Westmorland and Cumberland Yeomanry

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Westmorland and Cumberland Yeomanry
Active 1828 - 1967
Country United Kingdom
Branch British Army
Type Yeomanry
Size One Regiment
Engagements World War II
No battle honours were awarded. It is the tradition within artillery units that the Regiment's guns represent its colours and battle honours.[1]

The Westmorland and Cumberland Yeomanry was a Yeomanry Cavalry Regiment of the British Army that was formed in 1828. The regiment was part of the Imperial Yeomanry during the Boer War and would remain in Great Britain for the first years of the Great War. In 1917, the regiment sailed to France, to fight in the trenches as dismounted troops. They were converted to an artillery unit in 1920 and remained as gunners until 1967 when, after many amalgamations, the title disappeared.[2]

Boer War[edit]

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. On December 13, 1899, the decision to allow volunteer forces to serve in the Second Boer War was made. A Royal Warrant was issued on December 24, 1899 that officially created the Imperial Yeomanry.

The Royal Warrant asked standing Yeomanry regiments to provide service companies of approximately 115 men each. In addition to this, many British citizens (usually upper-middle class) volunteered to join the new regiment.[3] Although there were strict requirements, many volunteers were accepted with substandard horsemanship/marksmanship; however, they had significant time to train while awaiting transport.

The first contingent of recruits for the Imperial Yeomanry comprised 550 officers and 10,371 men in 20 battalions, each generally with four companies.[4] The battalions arrived in South Africa between February and April, 1900.[5] On arrival, the regiment served throughout the zone of operations.
The Westmorland and Cumberland Yeomanry provided troops for the 24th (Westmorland and Cumberland) Company, 8th Battalion Imperial Yeomanry.[6]

World War I[edit]

Welsh Border 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.[7]

During World War I, the unit was known[by whom?] to have had a wireless section and armoured cars provided by private means.

1/1st Westmorland and Cumberland Yeomanry[edit]

The 1/1st was mobilised in August 1914 and attached to the Welsh Border Mounted Brigade. In the spring of 1915, the regiment was split: A squadron's personnel were divided between the three other Sqns, which were then each assigned to an Infantry Division located in the United Kingdom - B Sqn to 15th (Scottish) Infantry Division; C Sqn to 18th (Eastern) Division; Regimental Headquarters and D Sqn to 20th (Light) Division. The three squadrons (and, of course, the divisions to which they were attached) arrived in France that summer. B Squadron was attached to the 1st Cavalry Division for the first half of April 1916; C and D squadrons were both attached to the 2nd Cavalry Division for a short period in the following month. On 15 May 1916, the regiment reformed and served as XI Corps Cavalry Regiment.[7]

In June 1917, it was announced that, due to manpower shortages, the Regiment would be dismounted and retrained as infantry. On completion of the conversion, the regiment was redesignated as the 7th (Westmoreland and Cumberland Yeomanry) Battalion, the Border Regiment.[7]

2/1st Westmorland and Cumberland Yeomanry[edit]

The 2nd line regiment was formed in September 1914. By July 1915, it was under the command of the 2/1st Western Mounted Brigade (along with 2/1st Duke of Lancaster's Own Yeomanry[8] and the 2/1st Lancashire Hussars[9]) and in March 1916 was at Cupar, Fife.[10] On 31 March 1916, the remaining Mounted Brigades were numbered in a single sequence and the brigade became 21st Mounted Brigade, still at Cupar under Scottish Command.[11]

In July 1916 there was a major reorganization of 2nd line yeomanry units in the UK. All but 12 regiments were converted to cyclists[11] and as a consequence the regiment was dismounted and the brigade converted to 14th Cyclist Brigade. Further reorganization in October and November 1916 saw the brigade redesignated as 10th Cyclist Brigade in October 1916, still at Cupar.[12]

By January 1918, 10th Cyclist Brigade had moved to Lincolnshire with the regiment at Spilsby and Burgh-le-Marsh.[10] About May 1918 the Brigade moved to Ireland[12] and the regiment was stationed at Buttevant and Charleville, County Cork. There were no further changes before the end of the war.[10]

3/1st Westmorland and Cumberland Yeomanry[edit]

The 3rd Line regiment was formed in 1915 and in the summer it was affiliated to a Reserve Cavalry Regiment in Ireland. In the summer of 1916 it was affiliated to 10th Reserve Cavalry Regiment at The Curragh. It was absorbed by the 2nd Reserve Cavalry Regiment, still at The Curragh, in early 1917. By 1918 it had left the 2nd Reserve Cavalry Regiment when the 1st Line regiment was converted to infantry and joined 5th (Reserve) Battalion, Durham Light Infantry at Sutton-on-Hull.[10]

Inter-War[edit]

When the Territorial Forces reformed in 1920, the regiment converted to artillery, forming the 2nd (Cumberland Yeomanry) Army Brigade, RFA. This two-battery brigade was redesignated as the 93rd (Westmorland and Cumberland Yeomanry) Army Brigade, RFA in 1921. In 1923, the brigade was joined by the two Cumberland Artillery batteries from the 51st (East Lancashire and Cumberland) Brigade, RFA and redesignated as the 51st (Westmorland and Cumberland) Brigade, RFA. The four batteries were the 203rd (Cumberland), 204th (Cumberland), 369th (Westmorland Yeomanry) and 370th (Cumberland Yeomanry).

