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Why were the Yeomanry units raised , when the British Army in those days was enormous?

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Yes, I know what you're saying , but the British Army was about the biggest it had ever been in history at this stage. I was wondering if all the Yeomanry Units were all mounted to counter the Boer Kommando groups who were very mobile, when most of the British Army was at that time on foot.

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The Yeomanry Cavalry were raised around 1794 and were comprised of part time volunteers, in order to defend England from possible invasion by Revolutionary France. In the 19th. century it was often used to prevent & contain civil disturbances such as Peterloo. It became a strong organisation to which many influential people belonged, and formed part of the fabric of British social history.

Woodbine

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I'm sure that at the time the yeomanry units were raised they didn't have to serve abroad but were for purely Home Defence. So it may have been used as a way of showing you were serving but never having to leave the country.

Cheers

Graeme

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The Yeomanry is the TAVR part of the Royal Armoured Corps. It provides most of the striking power for the UK Defence Forces as well as supplementing the deployment forces with addition operational reconnaissance assets. Yeomanry units are equipped with hovertanks, ground tanks, reconnaissance vehicles and now combat walkers. The Yeomanry has been the most effected in the recent reforms as many of its units have had to re-role from light recce to other tasks, most are still not yet fully effective in their new roles.

The Yeomanry has traditionally been the mounted arm of the volunteers and militia who protected the British Isles when the regular army was overseas. The landed gentry and the rural middle classes usually made up the bulk of these units, who also had a substantial social role. The Yeomanry has long has a reputation as being the reserve of reactionaries and social conservatives, much like the Cavalry.

The Yeomanry provided some fighting units during the early years of World War III, but most units remained committed to home defence. Those that survived the devastation were used to try and preserve those islands of civilisation that remained from both waves of desperate refugees and marauders. Ironically many of the more organised marauders would become a part of the Yeomanry after being co-opted as military auxiliaries during the long Pacification campaign. The Yeomanry has languished for much of the last three centuries before the recent revival starting with the re-equipment of several units with obsolete Cromwell hovertanks in the 2270's. This brought the Yeomanry back into the business of manoeuvre warfare and greatly increased its profile and recruiting levels.

Today the culture of the Yeomanry is divided between the socially prestigious 'Old Yeomanry' units and those formations descended from marauder bands. The older units are dominated by the rural upper middle classes whilst the other units recruit more from the working classes and urban areas and are much less obsessed with maintaining 'cavalryesque' social standards.

Unlike the infantry there are no formal linkages between the Yeomanry and regular RAC formations. However informal links are maintained, especially as a result of cross training.

The Royal Yeomanry (RY)

The Queen’s Own Yeomanry (QOY)

The Royal Wessex Yeomanry (R WX Y)

The Royal Mercian Yeomanry (RMY)

The Duke of Lancaster’s Own Yeomanry (Dragoon Militia) (DLY)

The Royal Scottish Yeomanry (R SCOTS Y)

The Yorkshire Light Horse (North Riding) (YLH)

The 1st City of London Yeomanry (Sharpshooters) (1 CLY)

The 2nd City of London Yeomanry (Devil's Own) (2 CLY)

The Northumbrian Yeomanry (Hussars) (NY)

The 1st Royal Welsh Yeomanry (The Ancient British) (1 RWY)

The 2nd Royal Welsh Yeomanry (Border Rifles) (2 RWY)

The Royal Anglian Yeomanry (R ANGLIAN Y)

The Loyal Manchester Yeomanry (Red Devils) (LMY)

The Border Reivers Yeomanry (BRY)

The Staffordshire Yeomanry (Black Country Lancers) (STAFFS Y)

The Queen’s Own Oxfordshire Hussars (QO OX H)

The King’s Own Lincolnshire Yeomanry (KOLY)

Regimental History

Many Yeomanry regiments date back to the Twilight Era, however they usually have substantially different origins. These four regiments are examples.

The Border Reivers Yeomanry

The BRY is a formation that traces its history back to the Twilight Era. In the aftermath of the nuclear attacks on Britain, the Anglo-Scottish borders region was relatively untouched but the small communities there were prey to attacks from marauders and military forces. In response the 'Border Reivers' (taking the name from the historic raiders of the area) came into being as a guerrilla force, fighting with and sometimes being allied to the various factions that passed through the area. The Reivers later allied with the British Army as it came into the borders during the Pacification, and were used as advisors and scouts. They later were formalised as a Yeomanry regiment, and to this day maintain their traditions from the time of their foundation. They still recruit from both sides of the border and now are re-training with Bowman combat walkers.

The Loyal Manchester Yeomanry (Red Devils)

The LMY began as a marauder group based around a number of Mancunian football supporters, many of who had military experience. After the nuclear strikes they quickly became one of the centres of power in the devastated North West of England. The original group was reinforced by defecting TA soldiers and others seeking to survive the breakdown of society. The group dominated its home areas by force and brutality and launched military expeditions to other areas seeking to seize resources. They clashed frequently with other, less organised marauders and territorial forces. However the return of the British Army from the continent left them completely outclassed as the battle-hardened regulars tore them to pieces.

In the end the group had no option but to surrender after its commander saw the writing on the wall after heavy defeats in Cumbria. Most of the group was disbanded but the kernel became auxiliaries to the British Army from when they eventually became a Yeomanry formation. The unit still recruits predominantly from the Greater Manchester area, and is currently a recce formation.

The Royal Welsh Yeomanry

The two RWY regiments date from the Twilight War, originally being part of the Welsh Voluntary National Army. The WVNA patrolled the borders of the North Wales enclave of the self-declared Republic of Wales, keeping out refugees and protecting the area. In 2004 after long negotiation the Republic of Wales dissolved itself, becoming once again part of the UK except with enhanced devolution. The WVNA was for a time part of the British Army proper, but was dissolved in 2010, partly because of its reputation for brutality against non-Welsh refugees. Instead the WNVA became part of the Territorial Army, splitting into two new formations the RWY and North Wales Rifle Volunteers. Today these units are just normal parts of the TA, however they still recruit mainly from North Wales and conduct most of their business in Welsh. Although 2 RWY has many recruits from just over the border.

The Yorkshire Light Horse (North Riding)

The YLH was formed during the Twilight War at the end of the 20th Century. Whilst the south and midlands of England had been devastated, there were parts of the north that were untouched. The military using all available troops (including recruits from the School of Infantry) created a cordon and buffer zone in North Yorkshire to ensure the industrial areas further north were not flooded by refugees and thrown into further chaos. To help them do this an number of irregular units were set up, amongst these was the YLH. As North Yorkshire was a rural area with a long history of raising horses the YLH was started up to make use of this resource. Acting as mounted infantry the YLH patrolled from the Dales to the Moors across the Vale of York, the unit kept the refugees under control as well as helping to hunt down marauders from further south.

After the war the unit remained as a part time recce formation, equipped with Land Rovers. However since the Defence Review of 2260 the unit has taken a much more proactive role. Currently it is equipped with newly acquired Cavalier Hovertanks handed down as the regular army re-equipped with the more modern Montgomery replacing the aged Cromwell Hovertanks they had been using. The YLH is the armoured regiment for 23 Mech Bde and recruits from across Yorkshire and trains using the facilities at Catterick Garrison.

Yeomanry Regiment Roles

The Yeomanry regiments of the British Army have four main roles, but generally share a similar internal organisation. A regiment consists of four 'sabre' squadrons lettered from A to D (although this is a rule of thumb), and an HQ Squadron.

Heavy Tank Regiments

There is only one HT Yeomanry unit, 1 CLY. The unit is equipped with 50 heavy Churchill tanks. Each squadron having 12 vehicles in addition to REME and logistics formations. The HQ Squadron has administrative, recce and drone troops. 1 CLY has the distinction of being the most expensive formation in the TAVR.

(1 CLY)

Medium Tank Regiments

MT units are equipped with hover tanks and form the back bone of British armoured formations. Armed with impressive firepower and blessed with excellent mobility MT units can take on most tasks, and when combined with infantry in battle groups they can take on almost any opponents. MT units will normally avoid combat with opposing tank units and attempt to penetrate though gaps in his lines and caused havoc in his rear areas. Yeomanry MT units form the main elements of the Mechanised Brigades, and are each equipped with 50 Cavalier HBT.

