Royal Buckinghamshire Yeomanry

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Royal Buckinghamshire Yeomanry
Active 1794–present
Country  United Kingdom
Branch Flag of the British Army.svg British Army
Type Yeomanry (World War I)
Royal Artillery (World War II)
Royal Signals (current)
Role Royal Logistic Corps
Size Three Regiments (World War I)
One Regiment (World War II)
One Squadron (current)
Garrison/HQ Aylesbury
Engagements

Second Boer War
World War I

Gallipoli 1915
Egypt 1915–17
Palestine 1917–18
France and Flanders 1918
World War II
Commanders
Notable
commanders
Richard Plantagenet, 2nd Duke of Buckingham and Chandos (1797-1861), Colonel of the Buckingham Yeomanry Cavalry, 1841

The Royal Buckinghamshire Yeomanry is a unit of the British Territorial Army. Now forming a squadron of the Royal Signals, it was originally formed as cavalry in 1794, and has also served in an artillery role.

History[edit]

Origins[edit]

In March 1794 the government of William Pitt the Younger passed the Volunteer Act in response to the threat of invasion by French revolutionary forces. The act sought to encouarge "gentlemen of weight or property" to establish volunteer military formations.[1][2]

The Prime Minister proposed that the Counties form a force of Volunteer Yeoman Cavalry which could be called on by the King to defend the country against invasion, or by the Lord Lieutenant to subdue any civil disorder within his county.[3]

By 1803 there were three Yeomanry Regiments in the Buckinghamshire area collectively known as the 1st, 2nd and 3rd regiments of the Buckinghamshire Yeomanry.[4][2] This lasted until 1827, when the 1st and 3rd Regiments were disbanded,[4] and the 2nd Regiment was only kept in existence by being privately funded by the Duke of Buckingham. In 1845, Queen Victoria conferred the title "Royal" on the Regiment, changing the unit's name to The 2nd Royal Bucks Regiment of Yeomanry. Then in 1889 there was another change in name this time to the Royal Buckinghamshire Hussars Yeomanry.[4]

Boer War[edit]

On 13 December 1899, the decision to allow volunteer forces serve in the Second Boer War was made. Due to the string of defeats during Black Week in December, 1899, the British government realized they were going to need more troops than just the regular army, thus issuing a Royal Warrant on 24 December 1899. This warrant officially created the Imperial Yeomanry.[5]

The Royal Warrant asked standing Yeomanry regiments to provide service companies of approximately 115 men each. In addition to this, many British citizens (usually mid-upper class) volunteered to join the new regiment.[6] Although there were strict requirements, many volunteers were accepted with substandard horsemanship/marksmanship, however they had significant time to train while awaiting transport.[5]

The first contingent of recruits contained 550 officers, 10,371 men in 20 battalions of 4 companies,[7] which arrived in South Africa between February and April, 1900.[8] Upon arrival, the regiment was sent throughout the zone of operations. The Buckinghamshire Yeomanry sponsored

  • 37th (Buckinghamshire) Company, 10th Battalion
  • 38th (High Wycombe) Company, 10th Battalion
  • 56th (Buckinghamshire) Company, 15th Battalion
  • 57th (Buckinghamshire) Company, 15th Battalion[9]

Lord Chesham was appointed in command of a battalion of the Imperial Yeomanry in January 1900.[10] The battle honour 'South Africa' was awarded.[5]

On 17 April 1901, the regiment was renamed as the Buckinghamshire Imperial Yeomanry (Royal Bucks Hussars) and reorganised in four squadrons and a machine gun section. On 1 April 1908, the regiment was renamed for the final time as the Buckinghamshire Yeomanry (Royal Bucks Hussars) and transferred to the Territorial Force, trained and equipped as hussars. Its organisation was:[9]

Buckinghamshire Yeomanry (Royal Bucks Hussars)
HQ Buckingham
A Squadron Buckingham
(detachments at Stony Stratford, Bletchley, Newport Pagnell, Akeley)
B Squadron Aylesbury
(detachments at Kimble, Quainton, Wing)
C Squadron High Wycombe
(detachments at Stokenchurch, Taplow, Beaconsfield)
D Squadron Chesham
(detachments at Cholesbury, Chalfont St Peter, Great Missenden)

