Ayrshire (Earl of Carrick's Own) Yeomanry

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Ayrshire (Earl of Carrick's Own) Yeomanry
Ayr Yeo Badge.gif
Badge of The Ayrshire Yeomanry
Active 1794 - Present
Country United Kingdom
Branch Army Reserve
Type Yeomanry
Role Formation Reconnaissance
Size One squadron
Part of Royal Armoured Corps
Garrison/HQ Ayr
March Garb of Old Gaul
Commanders
Honorary Colonel Colonel R Callander OBE TD DL
Insignia
Stable Belt Colours[1] Ayrshire Belt.svg

The Ayrshire (Earl of Carrick's Own) Yeomanry was a Regiment of the British Yeomanry and is now an armoured Squadron of the Queen's Own Yeomanry (QOY), part of the British Army Reserve. It is the Lowlands of Scotland's only Royal Armoured Corps Unit and has an unbroken history stretching back to the 1790s.

The Squadron is part of 15 (North East) Brigade within the Army's Support Command, however, because of the geographic spread of the QOY, the Squadron is administered by 51st (Scottish) Brigade.

The Queen's Own Yeomanry is the only yeomanry regiment that serves in the formation reconnaissance role, equipped with the CVR(T) family of armoured reconnaissance vehicles, including Scimitar and Spartan. On mobilisation, it provides squadrons to reinforce the regular formation reconnaissance regiments. It has provided personnel to both Operation HERRICK in Afghanistan and Operation TELIC in Iraq, who have served with their regular counterparts in the Royal Armoured Corps and other arms and services.

The Ayrshire Yeomanry has won numerous battle honours and one Victoria Cross.

Organisation[edit]

A Squadron QOY is based at Yeomanry House on Chalmers Road in Ayr and consists of a Squadron Headquarters Element (SHQ), 3 Sabre Troops, a Squadron Quarter Master Sergeant (SQMS) Department and a REME Light Aid Detachment (LAD).

The Squadron is supported by Adjutant General's Corps Clerks, Royal Logistics Corps Chefs and Royal Army Medical Corps Medics.

The Army Reserve Officers and Soldiers hold all of the command appointments, but, on a day-to-day basis, the unit is managed by the Permanent Staff Administration Officer (PSAO) with a team of Non-Regular Permanent Staff (NRPS), Permanent Staff Instructors (PSIs) (SNCO instructors posted from the Regular Army) and civil servants.

Regimental history[edit]

Early history[edit]

The Ayrshire (Earl of Carrick's Own) Yeomanry was formed as an independent troop of Fencible Cavalry by The Earl of Cassillis sometime around 1794. It was formally adopted into the Army List in 1798 as The Ayrshire Regiment of Yeomanry Cavalry making it the 7th most senior Yeomanry Regiment in the Army and the most senior in Scotland. The Yeomanry were established and recruited at this time to provide Britain with a defence against any invasion by French forces under Napoleon.

The Regiment spent its formative years as an aid to the civil powers, reacting to and controlling riots across Ayrshire and beyond, most notably in Paisley. In 1897, the Regiment was granted permission to use the title Ayrshire Yeomanry Cavalry (Earl of Carrick's Own) in honour of the future King Edward VII, as Earl of Carrick is a subsidiary title of the Princes of Wales deriving from the Ayrshire district of Carrick. During these early years, the Regiment adopted the uniform and role of Hussars.

Boer War[edit]

In 1900, the Regiment, together with the Lanarkshire Yeomanry, sponsored the formation and deployment of the 17th Company of the 6th (Scottish) Battalion of the Imperial Yeomanry for service in the Second Boer War. This was the first overseas deployment of the Yeomanry. On their return in 1901, the Regiment was reorganized as mounted infantry and titled the Ayrshire (Earl of Carrick's Own) Yeomanry.[2] In 1908, it was transferred into the new Territorial Force, returning to the cavalry role.