(R WX Y, DLY, R SCOTS Y, YLH, 2 CLY, 1 RWY, 2 RWY, R ANGLIAN Y, STAFFS Y, QO OX H)

Armoured Reconnaissance Regiments

Recce units are equipped with light ACV fighting vehicles equipped with drones and extensive sensor arrays. Recce units are normally employed at Divisional level to provide tactical information for the division to plan its operations. Recce squadrons have 12 vehicles, but unlike their regular counterparts have no integral Medium Tank troop.

When in operation a recce unit may be spread over hundreds of miles with each of its squadrons operating independently of one another and far in front of friendly troops. Troopers may also spend much of their time on foot manning observation posts (OP's). Although the recce regiment's raison d'?tre is to provide information, they may also carry out raids on lightly protected logistics and rear area troops.

(RY, QOY, RMY, LMY)

Combat Walker Regiments

A new role for the Yeomanry there are 3 CW regiments attached to 18 Mech Bde. These have followed a successful experiment with the all CW equipped 12 RGJ. Each regiment will consist of four squadrons each composed of two CW Troops, which will give a regimental strength of some 200 Bowman CW. These regiments will not operate en-masse but rather will be dispersed to the Mechanised or Infantry Divisions when required.

(BRY, KOLY, NY)

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The Royal Mercian and Lancastrian Yeomanry

The national emergency caused by the Wars of the French Revolution brought about the augmentation of the cavalry of the British Army by means of "Gentlemen and Yeomanry who would act within their counties except in cases of urgent necessity". The cavalry, both Regular and Volunteer, have always been conscious of their social status, both with regard to their precedence within the regiments of the British Army and the quality of their soldiers. The word "Yeoman", being Anglo-Saxon for countryman, denoted a small farmer above the grade of farm labourer but below that of a squire or gentleman. Traditionally, Yeomanry officers were country gentlemen of independent means both willing and able to indulge their regiments in the finest of mounts and the most glamorous of uniforms.

Today’s Regiment, with a role for providing War Establishment Reserves for the regular army armoured regiments, was formed in 1992 by the amalgamation of the Queen’s Own Mercian Yeomanry and the Duke of Lancaster’s Own Yeomanry. The RHQ and B (Shropshire Yeomanry) Squadron is at Telford in Shropshire and its two other squadrons are A (Staffordshire, Warwickshire and Worcestershire Yeomanry) Squadron at Dudley and D (Duke of Lancaster’s Own Yeomanry) Squadron in Wigan. In 1999, as part of the Strategic Defence Review, C (Cheshire Yeomanry) Squadron in Chester was also amalgamated giving the Regiment its four Squadrons.

The Queen’s Own Warwickshire and Worcestershire Yeomanry

The two Yeomanry regiments of Warwickshire and Worcestershire were amalgamated into one in October 1956. The origins of the Warwickshire Yeomanry goes back to April 1794 when four troops formed in the county, these troops coming together in 1797 to form a Regiment, second in seniority after the Wiltshire Yeomanry.

In common with other Yeomanry Regiments, the first action was in aid of the civil power. The Regiment saw many of these before 1848, and the first was in June 1795 at Snow Hill in Birmingham. At the turn of the century, the Regiment sponsored five companies of Imperial Yeomanry, and a full volunteer squadron went to South Africa in 1900. During the First World War the Regiment was called up and served in Gallipoli and Palestine, taking part in the charge at Huj in 1917.

At the start of the Second World War, the Yeoman once again went to Palestine, but lost their horses in 1941 when the Regiment was mechanised, taking part in the campaigns against the Vichy French and pro-axis Persia. In 1941 it was equipped with tanks and became part of the 8th Army. At El Alamein only seven of the sixty tanks survived the battle, which smashed the enemy gun line. The Warwickshire Yeomanry went on to serve in Italy and after the war in 1947 became an armoured regiment again.

The Worcestershire Yeomanry Cavalry was raised in 1794 and in 1810 was called out to help the civil authorities at a riot in Worcester. The Regiment became the Queen’s Own in 1837 and in 1887 became The Queen’s Own Worcestershire Hussars. Just over a decade later it provided two companies of Imperial Yeomanry for the Boer War.

During the First World War, the Yeomanry saw action at Gallipoli and in Egypt. After the battle at Quatia on Easter Day 1916, they were reduced to only one officer and 54 men, the others having been killed or captured by the Turks. This Regiment also took part in the epic charge at Huj, and entered Damascus three weeks before the Armistice in 1918.

After the war the Worcestershire Yeomanry formed into two batteries of gunners as part of 100 Field Brigade, Royal Artillery. In the anti-tank role it was part of the BEF at the start of the Second World War and suffered heavy losses before evacuation through Dunkirk. Later it became an air landing light regiment of artillery and took part in the invasion of France and the airborne crossing of the Rhine during Operation Plunder in 1945. After the war the Regiment continued as an anti-tank unit until 1950 when it became part of the Royal Armoured Corps.

Today’s Squadron keeping alive the history of both Regiments was part of the Queen’s Own Mercian Yeomanry and remains in being after the 1992 amalgamation to today’s Regiment. It has a sister Squadron in 67 Signal Squadron of the Royal Signals at Stratford-on-Avon, that also maintains the old Regimental traditions of happy memory.

It is a strange quirk of history that these two distinguished Regiments, which were eventually to be amalgamated, shared the honours of being part of the last true cavalry charge by troops mounted on horses against guns and infantry. On 8th November 1917, in Gaza, well dug in Turkish troops, with German and Austrian support, had held up the advance of the British 60th Division at a ridge south of the village of Huj. One and a half squadrons from each of the Worcestershire and Warwickshire Yeomanry Regiments were used to deal with this. The force consisted to 10 troops totalling 12 officers and 158 troopers and took part in three separate charges that day firstly against infantry, whom they dispersed, then against the guns, riding straight at them, and the third dispersed some enemy reinforcements. They won the day and captured eleven guns, four machine guns and took 70 of the enemy prisoner, as well as killing many of them. All three British squadron commanders were killed as well as 6 other officers wounded. 26 Yeoman died and 40 more were wounded. Sadly 100 of their 170 horses did not survive the battle.

The Staffordshire Yeomanry (The Queen’s Own Royal Regiment)

The Staffordshire Volunteer Cavalry was formed on 4th July 1794 at the Swan Hotel Stafford, with troops in Newcastle under Lyme, Lichfield, Walsall, Stafford and Leek. With its motto of ‘Pro Aris et Focis’ – For our Hearts and Homes – it proudly boasts 200 years of unbroken service to Crown and Country.

In 1838 the newly crowned Queen Victoria bestowed on the Regiment the title ‘The Queen’s Own Royal Regiment’ in memory of an earlier visit to the county. As a result the Staffordshire Yeoman wear scarlet facings on their uniforms.

The first members of the Regiment to fight overseas served with the 6th and 106th Companies of Imperial Yeomanry in South Africa during 1900 and 1901. Then in October 1915, the Regiment sailed for Egypt as part of the Western Frontier Force. After three months in Sinai, it advanced into Palestine at the end of March 1917, played a part in the two battles of Gaza and in the culminating capture of Damascus in September 1918.

With their horses the Yeoman returned to Palestine in 1939 but mechanisation in 1941 brought about the wearing of the Royal Armoured Corp’s black beret. At the same time the emblem of Bass Breweries, a red triangle, was added behind the cap badge. It is said this was suggested by Major Jim Eadie, who worked for the Brewery.

The Regiment fought throughout the Desert Campaign with a mixture of Honey, Grant, Crusader and Sherman Tanks – a nightmare for the fitters and mechanics of the Light Aid Detachment. It is in the Alamein line where it helped repel Rommel’s attack on the Alam El Haifa Ridge, later the Yeoman led the advance into Mersa Matruh. In Normandy, the Regiment destroyed nine of the enemy’s tanks on D Day. Fighting through North West Europe the Staffordshire Yeoman took part in the assault over the Rhine. After the war the Staffordshire’s reformed as an Armoured Regiment, changing to armoured cars in 1958, until reduced in size to a small cadre in 1969. Reborn as a Queen’s Own Mercian Yeomanry which in 1992 became The Royal Mercian and Lancastrian Yeomanry on amalgamation with the DLOY.

In 1993 a new Regimental Museum opened at the High House in Stafford, and is a fitting and timely reminder of the many Staffordshire Yeoman who have fought and died for their ‘Hearths and Homes’ during the past two centuries.

