Yorkshire Hussars

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Yorkshire Hussars
Yorkshire Hussars badge and service cap.jpg
Badge and service cap as worn at the outbreak of World War II
Active 1794–1956
Country  Kingdom of Great Britain (1794–1800)
 United Kingdom (1801–1956)
Branch  British Army
Type Yeomanry
Size One Regiment
Engagements

Second Boer War
First World War

France and Flanders 1915–18
Second World War
Battle honours See battle honours below

The Yorkshire Hussars was a unit of the British Army from 1794 to 1956.

The regiment was formed as volunteer cavalry in 1794 during the French Revolutionary Wars. It was converted to an armoured role during the Second World War. In 1956, it merged with two other Yorkshire yeomanry regiments to form the Queen's Own Yorkshire Yeomanry. Its lineage is continued today by the Queen's Own Yeomanry.

History[edit]

Formation and early history[edit]

The regiment was formed in 1794 as the 2nd or Northern Regiment of Yorkshire West Riding Yeomanry. It was disbanded at the Peace of Amiens in March 1802, but three troops offered to renew their services and reconstitute the regiment in July, and four more were added in October. On 11 January 1819, the regiment was converted to a hussar regiment as the Yorkshire Hussar Regiment of Yeomanry Cavalry. In 1864, the title was augmented with "Alexandra, Princess of Wales's Own".

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 realised 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:[2]

  • 9th (Yorkshire (Doncaster)) Company, 3rd Battalion in 1900
  • 66th (Yorkshire) Company, 16th Battalion (co-sponsored with the Yorkshire Dragoons) in 1900; transferred to the 3rd Battalion In 1902
  • 109th (Yorkshire Hussars) Company, 3rd Battalion in 1901

First World War[edit]

Yorkshire 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 Yorkshire Hussars[edit]

On 1 September, Lord Feversham formed a 1st Line regiment of Yorkshire Hussars who volunteered to serve abroad, which was designated 1/1st Yorkshire Hussars.[4]

In February 1915, the 1/1st Yorkshire Hussars split up to be employed as Divisional Cavalry

A Squadron seeing action at the Second Battle of Ypres, B at the Battle of Loos and C at the Battle of Aubers Ridge.

On 16 May 1916, the 1/1st Yorkshire Hussars reassembled under Lieutenant Colonel W Pepys as Corps Cavalry to XVII Corps and were present at the Battle of Arras. The Regiment was reorganised and reroled in August 1917. After six weeks infantry training at Étaples, the bulk of the Yorkshire Hussars were drafted to the 9th Battalion West Yorkshire Regiment. The Battalion was titled the "9th (Yorkshire Hussars) Battalion West Yorkshire Regiment"[4] and wore The Yorkshire Hussars cap-badge and West York collar-badges. The Battalion saw much hard fighting taking part in the Battle of Passchendaele.

2/1st Yorkshire Hussars[edit]

The 2nd Line regiment was formed in 1914.[5] In 1915 it was under the command of the 2/1st Yorkshire Mounted Brigade in Yorkshire (along with the 2/1st Queen's Own Yorkshire Dragoons[6] and the 2/1st East Riding of Yorkshire Yeomanry[7]) and by March 1916 was in the Beverley area.[8] On 31 March 1916, the remaining Mounted Brigades were numbered in a single sequence and the brigade became 18th Mounted Brigade, still in Yorkshire under Northern Command.[9]

In July 1916 there was a major reorganisation of 2nd Line yeomanry units in the UK. All but 12 regiments were converted to cyclists[9] and, as a consequence, the regiment was dismounted and the brigade converted to 11th Cyclist Brigade. Further reorganisation in October and November 1916 saw the brigade redesignated as 7th Cyclist Brigade in November, now in the Bridlington area.[8] In March 1917, the regiment moved to Driffield and in July to Barmston. It returned to Bridlington in January 1918.[5]

About May 1918, the Brigade moved to Ireland[8] and the regiment was stationed at Fermoy, County Cork and Fethard, County Tipperary. There were no further changes before the end of the war.[5]

3/1st Yorkshire Hussars[edit]

