Staffordshire Yeomanry

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Staffordshire Yeomanry
Staffordshire Yeomanry Badge.jpg
Badge of the Staffordshire Yeomanry
Active 1794–2006
Country  Kingdom of Great Britain (1794–1800)
 United Kingdom (1801–2006)
Branch Flag of the British Army.svg British Army
Type Yeomanry
Size World War One
Three Regiments
World War Two
One Regiment
Part of Territorial Force
Royal Armoured Corps
Engagements World war One
First Battle of Gaza
Second Battle of Gaza
Third Battle of Gaza
Battle of Beersheba
Capture of Jerusalem
Capture of Damascus
Battle of Megiddo (1918)
World War Two
Battle of Alam Halfa
Battle of El Alamein
Sword Beach
Battle of the Scheldt
Rhine Crossing
Francis Perceval Eliot

The Staffordshire Yeomanry (Queen's Own Royal Regiment) was a unit of the British Army.

Raised in 1794 following Prime Minister William Pitt's order to raise volunteer bodies of men to defend Great Britain from foreign invasion, the Staffordshire Yeomanry began as a volunteer cavalry regiment. Future Prime Minister Robert Peel was an officer in the Staffordshire Yeomanry Cavalry in 1820.[1]

It first served overseas at the time of the Boer War. Following distinguished action in Egypt and Palestine in the First World War, it developed with the deployment of artillery and tanks.

From 1971, the Regiment formed part of the Mercian Yeomanry, renamed The Queen's Own Mercian Yeomanry in 1973. From 1992 it amalgamated with The Duke of Lancaster's Own Yeomanry to form The Royal Mercian and Lancastrian Yeomanry, and as such it remains today a yeomanry regiment of the Territorial Army. In October 2006, the RMLY became a single cap badge regiment, when the individual cap badges of each squadron were replaced by the newly designed RMLY cap badge. The Regiment currently serves in the armoured replacement role, providing replacement tank crews for regular armoured regiments.

World War I[edit]

North 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.[2]

1/1st Staffordshire Yeomanry[edit]

The Staffordshire Yeomanry, after a short period of training at Diss, Norfolk with the North Midland Mounted Brigade, was ordered to join the Egyptian Expeditionary Force in 1915. The Regiment was attached to the 22nd Mounted Brigade, Yeomanry Mounted Division in the Sinai and Palestine Campaign against the Ottoman Turkish and German army 1916-1918. It fought in the indecisive First Battle of Gaza and Second Battle of Gaza in March and April 1917. They finally won through in the Third Battle of Gaza in October 1917 and the crucial follow up Battle of Beersheba on 6 November 1917, where Allied victory at last left the field open for the capture of Jerusalem on 9 December 1917.

In July 1918 the Division was reformed as the Fourth Cavalry Division under the command of General Allenby and the Regiment played a key role in the decisive Battle of Megiddo (1918). The 1/1st Staffordshire Yeomanry joined the Desert Mounted Corps under the Australian General Harry Chauvel and took part in his strategic cavalry ‘bound’ from the desert through Beisan, a forced march which covered an epic 87 miles in 33 hours: a record in cavalry history. After resting four days during which they took 5,800 prisoners, they converged with the spearhead of the Allied advance and made a triumphal entry into the Syrian city of Damascus with Allenby on 1 October 1918.

After a week, the Regiment started on a 200-mile trek to Aleppo, having been reduced to just 75 men, 200 of them having become casualties from malignant malaria caught in the Jordan valley. However, Aleppo was captured on 25 October 1918. Five days later, Turkey surrendered.

2/1st Staffordshire Yeomanry[edit]

3/1st Staffordshire Yeomanry[edit]

The 3rd Line regiment was formed in 1915 and in the summer it was affiliated to a Reserve Cavalry Regiment at Aldershot. In the summer of 1916, it was affiliated to 12th Reserve Cavalry Regiment also at Aldershot. Early in 1917, the regiment was absorbed into the 3rd Reserve Cavalry Regiment still at Aldershot.[3]

World War II[edit]

Sherman tank & Crusader AA Mk III of the Staffordshire Yeomanry during Operation Goodwood, July 1944

In 1939, the Staffordshire Yeomanry was part of the 6th Cavalry Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, with the Warwickshire Yeomanry and Cheshire Yeomanry. The 6th Cavalry Brigade arrived in Palestine in January 1940 and took part in mounted operations with the police to suppress disturbances between the Arab and Jewish populations.

The Staffordshire Yeomanry retained its horses until 1941 when it converted to tanks and then served in North Africa in the 8th Armoured Brigade which was part of the 10th Armoured Division.

The Staffordshire Yeomanry, during its time in North Africa, fought at the Battles of Alam Halfa and El Alamein fighting the Afrika Korps all the way into Tunisia.

The unit was transferred to England to serve in the 27th Armoured Brigade, part of Montgomery's Second Army. At Normandy, the Staffordshire Yeomanry was probably the only conventional tank regiment (i.e. equipped with neither DD nor flail) to land on D-Day, on Sword Beach. The 27th Armoured Brigade was disbanded in Normandy in July 1944 after heavy losses and the Staffordshire Yeomanry was once again transferred back to England to join the 79th Armoured Division.

It converted to Sherman DD tanks and B Squadron supported the 52nd (Lowland) Division in the assault on South Beveland, during the Battle of the Scheldt. After a swim of seven miles, carried out without casualties, the terrain proved impassable and only three tanks were able to advance with the infantry. More training ensued and, on 23 March 1945, the regiment used Sherman DD tanks in the Rhine crossings [2]

Post war[edit]

The Staffordshire Yeomanry became part of the Mercian Yeomanry in 1971. This became the Queen's Own Mercian Yeomanry in 1973, with the Staffordshire Yeomanry its B Squadron: B (Staffordshire Yeomanry) Squadron QOMY.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ [1] History of Parliament Online article by R.G. Thorne.
  2. ^ Rinaldi 2008, p. 35
  3. ^ James 1978, p. 28