Northumberland Hussars

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Northumberland Hussars
Northumberland Hussars Badge.jpg
Badge of the Northumberland Hussars
Active 1794–present
Country  United Kingdom
Branch Flag of the British Army.svg British Army
Type Line Cavalry
Role Formation reconnaissance
Size One Squadron
Part of Royal Armoured Corps
Garrison/HQ Newcastle upon Tyne
Nickname the Noodles
Engagements Battle of Greece
Battle of Crete
Operation Crusader
Battle of Gazala
First Battle of El Alamein
Second Battle of El Alamein
Mareth Line
Operation Perch
Operation Husky
Salerno
Gold Beach
D Day
Invasion of Normandy
Battle for Caen
Battle of Villers-Bocage
Operation Bluecoat
Operation Pugilist
Operation Market Garden
Battle honours South Africa
World War II
No battle honours were awarded. It is tradition within artillery units that the regiment's guns represent its colours and battle honours.[1]
Commanders
Notable
commanders
Charles Loftus Bates

The Northumberland Hussars is a British Territorial Army Squadron equipped with FV107 Scimitar and FV103 Spartan armoured reconnaissance vehicles. The squadron is part of The Queen's Own Yeomanry (QOY), a Formation Reconnaissance Regiment. The 'Hussars' are based in Newcastle upon Tyne and are part of the 15th (North East) Brigade of the 2nd Division.

On mobilisation, the 'Hussars' would reinforce one of the regular formation reconnaissance regiments. Some personnel from the squadron were attached to regular Royal Armoured Corps units for Operations Tellic and Herrick.

Formation and early years[edit]

In 1794, King George III was on the throne, William Pitt the Younger was Prime Minister of Great Britain and, across the Channel, Britain was faced by a French nation that had recently guillotined its King and possessed a revolutionary army numbering half a million men. The Prime Minister proposed that the Counties form a force of Volunteer Yeoman Cavalry that could be called upon by the King to defend the country against invasion or by the Lord Lieutenant to subdue any civil disorder within the country.[2]

However, it was not until 1819 that The Newcastle Regiment of Yeomanry Cavalry was raised. Shortly afterward, in 1831, the regiment was used against its own countrymen, putting down the miners' strikes of that year. In 1876, the regiment was renamed the Northumberland Hussars.

Boer War[edit]

The Boer War brought unexpected defeats for the British army at the hands of the Boers in "Black Week", December 1899. This was attributed to the skill and determination of the Boer farmers-fast moving, highly skilled horsemen operating in open country.[3] Britain's answer to the Boers was the Imperial Yeomanry. Among the officers chosen to organise this force was Viscount Valentia, Commanding officer of the Queen's Own Oxfordshire Hussars, who became Assistant Adjutant General. The 9th Duke of Marlborough was also appointed to the Headquarters Staff.[4] During 1900-1901, more than 25,000 Volunteers joined the Imperial Yeomanry for service in southern Africa during the Second Anglo-Boer War; of these men, about a third were sponsored by the part-time Yeomanry Regiments.[3][5] The Northumberland Hussars, who sponsored six Imperial Yeomanry Companies, was awarded the battle honour, “South Africa”.

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.[6]

1/1st Northumberland Hussars[edit]

The 1/1st was mobilised in August 1914, at Newcastle upon Tyne, and attached to the Yorkshire Mounted Brigade. In September, they joined the 7th Infantry Division. In April 1915, the regiment was split up; while regimental Headquarters and 'A' Squadron remained with the 7th Division, 'B' Squadron joined the 1st Infantry Division and 'C' Squadron joined the 8th Infantry Division. This lasted until May 1916, when the squadrons were reunited in France to act as the Cavalry unit for XIII Corps. The regiment would then move between Corps, being attached to the VIII Corps in August 1917, III Corps in November 1917 and, finally, XII Corps in October 1918.

2/1st Northumberland Hussars[edit]

The 2/1st was formed in October 1914. In April 1916, the regiment was split up, with the regimental headquarters and 'B' Squadron joining the 62nd (2nd West Riding) Division, 'A' Squadron operating as an independent unit based in Scarborough and 'C' Squadron joining the 59th (2nd North Midland) Division. In February 1917, the regiment reassembled and, on 19 March 1917, it moved to France, where it joined the XIX Corps a few days later. It was the only 2nd Line Yeomanry regiment to be posted overseas on active service in World War I. On 28 August 1917, the regiment moved to Etaples for infantry training; this completed on 25 September, at which time the unit amalgamated with the 9th (Service) Battalion, Northumberland Fusiliers as the 9th (Northumberland Hussars) Battalion, Northumberland Fusiliers.

3/1st Northumberland Hussars[edit]

The 3/1st, which was formed in February 1915, remained in the United Kingdom until early 1917, when it was absorbed by the 5th Cavalry Reserve Regiment.

