East Riding of Yorkshire Yeomanry

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East Riding of Yorkshire Yeomanry
Active 1794–1956
Country  United Kingdom
Branch Flag of the British Army.svg British Army
Type Yeomanry
Size One Regiment
Engagements The Great War
Selle
Valenciennes
Sambre
France and Flanders 1918
Egypt 1915-17
Gaza
El Mughar
Nebi Samwil
Palestine 1917–18
The Second World War
Withdrawal to Escaut
St Omer-La Bassee
Cassel
Normandy Landing
Cambes
Caen
Bourguebus Ridge
La Vie Crossing
Lisieux
Foret de Bretonne
Lower Maas
Venlo Pocket
Ourthe
Rhine
North West Europe 1940, 1944 45
Pegasus Bridge

The East Riding of Yorkshire Yeomanry was a unit of the British Army from 1794–1956.

The regiment was formed as volunteer cavalry in 1794 during the French Revolutionary Wars. It was converted to an armoured role in 1920. In 1956 it merged with two other Yorkshire yeomanry regiments to form the Queen's Own Yorkshire Yeomanry. Its lineage is continued today by the Queen's Own Yeomanry.

History[edit]

Earlier incarnations[edit]

Imperial Yeomanry[edit]

World War I[edit]

Yorkshire 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.[1]

1/1st East Riding of Yorkshire Yeomanry[edit]

The 1/1st moved north in November 1914 as Divisional Cavalry for the 2nd Northumbrian Division. On 20 May, the regiment formed part of a parade of some 40,000 men before H.M. The King and Lord Kitchener. The regiment was then ordered south to Filey and then to East Anglia, to form part of the 1/1st North Midland Mounted Brigade. In October 1915 they set sail for Alexandria.[2]

In 1916, the regiment was part of the Western Frontier Force, a dreary job, causing a number of NCOs and men to join the newly formed Imperial Camel Corps and 120 officers and men to be detached for service under T. E. Lawrence. In December 1916, the 22nd Mounted Brigade moved to the Suez Canal Zone to form part of the ANZAC Mounted Division. The regiment first saw action during the First Battle of Gaza, a hard engagement for both the men and the horses, and in the Second Battle of Gaza it was posted to the far right flank. In General Allenby's reorganisation 22nd Mounted Brigade transferred to the Yeomanry Mounted Division.[2]

In October 1917, the regiment took part in the Third Battle of Gaza, and on 13 November at El Mughar, supported a charge by 6th Mounted Brigade. 'A' Squadron, commanded by Maj. J.F.M. Robinson M.C.,[3] led 22nd Mounted Brigade, having captured their objective they pressed on to Akir and established a position on the far side of the village square, however they had to withdraw as they were unsupported by the rest of the brigade. Sadly it transpired that the village was the location of a Turkish Corps Headquarters, and had the success of the attack been exploited then a major dislocation of the enemy lines could have resulted. El Mughar was the last great cavalry charge of the British Army.

In December 1917, with the exception of the machine gun section, the regiment was dismounted and sent to France.[2] Together with the Lincolnshire Yeomanry, it formed 102 Bn, Machine Gun Corps (Mobile). The battalion saw action several times in the closing months of the war in the area around Cambrai supporting attacks by the 49th (West Riding) Division, 51st (Highland) Division and 56th (London) Infantry Divisions.