World War I[edit]

Lowland Mounted Brigade
Organisation on 4 August 1914

In accordance with the Territorial and Reserve Forces Act 1907 (7 Edw.7, c.9), which brought the Territorial Force into being, the TF was intended to be a home defence force for service during wartime and members could not be compelled to serve outside the country. However, on the outbreak of war on 4 August 1914, many members volunteered for Imperial Service. Therefore, TF units were split in August and September 1914 into 1st Line (liable for overseas service) and 2nd Line (home service for those unable or unwilling to serve overseas) units. Later, a 3rd Line was formed to act as a reserve, providing trained replacements for the 1st and 2nd Line regiments.[3]

1/1st Ayrshire (Earl of Carrick's Own) Yeomanry[edit]

On the outbreak of World War I, the Regiment was one of the fastest to react to the mobilisation order and received congratulations from Scottish Command, even though there was an initial delay in that the orders came in a code that had not been issued to the Regiment! Following mobilisation, the Regiment joined the Lowland Mounted Brigade and remained in the United Kingdom, on home defence duties, until 1915. The Regiment finally deployed overseas in September of that year, where it took part in the Gallipoli landings, serving as dismounted infantry. The Regiment was attached to the 52nd (Lowland) Division in October; it was withdrawn in January 1916 and moved to Egypt. In early 1917, the Regiment was amalgamated with The Lanarkshire Yeomanry to form the 12th (Ayr and Lanark Yeomanry) Battalion of the Royal Scots Fusiliers in 74th (Yeomanry) Division (The Broken Spurs), seeing service in the Palestine campaign before moving to the Western Front in May 1918.[3] A member of this Regiment, Thomas Caldwell, won the Victoria Cross on 31 October 1918 at Oudenaarde in Belgium.

2/1st Ayrshire (Earl of Carrick's Own) Yeomanry[edit]

The 2nd line regiment was formed in 1914. In 1915 it was under the command of the 2/1st Lowland Mounted Brigade in Scotland (along with the 2/1st Lanarkshire Yeomanry[4] and the 2/1st Lothians and Border Horse[5]) and by March 1916 was at Dunbar, East Lothian.[6] On 31 March 1916, the remaining Mounted Brigades were numbered in a single sequence and the brigade became 20th Mounted Brigade, still at Dunbar under Scottish Command.[7]

In July 1916 there was a major reorganization of 2nd line yeomanry units in the UK. All but 12 regiments were converted to cyclists[7] and as a consequence the regiment was dismounted and the brigade converted to 13th Cyclist Brigade. Further reorganization in October and November 1916 saw the brigade redesignated as 9th Cyclist Brigade in November, still at Dunbar.[8]

About May 1918 the Brigade moved to Ireland[8] and the regiment was stationed at Omagh, County Tyrone. There were no further changes before the end of the war.[6]

3/1st Ayrshire (Earl of Carrick's Own) Yeomanry[edit]

A third-line regiment was formed in 1915, and remained in the United Kingdom until disbanded in 1917, with personnel transferred to the 4th battalion, Royal Scots Fusiliers.[3]

Inter war[edit]

Following demobilisation after the War, the Regiment was reconstituted in 1920 in the Territorial Army.[2]

World War II[edit]

Between the First and Second World Wars, the Regiment returned to its horsed Cavalry training in Scotland. However, when the call to duty came again at the beginning of Second World War, the Ayrshire Yeomanry was faced with a difficult choice, they were not required as a cavalry or as an armoured Regiment and were, instead, asked to fill a gap in the Army's Artillery organisation. In 1940, the Regiment transferred into the Royal Artillery and duly formed two Regiments of Field Artillery; 151st (Ayrshire Yeomanry) Field Regiment RA, formed in February, and 152nd (Ayrshire Yeomanry) Field Regiment, formed in April as a second-line duplicate.

The 151st remained in the United Kingdom until 1942, when it was assigned to 46th Infantry Division and fought in the Tunisia Campaign. It was assigned to the 11th Armoured Division in 1944, and remained with it through the campaign in North-Western Europe.[9]

The 152nd was attached to the 6th Armoured Division in mid-1942, and moved with the division to North Africa that November. It remained with the division through the remainder of the war, fighting in the Tunisia Campaign, and the Italian Campaign, ending the war in Austria.[10] When peace was declared, the 152nd Regiment found itself in Austria and immediately organised a gymkhana using horses from a local Cavalry depot.