It was ranked as 21st (of 55) in the order of precedence of the Yeomanry Regiments in the Army List of 1914.[11]

World War I[edit]

2nd South Midland 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.[12]

1/1st Royal Buckinghamshire Yeomanry[edit]

The regiment was mobilized with its brigade on 4 August 1914 upon the outbreak of World War I. Initially, it concentrated in Berkshire[13] and on 5 August 1914 joined the 1st Mounted Division. On 2 September it was transferred to the 2nd Mounted Division and in mid November 1914 it moved with its division to Norfolk on coastal defence duties.[14]

In April 1915, the 2nd Mounted Division moved to Egypt arriving at Alexandria between 19 and 21 April[15] and was posted to Cairo by the middle of May.[16] The regiment was dismounted in August 1915 and took part in the Gallipoli Campaign.[17] It left a squadron headquarters and two troops (about 100 officers and men) in Egypt to look after the horses.[18]

They landed at "A" Beach, Suvla Bay on 18 August and moved into bivouacs at Lala Baba on 20 August. On 21 August it advanced to Chocolate Hill via Salt Lake and Hetman Chair and took part in the attack on Scimitar Hill.[15] Due to losses during the Battle of Scimitar Hill and wastage during August 1915, the 2nd Mounted Division had to be reorganised. On 4 September 1915, the 1st Composite Mounted Brigade was formed from the 1st (1st South Midland), 2nd (2nd South Midland) and 5th (Yeomanry) Mounted Brigades.[19] Each brigade formed a battalion sized unit, for example, 2nd South Midland Regiment and each regiment a sub-unit.[20] The brigade embarked for Mudros on 31 October and returned to Egypt in December 1915 where its component units were reformed and remounted.[19]

The brigade left the 2nd Mounted Division on 17 January 1916 and was sent to the Western Frontier of Egypt as an independent formation.[21] On 31 March 1916, the remaining Mounted Brigades were numbered in a single sequence. As a consequence, the 2nd South Midland Mounted Brigade was redesignated as 6th Mounted Brigade.[22] The brigade served with the Western Frontier Force from January to October 1916.[23] It joined the newly formed Imperial Mounted Division in January 1917 and took part in the First and Second Battles of Gaza.[24]

The complete brigade was transferred to the newly formed Yeomanry Mounted Division on 27 June 1917, joining it at el Maraqeb.[25] From 31 October it took part in the Third Battle of Gaza, including the Battle of Beersheba and the Capture of the Sheria Position. It took part in the Battle of Mughar Ridge on 13 and 14 November and the Battle of Nebi Samwil from 17 to 24 November. From 27 to 29 November, it withstood the Turkish counter-attacks during the Capture of Jerusalem.[26]

In March 1918, the 1st Indian Cavalry Division was broken up in France. The British units (notably 6th Dragoons, 17th Lancers, 1/1st Queen's Own Yorkshire Dragoons and A, Q and U Batteries RHA) remained in France and the Indian elements were sent to Egypt.[27] By an Egyptian Expeditionary Force GHQ Order of 12 April 1918, the mounted troops of the EEF were reorganised when the Indian Army units arrived in theatre. On 24 April 1918, the Yeomanry Mounted Division was indianized[a] and its title was changed to 1st Mounted Division,[28] the third distinct division to bear this title.[b] On 24 April 1918, the 6th Mounted Brigade was merged with elements of the 5th (Mhow) Cavalry Brigade: the Royal Buckinghamshire Hussars and the Berkshire Yeomanry left the brigade on 4 April and were merged to form C Battalion, Machine Gun Corps. They were replaced by 2nd Lancers (Gardner's Horse) and 38th King George's Own Central India Horse from 5th (Mhow) Cavalry Brigade.[25]

C Battalion, MGC was posted to France, arriving on 28 June 1918. In August 1918 it was renumbered[29] as 101st (Bucks. & Berks. Yeo.) Battalion, Machine Gun Corps.[30] They remained on the Western Front for the rest of the war. At the Armistice, it was serving as Army Troops with the Second Army.[31]

2/1st Royal Buckinghamshire Yeomanry[edit]

