Sherwood Rangers Yeomanry

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Sherwood Rangers Yeomanry
Sherwood Rangers badge.jpg
Active 1794–present
Country  Kingdom of Great Britain (1794–1800)
 United Kingdom (1801–present)
Branch  British Army
Type Yeomanry
Size First World War
Three regiments
Second World War
One regiment
Part of Territorial Force
Royal Armoured Corps
Motto(s) Loyal unto Death
Engagements

Second Boer War
First World War

Gallipoli 1915
Egypt 1915–16
Macedonia 1916–17
Palestine 1917–18

Second World War

North Africa 1940–43
North-West Europe 1944–45
Battle honours See battle honours below
Commanders
Notable
commanders
Lt Colonel Francis Willey, 2nd Baron Barnby
Lt Colonel Sir Albert Bennett, 1st Baronet
Colonel E O Kellett DSO MP
Lt Col S D Christopherson DSO MC US Silver Star

The Sherwood Rangers Yeomanry (SRY) is one of the five squadrons of the Royal Yeomanry (RY), a light cavalry regiment of the Army Reserve. Designated as 'A' Squadron, the Sherwood Rangers Yeomanry's current role is to support the Light Cavalry Regiments on operations by providing skilled reconnaissance soldiers.

Originally raised as the Nottinghamshire Yeomanry in 1794, the Regiment was used on several occasions in the 19th Century to maintain law and order. Since 1900, the Regiment has seen overseas service during the Second Boer War and both World Wars, earning 44 battle honours during these campaigns. The Squadron has contributed to the Royal Yeomanry's operational deployments to Iraq from 2003 to date. The squadron is currently supporting operations in Afghanistan, reinforcing regular regiments of the Royal Armoured Corps.

History[edit]

Formation and early history[edit]

The Sherwood Rangers Yeomanry was raised in the summer of 1794 as the Nottinghamshire Yeomanry Cavalry, and is the fourth senior regiment of Yeomanry.

Second Boer War[edit]

The Yeomanry was not intended to serve overseas, but 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. A Royal Warrant was issued on 24 December 1899 to allow volunteer forces to serve in the Second Boer War. The Royal Warrant asked standing Yeomanry regiments to provide service companies of approximately 115 men each for the Imperial Yeomanry.[1] The regiment provided the 10th (Sherwood Rangers) Company for the 3rd Battalion in 1900.[2]

First World War[edit]

Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire 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.[3]

1/1st Sherwood Rangers Yeomanry[edit]

In the First World War the 1/1st Sherwood Rangers served in the Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire Mounted Brigade (later 7th Mounted Brigade) in Egypt as cavalry. In 1915 it was despatched to Gallipoli performing an infantry role and served as such for three months, receiving the "King's Colour" in recognition of its gallantry. The Regiment then returned to Egypt as cavalry, serving thereafter in North Greece and Palestine, taking part in the great cavalry advance from Gaza to Aleppo. The Sherwood Rangers won 13 battle honours for the First World War.

2/1st Sherwood Rangers Yeomanry[edit]

The 2nd Line regiment was formed at Retford in 1915 and in March joined the 2/1st Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire Mounted Brigade. By June the brigade was in the 2/2nd Mounted Division in the King's Lynn area. On 31 March 1916, the remaining Mounted Brigades were ordered to be numbered in a single sequence[4] and the brigade became the 9th Mounted Brigade (and the division 3rd Mounted Division).[5]

In July 1916 there was a major reorganization of 2nd Line yeomanry units in the United Kingdom. All but 12 regiments were converted to cyclists;[4] the 2/1st Sherwood Rangers Yeomanry remained mounted and transferred to the 1st Mounted Brigade in the new 1st Mounted Division (3rd Mounted Division redesignated) at Thorndon Park, Brentwood.[5]

The regiment was converted to cyclists in August 1917 and joined 11th Cyclist Brigade in The Cyclist Division where it remained until the end of the war, in the Canterbury area.[5]

3/1st Sherwood Rangers 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 the 1st Reserve Cavalry Regiment, also at Aldershot. Early in 1917 it was absorbed into the 3rd Reserve Cavalry Regiment at Aldershot.[5]

Between the wars[edit]

Post war, a commission was set up to consider the shape of the Territorial Force (Territorial Army from 1 October 1921). The experience of the First World War made it clear that cavalry was surfeit. The commission decided that only the 14 most senior regiments were to be retained as cavalry (though the Lovat Scouts and the Scottish Horse were also to remain mounted as "scouts"). Eight regiments were converted to Armoured Car Companies of the Royal Tank Corps (RTC), one was reduced to a battery in another regiment, one was absorbed into a local infantry battalion, one became a signals regiment and two were disbanded. The remaining 25 regiments were converted to brigades[a] of the Royal Field Artillery between 1920 and 1922.[8] As the 4th most senior regiment in the order of precedence, the regiment was retained as horsed cavalry.[9]

Second World War[edit]

The crew of a Sherman tank named 'Akilla' of 1st Nottinghamshire Yeomanry, 8th Armoured Brigade, after having destroyed five German tanks in a day, Rauray, Normandy, 30 June 1944. (IWM B6222)

