Northamptonshire Yeomanry: Wikis


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Northamptonshire Yeomanry
Active 1794 - 1946
Country Great Britain
Branch British Army
Type Yeomanry
Size World War One
Three Regiments
World War Two
One Regiment
Engagements World War One
First Battle of Ypres
Battle of Neuve Chapelle
Second Battle of Artois
World War Two
Operation Overlord
Operation Charnwood
Operation Totalize
Operation Varsity
Sherman of 33 Armoured Operation Charnwood
Crew from The Northamptonshire Yeomanry eating rations Operation Totalize

The Northamptonshire Yeomanry were formed in 1794, when King George III was on the throne, William Pitt the Younger was the Prime Minister of Great Britain, and across the English Channel, Britain was faced by a French nation that had recently guillotined its King and possessed a revolutionary army numbering half a million men. The Prime Minister proposed that the English Counties form a force of Volunteer Yeoman Cavalry that could be called on by the King to defend the country against invasion or by the Lord Lieutenant to subdue any civil disorder within the country.[1]


World War One

During World War One the Regiment formed second and third line formations which would be known as the 2/1st Northamptonshire Yeoamnry and the 3/1st Northamptonshire Yeomanry.[2]


1/1st Northamptonshire Yeomanry

On mobilisation in August 1914 the 1/1st Northamptonshire Yeomanry was attached to the Eastern Mounted Brigade past of the 1st Mounted Division.[2] In November 1914 they moved to France with the 8th Division they remained with the 8th Division until April 1915 , when the Regiment was split up with RHQ and B Squadron joining the 6th Division , A Squadron joining the 4th Division and C Squadron the 5th Division.[2] This lasted until May 1916 when the Regiment reformed becoming the 6th Corps Cavalry Regiment.[2] In November 1917 they were moved to Italy, becoming 14th Corps Cavalry.[2]

2/1st Northamptonshire Yeomanry

The 2/1st Northamptonshire Yeomanry were formed in September 1914. In February 1915 they joined the 59th Division[2]. They were then also split up with the RHQ and A Squadron joining the 69th Division until June 1917. A Squadron was attached to the 67th Division between October 1916 and June 1917, all units remained in England and were disbanded in 1917.[2]

3/1st Northamptonshire Yeomanry

The 3/1st Northamptonshire Yeomanry was formed in 1915. They remained in the United Kingdom until being drafted into the 6th Reserve Cavalry Regiment in early 1917.[2]

Between the wars

The Northamptonshire Yeomanry (TF) was reconstituted in February 1920, with Headquarters in the Old Militia Barracks in Clare St, Northampton. It was initially established with three Squadrons, however in 1922 it was announced that the Regiment would convert to become an Armoured Car Company of The Tank Corps. Initially designated 7th (Northamptonshire Yeomanry) Armoured Car Company, Tank Corps (TA), in 1923 it was renumbered and became 25th (Northamptonshire Yeomanry) Armoured Car Company, Royal Tank Corps (TA).

In November 1938 the formation of a Mechanised Cavalry Brigade (TA) was announced, to comprise three Cavalry Light Tank Regiments. The Northamptonshire Yeomanry was selected to form part of this Brigade and ordered to expand to full Regimental status. By early 1939 Regimental Headquarters and "A" Squadron were based at Northampton, with "B" Squadron at Daventry and "C" Squadron at Brackley.

This expansion coincided with the decision to increase the Territorial Army by forming duplicates of existing TA units. These duplicate units are often wrongly described as second-line, however they were not; the duplicate units were afforded equal status to their parent units and were destined to form part of the active field forces immediately upon mobilisation, whereas the second-line units of WW1 had been intended to form reserve units for home defence.

As a result of this move the Northamptonshire Yeomanry was divided in May 1939 to form two Cavalry Light Tank Regiments;

1st Northamptonshire Yeomanry (TA) - Regimental Headquarters and "A" Sqn at Northampton, "B" Sqn at Daventry and "C" Sqn at Brackley.

2nd Northamptonshire Yeomanry (TA) - Regimental Headquarters and "A" Sqn at Northampton, "B" and "C" Sqns at Kettering.

Both Regiments formed part of 20th Light Armoured Brigade (TA) and were mobilised on 1 September 1939.