The 2nd Line regiment was formed at Buckingham in September 1914. By March 1915 it was with 2/2nd South Midland Mounted Brigade in 2/2nd Mounted Division and was at King's Lynn in Norfolk. On 20 March 1916, the division was renamed as 3rd Mounted Division and shortly afterwards the brigade became 11th Mounted Brigade. In July 1916 it was in 1st Mounted Brigade, 1st Mounted Division (3rd Mounted Division renamed) at Brentwood, Essex. In March 1917 it moved to Much Hadham and in April back to Brentwood.[32]

In August 1917, the regiment was converted to a cyclist unit in 11th Cyclist Brigade, The Cyclist Division and was stationed at Canterbury. There were no further changes before the end of the war.[32]

3/1st Royal Buckinghamshire Yeomanry[edit]

The 3rd Line regiment was formed in 1915; in the summer it was affiliated to the 7th Reserve Cavalry Regiment at Tidworth. Early in 1917 it was absorbed into the 3rd Reserve Cavalry Regiment at Aldershot.[32]

Between the wars[edit]

On 7 February 1920, the Regiment was reconstituted in the Territorial Army with HQ still at Aylesbury. Following the experience of the war, it was decided that only the fourteen most senior yeomanry regiments would be retained as horsed cavalry,[33] with the rest being transferred to other roles.[34] As a result, on 29 April 1921, the Regiment was amalgamated with the Berkshire Yeomanry and simultaneously transferred to the Royal Artillery to form 99th (Buckinghamshire and Berkshire) Brigade, RFA with HQ at Aylesbury.[9]

The two yeomanry regiments retained their own identities and badges within the amalgamated unit,[35] with each providing two batteries. The Buckinghamshire Yeomanry formed 393 (Royal Bucks Yeomanry) Battery at Aylesbury and 394 (Royal Bucks Yeomanry) Battery at High Wycombe.[9]

The brigade / regiment underwent a number of redesignations before the outbreak of World War II. In February 1922 it regained its yeomanry title as 99th (Buckinghamshire and Berkshire Yeomanry) Brigade, RFA. Another title change came in June 1924 as the Royal Field Artillery was reamalgamated back into the Royal Artillery and the regiment became 99th (Buckinghamshire and Berkshire Yeomanry) (Army) Field Brigade, RA. The final change came in November 1938 as artillery brigades became regiments, hence 99th (Buckinghamshire and Berkshire Yeomanry) Field Regiment, RA.[36]

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.[37][38][39] The Berkshire and Buckinghamshire Yeomanry were separated on 25 August 1939, with each being reconstituted as field regiments of the Royal Artillery. The Buckinghamshire contingent became 99th Field Regiment, Royal Artillery and the Berkshire contingent became 145th Field Regiment, Royal Artillery.[36]

World War II[edit]

With the outbreak of war in September 1939, 99th (Buckinghamshire and Berkshire Yeomanry) Field Regiment, Royal Artillery was mobilised at Aylesbury, assigned to 48th (South Midland) Division.[40] In January 1940 they were sent to France, as part of the BEF, seeing active service in that country and in Belgium.[41][4]

Field regiments were organised in 1938 into two 12-gun batteries. The experience of the BEF in 1940 showed the problem with this organisation: field regiments were intended to support an infantry brigade of three battalions. This could not be managed without severe disruption to the regiment. As a result, field regiments were reorganised into three 8-gun batteries.[42] Following the Dunkirk evacuation the regiment was based in the East Riding of Yorkshire, where it was reorganized into three batteries on 3 July 1940.[43] The third battery was numbered 472 on 1 February 1941. On 12 May 1942, the regiment was redesignated 99th Field Regiment, RA (Buckinghamshire Yeomanry) (TA).[44]

In June 1942 they were sent out to the Far East and attached to the 2nd Division, seeing service in India and Burma, including the Battle of the Arakan. In 1944, they were involved in the Allied advance and involved in the Battles of Kohima, Imphal, Rangoon and Mandalay.[41][4]

In 1945 after the end of the war they returned to Calcutta in India for demobilisation.[4] The regiment was placed in suspended animation on 30 September 1946.[44]

Post war[edit]

The Regiment was reformed in 1947 as the 299th (Royal Buckinghamshire Yeomanry) Field Regiment R.A.

