Volunteer Elements - Volbn

• In 1866, the detachment of the 4th West Indian Regiment was defeated in battle by the Indians near Orange Walk. Volunteers were enrolled at Belize and sent to the Hondo to deal with Indian raids locally. In January 1881, the volunteers were formed into four companies, A, B, C and D.

• In 1885, “British Honduras Constabulary Force” detachment were stationed at Corozal, Orange Walk and El Cayo. The West Indian Regiment stations in the colony since 1804 were withdrawn in 1894.

In 1897, the Belize Light Infantry Volunteers was formed. The following officers were sworn in:

Dr J Cran – Surgeon Lieutenant J A Mc Donald – Lieutenant
D D Barnes –Commandant A Maitland – Captain

On the 25th November, 1904, a mounted Infantry Company was formed. The first recruits were:

Duncan Fraser, Oscar Peters, William C.F. Stuart,
Fred Bolton, William A. Wagner, William C. Price,
Herbert Haylock, Rowland Ormsby, C. A. Metzgen,
Hugh McMillan.

This Company justified very early its existence by providing the volunteers with a valuable mobile force during the Indian disturbances in the Western District.

In 1911, Brigadier Dalrymple Hay Inspector General, in his report on the local forces in the west Indies stated“the British Honduras Volunteer Force was the most efficient in the area.”

On the 4th August, 1914, the astounding news reached Belize that Great Britain had declared war on Germany in defence of Belgium. The force was immediately called out for active service. Later when another offer of men was accepted, 100 men under Lieutenant R. H. Furness was dispatched to England. These men made so good an impression that more men were asked for and a second contingent of over 400 men was sent over.

Men eager to serve but debarred from going overseas for one reason or another joined the volunteers and swelled the strength to over 1000. Companies were formed in Corozal, Stann Creek, El Cayo and Orange Walk, and detachments at Benque Viejo and Hill Bank.

In August 1928, this force was disbanded and a new force of four platoons renamed the British Honduras Defence Force was formed under the following officers

T. C. Manders – Major, Commandant
E. M. Tibbett – Captain, Adjutant
P.E. Mattews – Captain
P.S. Woods – Captain
R.K. Masson – Lieutenant
M.S. Metzgen – Lieutenant

This force made its first public appearance on the 4th February 1929, immediately after the great hurricane of 1931 which destroyed the City of Belize. The defence force rendered most valuable services. Some of the finest examples of discipline, loyalty and esprit de corps were demonstrated when men had lost their homes and in some cases their families quickly made their way to the drill hall before the fury of the devastating winds had abated in answer to the “Fall in” call of the bugle. The force was organized into rescue squads and all sorts of services were performed, from rescuing trapped persons, collecting the injured and the dead, to caring and feeding of babies. Men of all walks of life in Belize, members of the legislature, Heads of Government, department clerks and the ordinary labourer, seeing what organization and discipline could do, joined the defence force.


• Participate in Defence of Belize.

• Aid to Civil Authorities when called out by the Governor General.

• Provide support to the Regular Element.

• Provide community service as directed.

• Any other duties assigned.


• Military training – in weapons handling, first aid, tactical, drill, fitness and field craft.

• Free uniforms.

• Tax free pay at rates equivalent to regular force.

• Promotion opportunities.

• Scholarship.


• Initial engagement for four years.

• Regular attendance at training evenings

• One weekend training per month

• 15 days Annual Camp.

• Callout in emergency – service no more than 28 days.

• Drug test


• Applicants must be 16 – 30 years of age.

• Must be Belizean.

• Medically fit.

• Minimum qualification: Primary School Certificate.
(Higher qualification – Asset)


• Pay: 6 parade days = 1 day pay
• Weekend training = 2 days pay
• Guard duty = 1 – 15 days pay
• Death in harness
• Provide health care service