Menin Gate[edit]

Four Northumberland Hussars, who died in World War I and have no known grave, are commemorated on panel 5 of the Menin Gate. A Fifth, Shoeing Smith G. Stephenson, was recently added to Panel 60.

Between the wars[edit]

Following the post-war reformation of the territorial forces, now known as the Territorial Army (TA), only the 14 most senior Yeomanry Regiments were retained as horsed cavalry regiments (principally forming the 4th, 5th and 6th Cavalry Brigades) - the Northumberland Hussars being the 14th regiment.

World War II[edit]

In February 1940, the regiment transferred to the Royal Artillery (RA) as the 102nd Light Anti-Aircraft and Anti-Tank Regiment, RA (Northumberland Hussars);[7][8] two batteries were equipped with 2 pounder Anti-Tank Guns (2pdr A/Tk Guns), the other two were light anti-aircraft (LAA) batteries.[9] Following conversion, the regiment joined the 2nd Armoured Division's 2nd Support Group.[7]

In October 1940, the division set sail for the Middle East, arriving in the new year.[10] Two months later, the 'Hussars' converted to a three-battery anti-tank regiment, with one LAA battery re-equipping with 2pdrs and the other, 'A' Battery, transferring to the 25th LAA Regiment.[8] Following the conversion, the regiment was unofficially considered to be a Royal Horse Artillery unit.[11]

In April 1941, the 'Hussars', and other elements from the 2nd Support Group, joined the 1st Armoured Brigade for Operation Lustre, (the move to Greece). At this time, the regiment had a strength of 578 men, 168 vehicles and 48 x 2pdrs.[12]

After their arrival, the regiment was deployed to hold the Metamorphos Pass in conjunction with the Greek Horse Artillery. On 22 April, they were subjected to dive bombing and tank attacks. Together with their New Zealand allies, the 'Hussars' acted as a rearguard. After a 12 hour battle and a 160 mile march through the night, they reached Athens on 25 April. The next day, they headed off to the nearby Rafina Beach and waited to be evacuated, having by now, destroyed their guns and equipment. Most of the unit were taken aboard HMS Havoc[citation needed] on 27 April and landed at Suda on the island of Crete. However, some elements were evacuated to Alexandria.[13]

Troops take shelter near an M10 Wolverine tank destroyer, used by 102nd (Northumberland Hussars) Anti-Tank Regiment; 6 June 1944

On the island, they were equipped with rifles and tasked to fight as infantry on the Akrotiri Peninsula between Canea and Suda. On 15 May, they again came under air attack; 11 German gliders also landed in the regimental area. By 26 May, the peninsula was under allied control and the gliders had all been destroyed. On 27 May, the allies decide to evacuate Crete; the regiment had to withdraw across the mountains from the town of Suda to the evacuation beaches at Sphakia, a distance of 50 miles. Many troops did get away, but owing to heavy shipping losses, the embarkation was stopped on 31 May and over 200 men[13] from the regiment were left behind and ordered to surrender to the advancing German forces.

Evacuated to Egypt, the regiment began re-equipping and was brought back up to strength with men from the 106th (Lancashire Hussars) Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment, which unit had been suspended due to losses incurred in the fighting on Crete. The 102nd was attached to the 7th Armoured Division for Operation Crusader, in November 1941. By February 1942, the 'Hussars' had moved to the 1st Armoured Division, with whom they participated in the Battle of Gazala. In October 1942, they became part of the 50th (Northumbrian) Division, with whom they took part in the Second Battle of Alamein and fought in Sicily and at Salerno in Italy.

In October 1943, the 50th Division set sail for England, arriving at Liverpool on 5 November 1943; the 102nd had returned to the UK after an absence of almost three years. The Northumberland Hussars were, by this stage, a very experienced unit with six major battle honours, including two amphibious landings under their belts. They were an obvious choice to be placed at the forefront of Operation Overlord, the D-Day landings. For the next six months, they joined thousands of allied servicemen training in Britain for the assault on the French Coast.

In preparation for the assault, the Northumberland Hussars equipped their 99th and 288th batteries with eight 6pdrs and four M10 SP A/Tk Guns - a normal infantry division A/Tk battery had four 6pdrs and eight 17pdrs.[14] In addition, the regiment was reinforced by the 198th and 234th SP A/Tk Batteries (both with 12 M10s), which were detached from XXX Corps's 73rd Anti-Tank Regiment RA.[15]

The 50th (Northumbrian) Division was to assault Gold Beach with the 69th and 231st Infantry Brigades. The 69th Brigade, supported by the 99th battery, would land at La Rivière[disambiguation needed] and move south toward Crépon and Creully to Saint-Léger,[disambiguation needed] which was on the strategically important Bayeux-Caen road. The 231st Brigade would be supported by the 234th SP and 288th batteries.[16] The 198th SP Battery was scheduled to land six hours after the first assault.[17]

Once the lead Brigades had secured their objectives, they were to consolidate their position with the help of the 'Hussars' two other batteries. Meanwhile, the follow-up Infantry Brigades (the 151st and the independent 56th, which had been attached to the division for the assault) would continue the push inland, supported by the 8th Armoured Brigade and the rest of the anti-tank units.