2/1st East Riding of Yorkshire Yeomanry[edit]

The 2nd Line regiment was formed in 1914.[4] In 1915 it was under the command of the 2/1st Yorkshire Mounted Brigade in Yorkshire (along with the 2/1st Yorkshire Hussars[5] and the 2/1st Queen's Own Yorkshire Dragoons[6]) and by March 1916 was in the Beverley area.[7] On 31 March 1916, the remaining Mounted Brigades were numbered in a single sequence and the brigade became 18th Mounted Brigade, still in Yorkshire under Northern Command.[8]

In July 1916 there was a major reorganization of 2nd Line yeomanry units in the UK. All but 12 regiments were converted to cyclists[8] and as a consequence the regiment was dismounted and the brigade converted to 11th Cyclist Brigade. Further reorganization in October and November 1916 saw the brigade redesignated as 7th Cyclist Brigade in November, now in the Bridlington area.[7]

About May 1918 the Brigade moved to Ireland[7] and the regiment was stationed at Bandon and Fermoy, County Cork. There were no further changes before the end of the war.[4]

3/1st East Riding of Yorkshire Yeomanry[edit]

The 3/1st was raised in 1915, remaining in the East Riding until 1917 when it was absorbed by the 1st Cavalry Reserve Regiment at the Curragh, in Ireland.[2]

Between the Wars[edit]

On 7 February 1920, the Regiment was reconstituted in the Territorial Army with HQ at Hull. Following the experience of the war, it was decided that only the fourteen most senior yeomanry regiments would be retained as horsed cavalry,[9] with the rest being transferred to other roles.[10] As a result, on 23 August 1920, the Regiment was one of eight[a] converted and reduced to 26th (East Riding of York Yeomanry) Armoured Car Company, Tank Corps. In October 1923 it was renumbered as 26th (East Riding of York Yeomanry) Armoured Car Company, Royal Tank Corps and on 23 August 1939 it was transferred to the Royal Armoured Corps.[12] The Company was initially equipped with Peerless Armoured Cars later to be followed by a mixture of Crossleys and Rolls Royces.

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.[13] The 1st East Riding Yeomanry was reconstituted as a Divisional Cavalry Regiment (Mechanised) equipped with 28 light tanks, 44 carriers and 41 motorcycles. At the same time, it formed its duplicate 2nd East Riding Yeomanry.[12]

World War II[edit]

1st East Riding Yeomanry[edit]

In March 1940, after training at Tidworth, the 1st Regiment joined the BEF in France as part of 1st Armoured Reconnaissance Brigade, initially the Corps Cavalry to 3 Corps. However, in May the Regiment passed under the command of 48th (South Midland) Division, 44th (Home Counties) Division, Macforce, and finally back to 48th (South Midland) Division. The Regiment was first involved in fighting near Ath, south of Brussels, and then over the next fortnight fought seven rearguard actions before being finally surrounded at Cassel on the night of 29/30 May in the company of 145th Brigade. As rearguard to the Brigade’s breakout, the F echelon was fatally exposed. The remnants of 1ERY (7 officers and 230 men) returned to Tidworth, where the Regiment was brought up to strength by drafts from the 2nd Regiment, before moving onto Bovington to rejoin 1st Armoured Reconnaissance Brigade.

They next deployed to Essex for anti-invasion duties, where it was equipped with Beavettes. When new material became available in Spring 1942, the Regiment reequipped with Covenanter tanks and Honeys, and formed 27th Armoured Brigade, together with the 4th/7th Royal Dragoon Guards (replaced by the Staffordshire Yeomanry, in January 1944) and the 13th/18th Royal Hussars. In April 1943, the Regiment again reequipped, this time with Sherman Duplex Drive tanks.

The training all came to fruition on 6 June 1944, when the Regiment landed on D Day supporting 9th Infantry Brigade in 3rd Division,[14] and for the following fifty days they took part in the bridgehead battles. During this period they also supported 59th (Staffordshire) Infantry Division.

Because of casualties, 27th Armoured Brigade was broken up on 29 July, and on 16 August the Regiment joined 33rd Armoured Brigade, taking over the petrol MK1 & II Shermans of 148 Regt RAC. The Regiment was now attached to 51st (Highland) Division, for the final Falaise Pocket Battles, the advance to the River Seine, its crossing and the taking of St Valery-en-Caux; after which the Regiment transferred to 49th (West Riding) Division for the Battle of Le Havre.

