Westmorland & Cumberland Yeomanry

The Westmorland and Cumberland Yeomanry was a Yeomanry Cavalry Regiment of the British Army formed in 1828. They were a part of the Imperial Yeomanry during the Boer War and would remain in Great Britain for the first years of the Great War but went to sail for France in 1917 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.[1]

Boer War[edit]

On December 13, 1899, the decision to allow volunteer forces serve in the Second Boer War was made. Due to the string of defeats during Black Weeke in December, 1899, the British government realized they were going to need more troops than just the regular army, thus issuing a Royal Warrant on December 24, 1899. This warrant 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 mid-upper class) volunteered to join the new regiment.[2] 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 contained 550 officers, 10,371 men with 20 battalions and 4 companies[3], which arrived in South Africa between February and April, 1900.[4] Upon arrival, the regiment was sent throughout the zone of operations.
The Westmorland and Cumberland Yeomanry provided troops for the 8th Battalion Imperial Yeomanry , 24th (Westmorland and Cumberland) Company,[5]

World War I[edit]

During World War One the Westmorland and Cumberland Yeomanry provided a second and a third line regiment for service.They were known by the titles 1/1st , 2/1st and 3/1st Westmorland and Cumberland Yeomanry.[6] During World War I the unit is known 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.They were designated as the XI Corps , Cavalry Regiment in May 1916, with the Head Quarters, 'D' Squadron and the Machine Gun Section were attached to the 20th (Light) Division , this lasted until April 1916, when they were allocated to the 2nd Cavalry Division before re joining the XI Corps.[6] In June 1917, it was announced that due to manpower shortages the Regiment would be dismounted and retrain as infantry. When they had completed the infantry conversion the regiment was re designated the 7th (Westmorland and Cumberland Yeomanry) Battalion, the Border Regiment.[6]

2/1st Westmorland and Cumberland Yeomanry[edit]

The 2/1st was formed in September 1914, they were attached to the Western Mounted Brigade later re designated as the 21st Mounted Brigade and then the 14th Cyclist Brigade , they did not see any active service and remained in the United Kingdom until May 1918 when they were moved to Ireland.[6]

3/1st Westmorland and Cumberland Yeomanry[edit]

Formed in 1915. Remained in United Kingdom until absorbed into 10th Reserve Cavalry Regiment in Summer 1916. Personnel were transferred as infantry to 5th (Reserve) Bn Durham Light Infantry in early 1918.[6]

World War II[edit]

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

The 51st (Westmorland & Cumberland) Field Artillery Regiment Territorial Army (TA) originally had two batteries the 203rd (Cumberland) and 370th (Cumberland Yeomanry).During World War Two in 1940 they served in Norway, during the Norwegian Campaign on detachment from the 42nd (East Lancashire) Division.They were next in 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, they served in Ceylon , the 16th Brigade , in 1943 they moved to India and joined the 70th Infantry Division , this lasted until September 1943 when they were placed in suspended animation.[7]

References / notes[edit]

  1. Tankmuseum
  2. 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.
  3. "Imperial Yeomanry". Archived from the original on 2007-05-29. Retrieved 2007-06-11.
  4. "Boer War - Imperial Yeomanry Battalions". Retrieved 2007-07-03.
  5. Angloboerwar.com
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 1914-1918
  7. Ian Paterson