The 50th (Northumbrian) Division was considered to have performed very well in Normandy; out of the three divisions that were veterans of the desert (the others being 7th Armoured Division and 51st Highland Division), it was considered to have performed the best. It was one of the driving forces behind the British advance, and was exhausted by the end of the battle. It later played a minor role in Operation Market Garden, where the 231st Infantry Brigade was detached to help support the advance of the Guards Armoured Division.

In December 1944, when the rest of the division returned to Britain, the Northumberland Hussars remained in Northern Europe as part of the 15th (Scottish) Division, with which it remained until the end of the war.

World War II timeline[edit]

Post-War[edit]

Scimitar
Spartan
Sultan
  • 2014 'D' Sqn Changed name with 2020 to form CS command and support Squadron ( The Northumberland Hussars) Q.O.Y. - Equipped with RWMIKs

Iraq and Afghanistan[edit]

The Northumberland Hussars has not been deployed as a unit in Iraq or Afghanistan, but it has provided personnel for Operations Tellic and Herrick.

Battle honours[edit]

Honorary Distinction awarded to the Shropshire Yeomanry for service as a Royal Artillery regiment. The Northumberland Hussars Honorary Distinction would be similar.

The Northumberland Hussars has been awarded the following battle honours:[8]

Second Boer War

South Africa 1900–02

World War I

Ypres 1914, Langemarck 1914, Gheluvelt, Neuve Chapelle, Loos, Cambrai 1917, Somme 1918, St. Quentin, Albert 1918, Selle, Sambre, France and Flanders 1914–18

World War II

The Royal Artillery was present in nearly all battles and would have earned most of the honours awarded to cavalry and infantry regiments. In 1833, William IV awarded the motto Ubique (meaning "everywhere") in place of all battle honours.[18]

Honorary Distinction: Badge of the Royal Regiment of Artillery with year-dates "1940–45" and five scrolls: "North Africa", "Greece", "Middle East", "Sicily", "North-West Europe"

Notable Old Comrades[edit]

Nicknames[edit]

  • The Noodles

Alliances[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "History of Royal Buckinghamshire Yeomanry". mod.uk. 
  2. ^ "Worcestershire Yeomanry Cavalry (1794-1994)". [dead link]
  3. ^ a b "The story of Oxfordshire Yeomanry - Queen's Own Oxfordshire Hussars - Boer War". Oxfordshire County Council Museum Service. Retrieved 2008-05-30. [dead link]
  4. ^ "The story of Oxfordshire Yeomanry - Queen's Own Oxfordshire Hussars - Viscount Valentia". Oxfordshire County Council Museum Service. Retrieved 2008-05-30. [dead link]
  5. ^ Imperial Yeomanry at regiments.org by T.F.Mills at the Wayback Machine (archived 29 May 2007)
  6. ^ Rinaldi 2008, p. 35
  7. ^ a b Barton, Derek. "102 (Northumberland Hussars) LAA/ATk Rgt RA(TA)". The Royal Artillery 1939-45. Retrieved 22 May 2014. 
  8. ^ a b c The Northumberland Hussars at regiments.org by T.F.Mills at the Wayback Machine (archived 19 December 2007)
  9. ^ "Divisional Organisation". British Artillery in World War 2. 
  10. ^ "2 Armoured Division". Orders of Battle. 
  11. ^ "Artillery Regiments That Served With The 7th Armoured Division". The History of the British 7th Armoured Division. Retrieved 2 May 2014. 
  12. ^ Operation Lustre aid to Greece - file ref WO 106/3132
  13. ^ a b "Brief History: 1939 To 1946". Northumberland Hussars Association QOY web site. 
  14. ^ "Divisional anti tank artillery". WW2Talk forum. 
  15. ^ "Allied Order of Battle - Operation Neptune - 50th British Infantry Division - 6 June 1944". World War II Armed Forces - Orders of Battle and Organizations. 
  16. ^ "50th Infantry Division - Landing Table (231st Infantry Brigade)". D-Day: Etat des Lieux. 
  17. ^ "50th Infantry Division - Landing Table (151st Infantry Brigade)". D-Day: Etat des Lieux. 
  18. ^ Royal Regiment of Artillery at regiments.org by T.F.Mills at the Wayback Machine (archived 15 July 2007)

Bibliography[edit]

  • James, Brigadier E.A. (1978). British Regiments 1914–18. London: Samson Books Limited. ISBN 0-906304-03-2. 
  • Joslen, Lt-Col H.F. (1990) [1st. Pub. HMSO:1960]. Orders of Battle, Second World War, 1939–1945. London: London Stamp Exchange. ISBN 0-948130-03-2. 
  • 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. 

Other sources[edit]

External links[edit]