Unit History: West Kent Yeomanry
The Queen's Own West Kent Yeomanry was a volunteer Cavalry Regiment of the British Army, first raised in 1794.
Raised to defend the United Kingdom against invasion by the French during the Napoleonic Wars.
Each troop was about 50 strong with three officers (Captain, Lieutenant, Cornet), they were required to provide their own uniforms and mounts while the government would supply their arms and ammunition.
In 1827 the government disbanded Yeomanry Regiments in districts where they had not been mobilised in the previous 10 years.
The Queen's Own West Kent Yeomanry was stood down and their equipment returned to the regular army. But for this gap in service, the Kent Yeomanry formations would have been the most senior Yeomanry Regiments in the country in terms of the date of acceptance of its senior troop - the Cinque Ports Cavalry.
The West Kent Yeomanry was reformed in 1830 and in 1864 the West Kent Yeomanry was awarded the title Queen's Own and became known as the Queen's Own West Kent Yeomanry.
West Kent Yeomanry during the Boer War
The Queen's Own West Kent Yeomanry raised 1 volunteer formation:
36th (West Kent) Company which was attached to the 8th Infantry Division a regular army formation.
West Kent Yeomanry during WW1
Queen's Own West Kent Yeomanry formed and raised the following Regiments:
1/1st West Kent Yeomanry
During August 1914 the regiment was located in Canterbury moving on 24 September 1915 sailing from Liverpool to Gallipoli.
On 08 October the regiment landed and came under the command of 42nd (East Lancashire) Division.
During January 1916 the regiment withdrew from Gallipoli and arrived at Mudros early Feb 1916.
The brigade was absorbed into 3rd Dismounted Brigade on the Suez Canal defences.
In February 1917 merged with the East Kent Yeomanry and formed 10th Bn, the Buffs and came under command of 230th Brigade in 74th (Yeomanry) Division.
7 May 1918 landed at Marseilles and spent rest of war on Western Front.
Formed as a Second Line Regiment in September 1914 and remained in the UK throughout the war.
Placed under the command of 2/1st South Eastern Mounted Brigade, during March 1916 their Brigade was re-titled 14th Mounted Brigade and came under orders of 4th Mounted Division.
In July 1916 they were placed under the command of 3rd Mounted Brigade in the 1st Mounted Division near Maidstone.
During October 1916 the Regiment re-roled into a cyclist unit and amalgamated with 2/1st East Kent Yeomanry to form 9th (East and West Kent) Yeomanry Cyclist Regiment under command of 3rd Cyclist Brigade.
The Regiment remained under the command of 3rd Cyclist Brigade but in March 1917 resumed their original identity.
The Regiment moved to Ireland and remained there until the end of the war.
Formed as a Third-Line training unit in 1915.
February 1917 the Regiment was disbanded and some personnel were reassigned to 2/1st and others transferred to 4th Reserve Bn, the Royal West Kent Regiment.
The West Kent Yeomanry became the 387th (Queen's Own) Yeomanry and the 388th (Queen's Own) Yeomanry.
All Kent Yeomanry units were attached to 97th (Kent Yeomanry) Army Brigade , Royal Field Artillery.
In 1938 the unit was re-designated the 97th (Kent Yeomanry) Field Regiment, Royal Artillery,
385th (Duke of Connaught's Own) Battery based at Canterbury
386th (Duke of Connaught's Own) Battery based at Ashford
387th (Queen's Own) Yeomanry based at Maidstone
388th (Queen's Own) Yeomanry based at Bromley
In 1939 a further Second Line Territorial Force Yeomanry unit was formed - 143rd (Kent Yeomanry) Field Regiment, Royal Artillery this was formed from 386th and 388th batteries.
West Kent Yeomanry during WW2
Upon the outbreak of War, the 97th (Kent Yeomanry) Field Regiment, was immediately mobilised.
It moved immediately to France as part of the British Expeditionery Force and in 1940 was evacuated from Dunkirk with the rest of the British Army.
In 1941 the regiment was sent to the Middle East and served in the 10th Army as part of the 10th Indian Division in Iraq
It later joined the 7th Armoured Division the Desert Rats in July 1942, being involved in the Battle of Alam el Halfa the First and Second Battle of El Alamein, until October 1943 when it rejoined the 10th Indian Division, serving in North Africa, Palestine and Italy, where it ended the war on the Adriatic coast near Trieste.
143rd (Kent Yeomanry) Field Regiment
In 1939 the 143rd spent the first two years of the war in Iceland. On it's return to the UK in 1941 the regiment joined the 49th Division and served throughout France and particularly Normandy.
Providing support during the D Day landings at Caen, Le Havre and Turnhaut Canal. The 143rd spent the Winter of 1944-45 by the River Maas on the Dutch German border. Their final action was at Arnhem in April 1945.
In 1947 the Kent Yeomanry units were formed into the 297th (Kent Yeomanry) Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment, Royal Artillery in 44th (Home Counties) Division.
It was equipt with 40mm Bofor anti-aircraft guns.
In 1961 the 297th (Kent Yeomanry) Light Anti-Aicraft Regiment, Royal Artillery and the 3/4th County of London Yeomanry (Sharpshooters) were amalgamated to form the Kent & County of London Yeomanry (Sharpshooters).
Six years later the Kent and County of London Yeomanry (Sharpshooters) was reduced to squadron strength to form C Squadron of the Royal Yeomanry.
More recently members of the Squadron have been deployed on operational tours in support of the regular army to Kosovo, Bosnia and Kuwait.
In 2003 nine members of the Squadron were mobilised to form part of a Royal Yeomanry Squadron for the Joint NBC Regiment deploying on Operation TELIC. Further deployments have been to the southern province of Basra and Al Amarah, in Iraq.