The Shropshire Yeomanry 1795-1995

The Shropshire Yeomanry take precedence from the formation of the Wellington Troop on 17th April, 1795 and as such ranked sixth within the Yeomanry Cavalry order of precedence. A Market Drayton troop had been formed on 11th January in the same year and had they not been subsequently reduced the Regiment would have been able to claim a slightly earlier birthday. From the outset, the Shropshire Yeomanry was fortunate to inherit a long military tradition, for prior to the reorganisation of the Militia in the mid-eighteenth century Shropshire had one Regiment of Foot and two Troops of Horse commanded by Colonel The Earl of Bradford. Naturally the new Regiment adopted the ancient military badge of the County, "the Loggerheads" - three leopards faces taken perhaps from the Royal Arms and which had been worn by Shropshire men-at-arms since at least the Fifteenth century.

The initial call to arms saw the formation of no fewer than eleven units, which existed in loose formation until 1814. They had picturesque names and owed a peculiar loyalty to their own areas ; such were the The Wrekin Company, The Hales Owen Yeomanry (Hales Owen then being part of Shropshire) Brimstree Loyal Legion (disbanded 1802), the Oswestry Rangers and the Pimhill Light Horse. All were intended primarily for Home Defence. In 1814 these were amalgamated to form three Regiments : the South Shropshire Yeomanry Cavalry, the Shrewsbury Yeomanry Cavalry and the North Shropshire Yeomanry Cavalry. As such they were called upon to perform a new and potentially unpopular role "in aid of the Civil Power". In the hard times after the Napoleonic Wars, this could have led to some unpleasant clashes with local people. Fortunately, incidents such as the "Battle of Cinderloo", when the Yeomanry was called out to aid in the quelling of bread riots in the East Shropshire Coalfield, were few and proved to be bloodless.

In 1828 the South Shropshire and Shrewsbury Regiments amalgamated to form the South Salopian Regiment, whilst the North merely changed its name to North Salopian. These two Regiments finally amalgamated in 1872 to form the Shropshire Yeomanry Cavalry, adopting a blue uniform with scarlet facings and gold lace. From 1814 the units had been clothed and trained as "Dragoons" i.e. mounted infantry- so called after the "Dragon", the musket with which they were originally armed. It was to prove a fortunate upbringing because the failure of the Regular Army to contain the Boer forces in the South African Campaign caused the Volunteer Cavalry to be called for overseas service in 1900. Volunteers from the Regiment formed the 13th Company of the 5th Battn. of Imperial Yeomanry and as such won the Regiment's first Battle Honour, "South Africa 1900-02".

The Shropshire Yeomanry, 1914 - 1918.

The lesson of the Boer War was well-learned and from 1901-1908 the Shropshire Imperial Yeomanry trained hard for their new and more demanding role. In 1908 they joined the new Territorial Force which was called to arms in 1914. Quickly it became clear that the pageant of cavalry warfare was past: the era of the machine gun, the trench and the gas attack had destroyed the panache of the mounted arm, so long the elite of the field of war.

Three units of Shropshire Yeomanry were raised during the war:

1-1st Shropshire Yeomanry.

Mobilised in Shrewsbury on August 4th, 1914, they joined the Welsh Border Mounted Brigade and initially served on the east coast defences in case of a German invasion. In November 1915, they were dismounted and they sailed for Egypt on March 4th, 1916. Arrived in Alexandria, they became part of the 4th Dismounted Brigade, which served with the Western Frontier Force and saw action against the Senussi. In March 1917, they amalgamated with the dismounted Cheshire Yeomanry to form the 10th Battalion, K.S.L.I. (q.v.). After taking part in the battles of Gaza, the occupation of Jerusalem and the capture of Jericho, the 10th went to France in May 1918 and served out the war on the Western Front. The 10th won the only Shropshire V.C. of the Great War - that of Pte. Harold Whitfield at Bid el Lisaneh, Palestine, on March 10th 1918 (q.v.).

2-1st Shropshire Yeomanry.

Formed in 1914. Served in Northumberland, East Anglia and Morpeth. In July 1916 it became a cyclist unit in the 10th Cyclist Brigade, which was renamed the 6th Cyclist Brigade in November 1916. Went to Ireland in 1918 and was at the Curragh, Dublin, when the war ended.

3-1st Shropshire Yeomanry.

Formed in 1915 and affiliated to a Reserve Cavalry Regiment in Ireland in the summer. Dismounted in summer 1916 and served at Oswestry. Disbanded early in 1917, its personnel going to other units, including the 4th (Reserve) Battalion, K.S.L.I.

The Shropshire Yeomanry, 1939 - 1945.

Peace-time Territorial soldiering with Cavalry Camps and mounted competitions was resumed after the Great War, but was to last only from 1920 to 1939 when, once again, the Yeomanry was called upon to serve in a World War.

Blitzkrieg and aerial attack could not be answered by the mounted arm and in 1940 the horses were lost to history for ever when the Shropshire Yeomanry was dismounted to form the 75th and 76th Medium Regiments, Royal Artillery.

The 75th (Shropshire Yeomanry) Medium Regiment, R.A.

On September 1st 1939, the Shropshire Yeomanry was embodied as a Horsed Cavalry Regiment, but the age of warfare on horseback was over and in January 1940 - like most other Yeomanries - the Regiment lost its horses. Converted to artillery, "A" Squadron (Hodnet and Bridgnorth) and H.Q. Squadron (Shrewsbury) formed 101 and 102 Batteries of the 75th Medium Regiment, R.A. On 20th December 1942 the Regiment, equipped with 4.5 howitzers, left Liverpool for Durban and Suez, arriving on 14th April 1943. 101 Battery was re-equipped with 5.5 howitzers, whilst 102 kept its 4.5's. After intensive training, 101 battery moved through the desert to Tripoli, then went to Syracuse in Sicily and saw its first action. 102 Battery arrived in Sicily from Egypt on August 7th.

The Regiment served through the Italian campaign, sometimes in support of the 5th Army, sometimes with the 8th, and saw action in many notable battles. These included the third battle of Cassino, operations against the Gustav Line and subsequent breakthrough, operations against the Hitler Line, actions at Arezzo and the occupation of Florence. The Regiment went on to serve in the Apennines against the Gothic Line and on to the final offensives of the 8th Army in Spring 1945. The end of the war found the 75th Medium Regiment in defensive positions facing Tito's Yugoslav army in Venezia Giulia.

76th (Shropshire Yeomanry) Medium Regiment, R.A.

After the conversion from Horsed Cavalry to Gunners in early 1940, "B" Sqn. (Oswestry Area) and "C" Sqn. (Ludlow Area) formed the nucleus of the new 76th Medium Regiment as 112 and 113 Batteries ; they were equipped with Great War 60-pounders, later replaced by 6-in. howitzers. From then until 1942, the Regiment was occupied in intensive training.

On 25th August 1942, the Regiment, now equipped with 5.5-in. howitzers, sailed from Gourock-on-Clyde, also by way of Durban, to the Suez Area, arriving there on 21st November. In January 1943, the Regiment left Egypt and motored by way of the Sinai Desert along the Trans-Jordan Pipeline to Baghdad to join the Persia and Iraq Force ("Paiforce"). Here training was carried out with little or no comfort. In April, the Regiment moved to Syria and through a shortage of guns in Tunisia had to lose its own. In May, more guns arrived and combined operations with further intensive training were carried out in the Suez Canal area. The Middle East was finally left in December 1943, and the Regiment had landed at Taranto, Italy, by the 9th December. 112 Battery had at this time 5.5-in. howitzers and 113 Battery 4.5's, but shortly after landing 112 lost its guns to another Yeomanry Regiment, receiving 4.5's in exchange. On 15th December, the Regiment moved up to the Sangro battle and took over from its sister-regiment in support of the 8th Army. In February 1944, the Regiment moved across to Cassino and took part in the battles of 16th February to 15th March and the successful capture and break-through of 11th May, and so on to the Hitler Line. The chase now went on past Rome, with the Regiment supporting the 6th South Affican Armoured Division up to and including the fight for Florence, except for the Arezzo battle, with 6th British Armoured Division. From here, in September 1944, the Regiment moved up into the extreme wintry conditions of the Gothic Line. In April 1945, the Regiment again moved across Italy to the east coast to join the final offensive with the 8th Army. After the surrender on 2nd May, the Regiment saw further action on the road to Austria, but, like its sister-regiment, was watching Tito near Trieste on V.E. Day.

