The troublous times of the 1870s led to the formation of a volunteer force of cavalry from among the settlers. Troops were formed in Cambridge, Hamilton and Te Awamutu and these proved their worth when Te Kooti was on the rampage and during the scare following the murder of Timothy Sullivan in 1873.
In Cambridge there were 60 active members of this force led by Captain James Runciman, which served for eleven years until disbanded in 1882. Lieutenants were John Fisher and Richard Parker and Sub-Lieutenants were Robert Kirkwood and William Howie.
Their great value was in the confidence given to settlers and their families and as a deterrent to any hostile action.
All members were well mounted and uniformed and armed with carbines, revolvers and swords. Regular drills and occasional field days with neighbouring troops were held.