Inns of Court & City and Essex Yeomanry
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|Inns of Court & City and Essex Yeomanry|
|Active||1961 – present|
|Part of||Royal Corps of Signals|
|Nickname||The Ice Cream, Chocolate and Eclair Yeomanry|
|Motto||Salus Populi Suprema Lex ([our] paramount law is the wellbeing of the people)|
|Mascot||The Devil with spur|
|Battle honours||South Africa 1900–02, France and Flanders 1918, Gallipoli 1915, Gaza|
|Arms of the four Inns of Court overlaid by Arms of the City of London|
The Inns of Court & City and Essex Yeomanry is the modern incarnation several predecessor units of the British Army. Today the organisation is arranged into four active but united parts:
- 68 (Inns of Court & City and Essex Yeomanry) Signal Squadron (Volunteers)
- The Royal Yeomanry Band
- The Army Cadet Force Squadron
- The detached ICCEY Officership
The Signal Squadron is a Close Support Squadron within 71st (City of London) Yeomanry Signal Regiment (Volunteers), itself a key part of the Royal Corps of Signals within the British Territorial Army (TA).
Regimental & Squadron History
Known by its new title since 2009, the Inns of Court & City and Essex Yeomanry (ICCEY) has its headquarters in Chancery Lane, London (pictured). It is the successor to three historic volunteer units, namely The Inns of Court Regiment (ICR), The City of London Yeomanry (COLY) and The Essex Yeomanry (EY).
The Inns of Court & City Yeomanry (IC&CY) was formed only in 1961, through the amalgamation of The Inns of Court Regiment (The Devil's Own) and The City of London Yeomanry (Rough Riders). But it can trace its direct roots back at least to the first written records of the former in 1584, when 95 members of The Inns of Court entered into a solemn pledge to defend Queen Elizabeth I against the threat of Spain's Armada.
Just like today, many volunteers were recruited among the legal community at times of national peril, and so it was at an inspection in Hyde Park in 1803, during the Napoleonic Wars, that George III is reputed to have styled such a litigious body as 'The Devil's Own' – a title that lives on today.
By mid-nineteenth century, the Inns of Court Regiment (ICR) had evolved from a Volunteer Rifle Corps. The other half of the unit, The City of London Yeomanry, was raised from volunteers of the 20th Battalion Imperial Yeomanry only in the late 1890s, and served with distinction in the Second Boer War in South Africa. Its nickname, The Rough Riders was taken from a famous body of volunteer horsemen who fought in the Spanish-American War of 1898. Further battle honours were won in both World Wars.
1960s Defence Reforms
During the period prior to 1967, the IC&CY served as an armoured car regiment (as did many other Yeomanry units). The 1967 reorganisation of the TA then led to the regiment being reduced to an infantry company, and assigned as A Company (Inns of Court and City Yeomanry), the London Yeomanry and Territorials. In 1968, the London Yeomanry and Territorials was disbanded, but a cadre of the Regiment, consisting of 3 officers and 5 other ranks, was retained in the Royal Armoured Corps, thereby ensuring the continuation of the Regiment's name in the Army List, and the retention of its headquarters and historical mess at Lincoln's Inn. Its spirit and purpose were kept alive by the active participation of these IC&CY personnel, until it was re-constituted as a TA unit with Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother, gracious in her acceptance of the Royal Honorary Colonelcy. Personnel from A Company were then used to form 68 (Inns of Court and City Yeomanry) Signal Squadron, in the newly formed 71st (Yeomanry) Signal Regiment.
Many of the traditions of the antecedent regiments were retained, or blended into the new entity (for example, the Squadron assumed both the grace and the Regimental Quick March of the ICR (the Nancy Dawson), blended the ICR and COLY cap badges, and used both colours on the yeomanry stable belt). The cadre itself was disbanded in 1975.
The Home Service Force
A Home Service Force Squadron was badged as IC&CY and designated as 348 (IC&CY) Signals Squadron HSF from 1986 to 1993. The squadron was based at Lincoln's Inn and wore the original IC&CY cap badge. 348 Squadron was organised on the lines of an infantry rifle company and had a key point defence role. The HSF unit ran on for another 12 months as a semi-official Defence Platoon, its final parade being in 1994.
Merger with the Essex Yeomanry
Following the reorganisation of the Royal Signals Reserves in 2009, '68 (IC&CY) Signal Squadron' merged with '70 (Essex Yeomanry) Signal Squadron' to form '68 (The Inns of Court & City and Essex Yeomanry) Signal Squadron', or 'ICCEY' for short. Again, some of the traditions of both were incorporated into the new entity, which is why, for example, the Squadron still wears a green Rifles-style beret.
Today, the The Inns of Court & City and Essex Yeomanry maintains two distinct sub-units in the TA: 68 (ICCEY) Signal Squadron remains in 71st (City of London) Yeomanry Signal Regiment, which was part of 2 (National Communications) Signal Brigade until the disbandment of the latter in November 2012; while the IC&CY Band, which was formed along with the regiment in 1961, has become the band of the Royal Yeomanry – although the Band still retains its distinctive City of London Yeomanry uniform.
The Signal Squadron operates out of three locations: its HQ is in a Georgian townhouse in Lincoln's Inn, Holborn; more austere post-war premises in Whipps Cross, Leytonstone some 17 kilometers away in East London; and at the TA Centre housing 907 (Essex Yeomanry) Signal Troop at Chelmsford, Essex.
Although their primary role remains UK Operations-focused, providing radio operators and equipment to assist in communications roles, squadron members have raised significant sums for charitable causes in recent years. Individual members of the Signal Squadron have also deployed overseas to support UK military operations: members of 'The Inns' were among the first mobilisation phase of the TA since the Korean War when sent to the former Yugoslavia in the 1990s. More recent individual deployments have included Op Telic in Iraq, Op Tosca in Cyprus, and Op Herrick in Afghanistan. The Squadron also played a key role in supporting the 2012 London Olympics.
Today, both Band and Mounted Detachment of the Sabre Squadron are publicly most visible in providing an escort to the Lord Mayor of the City of London on the first Saturday of November as part of the Lord Mayor's Show – a tradition that five officers and eight other ranks have maintained almost every year since the Boer War. The Band also performs a large number of charitable performances both nationally and at its Clifton Street HQ.
The Inns of Court is also affiliated with an Army Cadet Force unit – 35 Signal Squadron – from the City of London and North East Sector ACF. They parade at the Whipp's Cross site, and share the same name and cap badge as the squadron.
The wider body of ICCEY officers seconded elsewhere within the British Army form the fourth pillar of the current day structure of 'the Inns', and are probably most recognisable by their distinctive Devil's Own cap badge. This includes a sizeable number serving in the Army Media Operations Group (Volunteers), as well as further afield.
Inns of Court & City Yeomanry Museum
The Regimental Museum, which contains a fascinating variety of records, photographs and other militaria relating to the IC&CY, ICR and COLY, is located at 10 Stone Buildings, Lincoln’s Inn, London Borough of Camden WC2A 3TG  and can be contacted c/o The Curator at this address.