The Shropshire Yeomanry - Post War Years.

Since 1947 the Regiment has fought hard to survive successive reorganisations in the Reserve Forces and has been equipped with Tanks, Armoured Cars, Scout Cars and Land Rovers, whilst under command of the Royal Armoured Corps. In 1959 Home Headquarters of the 1st Queen's Dragoon Guards was established at R.H.Q. in Shrewsbury and the new Regiment became associated with the Shropshire Yeomanry, to the Regiment's great advantage.

From 1961-1967 the Pembroke Yeomanry was affiliated as a Sabre Squadron and in 1967 the Shropshire Royal Horse Artillery (raised in 1860 as the 1st Shropshire Artillery Volunteers) was amalgamated with the Regiment, in which it became "A" Squadron.

In 1969 the Regiment was disbanded and replaced by No. 4 Squadron, 35 (South Midland) Signal Regiment (Volunteers) and the Shropshire Yeomanry Cadre. However, in 1971 the Cadre was expanded to form the Shropshire Yeomanry Squadron of The Mercian Yeomanry, having an Infantry role in Home Defence. On 25th May, 1973 Her Majesty The Queen approved the change of title to The Queen's Own Mercian Yeomanry, which in its turn was later amalgamated into the Royal Lancastrian and Mercian Yeomanry.

Having celebrated its 200th anniversary in 1995, the Shropshire Yeomanry now survives as H.Q. Squadron of the Royal Mercian and Lancastrian Yeomanry - the Light Reconnaissance Regiment of the T.A. - and in 95 (Shropshire Yeomanry) Signal Squadron, Royal Signals. The Regiment carries forward the proud traditions of the Volunteer Cavalry which succeeding generations have so jealously sought to safeguard and enrich.

The Cheshire (Earl of Chester’s) Yeomanry

The Cheshire Yeomanry can trace its history back to 1797 when Sir John Fleming Leicester of Tabley raised a county regiment of light cavalry in response to the growing fears of invasion from Napoleonic France. In 1803 the Prince of Wales (later King George IV) gave his permission for the Regiment to wear his triple feather crest, a badge that Cheshire Yeoman still wear today. The Regiment first saw action of an unexpected nature, supporting the civil powers in the textile riots of the early 1800s. The first battle honour was, however, won in South Africa in 1900-02, when the Regiment provided two companies of Imperial Yeomanry of eighteen months service.

In the First World War the Regiment spent 1914-15 training in Norfolk before being sent to fight dismounting in Egypt in 1916-17. There they met up with the 2nd Duke of Westminster (the legendary Bend’Or, a veteran of South Africa, who had been posted away from the Regiment) with his Rolls Royce armoured cars, the prototype of which he had produced at his own expense in 1914. In February 1916, after the battle of Mersa Matruh, the Duke mounted a raid against the Senussi using the cars. He was instructed to pursue them with ‘reasonable boldness’. Driving across the desert at high speed, the Duke and his 12 cars caught the fleeing enemy, killing many of the Senussi and all of their Turkish companions, returning with three captured guns, nine machine guns and 30 prisoners. In March 1916 the Duke and the Rolls Royce mounted Cheshire Yeoman rescued the survivors of two British merchant vessels, torpedoed off the coast of what is now Libya; this was achieved under the noses of the Senussi, earning the Duke world-wide praise and the DSO. One of the Rolls Royces was subsequently used by Colonel TE Lawrence in Arabia.

The Regiment moved to Palestine in 1917, this time as half a battalion of the 10th Kings Shropshire Light Infantry, and saw fierce fighting against the Turks in battles for Jerusalem, Jericho and Tel Azur, before embarking for France in April 1918. The KSLI saw action at the Somme, Bapaume and Epehy, suffering heavy casualties. The Battalion was disbanded in June 1919, and the Cheshire Yeomanry was reconstituted as a cavalry regiment in March 1920. The Regiment remained mounted until 1942, seeing action in Palestine, Syria and the Lebanon, where the Officer’s Mess acquired a particular fondness for the wines of Chateau Musar in the Bequaa Valley, a fondness which still persists. As one of the last regiments of the British Army to fight on horseback, the Cheshire yeomanry found it particularly painful to lose its horses and to re-role as a Signals Regiment, but the yeoman applied themselves to their new role and service followed in the Middle East, England and North West Europe until the spring of 1946.

On May Day 1947, the Cheshire Yeomanry reformed as an armoured regiment, equipped with Cromwell and Comet tanks. It continued as such until 1958, when it re-equipped with Daimler armoured cars. The defence re-organisation of 1967 led to the disbanding of the Regiment except for a small cadre, but happily in 1971 the Queens Own Yeomanry (QOY) was formed from 4 old yeomanry regiments, including the Cheshire Yeomanry. This lasted until 1999 when the Regiment, as part of the Strategic Defence Review, was amalgamated into The Royal Mercian and Lancastrian Yeomanry.

The Duke of Lancaster’s Own Yeomanry

The Regiment has its origins in the various troops of light horse raised in the eighteenth century in the county, the earliest of which was the Bolton Light Horse formed in 1798. Later there were troops at Furness, Wigan and Worsley. In June 1828 the Lancashire Corps of Yeomanry Cavalry assembled and by special act, King William IV granted the title Duke of Lancaster’s Corps of Yeomanry Cavalry in 1834, and the Sovereign, as the Duke of Lancaster, has traditionally been Colonel-in-Chief. In 1846 the Lancashire Hussars was raised.

Both these Regiments sent mounted infantry to the Boer War between 1900 and 1902. In 1914, A Squadron of the Duke of Lancaster’s Own Yeomanry went to Egypt and D and C Squadrons went to France as Divisional Cavalry. Of the Lancashire Hussars, D Squadron went to France in 1915, and HQ and B Squadrons to Egypt in 1916. C Squadron went to France and formed part of VIII Corps Cavalry.

Both Regiments lost their hoses in September 1917 to become infantry but after the war one Yeomanry Regiment was formed in the county. For the Second World War the Regiment was mobilised as horsed cavalry but in 1940 converted to form the 77th and 78th Medium Regiments of Royal Artillery. The 78th went on to serve in Palestine, Syria and Italy. The 77th remained in Northern Ireland until early 1944 when it prepared for the invasion of Europe. Landing in Normandy on D-Day, plus 6, it fought for the Odon Bridgehead and in the battle of the Falaise Gap. Support was also provided for the Arnhem Operation Market Garden in September 1944.

In 1947 the Duke of Lancaster’s Own Yeomanry was reformed as an armoured regiment. In 1956 its role changed to that of a reconnaissance, equipped with armoured cars, but on 1st April 1967 it combined with the 40th/41st Royal Tank Regiment. Two years later this combined Regiment was reduced to a cadre until 1971 when it was reborn as an infantry unit. On 1st April 1983 it rejoined the Royal Armoured Corps as a home defence reconnaissance unit equipped with Land Rovers.

In 1992 the Regiment combined with the Queen’s Own Mercian Yeomanry, and the title of the Lancastrian Yeomen is carried on by D Squadron of the new Regiment.

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3rd

IMPERIAL YEOMANRY

IN

MEMORY

OF

CORPL. J. TAYLOR : TPR J.W. COATES

WHO WERE KILLED IN ACTION AT MOSKUILEN

NEAR GRAAFF REINET APRIL 20TH 1902

WHILST GALLANTLY FIGHTING FOR THEIR

KING.

ERECTED BY THE 12TH SQUADRON IMPL.YEOMANRY

AND 2ND BATT. COLDM. GDS.

When war was declared on the Boer in 1899, James Taylor was a 20 year old living in Northumberland Avenue in Nottingham and John William Coates was an 18 year old barman living at Ruddington near Nottingham. These men were typical of the men who volunteered to fight in South Africa with the Imperial Yeomanry, not for escape from society or because they were forced to by poverty, but because they wanted to ‘do their bit’. Although not the most skilled of soldiers they proved themselves able to fight alongside their regular army comrades with no lack of bravery, and a capacity to ‘think on their feet’ unmatched in the rigid battalions of the British military system. Although the Yeomanry began badly with the humiliation at Lindley there is little doubt that they earned much praise for the work they performed in ceaselessly chasing the Boer across the veldt. Without such mounted forces the Boer would never have been hounded into submission. Yet the Yeomanry are hardly mentioned in some histories that never get beyond such battles as Spion Kop and Colenso and the sieges of Ladysmith and Mafeking.