World War II

During World War Two 1st Northants Yeo (TA) remained in the United Kingdom and from 1941 - 1942 were part of the Coats Mission , the plan to evacuate the Royal Family in the event of a German invasion. In 1944 now as a part of the 33rd Armoured Brigade they participated in the Normandy Landings on D Day June 6. The brigade's three regiments which included the East Riding of Yorkshire Yeomanry and the 144 Regimant RAC, landed on Gold Beach in Normandy. Their role was to support any infantry who were in need of armour support, therefore the Brigade rarely fought as one entity. One of the occasions when the Brigade did undertake an operation on its own was at Le Mesnil-Patry , Rots on June 11, 1944. Further battles they were involved in was around Caen included Operation Charnwood 7 July, the battle to capture Caen. On the July 16, 1944 it was involved in Operation Pomegranate , where it come under the command of the 59th (Staffordshire) Infantry Division. On August 8, 1944 it was involved in Operation Totalize , a planned breakout from the Caen Salient. It was during Operation Totalize that Joe Ekins a Sherman Tank gunner of the Northamptonshire Yeomanry gained recognition for killing the renowned German tank commander, Michael Wittmann, the 4th top scoring tank ace in history, on August 8, 1944 near St. Aignan de Cramesnil, France.[3][4][5][6][7] They were briefly attached to the 51st (Highland) Division for the actions around the Battle of the Bulge[8] The Regiment was reformed and re-equipped with LVT 4 (Buffalo , amphibious armoured fighting vehicles) , for the Rhine crossing and was placed under the command of the 79th Armoured Division.


Both 1st and 2nd Northamptonshire Yeomanry (TA) were demobilised by 1946 and for a short period remained in a state of suspended animation. Then on January 1, 1947 the TA was reconstituted, the 1st and 2nd Northants Yeo were amalgamated and reformed as The Northamptonshire Yeomanry, RAC (TA). The Regiment was assigned to 44th (Home Counties) Infantry Division (TA) as its Divisional Armoured Reconnaissance Regiment. Recruiting for the Regiment began in May 1947 and by 1949 it comprised;

Regimental Headquarters and "A" Sqn at Northampton. "B" Sqn at Kettering. "C" Sqn at Brackley, with outlying Troops at Daventry and Towcester. In 1955 the Headquarters moved to Northampton, Brackley being reduced to a Troop location.

In 1950 the Regiment assumed an additional role as a mobile Anti-Tank Regiment, equipped with self-propelled anti-tank guns.

Reorganisations of the TA in 1956 resulted in the Regiment being reduced to a single Squadron as "D" (Northamptonshire Yeomanry) Squadron, The Inns of Court Regiment, RAC (TA). The Headquarters of this Regiment was in the City of London, whilst "D" Sqn was centred upon Northampton.

This state of affairs lasted until April 1961 when "D" Squadron was transferred to the Corps of Royal Engineers and reorganised to form 250th (Northamptonshire Yeomanry) Independent Field Squadron, RE (TA). It was assigned a role in support of the British Army of The Rhine (BAOR) and had its Squadron Headquarters and No.1 Troop at Northampton, No.2 Troop at Kettering and No.3 Troop at Brackley.

When the TA was reorganised into the Territorial & Army Volunteer Reserve (T&AVR) in April 1967 the Northamptonshire Yeomanry formed a successor unit as "A" (Northants Yeo) Company, The Northamptonshire Regiment Territorials. It continued the traditions of the old Regiment until 1969, when the Northants Territorials was reduced to a Cadre, effectively ending the history of the Yeomanry.

History of the Regimental Light Aid Detachment

The Regiment had its own Light Aid Detachment of the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, formed at Northampton in 1947. Sections were later formed at Kettering and Brackley attached to the outlying Squadrons. When the Regiment was reduced to Squadron size in 1956 it lost its own L.A.D, which was redesignated as a Platoon of 169th (London) Infantry Workshops, REME (TA) and was centred upon Kettering, thus becoming part of 56th (London) Infantry Division (TA). In April 1961 this Platoon was transferred to form The "B" Vehicles Platoon of 104th Medium Workshops, REME (TA).

Upon the formation of the T&AVR, 104th Med Wksps was reformed into part of 118th Recovery Company, REME (V) at Northampton and Corby.


  1. ^ "worcestershire".  
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h "1914-1918".  
  3. ^ After the battle, Issue 48, Pg 50
  4. ^ Tout, Fine Night For Tanks
  5. ^ Tout, Fine By Tank D to VE Day
  6. ^ Reid, Pg 424
    Lord Boardman letter to Radley-Walters, 13 June, 1999
  7. ^ Hart, Pg 52-69
  8. ^ "qohldrs".  


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