City of London Yeomanry (Rough Riders)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

The City of London Yeomanry (Rough Riders)
COLY cap badge.jpg
COLY Cap Badge
Active23 July 1901 – 1 May 1961
Country United Kingdom
Branch British Army
RoleCavalry (1901)
Field artillery (1920)
Light Anti-Aircraft artillery (1938)
Armour (1947)
Infantry (1956)
Signals (1969)
Garrison/HQ39 Finsbury Square
Nickname(s)Rough Riders
PatronHer Majesty Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother (1952)
Motto(s)Domine Dirige Nos (Lord, direct us)
Mascot(s)The Lobster
EngagementsSecond Boer War
World War I
Gallipoli 1915
Egypt 1915–16
Macedonia 1916–17
Palestine 1917–18
France and Flanders 1918

World War II

North Africa
Richard Colvin
Frederick Maitland, 14th Earl of Lauderdale
Goland Clarke

The City of London Yeomanry (Rough Riders) was a yeomanry regiment of the British Territorial Army, formed in 1901. It amalgamated with the Inns of Court Regiment to form the Inns of Court & City Yeomanry in 1961. The lineage is maintained by 68 (Inns of Court & City Yeomanry) Signal Squadron, part of 71 (Yeomanry) Signal Regiment.


Formation and early history[edit]

The City of London Yeomanry was originally formed in 1900 as the 20th Battalion, Imperial Yeomanry, and designated for service in the Second Boer War. The battalion's adopted nickname of the "Rough Riders" was taken from the US cavalry regiment that fought in the Spanish–American War. An additional battalion, the 22nd Rough Riders, was then formed in 1901, when the 20th Battalion was disbanded and the new regiment was formed from Boer War veterans and named the 1st County of London (Rough Riders) Imperial Yeomanry. This regiment was retitled The City of London (Rough Riders) Imperial Yeomanry in April 1902[1] with its headquarters at the Guildhall. The HQ later transferred to Finsbury Square,[a] and the regiment, upon joining the newly established Territorial Force in 1908, was again retitled as the 1st City of London Yeomanry (Rough Riders).[4]

First World War[edit]

London Mounted Brigade
Organisation on 4 August 1914
  • Source
  • Conrad, Mark (1996). "The British Army, 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.[5]

1/1st City of London Yeomanry[edit]

By the beginning of the First World War, the regiment consisted of four squadrons and was assigned to the London Mounted Brigade.[6] The 1st Line regiment mobilized with its brigade and concentrated in Berkshire at the outbreak of war. It joined 2nd Mounted Division on 2 September and moved with the division to East Anglia in November 1914.[7]

On 11 April 1915, the regiment embarked on Scotia and departed Avonmouth for the Mediterranean. It arrived off Cape Helles on 28 April and stood by to land. However, on 1 May it departed again, arriving at Alexandria on 6 May[8] where it rejoined the 2nd Mounted Division. It was posted to the Suez Canal Defences (near Ismaïlia) by the middle of May[9] and its parent brigade was designated 4th (London) Mounted Brigade.[10] The regiment was dismounted in August 1915 for service in the Gallipoli Campaign.[11] It left a squadron headquarters and two troops (about 100 officers and men) in Egypt to look after the horses.[12]

The regiment landed at Suvla Bay on the morning of 18 August and moved into reserve positions at Karakol Dagh. It moved to "C" Beach, Lala Baba on 20 August. On 21 August it advanced to Chocolate Hill under heavy fire and took part in the attack on Hill 112.[8] 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 2nd Composite Mounted Brigade was formed from the 3rd (Notts and Derby) and 4th (London) Mounted Brigades.[13] The regiment formed part of a battalion sized unit 4th London Regiment.[14] The regiment embarked for Mudros on 2 November and returned to Egypt in December 1915 where it was reformed and remounted.[13][b]

The regiment (and its brigade) left the 2nd Mounted Division on 18 January 1916 and was sent to Abbassia.[10] It once again served as part of the Suez Canal Defences.[16] In March 1916, the brigade was redesignated as 8th Mounted Brigade. From November 1916 to June 1917, the regiment took part in the Salonika Campaign, serving as GHQ Troops with the British Salonika Army.[10]

The regiment arrived back in Egypt from Salonika with its brigade on 8 June 1917. It moved forward and joined the newly formed Yeomanry Mounted Division on 21 July 1917 at el Fuqari.[17] 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 for 17 to 24 November. From 27 to 29 November, it withstood the Turkish counter-attacks during the Capture of Jerusalem.[18]

In March 1918, the 1st Indian Cavalry Division was broken up in France. The British units (notably 6th (Inniskilling) 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.[19] 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[c] and its title was changed to 1st Mounted Division,[20] the third distinct division to bear this title.[d]

