The West Midlands Reserve Forces and Cadets Association covers the activities of these forces in Herefordshire, Shropshire, Staffordshire, Warwickshire, West Midlands and Worcestershire. An almost complete set of Lord Lieutenants and High Sheriffs gathered to join the senior members of these forces at the Staffordshire County Showground. The President , Her Majesty’s Lord Lieutenant of Staffordshire, Mr Ian Dudson CBE presided.
Prior to Tudor times, Sheriffs were responsible for the raising of Militias. For some reason (possibly due to the collapse of the old feudal system), Henry VIII first appointed Lord Lieutenants to raise militias against external threats that, in those days, was against Scotland and France. The system became more formalised under Elizabeth I with the threat from Spain. It was not until 1921 that Lord Lieutenants lost their right to call upon able-bodied men to fight when needed. Therefore, it is the Lieutenancy of a County that is most directly involved with the armed forces.
Sheriffs retained the power to raise a “Posse Comitatus” which gave powers to the Sheriff to demand help in the arrest of felons within his bailiwick. this power, surprisingly, was not formally removed until the Criminal Law Act 1967 having been codified in the Sheriff’s Act 1887. Many states in the United States still retain the power.
It was good for the High Sheriffs to understand better what is happening in the modern day militia. As elsewhere, they are under financial pressure but are highly active and resourceful. For more information on the West Midlands Reserve Forces and Cadet Association, please click on the link.