With the union of the RFA, RGA and RHA to form the Royal Regiment of Artillery on 1 June 1924, the brigade was redesignated as the 51st (East Lancashire and Cumberland) Brigade, RA. In November 1938, the Royal Artillery renamed its brigades as regiments.

In 1939, as part of the general duplication of the Territorial Army, the 51st Regiment transferred the 204th and 369th batteries to the 109th Field Artillery Regiment RA.[13]

World War II[edit]

51st (Westmoreland & Cumberland) Field Artillery Regiment[edit]

The 51st (Westmoreland & Cumberland) Field Artillery Regiment TA, began the war as part of the 42nd (East Lancashire) Division.[14] In April 1940, the 203rd battery sailed to Norway and took part in the brief Norwegian Campaign.[15][16] The regiment sailed to North Africa towards the end of the year, where it was originally attached to the 6th Australian Division. The regiment saw action in the Western Desert, serving with the 7th Armoured Division (Desert Rats) in November 1941 and in the siege of Tobruk with the 9th Australian Division.

In February 1942, the regiment served in Ceylon as part of the 16th Brigade.[17] In February 1943, it moved to India, where it joined the 70th Infantry Division. In September 1943, it was placed in suspended animation.[18] The regiment was at this time assigned as infantry to the Long Range Penetration Group more commonly known as the Chindits. They became 51 Column part of 16 Brigade under Brigadier Bernard Ferguson they began their penetration march into Burma in February 1944.

109th Field Regiment, Royal Artillery[edit]

The regiment served in 66th Infantry Division until that formation disbanded in 1940, then in 55th (West Lancashire) Infantry Division until the end of the war. It served in the UK throughout.[19][20]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "mod.uk". 
  2. ^ "tankmuseum". 
  3. ^ Stevenson, Wf (Mar 2002). "Boer War Notes". Journal of the Royal Army Medical Corps 148 (1): 91–5; discussion 89–90. ISSN 0035-8665. PMID 12026888. Retrieved 2007-06-11. 
  4. ^ Imperial Yeomanry at regiments.org by T.F.Mills at the Wayback Machine (archived 29 May 2007)
  5. ^ "Boer War - Imperial Yeomanry Battalions". Retrieved 2007-07-03. 
  6. ^ "anglobeorwar". 
  7. ^ a b c Baker, Chris. "The Westmorland & Cumberland Yeomanry". The Long, Long Trail. Retrieved 12 February 2014. 
  8. ^ Baker, Chris. "The Duke of Lancaster's Own Yeomanry". The Long, Long Trail. Retrieved 12 February 2014. 
  9. ^ Baker, Chris. "The Lancashire Hussars Yeomanry". The Long, Long Trail. Retrieved 12 February 2014. 
  10. ^ a b c d James 1978, p. 30
  11. ^ a b James 1978, p. 36
  12. ^ a b James 1978, pp. 21,22,30
  13. ^ T. F. Mills (6 March 2006). "The Westmorland and Cumberland Yeomanry". Archived from the original on 22 November 2007. 
  14. ^ Joslen, p. 68.
  15. ^ Barton, Derek. "51 (Westmoreland & Cumberland) Field Regiment RA(TA)". The Royal Artillery 1939-45. Retrieved 22 May 2014. 
  16. ^ Derry, pp. 265–6.
  17. ^ Joslen, p. 257.
  18. ^ "The Desert Rats - The History of the British 7th Armoured Division". 
  19. ^ Joslen, pp. 90 & 97.
  20. ^ 109 Fd Rgt at RA 39–45

Bibliography[edit]

  • James, Brigadier E.A. (1978). British Regiments 1914–18. London: Samson Books Limited. ISBN 0-906304-03-2. 
  • T.K. Derry, History of the Second World War: The Campaign in Norway, London, HM Stationery Office, 1952.
  • Lt-Col H.F. Joslen, Orders of Battle, United Kingdom and Colonial Formations and Units in the Second World War, 1939–1945, London: HM Stationery Office, 1960/Uckfield: Naval & Military Press, 2003, ISBN 1843424746.