Derbyshire Yeomanry

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The Derbyshire Yeomanry
DerbyYeo.jpg
Cap badge of The Derbyshire Yeomanry
Active 22 October 1794 - 2 February 1957
Country  United Kingdom
Branch Flag of the British Army.svg Territorial Army
Type Yeomanry
Size Regiment
Engagements

South Africa 1900–01
World War I

Gallipoli 1915
Egypt 1915–16
Macedonia 1916–18

World War II

North Africa 1942–43
Italy 1944–45
North-West Europe 1944–45

The Derbyshire Yeomanry was a yeomanry unit of the British Army, first raised in 1794, which served as a cavalry regiment and dismounted infantry regiment in the First World War and provided two reconnaissance regiments in the Second World War, before being amalgamated into The Leicestershire and Derbyshire (Prince Albert's Own) Yeomanry in 1957.

History[edit]

Formation and early history[edit]

The regiment was first formed as the Derbyshire Corps of Fencible Cavalry in 1794, as a regiment of full-time fencible soldiers for home defence. The regiment changed shortly thereafter to the Derbyshire Corps of Yeomanry Cavalry, a part-time yeomanry regiment, and was dispersed in individual troops. In 1834, the troops were regimented as the Derbyshire Yeomanry Cavalry, who sponsored two companies of the Imperial Yeomanry in 1900, for service in the South African War, and in 1901 was itself reorganized as mounted infantry as the Derbyshire Imperial Yeomanry. In 1908 it was transferred into the Territorial Force, returning to a cavalry role and equipping as dragoons, under the new title of The Derbyshire Yeomanry.[1]

World War I[edit]

Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire 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.[2]

1/1st Derbyshire Yeomanry[edit]

The regiment mobilised in August 1914 as part of the Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire Mounted Brigade, but remained in England until 1915, when it moved to Egypt with the 7th Mounted Brigade, 2nd Mounted Division. It then sailed for Gallipoli, where it saw action at the Battle of Scimitar Hill, serving as dismounted infantry, and took heavy losses. Returning to Egypt in December, the regiment was employed with the Western Frontier Force in the Senussi Campaign, before moving to Salonika in February 1916. One squadron served with the 27th Division from March to June 1916, whilst the regiment remained as GHQ reserve in Macedonia until the end of the war.[3]

2/1st Derbyshire Yeomanry[edit]

The 2nd Line Regiment was raised in September 1914; this remained in the United Kingdom as part of the 9th Mounted Brigade, 2/2nd Mounted Division, it did not see service, and was converted into a cyclist unit in 1916. Some 165 men and four officers from this battalion were drafted to France to reinforce the 14th Battalion, the Durham Light Infantry in October 1916.[3]

3/1st Derbyshire Yeomanry[edit]

The 3rd Line Regiment was formed in 1915, which remained in the United Kingdom until it was absorbed into the 4th Reserve Cavalry Regiment in 1917.[3]

Between the wars[edit]

On 7 February 1920, the Regiment was reconstituted in the Territorial Army with HQ still at Derby. Following the experience of the war, it was decided that only the fourteen most senior yeomanry regiments would be retained as horsed cavalry,[4] with the rest being transferred to other roles.[5] As a result, on 14 July 1921, the Regiment was one of eight[a] converted and reduced to 24th (Derbyshire Yeomanry) Armoured Car Company, Tank Corps. In October 1923 it was redesignated as 24th (Derbyshire Yeomanry) Armoured Car Company, Royal Tank Corps and on 30 April 1939 it was transferred to the Royal Armoured Corps.[1]

By 1939 it became clear that a new European war was likely to break out, and the doubling of the Territorial Army was authorised, with each unit forming a duplicate.[7] The Derbyshire Yeomanry was expanded to a regiment and on 24 August 1939 regained its original title as 1st Derbyshire Yeomanry[1] and formed a duplicate 2nd Derbyshire Yeomanry in the same month.[8] They were equipped with armoured cars, serving as reconnaissance units.