In 1950 they were once again amalgamated, this time with the Queen's Own Oxfordshire Hussars, to form the 299th (Bucks and Oxfordshire Yeomanry) Field Regiment, R.A. In 1954 on the formation of the T.A.V.R., the Regiment became P Battery (Royal Bucks Yeomanry) The Buckinghamshire Regiment, R.A. (T) and following a further amalgamation, the title changed again to the 299th (Royal Bucks Yeomanry, Berkshire Yeomanry and Queen's Own Oxfordshire Hussars) Field Regiment RA (TA).

The Regiment went through a number of changes over the following years. In 1961 299th (Royal Bucks Yeomanry, Queens Own Oxfordshire Hussars and Berkshire) Field Regiment, RA (TA) then in 1967, 99 Field Regiment RA (RBY) (TA) was disbanded. In 1971 a new role emerged, this time as infantry, becoming the 2nd Battalion, The Wessex Regiment. On the disbandment of that Battalion the Royal Buckinghamshire title was adopted by the present day army unit 1 (RBY) Signal Squadron.[4]

The 1 (Royal Buckinghamshire Yeomanry) Signal Squadron (Special Communications) is the only British Army Special Communications Unit. They provide operational specialist communications in locations around the world. The unit is made up of Regular and TA soldiers, and has a total strength of approximately 100.[4] The squadron was formed in 1995, by the amalgamation of 602 Signal Troop (Special Communications) and 1 Squadron 39th Signal Regiment (Special Communications) (Volunteers). The Royal Buckinghamshire Yeomanry title was adopted by 1 Signal Squadron (Special Communications) in 1996.[4]

On 1 January 2014, 710 (Royal Buckinghamshire Hussars) Operational Hygiene Squadron, The Royal Logistic Corps was formed. It is part of 165 Port & Maritime Regiment RLC, whose RHQ is currently based in Plymouth. The future has much to offer as the Army reforms under the Army 2020 plans.

Battle honours[edit]

The Royal Buckinghamshire Yeomanry has been awarded the following battle honours:[9]

Second Boer War

South Africa 1900-01

World War I

Arras 1918, Scarpe 1918, Ypres 1918, Courtrai, France and Flanders 1918, Suvla, Scimitar Hill, Gallipoli 1915, Egypt 1915–17, Gaza, El Mughar, Nebi Samwil, Palestine 1917–18

