Unit History: Cambridgeshire Regiment
The Regiment was officially formed in 1860 as the Cambridgeshire Rifle Volunteer Corps. However, its roots lie in the Militia which had existed in Britain for more than 1000 years, to defend against foreign enemies and domestic rebels. Men between the ages of 18-45 years were chosen for 3 years of service by a drawing of lots, or paid £10 to find a substitute and were the responsibility of Lord Lieutenants of Counties.
In 1880 all volunteer units in the county were amalgamated into the 1st Cambridgeshire Rifle Volunteer Corps. As part of the Childers Reforms, the volunteer battalion became part of the Suffolk Regiment and in 1887 was renamed as the 3rd (Cambridgeshire) Volunteer Battalion, The Suffolk Regiment. The Childers Reforms aimed to restructure the British army infantry regiments, to create a network of multi-battalion regiments each consisting of; two regular and two militia battalions. Militiamen were part-time conscripts, which could be readily called-out and often undertook garrison duties to release Regular Army units for operations. The 3rd Battalion remained in the country during all foreign campaigns except during the Second Boer War (1899–1902), when voluntary detachments were sent to reinforce the regular Suffolk Regiment.
In 1908 the Haldane Reforms sought the closer integration of Volunteer Battalions with the Regular Army, creating the Territorial Force. These reforms abolished the existing Volunteer and Yeomanry Regiments, using them to create 14 Territorial infantry Divisions, 14 cavalry Brigades, and various support units. These were raised, organised and financed by local organisations but liable for service under War Office command. The Militia became a Special Reserve, which contained men willing to serve with the Regular Army during wartime.
The 3rd (Cambridgeshire) Volunteer Battalion, the Suffolk Regiment became the 1st Battalion The Cambridgeshire Regiment. Territorial soldiers are part-time and pledge to train one evening a week and attend 14 consecutive days of annual training. During training they receive Regular Army pay for their rank. Territorial’s can only be called-out for full-time service by a Royal Proclamation in time of dire national emergency or war. The Regiment went on to serve during two World Wars, serving in the Far East and at the fall of Singapore during the Second World War.
In 1947 the Regiment became the 629th Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment, Royal Artillery (The Cambridgeshire Regiment), but returned to its traditional role and designation as 1st Battalion, The Cambridgeshire Regiment (TA) in 1956. In 1961 there was a general reduction in the size of the Territorial Army and 1st Cambridgeshire and 4th Suffolk Battalions were amalgamated to form the Suffolk and Cambridgeshire Regiment (TA). In 1967, the TA was once again reduced and the Suffolk and Cambridgeshire Regiment was subsequently disbanded.
Cambridgeshire Regiment during WW1
The Regiment was awarded 27 Battle Honours and over 300 gallantry medals, losing a total of 77 Officers and 789 Other Ranks during the course of the war.
04.08.1914 Stationed at Cambridge as part of the East Midland Brigade of the East Anglian Division and then moved to Romford and then Long Melford and then on to Bury St. Edmunds.
Sept 1914 Moved to Stowlangtoft near bury and then moved back to Bury St. Edmunds
Feb 1915 Mobilised for war leaving the East Anglian Division landing at Havre and joined the 82nd brigade of the 27th Division which engaged in various actions on the Western Front including;
The action of St Eloi, The Second Battle of Ypres.
15.11.1915 Transferred to the VII Corps Troops and then the Training Battalion of the 3rd Army School at Flixecourt.
29.02.1916 Transferred to the 118th Brigade of the 39th Division;
An attack near Richebourg l'Avoue, The fighting on the Ancre, The Battle of Thiepval Ridge, The Battle of the Ancre heights, The Battle of the Ancre.
The Battle of Pilkem Ridge, The Battle of Langemarck, The Battle of the Menin Road Ridge, The Battle of Polygon Wood, The Second Battle of Passchendaele.
The Battle of St Quentin, The actions at the Somme crossings, The Battle of Bapaume, The Battle of Rosieres, The fighting on Wytschaete Ridge, The First Battle of Kemmel, The Second Battle of Kemmel, The Battle of the Scherpenberg.
09.05.1918 Absorbed 11 Officers and 408 men from the 7th Suffolk Regiment and transferred to the 35th Brigade of the 12th Division;
The Battle of Albert, The Battle of Epehy, The Final Advance in Artois.
11.11.1918 Ended the war at Hergnies N.E. of St. Amand, France.
Sept 1914 Formed at Cambridge and then moved to Peterborough as part of the 207th Brigade of the 69th Division.
Feb 1915 Moved to Bury St. Edmunds to replace the 1/1st Battalion of the East Midland Brigade of the East Anglian Division.
April 1915 Returned to Peterborough and rejoined the 207th Brigade of the 69th Division.
June 1915 Moved to Newmarket.
Nov 1915 Formed the 4/1st Battalion.
June 1916 Move to Harrogate and then Middlesbrough.
May 1917 Moved to Carburton Near Ollerton.
08.10.1917 Moved to Canterbury and transferred to the 200th Brigade of the 67th Division.
Mar 1918 Disbanded.
Formed at Cambridge and then on to Windsor and then Halton Park, Tring.
08.04.1916 Became the 1st (Reserve) Battalion.
01.09.1916 Joined the East Anglian Reserve Brigade.
23.07.1917 Combined with the 4th (Reserve) Battalion of the Suffolk Regiment forming the Cambridge & Suffolk Reserve Battalion.
Aug 1917 Moved to Crowborough.
Aug 1918 Moved to Hastings.
Nov 1915 Formed at Newmarket and then moved to Bury St. Edmunds to join the 208th Brigade of the 69th Division.
June 1916 Moved to Harrogate and then Doncaster.
May 1917 Moved to Thoresby near Ollerton.
Oct 1917 Disbanded.