Between the wars the Regiment continued as a cavalry unit, mobilising in that role in 1939, upon the outbreak of World War II, to move to Palestine, as part of the 5th Cavalry Brigade of the 1st Cavalry Division. However, in 1940 it converted to Artillery and took part in the defence of both Tobruk and Benghazi as well as the battle for Crete. In 1941 the Regiment converted to armour initially with M3 Grant, M4 Sherman and Crusader tank, and was assigned to the 8th Armoured Brigade. The Regiment served in most of the major Eighth Army tank battles in North Africa, including Alam El Halfa and El Alamein and the Tunisia Campaign. The Regiment landed in France on D-Day equipped with swimming DD Sherman and Sherman Firefly tanks and was in the thick of the fighting in Normandy and on the advance across northern France and Belgium. The recce troop was the first British unit to fight on German soil in September 1944, fighting in Operation Market Garden, and later took part in the Western Allied invasion of Germany.

The Sherwood Rangers were involved in further hard fighting around the Rhine and had pushed onto Bremen and beyond by the end of the war. The Regiment's record in the Second World War is evidenced by 30 battle honours and 159 awards to its Yeomen. Throughout the Second World War the Sherwood Rangers Yeomanry lost 250 officers and men killed in action, with over twice that number wounded or missing.

Post war[edit]

In 1947 the Sherwood Rangers were revived as an armoured regiment, converting to reconnaissance in 1961. In 1964 the Regiment converted back to tanks before, in 1967, being reduced and reformed as a reconnaissance squadron of the newly created Royal Yeomanry. Fighting (Sabre) Troops (1-5) were equipped with, initially, a combination of Ferret armoured car and Alvis Saladin armoured cars and later with Fox Armoured Reconnaissance Vehicle. SHQ troop started in Alvis Saracen later having available FV105 Sultan ACV and FV104 Samaritan Armoured Ambulance. Support (Boot) Troop were initially equipped with Saracen and then CVR(T) Spartan APCs. This lasted for 25 years until 1992 when the Sherwood Rangers were moved to become B Squadron of the Queen's Own Yeomanry, where they operated as recce for the ACE Rapid Reaction Corps, during which period sabre troops were re-equipped with CVR(T) Scimitar and Sabre. Operating with logistical support provided by an Admin troop equipped with "4 tonners" and Land Rovers, the Unit, also had an element of REME LAD (Light Aid Detachment) who were equipped with first a Scammel then Foden recovery vehicle, then a Spartan (which ought to have been a Samson) CVRT recovery vehicle.

The squadron rejoined the Royal Yeomanry as Challenger 2 reserves in 1999 and converted to the formation CBRN reconnaissance role in 2006. Following the latest defence review the Squadron became 'light cavalry' using the WIMIK version of the Land Rover Wolf. Notably Staff Sergeant Squires retired in December 2015.

Battle honours[edit]

The Sherwood Rangers Yeomanry was awarded the following battle honours (honours in bold are emblazoned on the regimental colours):[10]

Second Boer War South Africa 1900–02
First World War Struma, Macedonia 1916–17, Suvla, Scimitar Hill, Gallipoli 1915, Egypt 1915–16, Gaza, El Mughar, Nebi Samwil, Megiddo, Sharon, Damascus, Palestine 1917–18
Second World War Normandy Landing, Villers Bocage, Odon, Fontenay le Pesnil, Defence of Rauray, Mont Pincon, Noireau Crossing, Seine 1944, Gheil, Nederrijn, Geilenkirchen, Roer, Rhineland, Cleve, Goch, Weeze, Rhine, North-West Europe 1944–45, Alam el Halfa, El Alamein, El Agheila, Advance on Tripoli, Tebaga Gap, Point 201 (Roman Wall), El Hamma, Chebket en Nouiges, Enfidaville, Takrouna, North Africa 1940–43

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ The basic organic unit of the Royal Artillery was, and is, the Battery.[6] When grouped together they formed brigades, in the same way that infantry battalions or cavalry regiments were grouped together in brigades. At the outbreak of the First World War, a field artillery brigade of headquarters (4 officers, 37 other ranks), three batteries (5 and 193 each), and a brigade ammunition column (4 and 154)[7] had a total strength just under 800 so was broadly comparable to an infantry battalion (just over 1,000) or a cavalry regiment (about 550). Like an infantry battalion, an artillery brigade was usually commanded by a Lieutenant-Colonel. Artillery brigades were redesignated as regiments in 1938.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Mileham 1994, p. 27
  2. ^ Imperial Yeomanry at regiments.org by T.F.Mills at the Wayback Machine (archived 29 May 2007)
  3. ^ Rinaldi 2008, p. 35
  4. ^ a b James 1978, p. 36
  5. ^ a b c d James 1978, p. 26
  6. ^ "The Royal Artillery". Ministry of Defence (United Kingdom). Retrieved 18 November 2013. 
  7. ^ Baker, Chris. "What was an artillery brigade?". The Long, Long Trail. Retrieved 18 November 2013. 
  8. ^ Mileham 1994, pp. 48–51
  9. ^ Mileham 1994, p. 73
  10. ^ The Sherwood Rangers Yeomanry at regiments.org by T.F.Mills at the Wayback Machine (archived 23 October 2007)

Bibliography[edit]

External links[edit]