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.[45]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ British divisions were converted to the British Indian Army standard whereby brigades only retained one British regiment or battalion and most support units were Indian (artillery excepted).
  2. ^ See 1st Mounted Division and 3rd Mounted Division.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Tamplin, Steve. "Britain's Volunteer Movement 1794-1815". Loyal Volunteers Living History Society. Retrieved 14 December 2011. 
  2. ^ a b "Buckinghamshire in the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars 1792-1815". Buckinghamshire Military Museums Trust. 1994. Retrieved 14 December 2011. 
  3. ^ "Royal Bucks Hussars: records of, or belonging to, the Lawson family, barons Burnham". National Archives. Retrieved 14 December 2011. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i "The History of 36 Signal Regiment". MOD. Retrieved 15 December 2011. 
  5. ^ a b c "Imperial Yeomanry". www.angloboerwar.com. Retrieved 28 March 2014. 
  6. ^ "Boer War Notes". www.roll-of-honour.com. Retrieved 28 March 2014. 
  7. ^ Imperial Yeomanry at regiments.org by T.F.Mills at the Wayback Machine (archived 29 May 2007)
  8. ^ "Boer War - Imperial Yeomanry Battalions". www.roll-of-honour.com. Retrieved 28 March 2014. 
  9. ^ a b c d e Buckinghamshire Yeomanry (Royal Bucks Hussars) at regiments.org by T.F.Mills at the Wayback Machine (archived 9 June 2007)
  10. ^ The London Gazette: no. 27155. p. 362. 19 January 1900.
  11. ^ Mileham 1994, p. 73
  12. ^ Rinaldi 2008, p. 35
  13. ^ Rinaldi 2008, p. 59
  14. ^ Rinaldi 2008, p. 36
  15. ^ a b Westlake 1996, pp. 250,251,255,256
  16. ^ Becke 1936, p. 16
  17. ^ James 1978, p. 35
  18. ^ James 1978, p. 34
  19. ^ a b Becke 1936, p. 17
  20. ^ Becke 1936, p. 13
  21. ^ Becke 1936, p. 14
  22. ^ James 1978, p. 36
  23. ^ Perry 1992, p. 55
  24. ^ Perry 1992, p. 56
  25. ^ a b Becke 1936, p. 33
  26. ^ Becke 1936, p. 34
  27. ^ Perry 1993, p. 16
  28. ^ Becke 1936, p. 24
  29. ^ Baker, Chris. "The Buckinghamshire Yeomanry". The Long, Long Trail. Retrieved 28 March 2014. 
  30. ^ BEF GHQ 1918, p. 104
  31. ^ BEF GHQ 1918, p. 13
  32. ^ a b c James 1978, p. 17
  33. ^ Mileham 1994, p. 48
  34. ^ Mileham 1994, p. 50
  35. ^ Kipling & King 2006, p. 142
  36. ^ a b Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Berkshire Yeomanry, Royal Artillery at regiments.org by T.F.Mills at the Wayback Machine (archived 15 July 2007)
  37. ^ Territorial Army - Establishment doubled, The Times, March 30, 1939
  38. ^ 13 Additional Divisions - Method of Expansion, The Times, March 30, 1939
  39. ^ "History of the Army Reserve". MOD. Retrieved 2 April 2014. 
  40. ^ Barton, Derek. "99 (Bucks & Berks Yeo) Field Regiment RA(TA)". The Royal Artillery 1939-45. Retrieved 2 April 2014. 
  41. ^ a b "Buckinghamshire in World War Two". Buckinghamshire County Council. Retrieved 15 December 2011. 
  42. ^ Forty 1998, p. 73
  43. ^ Frederick 1984, p. 525
  44. ^ a b Frederick 1984, p. 526
  45. ^ Royal Regiment of Artillery at regiments.org by T.F.Mills at the Wayback Machine (archived 15 July 2007)

Bibliography[edit]

  • Becke, Major A.F. (1936). Order of Battle of Divisions Part 2A. The Territorial Force Mounted Divisions and the 1st-Line Territorial Force Divisions (42–56). London: His Majesty's Stationery Office. ISBN 1-871167-12-4. 
  • Forty, George (1998). British Army Handbook 1939–1945. Stroud, Gloucestershire: Sutton Publishing Limited. ISBN 0-7509-1403-3. 
  • Frederick, J.B.M. (1984). Lineage Book of British Land Forces 1660–1978. Wakefield, Yorkshire: Microform Academic Publishers. ISBN 1-85117-009-X. 
  • James, Brigadier E.A. (1978). British Regiments 1914–18. London: Samson Books Limited. ISBN 0-906304-03-2. 
  • Kipling, Arthur L; King, Hugh L (2006). Head-Dress Badges of the British Army. 2: From the End of the Great war to the Present Day. Uckfield: Naval and Military Press. ISBN 1-84342-513-0. 
  • Mileham, Patrick (1994). The Yeomanry Regiments; 200 Years of Tradition. Edinburgh: Canongate Academic. ISBN 1-898410-36-4. 
  • Perry, F.W. (1992). Order of Battle of Divisions Part 5A. The Divisions of Australia, Canada and New Zealand and those in East Africa. Newport: Ray Westlake Military Books. ISBN 1-871167-25-6. 
  • Perry, F.W. (1993). Order of Battle of Divisions Part 5B. Indian Army Divisions. Newport: Ray Westlake Military Books. ISBN 1-871167-23-X. 
  • Rinaldi, Richard A (2008). Order of Battle of the British Army 1914. Ravi Rikhye. ISBN 978-0-97760728-0. 
  • Westlake, Ray (1992). British Territorial Units 1914–18. Osprey Publishing. ISBN 978-1-85532-168-7. 
  • Westlake, Ray (1996). British Regiments at Gallipoli. Barnsley: Leo Cooper. ISBN 0-85052-511-X.