Unit History: Surrey Yeomanry
The Surrey Yeomanry
The Surrey Yeomanry was raised as a unit of the British Army forming as a volunteer Cavalry Regiment sometime in 1794. Yeomanry Regiments were raised as a Home Defence force during the French Revolutionary Wars.
1901 the Regiment was bestowed with the title Princess of Wales's, this was changed to Queen Mary's when George V became the King.
Seeing Action in Both World Wars under a new names and in WW2 in different roles.
Between the wars:
In February 1920 The Surrey Yeomanry was reformed as an Army Troops unit within Eastern Command.
However, the post-war reorganisations of the Territorials made most of its Yeomanry Cavalry Regiments surplus to requirements and in early 1922 it was announced that the Surrey Yeomanry would convert to Royal Field Artillery.
98th (Surrey and Sussex Yeomanry, Queen Mary’s) Army Field Brigade, Royal Artillery.
This regiment was formed by the conversion and amalgamation of the Sussex Yeomanry, and the of the Surrey Yeomanry, Queen Mary’s Regiment in 1922.
Post World War 2
In 1947 The Regiment was re-formed as the 298th (Surrey Yeomanry, Queen Mary's) Field Regiment R.A and Successor units eventually became 200 (Sussex Yeomanry) Field Battery RA (V) and D Company went on to become 6/7th Bn The Queen's Regiment (V).
In April the Regiment was reduced to a cadre "The Surrey Yeomanry (Queen Mary's Regiment) RA" at Sutton, of the 100 Medium Regiment RA (V), with some personnel being transferred to 'C' Squadron, Royal Yeomanry Regiment (V).
In April 1971 they were reformed as infantry becoming 'D' (Surrey Yeomanry, Queen Mary's) Battery 6th (V) Battalion of the The Queen's Regiment in April 1975 this Battalion was disbanded and amalgamated with the 7th (Volunteer) Battalion to form 6th/7th (Volunteer) Battalion
The Headquarters, 391st and 392nd Batteries were based at Melbourne House, 72, King’s
Avenue, Clapham Park, London S.W. 4.
The 389th Battery was based at the Drill Hall, Gloster Road, Brighton and the 390th Battery at East Road, Chichester.
A reorganisation of TA Field Forces was announced in February 1938 and as part of this the Brigade redesignated 98th (Surrey and Sussex Yeomanry, Queen Mary's) Army Field Regiment, RA (TA). It was ordered to reorganise and reduce to two Batteries, in line with the new establishment for TA Field Artillery, but this reorganisation did not immediately come into effect.
In March 1939 the War Office ordered the doubling of the Territorial Army and this enabled the Regiment to shed its two surplus Batteries. The Sussex Yeomanry Batteries were withdrawn and formed into a duplicate Regiment, 144th (Sussex Yeomanry) Army Field Regiment, RA (TA), leaving the original Regiment comprising Headquarters, 391st and 392nd Field Batteries
Surrey Yeomanry during WW1
During WW I the Surrey Yeomanry formed and raised the following Regiments:
1/1st Surrey Yeomanry
When mobilised The Surry Yeomanry now known as the 1/1st Surrey Yeomanry was attached to the Southern Mounted Brigade of the 1st Mounted Division.
Late in 1914 the regiment was split up to provide cavalry support to several Divisions:
Regimental Head Quarters and A Squadron being attached to the 27th Division.
B Squadron joined the 28th Division.
C Squadron joined the 29th Division.
C Squadron would see service in the Dardanelles campaign at Gallipoli, in 1916 the Sqn moved to France as the XV Corps Cavalry squadron, then in July 1917 they were dismounted and sent to be retrained as infantry.
C Sqn were then drafted into the 10th Battalion Royal West Surrey Regiment in September 1917. In December 1916 the Regiment’s A and B Squadrons reformed to become the XVI Corps Cavalry Regiment in Salonika.
During WW1 the Regiment raised 2 Regiments. These are below:
2/1st Surrey Yeomanry
A second line regiment the 2/1st Surrey Yeomanry was raised in September 1914.
Converted from a Cavalry Regiment into the 8th (Surrey and Sussex) Yeomanry Cyclist Regiment in July 1916, the Regiment remained in mainland United Kingdom until being moved to Ireland in May 1918.
3/1st Surrey Yeomanry
The third regiment was formed in 1915 they also remained in the mainland United Kingdom then in January 1917 they were merged with the 1st Cavalry Reserve Regiment in Ireland, in January 1917. March of that year saw them reassume their original name.
Surrey Yeomanry during WW2
98 Field Regiment (Surrey & Sussex Yeomanry Queen Mary's)
On mobilisation in 1939, the Regiment was part of the British Expeditionary Force (B.E.F.) that was sent to France, initially attached to the 1st Infantry Division in the Lille area.
In May 1940 it would be attached in turn to the 46th Infantry Division and the 44th infantry Division during the German advance the regiments Guns and vehicles were caught in a traffic jam and had to be destroyed, with the troops proceeding on foot to Dunkirk for evacuation.
Back in the United Kingdom the regiment was attached to the 1st Infantry Brigade while it reformed.
It remained in the United Kingdom until September 1942 when it was sent out to the Middle East and attached to the 10th Armoured Division in Egypt where it participated in the Second Battle of El Alamein.
When 10th Armoured was disbanded the regiment was part of the 8th Army Artillery and served in Sicily and Italy being involved in the Battle of Monte Cassino amongst others before leaving Italy in March 1945 and joining the 2nd Army in France and Belgium ending the war in Holland.
In April 45 the Regimentt moved to the Lübeck area of Germany as occupation forces and demobilisation was started in October 1945 with the Regiment being placed in suspended animation in June 1946.
144 Field Regiment (Surrey & Sussex Yeomanry Queen Mary's)
The 144 Field Regiment remained in the United Kingdom in the early war years as part of the 12th (Eastern) Infantry Division and later the British 4th Infantry Division.
In November 1940 they were sent to Egypt and then attached to the 5th Indian Division seeing service in the Sudan, Abyssinia and Eritrea it was at Keru Gorge that 390 Battery were charged by about 60 Eritrean cavalry, almost certainly the last cavalry charge on the British Army.
The Regiment returned to Egypt with the division before being attached to the 70th Infantry Division during the Siege of Tobruk in September 1941.
After being withdrawn from Tobruk they were briefly attached to the 4th Indian Division in early 1942 and the British 1st Armoured Division in February to April 1942.
In May 1942 they were sent to Iraq with the 10th Army attached to the 17th Indian Infantry Brigade, 31st Indian Armoured Division they remained with this formation until the end of the war serving in Syria, Persia, Egypt, Palestine and Lebanon.