A 3rd Line regiment was formed in 1914 and in the summer of 1915 was affiliated to 5th Reserve Cavalry Regiment at York. Early in 1917 it was absorbed into the 5th Reserve Cavalry Regiment at Tidworth. In 1918 it was removed from the 5th Reserve Cavalry Regiment, as its 1st Line was serving as infantry, and joined the 5th (Reserve) Battalion of the West Yorkshire Regiment at Rugeley, Cannock Chase.[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.[12] As the 3rd most senior regiment in the order of precedence, the regiment was retained as horsed cavalry.[13]

Second World War[edit]

In the Second World War, the Regiment was a part of the 6th Cavalry Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, which later became the 10th Armoured Division. This meant that the Regiment had to convert to armour and started tank training with Stuart tanks as part of the 9th Armoured Brigade. In March 1942, the Regiment became the Armoured Striking Force in Cyprus with Cruiser and Valentine tanks, and from there to Egypt in January 1943, taking over Sherman and Crusader tanks, before returning to England at the end of the year.

In 1944, the regiment converted to become an Infantry Division Recce Regiment and was initially attached to 50th (Northumbrian) Infantry Division, then transferred to the 61st Infantry Division. The Regiment missed out on the D-Day landings. From April to August, the Regiment split up into Squadrons to take over and run "D" Day Embarkation Camps. In August, the Regiment reunited and the drafting of all tank-trained personnel began in earnest; the Regiment becoming a ‘Recce Holding Unit’ for refresher training and drafting of returned wounded Recce personnel. In June 1945, the Regiment reorganised as a Light Armoured Regiment, equipped with Churchills. It was placed in ‘suspended animation’ in March 1946.[14]

Post war[edit]

On 1 November 1956, the yeomanry regiments in Yorkshire were amalgamated into The Queen's Own Yorkshire Yeomanry. On 1 April 1967, the regiment was disbanded and concurrently reconstituted as a TAVR III infantry unit with the RHQ and 'A' Squadron at York, 'B' Squadron at Doncaster and 'C' Squadron at Hull. On 1 April 1969, the regiment was reduced to a cadre and then reformed on 1 April 1971, as 'Y' Squadron, (re-designated in 2014 as 'A' Squadron) The Queen's Own Yeomanry.[15][16]

Battle honours[edit]

The Yorkshire Hussars was awarded the following battle honours (honours in bold are emblazoned on the regimental colours):[17]

Second Boer War South Africa 1900–02
First World War Arras 1918, Scarpe 1918, Drocourt-Quéant, Hindenburg Line, Canal du Nord, Cambrai 1918, Selle, Sambre, France and Flanders 1915–18

Strangely, given its overseas service, the regiment was not awarded any battle honours for the Second World War.[17]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ The basic organic unit of the Royal Artillery was, and is, the Battery.[10] 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)[11] 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 c Baker, Chris. "The Yorkshire Hussars". The Long, Long Trail. Retrieved 14 February 2014. 
  5. ^ a b c d James 1978, p. 31
  6. ^ Baker, Chris. "The Yorkshire Dragoons". The Long, Long Trail. Retrieved 14 February 2014. 
  7. ^ Baker, Chris. "The East Riding of Yorkshire Yeomanry". The Long, Long Trail. Retrieved 14 February 2014. 
  8. ^ a b c James 1978, pp. 31,32
  9. ^ a b James 1978, p. 36
  10. ^ "The Royal Artillery". Ministry of Defence (United Kingdom). Archived from the original on 23 October 2013. Retrieved 18 November 2013. 
  11. ^ Baker, Chris. "What was an artillery brigade?". The Long, Long Trail. Retrieved 18 November 2013. 
  12. ^ Mileham 1994, pp. 48–51
  13. ^ Mileham 1994, p. 73
  14. ^ The Yorkshire Hussars by L Barlow and R J Smith
  15. ^ T F Mills (16 July 2006). "The Queen's Own Yorkshire Yeomanry". regiments.org. Archived from the original on 16 August 2007. 
  16. ^ "win.tue". 
  17. ^ a b The Yorkshire Hussars (Alexandra, Princess of Wales's Own) at regiments.org by T.F.Mills at the Wayback Machine (archived 23 October 2007)

Bibliography[edit]

External links[edit]