World War II[edit]

1st Derbyshire Yeomanry[edit]

The 1st Derbyshire Yeomanry landed in Tunisia in late 1942 as the reconnaissance regiment of the 6th Armoured Division, fighting at Medjez el Bab. During the race to the Tunisian coast, it fought at the Kasserine Pass and Foundouk, finally reaching Tunis in March 1943.

The 1st Derbyshire then moved to Italy with the 6th Armoured, where it saw heavy fighting during May 1944, including action at the Battle of Monte Cassino. Through July and August, it fought in the advance to Florence, and in April 1945 saw action at the Argenta Gap and Fossa Cembalina.

2nd Derbyshire Yeomanry[edit]

In 1942, the 2nd Derbyshire Yeomanry fought at the Battle of Alam el Halfa and the Second Battle of El Alamein (as part of 7th Armoured Division).

Returning to the United Kingdom in 1943, the 2nd was assigned to 51st (Highland) Infantry Division, where it served as the divisional reconnaissance regiment until the end of the war. It received battle honours for actions in August, fighting at the Dives Crossing, La Vie Crossing and Lisieux during the crossing of the Seine; in September and October, it received honours for fighting on the Lower Maas, and in January 1945 for fighting at Ourthe during the Battle of the Bulge. The regiment received battle honours for fighting in the Rhineland and the Reichswald in February, and crossed the Rhine in March in Operation Plunder.

Post war[edit]

The Derbyshire Yeomanry was reconstituted in Territorial Army on 1 January 1947. Its Headquarters remained at Derby and it commanded three squadrons. 0n 9 February 1957 it amalgamated with The Leicestershire Yeomanry (Prince Albert's Own) to form The Leicestershire and Derbyshire (Prince Albert's Own) Yeomanry.[1]

Battle honours[edit]

The Derbyshire Yeomanry was awarded the following battle honours:[1]

Second Boer War

South Africa 1900–01

World War I

Struma, Macedonia 1916–18, Suvla, Scimitar Hill, Gallipoli 1915, Egypt 1915–16

World War II

Dives Crossing, La Vie Crossing, Lisieux, Lower Maas, Ourthe, Rhineland, Reichswald, North-West Europe 1944–45, Alam El Halfa, El Alamein, Medjez el Bab, Tabourba Gap, Bou Arada, Kasserine, Steamroller Farm, Maknassy, Fondouk, Kairouan, El Kourzai, Tunis, North Africa 1942–43, Cassino II, Liri Valley, Aquino, Arezzo, Advance to Florence, Argenta Gap, Fossa Cembalina, Italy 1944–45

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ The eight yeomanry regiments converted to Armoured Car Companies of the Royal Tank Corps (RTC) were:[6]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e The Derbyshire Yeomanry at regiments.org by T.F.Mills at the Wayback Machine (archived 9 June 2007)
  2. ^ Rinaldi 2008, p. 35
  3. ^ a b c Derbyshire Yeomanry, The British Army in the Great War
  4. ^ Mileham 1994, p. 48
  5. ^ Mileham 1994, p. 50
  6. ^ The Royal Tank Regiment at regiments.org by T.F.Mills at the Wayback Machine (archived 3 May 2007)
  7. ^ "History of the Army Reserve". MOD. Retrieved 2 April 2014. 
  8. ^ Bellis 1994, p. 17

Bibliography[edit]

  • Mileham, Patrick (1994). The Yeomanry Regiments; 200 Years of Tradition. Edinburgh: Canongate Academic. ISBN 1-898410-36-4. 
  • Bellis, Malcolm A. (1994). Regiments of the British Army 1939–1945 (Armour & Infantry). London: Military Press International. ISBN 0-85420-999-9. 
  • Rinaldi, Richard A (2008). Order of Battle of the British Army 1914. Ravi Rikhye. ISBN 978-0-97760728-0.