On 24 April 1918, the 8th Mounted Brigade was merged with elements of the 8th (Lucknow) Cavalry Brigade: the Rough Riders and the 3rd County of London Yeomanry (Sharpshooters) left the brigade on 7 April and were merged to form E Battalion, Machine Gun Corps. They were replaced by 29th Lancers (Deccan Horse) and 36th Jacob's Horse from 8th (Lucknow) Cavalry Brigade.[21]

E Battalion, MGC was posted to France, arriving on 1 June 1918. On 17 August 1918 it was renumbered[22] as 103rd (City & 3rd Cty. of London Yeo.) Battalion, Machine Gun Corps.[23] They remained on the Western Front for the rest of the war. At the Armistice, it was serving as Army Troops with the First Army.[24]

2/1st City of London Yeomanry[edit]

The 2nd Line regiment was formed in London in August 1914. By March 1915 it was with 2/1st London Mounted Brigade in 2/2nd Mounted Division and was at East Dereham in Norfolk.[16] On 31 March 1916, the remaining Mounted Brigades were ordered to be numbered in a single sequence;[25] the brigade was numbered as 12th Mounted Brigade and the division as 3rd Mounted Division.[16]

In July 1916, the regiment was converted to a cyclist unit in 4th Cyclist Brigade, 1st Cyclist Division and was stationed at North Walsham. In November 1916, the division was broken up and the regiment was merged with the 2/1st West Somerset Yeomanry to form 5th (West Somerset and City of London) Yeomanry Cyclist Regiment in 2nd Cyclist Brigade at Coltishall. In February 1917 it was replaced in 5th Yeomanry Cyclist Regiment by 2/1st Hampshire Yeomanry, resuming its identity as 2/1st City of London Yeomanry, and moved to 5th Cyclist Brigade in the new 1st Mounted Division (the 3rd Mounted Division renamed) at Littlebourne near Canterbury in Kent.[16] In January 1917 the regiment moved to Bridge (also near Canterbury) and on 4 September 1917, the division was renamed as The Cyclist Division. In January 1918 the regiment moved to Wingham and remained there, still in 5th Cyclist Brigade, until the end of the war.[16]

3/1st City of London Yeomanry[edit]

The 3rd Line regiment was formed in 1915 and in the summer it was affiliated to a Reserve Cavalry Regiment in Eastern Command. In the summer of 1916 it was affiliated to the 6th Reserve Cavalry Regiment in Dublin. Early in 1917 it was absorbed into the 1st Reserve Cavalry Regiment at The Curragh.[16]

Second World War[edit]

Following the experience of the war, it was decided that only the fourteen most senior yeomanry regiments would be retained as horsed cavalry,[26] with the rest being transferred to other roles.[27] After reconstitution in the Territorial Force in 1920, the unit was reduced to a battery of the 11th (Honourable Artillery Company and City of London Yeomanry) Regiment, RHA.[28] In 1938, as World War II approached, the battery was then split off to form the 11th (City of London Yeomanry) Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment, RA, becoming the senior LAA unit in the TA. It consisted of HQ, 31, 32, 33 and 43 Batteries based at Bunhill Row and forming part of 56th LAA Brigade.[29][30][31] Part of the unit served in a defensive role at Bentley Priory, the RAF's Fighter Command headquarters in Stanmore, Middlesex. The rest of the regiment remained in London during the Blitz. Service in North Africa and Italy followed from 1942 to the end of the war.[31] The troop D under Lieutenant Beachman of the 43rd battery notably served in the Battle of Bir Hakeim.[32]

Post war[edit]

The City of London Yeomanry was reconstituted in 1947 as an armoured regiment within the Royal Armoured Corps. A further conversion to infantry occurred in 1956, when it became a battalion of the Rifle Brigade (Prince Consort's Own). On 1 May 1961, and given their geographical proximity, the Rough Riders amalgamated with the Inns of Court Regiment, to form the Inns of Court & City Yeomanry.[4] Following the 1967 defence cuts, the unit converted to form 68 (Inns of Court & City Yeomanry) Signal Squadron, within 71 (Yeomanry) Signal Regiment, Royal Corps of Signals.[33] In 2009, 68 Signals Squadron amalgamated with 36 (Essex Yeomanry) Signal Squadron to form 68 (Inns of Court & City and Essex Yeomanry) Signal Squadron and, following the Strategic Defence and Security Review, 68 Signal Squadron reverted to the name of 68 (Inns of Court & City Yeomanry) Signal Squadron in 2015.[34]

Battle honours[edit]

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

The City of London Yeomanry was awarded the following battle honours:[4]