In October, the Regiment supported 53rd (Welsh) Division, in the Netherlands fighting around 's-Hertogenbosch and the later crossing of the Maas. However, during the winter of 1944, it was hurried away to reinforce the pressure being put on the German "Bulge", and then in January returned to 79th Armoured Division, and re-equipped with Buffalo, to carry the troops of 15th (Scottish) Division, on the assault crossing of the Rhine 15 March. For the last weeks of the war, the Regiment reconverted to Shermans, coming under the command of the Canadian Army clearing the Netherlands. After the war the Regiment was stationed at Laboe (Kiel Estuary) until being placed in ‘suspended animation’ on 7 March 1946.

Brigadier Carver (later Field Marshal Lord Carver) considered The East Riding Yeomanry to be one of the best, if not the best, armoured regiment that he had come across.

2nd East Riding Yeomanry[edit]

The 2nd ERY was formed as a Royal Armoured Corps regiment as a duplicate of the 1st Regiment on 24 August 1939.[12] On 25 June 1940 it was converted to infantry as 10th (East Riding) Battalion, The Green Howards. From the start of 1943, they started training as parachutists and on 1 June the battalion became 12th Battalion (Yorkshire), The Parachute Regiment.[15]

Post war[edit]

In 1956 the East Riding Yeomanry was merged with two other yeomanry regiments (Yorkshire Hussars and the Yorkshire Dragoons) as the Queen's Own Yorkshire Yeomanry, which was formed on 1 April 1967, as a TAVR III unit with the RHQ and 'A' Squadron at York, 'B' Squadron at Doncaster and 'C Squadron at Hull, then on 1 April 1969, they were reduced to cadre and finally reformed on 1 April 1971, as 'A' Squadron The Queen's Own Yeomanry.[16]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ The eight yeomanry regiments converted to Armoured Car Companies of the Royal Tank Corps (RTC) were:[11]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Rinaldi 2008, p. 35
  2. ^ a b c d Baker, Chris. "The East Riding of Yorkshire Yeomanry". The Long, Long Trail. Retrieved 14 February 2014. 
  3. ^ The Battle for Palestine, John D. Grainger
  4. ^ a b James 1978, p. 32
  5. ^ Baker, Chris. "The Yorkshire Hussars". The Long, Long Trail. Retrieved 14 February 2014. 
  6. ^ Baker, Chris. "The Yorkshire Dragoons". The Long, Long Trail. Retrieved 14 February 2014. 
  7. ^ a b c James 1978, pp. 31,32
  8. ^ a b James 1978, p. 36
  9. ^ Mileham 1994, p. 48
  10. ^ Mileham 1994, p. 50
  11. ^ The Royal Tank Regiment at regiments.org by T.F.Mills at the Wayback Machine (archived 3 May 2007)
  12. ^ a b c The East Riding Yeomanry at regiments.org by T.F.Mills at the Wayback Machine (archived 15 July 2007)
  13. ^ "History of the Army Reserve". MOD. Retrieved 2 April 2014. 
  14. ^ "bbc peoples war". 
  15. ^ 12th (Yorkshire) Battalion, The Parachute Regiment at regiments.org by T.F.Mills at the Wayback Machine (archived 15 July 2007)
  16. ^ "win.tue". 

Bibliography[edit]

  • Bellis, Malcolm A. (1994). Regiments of the British Army 1939–1945 (Armour & Infantry). London: Military Press International. ISBN 0-85420-999-9. 
  • James, Brigadier E.A. (1978). British Regiments 1914–18. London: Samson Books Limited. ISBN 0-906304-03-2. 
  • Mileham, Patrick (1994). The Yeomanry Regiments; 200 Years of Tradition. Edinburgh: Canongate Academic. ISBN 1-898410-36-4. 
  • Rinaldi, Richard A (2008). Order of Battle of the British Army 1914. Ravi Rikhye. ISBN 978-0-97760728-0.