In this roll I have attempted to list the men of the Imperial Yeomanry so that hopefully, in due time, persons of both a military history and genealogical background will find a reason to research these men. In doing so, their memory is maintained for future generations. Whilst compiling the roll I also came across papers and rolls of Lovats Scouts and the papers of the men of the Scottish Horse who were recruited in the United Kingdom. In order to maintain a completeness about the roll I have included the men of both units, though the emphasis of the work remains firmly on the Yeomanry.

Imperial Yeomanry – Brief History.

The Imperial Yeomanry were born out of the disasters that became known as ‘Black Week’ in December 1899, after these set-backs it became obvious to all that mounted infantry were needed in large numbers to counter the fast moving, hard hitting Boers. At the start of the war there had been many offers from the Colonels of existing county yeomanry regiments to provide forces for South Africa, some at no cost to the Government, all were politely but firmly rejected.

The Yeomanry were a volunteer organization that had been in existence for over a hundred years, the Pembroke Yeomanry having the distinction of being the only unit to have a battle honour on British soil for their defeat of the small French invasion force at Fishguard in 1797. A decision was taken by at the War Office on the 13th of December 1899 to allow a contingent of volunteer forces based on the standing yeomanry regiments, this was a watershed decision in the war. The acceptance that the conflict was not going to be a swift and painless operation and that every man, whether standing army or volunteer, would be needed to defeat this desperate enemy. The birth of the Imperial Yeomanry was through a Royal Warrant dated the 24th of December 1899 and from this warrant the standing Yeomanry regiments were asked to provide service companies of around 115 men each. The new Imperial Yeomanry were to be raised on a county basis with the core being the men of the existing volunteer units, the remainder of the numbers being recruited from individuals that met the strict criteria laid down.

The Royal Warrant stated:-

1. Her Majesty's Government have decided to raise for active service in South Africa a mounted infantry force, to be named "The Imperial Yeomanry".

2. The force will be recruited from the Yeomanry, but Volunteers and civilians who possess the requisite qualifications will be specially enlisted in the Yeomanry for this purpose.

3. The force will be organized in companies of 115 rank and file, 1 one captain and four subalterns to each company, preferably Yeomanry officers.

4. The term of enlistment for officers and men will be for one year, or not less than the period of the war.

5. Officers and men will bring their own horses, clothing, saddlery and accoutrements. Arms, ammunition, camp equipment and transport will be provided by the government.

6. The men to be dressed in Norfolk jackets, of woollen material of neutral colour, breeches and gaiters, lace boots, and felt hats. Strict uniformity of pattern will not be insisted on.

7. Pay to be at Cavalry rates, with a capitation grant for horses, clothing, etc.

8. Applications for enrolment should be addressed to colonels commanding Yeomanry regiments, or to general officers commanding districts, to whom instructions will be issued.

9. Qualifications are: Candidates to be from 20 to 35 years of age, and of good character. Volunteers or civilian candidates must satisfy the Colonel of the regiment through which they enlist that they are good riders and marksmen, according to the Yeomanry standard.

The original contingents of the I.Y. were an amazing collection of individuals who were generally socially superior to the men of the regular army they were meant to serve alongside. The 47th Company (Duke of Cambridge’s Own) consisted almost totally of gentlemen from the City of London who not only gave their wages over to the Imperial War Fund but were willing to pay for a horse, their equipment and passage to South Africa. Apart from the 47th there was also Paget’s Horse (19th Bn.) which was recruited through gentleman’s clubs, in total over 50% of the original contingent were of middle and upper classes. This figure included many troopers who had resigned a county Yeomanry commission, they were so desperate to get involved in the conflict. A typical example of the kind of infectious enthusiasm of this group of men was demonstrated by the South Notts. Hussars:-

“”On the morning of Christmas Eve 1899, a notice was to be found in conspicuous places in Nottingham. It was from the War Office and it invited members of the Yeomanry to enrol in the forces required as the result of the hostilities declared in October '99 by the Transvaal Republic, later to be assisted by the Orange Free State.

The proclamation was under the hands of the commanders of the Sherwood Rangers, the South Notts. Hussars, the Yorkshire Hussars and the Yorkshire Dragoons. Such was their willingness to join the cause Col. Rolleston and his men, (and in 24 hours there were to be 160 volunteers, including 9 commissioned officers) were mobilised on the 4th January 1900 and 25 days later they were off to Cape Town, sailing on the troopship, SS Winifredian.

The 3rd Regiment of Imperial Yeomanry amounted to four squadrons or companies and the South Notts. Hussars' contingent became ‘12' Squadron (title numbers were not consecutive). Colonel Lancelot Rolleston was its 'Captain' and Captain R.L. Birkin was his 'Lieutenant’. Among the N.C.O.s and men in the Nominal Roll are the names of 'Corporal' H.L Birkin and ‘Trooper' T.P Barber. Both S.N.H. Officers, they had surrendered their commissions to join the 'party'. “”

Standards of troops raised in this manner tended to vary considerably. The laid down regulations of men being able to both ride and shoot proficiently was prone to a certain ‘slippage’ in some companies. This meant that some men arriving in South Africa had minimum horsemanship skills. Sadly even more of the men were poor marksmen, a fact that some of them would not live to regret. Thankfully a lot of the companies were held up at the Cape for long periods awaiting transport up country which gave them time for much needed training and acclimatization.

Eventually a force of 550 officers and 10,371 men formed the original contingent of the I.Y., made up of 20 battalions of 4 companies each, the 8th and 16th battalions being 3 companies strong. The I.Y. began to arrive in South Africa from early February of 1900 and this process continued until early April. The 17th and 18th Battalions, being part of the Rhodesia Field Force did not arrive in Africa until May when they landed at the swampy and insect ridden Mozambique town of Beira. Once in the Cape the men were sent the five miles to Maitland Camp where conditions soon proved to be quite awful. The camp was understaffed and had few facilities for the huge influx of men it was meant to deal with, for many the journey up country would be a welcome change from the cramped conditions and ennui of the Base camp.

When the Yeomanry eventually left Maitland a grand plan had been hatched to spread the various battalions around the zone of operations. Four battalions (3rd, 5th, 10th & 15th) were to head for Mafeking, ten battalions (1st, 4th, 6th,7th, 9th, 11th, 12th, 13th, 14th & 19th) were to serve in the Orange Free State and the 2nd Battalion were to join Sir Charles Warren in Griqualand. The 8th, 19th and 20th Battalions were to remain in the Cape Colony. This plan proved little more than a theory however as the huge demand for mobile forces meant that companies of yeoman were detached from their HQ elements for weeks at a time and some battalions never even formed as such.

The first action of the new force came on the 5th of April 1900 where elements of the 3rd and 10th Battalions engaged a rather strange force of foreign volunteers under the command of the aristocratic Frenchman Count de Villebois-Mareuil at Boshof, north west of Kimberley. By a series of tactical errors the Boer sympathizers allowed themselves to be surrounded and the Count was killed. It was a fine victory at the sad cost of 3 dead (Lieutenants C.W. Boyle and A.C. Williams, Sergeant Patrick Campbell) but the Boer would prove to be a much tougher and elusive enemy as they soon showed at Lindley later the next month.

Lindley was, in all senses of the word, a humiliation for the British. Not only did nearly an entire battalion of yeoman fall into the hands of the Boer, but the manner of their capture and the fact that the it was the 13th Battalion made matters much worse. The battalion, under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Basil Spragge, had been ordered to join the 9th Division under Colvile at Kroonstad. Because of a mix up in communication (Spragge claimed he was sent a telegram, Colvile denied sending one) the battalion instead headed for the Boer held town of Lindley where the pre-warned Boers were waiting for them. On the afternoon of the 27th of May 1900 the 13th battalion rode into Lindley and were shocked to find that it was not Colvile but a large contingent of the enemy that met them. Spragge made the decision to hold his ground in a group of hills to the north west of Lindley and await help, messages were sent but the manner of the message did not contain the tone of urgency that the situation required, as such no plan to assist the battalion was put into operation until it was too late.