Second Boer War

South Africa 1900–02

World War I

Pursuit to Mons, France and Flanders 1918, Macedonia 1916–17, Suvla, Scimitar Hill, Gallipoli 1915, Rumani, Egypt 1915–16, 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.[35]

Honorary Distinction: Badge of the Royal Regiment of Artillery with year-dates "1942–45" and two scrolls: "North Africa" and "Italy"

Prominent members[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ The regiment was based at 39 Finsbury Square, a building which was demolished in the 1920s.[2] The site is now occupied by City Gate House which was designed by Frederick Gould and Giles Gilbert Scott and completed in 1930.[3]
  2. ^ The dismounted regiment departed Alexandria for Gallipoli on 14 August 1915 with a strength of 17 officers and 315 other ranks.[8] By the time it left Gallipoli (2 November 1915) its strength had fallen to 5 officers and 46 other ranks.[15]
  3. ^ 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).
  4. ^ See 1st Mounted Division and 3rd Mounted Division.


  1. ^ "No. 27424". The London Gazette. 11 April 1902. p. 2421.
  2. ^ "Drill Hall Register: A list of the locations of London Drill Halls since 1908" (PDF). Retrieved 14 May 2017.
  3. ^ "City Gate House". Brookfield Properties. Retrieved 3 June 2017.
  4. ^ a b c "The City of London Yeomanry (Rough Riders) at by T.F.Mills". Archived from the original on 26 December 2005. Retrieved 2 March 2014.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  5. ^ Rinaldi 2008, p. 35
  6. ^ Conrad, Mark (1996). "The British Army, 1914". Retrieved 21 February 2013.
  7. ^ Rinaldi 2008, p. 58
  8. ^ a b c Westlake 1996, p. 263
  9. ^ Becke 1936, p. 16
  10. ^ a b c Becke 1936, p. 14
  11. ^ James 1978, p. 35
  12. ^ James 1978, p. 34
  13. ^ a b Becke 1936, p. 17
  14. ^ Becke 1936, p. 13
  15. ^ Westlake 1996, p. 264
  16. ^ a b c d e f James 1978, p. 23
  17. ^ Becke 1936, p. 33
  18. ^ Becke 1936, p. 34
  19. ^ Perry 1993, p. 16
  20. ^ Becke 1936, p. 24
  21. ^ Perry 1993, p. 22
  22. ^ Baker, Chris. "The City of London Yeomanry (Rough Riders)". The Long, Long Trail. Retrieved 8 April 2014.
  23. ^ BEF GHQ 1918, p. 104
  24. ^ BEF GHQ 1918, p. 10
  25. ^ James 1978, p. 36
  26. ^ Mileham 1994, p. 48
  27. ^ Mileham 1994, p. 50
  28. ^ Litchfield 1992, p. 147
  29. ^ Litchfield 1992, p. 149
  30. ^ "6 AA Division at British Military History" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 23 September 2015. Retrieved 2 March 2014.
  31. ^ a b Barton, Derek. "11 (City of London) Light AA Regiment RA(TA)". The Royal Artillery 1939–45. Archived from the original on 20 October 2013. Retrieved 22 May 2014.
  32. ^ Broche, F. (2019), La Cathédrale des sables – Bir Hakeim 26 mai-11 juin 1942, Paris: Éditions Belin, ISBN 2410015816
  33. ^ "The Inns of Court and City Yeomanry". Archived from the original on 3 January 2006. Retrieved 16 November 2017.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  34. ^ "68 Signal Squadron (V)". Ministry of Defence. Retrieved 1 October 2017.
  35. ^ "Royal Regiment of Artillery at by T.F.Mills". Archived from the original on 15 July 2007. Retrieved 15 July 2007.
  36. ^ "No. 34527". The London Gazette. 1 July 1938. p. 4245.


  • 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.
  • James, Brigadier E.A. (1978). British Regiments 1914–18. London: Samson Books Limited. ISBN 0-906304-03-2.
  • Litchfield, Norman E.H. (1992). The Territorial Artillery 1908–1988 (Their Lineage, Uniforms and Badges). Nottingham: Sherwood Press. ISBN 0-9508205-2-0.
  • Mileham, Patrick (1994). The Yeomanry Regiments; 200 Years of Tradition. Edinburgh: Canongate Academic. ISBN 1-898410-36-4.
  • 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 978-0-9776072-8-0.
  • Westlake, Ray (1996). British Regiments at Gallipoli. Barnsley: Leo Cooper. ISBN 0-85052-511-X.
  • Order of Battle of the British Armies in France, November 11th, 1918. France: General Staff, GHQ. 1918.

External links[edit]