Both Regiments fought with great courage and between them they won four Distinguished Service Orders, twenty one Military Crosses and twenty four Military Medals.[11]

Post war[edit]

After the War, the regiment reconstituted in the Territorial Army as a Yeomanry Regiment, under its old title of The Ayrshire (Earl of Carrick's Own) Yeomanry, and transferred into the Royal Armoured Corps. The regiment was made part of 30 (Lowland) Independent Armoured Brigade.[12] During this time the Regiment were issued with a wide variety of equipments, including at one stage flamethrower tanks. The Regiment consisted of Sabre Squadrons at Ayr, Dalry & Kilmarnock with RHQ & Carrick Troop (HQ Sqn) in Ayr.

In 1961 the Ayrshire Yeomanry paraded at Culzean Castle, where they had been raised so many years before. They were presented with their First Guidon bearing the Honours which had been hard won since the first overseas deployment to South Africa and through two World Wars.

The Ayrshire Yeomanry continued as an independent Regiment until 1969 when, in common with most of the Yeomanry Regiments, it was reduced to a Cadre of just a few men.

On 1 April 1971 this cadre gave rise to two new units; B Squadron of the 2nd Armoured Car Regiment, later renamed The Queen's Own Yeomanry, at the former RHQ in Ayr and 251 Squadron of 154th (Lowland) Transport Regiment in Irvine with no affiliation to the Ayrshire Yeomanry lineage.[2]

The Queen's Own Yeomanry were a BAOR Regiment with an Armoured Reconnaissance role in Germany and the Ayrshire Squadron became Scotland’s only Yeomanry serving in the Royal Armoured Corps. The regiment was equipped with Ferret, Saladin and later CVR(W) Fox Armoured Vehicles.

In 1992, the Squadron was transferred to the newly formed Scottish Yeomanry. They joined a number of historic Scottish Yeomanry Squadrons that had been operating in other roles since 1969. The Scottish Yeomanry retained the Royal Armoured Corps reconnaissance role, but this time it was equipped with reconnaissance Land Rovers.

On 27 June 1998, The Scottish Yeomanry paraded in Ayr to celebrate the Bicentenary of The Ayrshire Yeomanry.

On 17 November 1998, under the Government's "Strategic Defence Review", it was announced that The Scottish Yeomanry was to be amalgamated with The Queen's Own Yeomanry. Two of the Scottish Yeomanry's four Squadrons - The Ayrshire Yeomanry in Ayr, and The Fife and Forfar Yeomanry/Scottish Horse in Cupar - were to continue under command of The Queen's Own Yeomanry and would be equipped with CVR(T) Armoured Vehicles.

Victoria Cross[edit]

Main article: Thomas Caldwell (VC)
Thomas Caldwell VC

Thomas Caldwell is the only member of the unit to have been awarded the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces.

Caldwell was 24 years old, and a Sergeant in the 12th (Ayr & Lanark Yeomanry) Battalion, the Royal Scots Fusiliers during the First World War when the following deed took place for which he was awarded the VC. The full citation was published in a supplement to the London Gazette of 3 January 1919 (dated 6 January 1919) and read:[13]

For most conspicuous bravery and initiative in attack near Audenarde on 31 October 1918 near Audenarde, Belgium, when in command of a Lewis gun section engaged in clearing a farmhouse. When his section came under intense fire at close range from another farm, Sjt. Caldwell rushed towards the farm, and, in spite of very heavy fire, reached the enemy position, which he captured single-handed, together with 18 prisoners.

This gallant and determined exploit removed a serious obstacle from the line of advance, saved many casualties, and led to the capture by his section of about 70 prisoners, eight machine guns and one trench mortar.

The Guidon[edit]

The Guidon of the Ayrshire Yeomanry

The Guidon of The Ayrshire (Earl of Carrick's Own) Yeomanry was presented by General Sir Horatius Murray KBE CB DSO at Culzean Castle, Ayrshire on 24 June 1961.