After choosing his ground the situation for Spragge and his battalion grew rapidly worse, they were surrounded by a far more numerous enemy who also had artillery (it arrived on the 29th under command of De Wet). By the morning of the 31st of May the situation had become almost untenable and the final outcome was sealed when the party of the 47th Company commanding a critical position surrendered. With no chance of holding out, Spragge surrendered at around half past two in the afternoon. The yeoman had lost 1 officer and 16 men killed, another 1 officer and 3 men died of wounds. The Boers captured over 400 men in total, a huge shock, not only to the yeoman but to the public back in Britain. To make matters worse the men of the 13th battalion were the Duke of Cambridge’s Own and the three Irish companies, these men symbolized the wealth and power that had been associated with this corps. The D.C.O. had been nicknamed the ‘Millionaires’ Own’ because of the number of hugely wealthy men in it’s ranks and the Irish companies contained large amounts of money and title from the landed families of Dublin and Belfast. Within a few months of arrival in South Africa the yeoman had been given both a bloody nose, sadly this was not to be it’s last.

These pitched battles were rare events for the Yeomanry who rode hundred of miles over the veldt and met the Boer at infrequent times. The yeoman formed flying columns that moved constantly from dawn to dusk with only poor rations and little chance of shelter, hardly surprising that the rate of disease and death soared and the ranks of these men were thinned constantly. The story of the I.Y. for the remainder of 1900 was of minor victories and some occasions where it’s volunteer status became all too obvious, an example of this being on the 26th of June where the 35th Company fled from a Boer attack north of Senekal. In July the I.Y. were heavily engaged in the hunting of the Boer General De Wet in an attempt to stop his fleeing into the Transvaal, they did not succeed in this, a failure for which they were to pay for at a later date.

In September 1900 word began to spread among the men about the decision to send that other volunteer unit, the City Imperial Volunteers, home. Although the C.I.V. had been in South Africa since late January the decision to return them to England caused huge resentment and disillusion among the yeoman. The constant monotonous routine of patrolling was beginning to bite deeply into the enthusiasm that had brought these men to Africa. Another cause of resentment was the policy of farm burning that had been imposed by Roberts in the Summer of 1900, work that the educated men of the yeomanry found hard to stomach. This policy was eventually stopped in November.

The morale of the men was low, men volunteered for service with the Transvaal Constabulary and other police forces to escape the monotony, regular units snapped up the ‘prime material’ of the yeoman as officers and various Government departments offered these literate men fine jobs. With these reductions and the men who perished or were medically discharged the numbers of yeoman began to fall to alarmingly low numbers. No policy had ever been agreed upon to reinforce the original contingent, as such by the end of 1900 there was barely a third of these men left serving. When General Roberts left South Africa in December 1900 he pressed for a return of the volunteer infantry companies and the original contingent of the I.Y. on the basis that if something was not done quickly, the consequences for future volunteer forces would be dire. Although the original contingent had actually signed for ‘a year or for the duration of the war’ it was decided that they had done enough and recruitment began immediately for a second and larger contingent of Imperial Yeomanry in early 1901.

The second contingent or ‘new’ yeomanry were a totally different force from that of the original. Gone were the patriotically motivated educated men, the new recruit of 1901 was likely to have much more in common with his regular soldier comrades. Generally working class and with a motivation derived from a 5 shilling a day wage (as opposed to the shilling a day in the infantry, little surprise many men transferred from the volunteer companies of infantry battalions to the I.Y.), the new yeomanry came to South Africa as very poor soldiers with none of the hard won skills of the original contingent. For a few months the small remainder of the original contingent served alongside the second, long enough for the veterans to be filled with a sense of foreboding that proved more than accurate. Eventually in June and July 1901 the veterans, bar those who had re-enlisted with the new force (including a lot of enlisted men who were commissioned) returned to England. It is amazing to note that a lot of these men ended up as officers in WW1 and such men as Corporal Shand of the Pembroke Yeomanry ended up as a C.O. of the Green Howards, gaining the V.C.. The experiences they gained in South Africa were not wasted.

The second contingent was born in haste, trained in chaos at Aldershot in January and February 1901 and a lot of the men were packed off to the war before it’s officers had even been selected. Apart from the social differences, the new I.Y. also contained a lot of married men who had been positively discouraged from joining in 1900. The Government was keen to settle the new claimed lands and offered the yeoman the chance to bring their families with them. For most, those companies that were so carefully selected by county in 1900 were now formed from any batch of recruits at Aldershot who were ready, the common bond of geography was gone. The situation in South Africa had also changed drastically, the half-hearted Boers had gone, leaving only the men determined to fight to the last. The war had become very guerilla in nature, thrust into this theatre, the yeoman found life very difficult.

If some ‘slippage’ in standards had been allowed in the original contingent, those in the new yeomanry were at times ignored. Over 700 men who had been passed fit in England were sent back from South Africa as medically unsuitable or unlikely to become efficient soldiers. At least those who proved fit had come from hard existences that if nothing else, prepared them for the harsh life on the veldt. Problems also occurred with the officer selection that was an administration disaster, it caused men to be chosen who had no experience or leadership potential. Some officers were sent straight back home after being found to be cowards, drunkards or just plain incompetent. To counter these problems the companies of yeoman were increased to 155 men (so less officers were required), officers were drafted in from other units and some of the original contingent were convinced to stay on.

The first blooding of the new force came at Vlakfontein on the 29th of May 1901, 230 yeoman of the 7th Battalion being involved. The force under Brigadier General Dixon consisted of yeoman, artillery, some Scottish Horse and some men of the Derbyshires. The rear-party, consisting of the yeoman, 100 Derbyshires and 2 guns were attacked by 500 Boers, the yeoman fled after suffering 70 casualties and left the Derbyshires and artillerymen to be shot down. Only a counter-attack, launched by the Scottish Horse and some K.O.S.B.’s saved the guns and salvaged some pride. At best the I.Y. could claim that some men had joined in the counter-attack but their reputation had already begun to suffer and questions were being raised in parliament about their suitability for this campaign.

In the same way as the original contingent, the improvement of the force became evident as they stayed in the field and by September 1901 they had improved immensely. Near Rustenburg in this month men of the 5th and 9th Battalions fought off an attack on a column which cost it 12 dead and in a hard fought engagement at Moedwil on the 30th the yeoman and Scottish Horse again gave a good account of themselves. In England, at the end of 1901, there were plans to reduce the incessant reduction of the I.Y. by wastage. Whilst a system of drafts had yet to be introduced, the authorities raised the 25th and 26th Battalions from former I.Y. soldiers, ex-regulars and men who had served in the colonies. A third contingent was also being raised as early as December to allow these new men the time for some proper training before deployment, lessons of a year ago were being learned.

The worst catastrophe of the second contingent occurred at Tweefontein on Christmas morning of 1901. The 11th Battalion were caught by De Wet in an awful position that they had been ordered to occupy. The Boers had quickly taken a position overlooking the British camp and from there they fired mercilessly into the tents of the sleeping men below. Despite attempts by various officers and S.N.C.O.’s the camp was taken and 289 yeoman were killed, wounded or taken prisoner. This was not to be the last disaster for the second contingent, a convoy was attacked and captured by De la Rey at Yzerspruit on the 25th of February 1902 which left the 5th Battalion of I.Y. with 28 dead and 34 wounded. The worst disgrace happened however near Tweebosch on the 7th of March 1902. The column under direct control of Methuen (who was wounded and captured by De la Rey) was attacked by 2000 Boers with artillery they had captured at Yzerspruit. The colonial mounted troops panicked and fled, for the most part sweeping the yeoman with them. The 86th Company had the sad distinction of fleeing 3 miles without firing a shot. The regular troops left with the convoy had no chance and the casualties were huge with 68 dead, 121 wounded and over 600 men taken prisoner.

It was for these disasters, and not the huge good work that the majority of the yeoman achieved, that the second contingent became known as ‘De Wets’ own’. There were tales of true grit and heroism within the span of the new yeomanry, including those portrayed by Taylor and Coates at Blaauwater. There were countless actions both large and small in which they performed heroically in the best traditions of the army to which they had volunteered and not all commanders had low opinions of these men.

