Unit History: Prince of Wales's Own Regiment of Yorkshire
The Prince of Wales's Own Regiment of Yorkshire was an infantry regiment of the British Army, part of the King's Division.
The Prince of Wales's Own Regiment of Yorkshire was formed on 25th April 1958 by the amalgamation of The West Yorkshire Regiment (The Prince Of Wales's Own) and The East Yorkshire Regiment (The Duke of Yorks Own). The first overseas posting for the newly-formed Regiment was Aden, Yemen from September 1958 to June 1959. This was followed by Gibraltar from June 1959 to June 1961. The battalion served in Wuppertal, West Germany from 1961 to 1964, Berlin 1964-1965, then again in Aden from September 1965 till September 1966, Then Colchester, England from 1966 till 1969.
The year 1967 saw deployment of operational elements to Cornwall to assist with the environmental clean-up following the Torrey Canyon oil-spill disaster, followed by a return to Aden in June after the mutinies by the Federal Police and Federal Regular Army. Aden saw the deaths in action of two soldiers from the regiment, as well as the awards of one Military Cross one Military Medal and a Mention In Despatches. The battalion returned to Colchester in late 1967. This period also saw the formation of South Yemen.
In April 1969, the battalion flew to Ulster as part of the UK Governments response to terrorist attacks on infrastructure in the troubled province, they effectively became the first British military unit to become involved in the resulting years of sectarian violence. 1PWOs presence and constant patrolling of vital points initially stabilised the situation in the regiment's operational area of County Down. On 12 July, sectarian violence led to a rapid redeployment to Londonderry. Decisive action by the Royal Ulster Constabulary again calmed the situation down and the battalion moved into a fixed tactical base at Magilligans Point, north of Limavady on the shores of Lough Foyle. On 12 August, the violence erupted in a concerted campaign which, after nearly three days of street battles, saw the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) exhausted and defeated. On 14 August 1969, 1PWO - on behalf of the British Army - took over responsibility for the security of Londonderry.
From February 1970 to October 1972, the battalion were based in Cyprus, and returned to the UK in 1972 for another tour of Northern Ireland, ending in November 1973. From 1973-1978 the regiment were stationed in West Germany at Celle, as part of the 7th Armoured Brigade, Equipped with FV 432. From 1978 to 1983 the regiment served as the Allied Mobile Force in Norway (AMF(L)N) and exercised extensively in Norway where companies were fully ski-borne.
In May 1983 the battalion started a two year tour as part of the Berlin Infantry Brigade, where in 1984 it was presented with new regimental Colours. In April 1985 the Battalion moved again to Abercorn Barracks, Ballykinler, Northern Ireland and was heavily committed in maintaining law and order, particularly in the terrorist plagued countryside of South Armagh. In May 1987 the regiment again moved to Catterick, North Yorkshire, to join 24 Infantry Brigade, equipped with Saxon APC. This was the battalion's first tour in Yorkshire since amalgamation. The battalion was renamed and re-roled in 1988 to become 24 Airmobile Brigade (formerly 24 Infantry Brigade) and were able to deploy 42 MILAN Anti-tank guided missiles.
In August 1990 the Battalion moved to Osnabruck in West Germany to take up a Mechanised Infantry role as part of 12 Armoured Brigade. During the First Gulf War, or Operation Granby (later known as Desert storm) the battalion deployed formed units that included a Milan Section and a Mortar section to the 1st battalion of the Staffordshire Regiment, many men deployed on an individual basis reinforcing units. Up to one third of the battalion was deployed to the Gulf. During Winter 1991 the battalion was once again in Northern Ireland, as the West Belfast Roulement Battalion and had a successful tour. On return the battalion was re-equipped with the Warrior tracked armoured vehicle, with training in the German Soltau training area.
As a result of the 1992 Strategic Defence Review the then government of John Major decided to bring Territorial Army (TA) and Regular Army units closer together, as a result The 2nd Battalion The Yorkshire Volunteers became 3rd Battalion The Prince of Wales's Own Regiment of Yorkshire (Yorkshire Volunteers). The 3rd Battalion was based at York. 3PWO lasted for 6 years until defence cuts reduce the size of the TA to two thirds of its original size.
1993 saw the regiment deployed to Bosnia as part of UNPFOR, with companies in Gornji Vakuf and Vitez. They picked up the unofficial nickname of "Gun Bat" due to the robustness of the battalions actions. In 1994 they moved to the British Army Training Unit Suffield, Canada followed by a move to Warminster as the Infantry Demonstration Battalion at the Land Warfare Centre. 1997 saw the Battalion stationed in Chester with deployments to Ulster, West Africa, support to Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food during the foot and mouth outbreak. Training exercises took troops to Kenya, Jamaica, Italy and Oman. By 2001-2003 1PWO was in Omagh followed by a move to Catterick Garrison as an Air Assault Battalion, with deployments to Bosnia, as part of SFOR and a training exercise to Belize in 2005. The regiment amalgamated with its sister battalions of The Green Howards and The Duke of Wellingtons Regiment to form The Yorkshire Regiment on (6 June 2006).
The Regiment conducted three tours in Aden, two in Bosnia, six in Northern Ireland, one in Sierra Leone.