The Royal Wessex Yeomanry was formed in 1971 from three yeomanry regiments of the West Country whose history goes back to 1794. The royal prefix was granted in 1979 and four years later the regiment was converted to a medium reconnaissance role in Land rovers.
Regimental headquarters are with the Dorset Yeomanry Squadron in Bovington. Other squadrons are at Salisbury, Cirencester, Barnstaple and Paignton.
Badges are worn to squadron tradition. The Royal Wiltshires (PWO) have the Prince of Wales's crest (since 1863) and the fern leaf emblem of the New Zealand Division, a sign of service with the 'Kiwis' in the North African desert during the Second World War. The Royal Gloucestershire Hussars Squadron wear a portcullis and ducal crown badge, the Dorset Squadron a crowned Garter belt within a laurel wreath bearing scrolls inscribed SOUTH AFRICA and THE GREAT WAR. The Royal Devons Squadron wear the badge of the Royal 1st Devon Yeomanry, a circlet crowned with the royal crest encircling a crown and a hand clutching a parchment.
The Gloucesters chose the old hunting song, D'ye Ken John Peel, for their march in 1890, hosting, as they did, four masters of hounds and a field master. The Devons adopted Widecombe Fair.
The Royal Gloucestershire Hussars Band was first formed in 1834, when the regiment began its long association with Badminton and the dukes of Beaufort. It dresses in the old Beaufort blue uniform of that regiment.
The Royal Wiltshire Yeomanry were seconded to XV Corps in 1916
In 1920 four West Country yeomanry regiments were converted to the artillery arm and served under the RA until 1967. The process involved amalgamation between the Royal 1st Devons and the Royal North Devons, and the Queen's Own Dorset Yeomanry with the West Somerset Yeomanry and the Somerset Royal Horse Artillery. These TA regiments went into the Second World War as gunners and brought an added dimension to their arm of service.
This was formed in 1992 by the union of the Queen's Own Mercian Yeomanry and the Duke of Lancaster's Own Yeomanry, regiments that dated back to the 1790s. Regimental headquarters are at Telford, with squadrons at Dudley, Chester and Wigan.
The regimental badge is a Mercian eagle with a Saxon crown, superimposed on a Lancaster rose with the Duke of Lancaster's coronet. Other badges on the regimental guidon are the Warwicks' bear and ragged staff, the Worcesters' sprig of pear blossom, the Shropshires' loggerheads and the Staffords' knot and motto Pro aris et focis. The motto was used by many volunteer regiments in the 1790s and can be said to represent their purpose for rising up in the face of a threatened invasion - For our hearths and homes. In 1941 the red triangle sign of Bass Breweries at Burton upon Trent was adopted by the Stafford Yeomanry as a backing to their badge.
A print of 1799 depicting Warwickshire Yeomen at sword exercise. English troops had no actual enemy to contend with and enjoyed impressing locals with their military bearing. (Warwickshire Yeomanry Museum)
The quick march, Light of Foot, and slow march, Scipio, come from the QO Mercian Yeomanry. Other marches in the repertoire are The Warwickshire Lads, Lillie Marlene (ex-Staffords when serving as gunners in the Second World War) and John o' Gaunt (Duke of Lancaster's).
The title Duke of Lancaster's Own was bestowed on the Lancashire Corps of Yeomanry Cavalry by William IV in 1834. The title belongs to the monarchy, and successive sovereigns have presided over the regiment.
When Princess Victoria was crowned Queen in 1838 she acknowledged the cavalry escort on her visit to Shugborough six years before and made the SYC The Queen's Own Royal Regiment of Staffordshire Yeomanry Cavalry.
The yeomanry is remembered for its service in the Middle East during both world wars. All of the RM&LY's forming regiments fought there between 1915 and 1918, and the Warwickshires and Cheshires returned to Palestine in 1939. The Warwickshire and Worcestershire regiments, which amalgamated in 1956, took part in one of the last mounted charges against guns and entrenched infantry, at Gaza in 1917.
This was formed in 1971 from the Queen's Own Yorkshire Yeomanry, the Ayrshire Yeomanry, Cheshire Yeomanry and the Northumberland Hussars. The Cheshire was later moved to the Mercian Yeomanry and replaced by squadrons in Scotland and Northern Ireland. The Yorkshire and Scottish units date back to the 1790s.
Regimental headquarters are at Newcastle upon Tyne, with squadrons at York, Ayr, Cupar and Belfast.
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