By the signing of the peace treaty on the 31st of May 1902 the third contingent had begun to arrive, the 27th to 32nd Battalions arriving at the Cape just days prior to this event and as such ‘squeezing’ a medal which was denied to the men of the 33rd to 39th Battalions who arrived shortly afterwards. The third contingent was a better trained force which had been in barracks for months before sailing to South Africa. They stayed in the country long into 1903 to help in the stabilization process.

Though not always a success, the experiment of the I.Y. in South Africa did teach the Government and Army valuable lessons. It had showed that volunteers could serve alongside regulars with few problems, a lesson that proved vitally important just over a decade later when a new threat arose. In that conflict the problems that had arisen with the I.Y. were foreseen and a huge volunteer force left the UK to fight overseas.

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Gordon,

Blinding post! I didn't realise that there were still yeomanry units around.

Regards,

John

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Cheers for that BJOW, interesting reading..... :cheers:

But tell me, did you scan that or are you the worlds fastest typer?!!! :lol:

Amos.

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Mercia??? MERCIA???? I know young Wuzziface has taken up the ever ill-omened title of WESSEX again, but MERCIA?

With all the "recent" (well, stating with those Tudors) amalgamations that have destroyed Good Old Names...

anything from BERNICIA and DEIRA? Yeesh!!!

BTW, for younguns who think a "Mercian" was up in the tentacled space tanks last seen in "The War Of The World," nuh uh. Shame on education today.

Cant't tell an Ethelfrith from an Eadwy, I bet....

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John Masters rose to command a Chindit column in Burma in 1944 and went on to write novels, having begun as a Ghurka officer. here is his take on the Yeomanry (presumably the Chesires) in Iraq in '40

"The major general in command was of course a regular, a cavlryman, and his first name was George. Normally this would be a piece of little preactical use to his subordinate officers or men, but Yeomanry were soemthing special. At the general's first inspection before the division left England for war, he has asaked one of the yeomanry colonels whether everything was in order. The colonel replied "Oh, I think so George." The general gently pressed for details - ammunition? Vehicles? Noncom's training? gas masks? The colonle scratched his head and said, "Dash it, I don't know about any of that, george... but we've got forty dozen of champagne, well crated, and the pack of foxhounds is in fine fettle."

Goerge took over command of all land forces (in Iraq)... [a brother officer's of masters] had the privilige of sitting in on one of his first conferences and surreiptiously noted down a conversation that ran as follows:

The General "well, I think we should send a patrol up the Euphrates for fifty miles or so, to make sure no one is lyiong up in the desert out there."

One of his Yeomanry Colonels: "Good idea, George."

The General: "From your regiment, I thought, Harry. About a troop with a couple of guns, eh?"

The Colonel: Oh, yes George... I think I'll send Charles.

(horror on his face) "Charles? Charles? Do you think he'll go?

We learned later that though Second Lieutenant Charles was distinctly vexed at being sent on such a piddling mission he did finally agree to go, since George and harry seemed to set so much store in it."

... they were delightful people."

And there's more! (From "the Road Past Mandalay", John Masters

Peter Monahan (new member)

And there's more

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Hi,

Can anyone shine any light on this topic for me? I`m trying to ascertain, whether solderis who had previously served in the Boer War, but then left the forces, but re enlisted during the Great War, would these men have two sets of service papers, or would the army have linked them together?

Any thought anyone?

Also when you conduct a search on line with the 1901 census, does it recognise middle names? It has a box for other names, but not sure if this is for maiden names or second names?

Basically I`m researching a guy from my village who i know served in the Boer War, but I`ve also found an MIC to a man with the same name who joined the local regiment during WW1.

John William Gleave served in the Cheshire Yeomanry during the Boer War and a John W Gleave served in the Cheshire Regiment during WW1, is this the same man??? He`d have been 32 at the out break of WW1.

Any thoughts anyone?

Gordon.

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Hi Gordon,

I am no expert on this, but I did have a QSA to a chap in the 95th Yeomanry, and the service papers showed only a mention of previous service , i think he did six yers elsewhere, but these papers were only interested in the year he did in the yeomanry.

I hope that helps....

john

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Now I am totally confused, i`ve just bought a QSA to the same unit as the last one I mentioned only this time the rank is given as Pte, whilst the other is to Tpr??????

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Over a hundred years ago Great Britain was at war in South Africa with the Republics of the Trasvaal and the Orange Free State. This conflict, which lasted some two and a half years, involved 450,000 British and Colonial troops of whom 22,000 died, mainly from disease. It was also known as 'The last of the gentleman's wars'.

In Cheshire there was in existence the Earl of Chester's Yeomanry Cavalry which had been raised in 1797 but a committee was formed to raise two companies for the new Force for the war in South Africa, with the Republics of the Trasvaal and the Orange Free State.

An Equipment Fund for both the Yeomanry and the Volunteers raised ?6,732.0.9d by subscription; of this ?5,142.6.0d. was allocated to the Yeomanry.

On December 28th John Henry Cooke, Recorder of Over (Winsford) and Acting Hon. Sec. of the Committee gave a banquet in the gymnasium of Verdin Technical Schools, Winsford, for the men of 'E' Company, 3rd. Volunteer Battalion, 22nd. (Cheshire) Regiment. This gathering was addressed by Captain O. Mosley Leigh, Earl of Chester's Yeomanry Cavalry, who called for volunteers to join the new Yeomanry companies.

Enrolment was to be at Chester on January 10th,1900.On 25 and 26 January both Companies were entertained at dinners in Northwich and Chester, whilst on Monday 29 January a Farewell Service for them was held at Chester Cathedral. The next day, to a rousing send-off, they left Chester by train for Liverpool where, with other troops destined for the War, they embarked on the S.S. 'Lake Erie'. The officers of the 21st and the whole of the 22nd took their horses with them and these formed part of the total of 400 horses carried of the ship. Once again, an enthusiastic crowd had gathered to bid farewell to the troops.

During the voyage the days were occupied with rifle practise, drill - subject to the weather - and fatigues. Concerts and boxing tournaments were held in the evenings. Trooper W Lambourne, 22nd, from Northwich won the light-weight prizes at these contests. Trooper H J Cramer Roberts, whose previous occupation was given as 'gentleman', was attached to the ship's hospital as he has had previous experience of such work in Labrador, Canada. The ship reached Table Bay on February 25 and on the next day the troops disembarked at Cape Town, arriving at Maitland Camp a short distance from the town about 7.00pm.

From this camp the two Companies went their separate ways; the 21st to Naauw Poort to collect horses and the 22nd, with their horses, by train to De Aar. Theirs was to be a war of mobile columns pursuing an elusive enemy; of dull garrison duty in small towns; of patrolling and reconnaissance; of clearing Boer settlements and driving off cattle. Torrential rain, sandstorms and shortage of food were commonplace.

Men often had to sleep in wet clothing and the nights couls be bitterly cold. Dysentery and enteric fever were rife. Small wonder that men, fresh from England, quickly succumbed to disease from which more men were to die than were to be killed by the enemy.

The Companies were intended to form part of the mobile columns which were sweeping the country or to provide garrisons for small towns and river crossings. From these garrisons patrols were made into the country. A typical patrol was that undertaken by Captain Daniel, Lieutenant Massey and 24 men of the 22nd Company from Drachoender. In six days they travelled one hundred miles and collected two prisoners, eleven horses and one thousand sheep and goats. One task of the mobile columns was to deny food and shelter to the enemy. This was done by driving in the livestock from the Boer settlements and making the homesteads uninhabitable.

Usually the occupants were given an hour in which to remove their belongings and leave. The oven, which usually protruded beyond the wall of the house, was then broken making it unserviceable. In some cases the buildings themselves were destroyed. The livestock was taken away with the column.

The Cape Mounted Police, anxious to gain men for the Force, sent recruiting officers to the townships. As the daily pay of a Police trooper was seven shillings compared with the one shilling and fivepence of the Yeoman it is not surprising that during August and September, 1900, sixty one men, with their horses, from the two Companies joined the Police. Some may have seen the chance of a break from the boredom. Trooper J. Kelly, 21st Company, was one of those who joined the C M P. In his Diary he describes an action near Hoopstaad, Orange River Colony, on October 23 when he was part of the rear-guard of the Column which was attacked by Boers. Kelly and twenty-one others, horses dead and ammunition expended, were taken prisoner.

