The Petersfield Corps of the Salvation Army “opened fire” in Petersfield on 24th June 1886, being Corps 822 in the British Isles, when, according to a newspaper report of that time, “several Hallelujah lassies, a Commissioner and others in red guernseys opened the corps.” The Corps commenced under the command of Captain Coad and Lieutenant Whittaker.
It was not long before the Corps was presented with a drum, though its enthusiastic beating was a cause of annoyance to nearby residents. After just one year there were 200 soldiers, friends and converts who celebrated this first milestone.
The Salvation Army periodical ‘The War Cry’ dated 14 August 1886 wrote “The Salvation Army entered Petersfield about a month ago. War is raging, but victory is on our side. Hallelujah! Since the opening souls have turned from their sins to serve the true and living God, and although only young on the way they are going in heart and soul to get their companions saved. On Thursday, Major Rees and Staff-Captain Complin were with us; also Happy Thomas, from Salisbury. The power of God was felt. One soul came to Jesus. On Sunday the lord filled us afresh with fire and zeal to seek and save the lost. Praise God, six came to the Saviour".
In 1905, Petersfield was visited by William Booth (founder of the Salvation Army) himself on one of his motor tours. He was given a tremendous welcome. The band met him at Adhurst Hill and marched into the town, where he was greeted by local dignitaries and presented with an illuminated address.”