The Badge of the Ayrshire (Earl of Carrick’s Own) Yeomanry is borne on both sides within a circlet bearing the title of the Regiment. The badge appears as a Silver Lion’s Head with Gold Wings. The whole is within the Union wreath of flowering Rose, Thistle & Shamrock surmounted by the Royal Crown.

The Battle Honours of the Regiment emblazoned on both sides of the Guidon are as follows:

SOUTH AFRICA 1900-02 YPRES 1917
FRANCE AND FLANDERS 1918 GALLIPOLI 1915
RUMANI EGYPT 1916–17
GAZA JERUSALEM
TELL’ASUR PALESTINE 1917–18

Honorary Distinction: Placed under the central tie of the Union Wreath the badge of the Royal Regiment of Artillery within a laurel wreath bearing four scrolls inscribed as follows:

1942-45 NW EUROPE N AFRICA ITALY

Regimental music[edit]

The Band of the Ayrshire Yeomanry in the 1950s

The Regimental March of the Ayrshire Yeomanry is "The Garb of Old Gaul".

The Regiment had its own well-respected volunteer military band until the Regiment was reduced to cadre status in 1969. Although never formally established, the Regiment, and latterly the Squadron, has enjoyed the services of pipers and drummers from amongst the serving soldiers.

The Ayrshire Yeomanry song, The Proud Trooper, was written as a poem following the Regiment's actions in South Africa and the first verse is now often sung, to the tune of Amazing Grace, when several Ayrshire Yeomen are together.

Lyrics of the first verse of The Proud Trooper;

"I’ve Listed in The County Horse,
A Yeoman don’t you know,
With spurs of steel upon my heel,
full swagger now I go,
I’ve sworn an oath to serve the Queen,
And to defend Her Throne,
I’m proud to be a Trooper in,
The Earl of Carrick’s Own."

The Ayrshire Yeomanry Locomotive[edit]

Of the 842 LMS Stanier Class 5 4-6-0 Locomotives, commonly known as "Black Fives", only four were named, and those were in honour of Scottish Regiments: Lanarkshire Yeomanry, The Queens Edinburgh, Ayrshire Yeomanry, Glasgow Highlander and Glasgow Yeomanry.

The Ayrshire Yeomanry Locomotive was built in 1935 by Armstrong Whitworth and carried the number 5156 in LMS Service and 45156 when continuing into service with British Rail.

The Locomotive is a popular model in many scales and is regularly available from Hornby and other model makers.

A replica of the Locomotive's name plate is on display in Yeomanry House, Ayr.

Alliances[edit]

External links[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ The Queen's Own Yeomanry Stable Belt is now worn by the Squadron
  2. ^ a b c The Ayrshire Yeomanry (Earl of Carrick's Own)[dead link], regiments.org
  3. ^ a b c Baker, Chris. "The Ayrshire Yeomanry". The Long, Long Trail. Retrieved 13 February 2014. 
  4. ^ Baker, Chris. "The Lanarkshire Yeomanry". The Long, Long Trail. Retrieved 13 February 2014. 
  5. ^ Baker, Chris. "The Lothians & Border Horse Yeomanry". The Long, Long Trail. Retrieved 13 February 2014. 
  6. ^ a b James 1978, p. 16
  7. ^ a b James 1978, p. 36
  8. ^ a b James 1978, pp. 16,21,24
  9. ^ Barton, Derek. "151 (Ayrshire Yeomanry) Field Regiment RA(TA)". The Royal Artillery 1939-45. Retrieved 22 May 2014. 
  10. ^ Barton, Derek. "152 (Ayrshire Yeomanry) Field Regiment RA(TA)". The Royal Artillery 1939-45. Retrieved 22 May 2014. 
  11. ^ "The Proud Trooper" W.S. Brownlie 1964
  12. ^ THE TERRITORIAL ARMY 1947
  13. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 31108. p. 307. 3 January 1919. Retrieved 2008-03-19.

Bibliography[edit]

  • James, Brigadier E.A. (1978). British Regiments 1914–18. London: Samson Books Limited. ISBN 0-906304-03-2.