However, before Christmas they had been released near the British-held town of Christiana. The prisoners had not been ill-treated by their captors who had shared their provisions with them. No doubt those provisions had been captured from the British in the first place. Before the end of the year the ex-prisoners were back in action against their former captors.

Disillusionment set in amonst the troops. Drafts to replace casualties and to strengthen the Imperial Yeomanry companies arrived from time to time and by March, 1901 troops were arriving in such numbers as to enable those from the original contingents, who so wished, to return home. Not all did so. Captain Rennie and Lieutenant and Hon R Grosvenor remained behind to train the new Companies.

Those who remained were not forgotten by the people at home. W Bowers, a Nantwich man, left the 22nd Company and joined the 18th Battalion, Imoperial Yeomanry, as Regimental Quartermaster Sergeant. In April, 1902, whilst with a Column which included both Cheshire Companies, as they had been re-titled, he was in the railway warehouse at Bloemfontein when he discovered a crate addressed to the Officers of the 21st and 22nd Companies, Imperial Yeomanry.

On being opened, as well as foodstuffs, it was found to contain socks, mufflers and mittens bearing labels with the inscription 'God bless you and preserve you.From Winsford, Cheshire.'

The men who had elected to return home handed over their horses and travelled by train to Cape Town from where, on May 15 1901, they sailed on the Union Castle liner 'Tintagel Castle'. Reaching Southampton on June 16, they entrained for Chester and arrived at the General Station at 7.25am on next day.

Taken by transport to the Drill Hall the men went to various hotels in the City for breakfast after which they returned to the Drill Hall. From there, headed by the Bank of the Earl of Chester's Rifles, the contingent marched to the Town Hall where they formed up in two ranks. Behind them, mounted on their horses, were two ranks of the Earl of Chester's Yeomanry Cavalry. At the rear was a detachment of the Earl of Chester's Rifles with their Band. Of the original contingent Captains W Daniel and Sylvanus Reynolds, Lieutenant H C Beaumont, Lieutenant Docter J B Clarke and 96 Other Ranks were on parade.

The Yeoman were welcomed by the Major of Chester, Colonel H T Brown, who was thanked on their behalf by Captain Daniel. There followed a Luncheon in the Town Hall after which the two Companies were disbanded.

Although the war was still in progress, King Edward VII, on July 26 1901, presented medals to representatives from each of the eighty Imperial Yeomanry Companies which had served in South Africa. Eighty five Officers and Men from the Cheshire Companies were present at the ceremony on Horse Guards Parade, London.

Afterwards they were entertained to luncheon at the Tivoli Restaurant by the Earl of Harrington. For those unable to attend Horse Guards Parade there was a presentation ceremony at Chester Town Hall on September 7 at which they received their medals from Lord Egerton, Lord Lieutenant of Cheshire. The next of kin received medals on behalf of those who had died.

The war ended on May 31, 1902, and in August of that year the Cheshire Companies returned home. In addition to the casualties the war had cost Britain ?22 million. From it came much needed Army reforms as a result of which the British Expeditionary Force was, in 1914, to astound the German Army with its firepower and fieldcraft.

On January 14 1905, a Memorial Plague to those of the Cheshire Companies who had lost their lives in the War was unveiled in the north transept of Chester Cathedral. It bears the names of two officers and fourteen men, all of whom joined as troopers. Of these only four were killed or died of wounds; disease accounted for the others.

J W Broadbent joined the 22nd Company in January, 1900 but in 1901 took a commission in the 29th (Denbighshire) Company. On November 24, of that year he was in command of the advance guard of a Mobile Column when it came in contact with a party of Boers. Lieutenant Broadbent was leading his men in a mounted charge against when he was shot through the head, dying instantly. He was 30 years old.

C E Huskisson, a cycle maker before he joined the 21st Company, joined the Cape Mounted Police in September, 1900. He died two days later.

Percy J. Preston, whose father lived at Hill Top Farm, near Budworth, was one of the original members of the 22nd Company. On March 10 1901, he was mortally wounded by a sniper near Springfontein, dying in hopsital nine days later. His name also appeared on a Memorial Plaque in the Victoria Infirmary in Northwich.

H Thornton, 21st Company, also joined the Cape Mounted Police. He was killed in the action near Hoopstead on October 23 1900, in which Trooper Kelly was taken prisoner.

Of the remainder George Bradshaw, shoeing smith of the 21st Company, died aged 20, of enteric fever at Drachoender on March 31 1900.

T William Lister, 22nd Company, was an international water polo player and Captain of the Manchester Osborne Swimming Club. He was said to be one of the fastest sprint swimmers in England. He, too died, of enteric fever at Prieska on July 27 1900. Enteric fever also accounted for Troopers J J White, 21st Company, E P Pritchard and D Whitelegge, both 22nd Company, who all died before the year was out.

Henry Justice Cramer-Roberts, 21st Company, who had assisted in the ship's hospital on board 'Lake Erie', awoke one night to find that he had been sleeping in rain water due to a heavy storm. This brought about rheumatic fever which, when the dry weather came, was followed by sunstroke. Although admitted to hospital at Deelfontein he died, aged 21 on April21 1900. G F Fox, son of a Colwyn Bay Family, went out with the first draft of the 21st Company and arrived in Cape Town on May 5 1900. Too ill to leave with his comrades for Upington he died in Cape Town some ten days later.

Harold H. Schwabe, a Manchester solicitor whose parents lived in Knutsford, joined the 22nd Company in January 1900. Later commissioned Lieutenant within the Company he died of disease in Johannesburg on April 26 1901.

E.Hodson, son of Mr & Mrs George Hodson, Marsh Farm, Nantwich, joined the 22nd Company at Drachoender in May 1900. Almost twelve months later he died of dysentery at Thabanchu.

Arthur A Carrick, 22nd Company, was the son of Alfred and Mary Ann Carrick of 4 Willowbank, Meadowbank, Winsford. Educated at the Meadowbank Board School he was in the first contingent which arrived at Cape Town on February 26 1900. He died, aged 19, of pericarditis in hospital at Drachoender on May 14. Fred W Davies was another who quickly succumbed to disease. He died, aged 27, on June 15 1900 less than four months after his arrival in South Africa. His name, too appeared on the plaque in the Victoria Infirmary in Northwich.

Of H. Hough little is known, other than he was in a draft for the 21st Company, joining it at Brandfort and dying there in 1901.

One name is missing from the Memorial Plaque in Chester Cathedral is Trooper G. F. Brundrit, whose parents lived at Bucklow Hill. He joined the 22nd Company in January 1900 and went out with the first contingent. In the summer of that year he was invalided home after contracting enteric fever. On his recovery he returned to South Africa and became a sergeant in a Company of the 10th Battalion, Imperial Yeomanry. Sadly, he again contracted enteric fever from which he died, in Johannesburg on January 6 1902.

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It would appear that (certainly as far as the Cheshire Yeomanry are concerned anyway), that the first batch of Yeoman to deploy to South Africa, their medals are named to Pte, even though they were offically Trp (documents and grave photographs, for this period confirm this), however, the second batch their medals were named to Trp.

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Gordon,

Just noted this post about service documents and the Imperial Yeomanry and having a feeling they may have followed the same rules as the Volunteer Service Companies attached to Regular Infantry units.

Men from Volunteer Battalions of infantry regiments who wished to serve in South Africa were discharged from the Volunteers and then re-enlisted into the Regular Army's V.S.C.'s, under a one year term of service, after which they were again discharged and returned home. The regimental numbers of those serving in V.S.C.'s are given in blocks over & above those then being used by regular troops. I somewhere on this computer the exact number, but can't find it, but something like 2000 over and above the last number used by regulars. So if Tommy Atkins at the Depot was 5000, then V.S.C. man was 7000 and so on.

Now here's the bit I still have to look into. My copies of Volunteer Regulations for 1901 are quite specific in that the regimental number of a man "Discharged" would "never" be used again. So we have all of these former Volunteers returning from V.S.C. service with the regulars, who go back to their old units and if V.R.'s are true to their word, then all of these blokes were given new regimetal numbers in their Volunteer Bn's on return to the U.K.

A similar scheme was already operating in the Militia at the time wherebye after four years a lad could take his Discharge and have the Certificate in his hand. He nips down the pub reflects on what he's done and the good times he's had with his Militia mates. Off he trots back to the Colour Sgt Instructor and asks to sign back on again. No problem with that, but he's renumbered everytime.

Graham.

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