then Earl Fitzwilliam allows the Fourth Yorkshire Joint Line Committee, to use part of his land in the Parishes of Cantley and Armthrope (near Doncaster) as a rifle range necessary for the Corps of Militia Yeomanry and Volunteers and all other local Corps belonging to the West Riding of Yorkshire.
The date is significant because in 1907 legislators passed an Act of Parliament that provided for the birth of both an official Territorial Force and the establishment of County Associations – which heralded the development of the current reserve forces as well as today’s RFCAs.
Interest to historians
He said: “Over the decades, the RFCA has accumulated many hundreds of documents and some of them are likely to be of particular interest to military and social historians.
“We store our up-to-date leases on site but by creating a live database we will be able to track more effectively our legal commitments and ensure we’re ready to handle challenges and opportunities before they arise.”
As well as leases and legal documentation, Karen will also be responsible for generating income for the RFCA by letting out buildings to external users. She will also oversee contracts cleaning, waste disposal and other tasks needed for the effective running of the estate.
The Army Reserve was known as the Territorial Army when it was created in 1908 in the same act of the Parliament that established the country’s 13 Reserve Forces and Cadets Associations (then known as the Territorial, Auxiliary and Volunteer Reserve Associations).