Unit History: West Somerset Yeomanry
West Somerset Yeomanry
The West Somerset Yeomanry was formed in 1794. Raised to defend the United Kingdom against invasion by the French during the Napoleonic Wars.
West Somerset Yeomanry during the Boer War
On 13 December 1899, the decision was made to allow volunteer forces to serve in the Second Boer War.
Due to the string of defeats during Black Week in December 1899, the HM government realised it required more troops than just the regular army. To do this a Royal Warrant was issued on 24 December 1899. This warrant officially created the Imperial Yeomanry.
The regiment provided troops for the 7th Battalion Imperial Yeomanry, and sailed for the Cape in March 1900.
West Somerset Yeomanry during WW1
During World War I the regiment raised 2 further Regiments:
2/1st and 3/1st Regiments.
1/1st West Somerset Yeomanry
On mobilisation the original regiment, the 1/1st West Somerset Yeomanry, came under the command of 2nd Mounted Brigade of the 1st Mounted Division.
During October 1915, they received their orders for service and landed at Suvla Bay in Gallipoli where they were attached to the 11th (Northern) Division.
On 5 November 1915, they were attached to the 2nd Mounted Division. Having been evacuation from Gallipoli, they moved on to Egypt and became part of the 2nd Dismounted Brigade, part of the Western Frontier Force.
On 4 January 1917, the Regiment was re-roled to an infantry unit and formed the 12th Battalion, (West Somerset Yeomanry), Somerset Light Infantry, and came under the command of 229th Brigade, 74th (Yeomanry) Division.
They remained on the Western Front in France until the end of the war.
2/1st West Somerset Yeomanry
The 2/1st West Somerset Yeomanry was raised in September 1914 and in 1916, re-roled to a cyclist unit.
It remained in the United Kingdom until moving to Ireland in May 1918, until the end of the war.
3/1st West Somerset Yeomanry
The 3/1st West Somerset Yeomanry was formed in 1915, it remained in the United Kingdom and was disbanded in early 1917.
Between the wars
The Regiment was reformed in 1920 as a Gunner Brigade. On re-organisation in 1927, two West Somerset Yeomanry Batteries were brigaded with two Batteries of the Queen's Own Dorset Yeomanry forming the 94th Brigade R.F.A.
West Somerset Yeomanry during WW2
On mobilisation in 1939, the Regiment, now known as the 55 (Wessex) Field Regiment R.A., formed a second line Regiment known as the 112 Field Regiment RA.
55 (Wessex) Field Regiment
The regiment was formed around two batteries the 373 (W Somerset Yeo) and 374 (W Somerset Yeo), remained in the United Kingdom, until D-Day plus 21 and landed in Normandy as part of the Guards Armoured Division which it had joined in 1942.
It saw its first action at Pubot en Bassin and was involved in the battles for Carpiquet Areodrome, Caen and the Miny Bocage, whilst with the Guards Armoured Division's it advanced from the Falaise Gap to the capture of Brussels.
The Regiment also participated in the Battle of the Reichswald and provided support for the assault river crossing of the Rhine.
It ended the war at Aachen where it was deployed in an occupational role.
112 Field Regiment RA(TA), consisted of two batteries, the 217 and 220 (Wiltshire). It remained in the United Kingdom as a second line unit, until June 1944 when it was deployed to France, with the 43rd (Wessex) Infantry Division.
The Regiment was reformed in 1947, with the title 55th Field Regiment R.A. until February 1967. With the reduction of the Territorial Army it ceased to exist as a regiment.
Some elements of the Regiment, along with elements of the North Somerset Yeomanry, were merged/amalgimated with the Somerset Light Infantry to form the Somerset Yeomanry and Light Infantry.
This changed title again in 1971 to become the 6th Battalion The Light Infantry (Volunteers).