Queen's Own Dorset Yeomanry

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Queen's Own Dorset Yeomanry
Cap badge of the Queen's Own Dorset Yeomanry (c. 1914)
Active 1794 - 1802
1803 - 1814
1830 - 1967
1997 - Present Day
Country Great Britain
Allegiance British Army
Branch Yeomanry
Role Boer War
World War One
World War Two
Size Boer War
One Company
World War One
Three Regiments
World War Two
Two Regiments
One Squadron
Battle honours Boer War
South Africa1900-1902
World War One
Battle of Gallipoli
Battle of Sari Bair
Battle of Scimitar Hill
Battle of Aqqaqia
First Battle of Gaza
Second Battle of Gaza
Third Battle of Gaza
Battle of Beersheba
World War II
No battle honours were awarded. It is tradition within artillery units that the Regiment's guns represent its colours and battle honours.[1]

The Queen's Own Dorset Yeomanry was a yeomanry regiment of the British Army founded in 1794 as the Dorsetshire Regiment of Volunteer Yeomanry Cavalry in response to the growing threat of invasion during the Napoleonic wars. It gained its first royal association in 1833 as The Princess Victoria's Regiment of Dorset Yeomanry Cavalry, and its second, in 1843, as the Queen's Own Regiment of Dorset Yeomanry Cavalry.


Formation and early history

Under threat of invasion by the French Revolutionary government from 1793, and with insufficient military forces to repulse such an attack, the British government under William Pitt the Younger decided in 1794 to increase the Militia and to form corps of volunteers for the defence of the country. The mounted arm of the volunteers became known as the "Gentlemen and Yeomanry Cavalry".[2]

The Dorset Yeomanry was first raised on 9 May 1794 as the Dorsetshire Regiment of Volunteer Yeomanry Cavalry of six troops. In 1796 they became the Dorsetshire Rangers and now consisted of ten troops. In 1802, they were disbanded[3] as a result of the Treaty of Amiens and the consequent peace.[4]

With the ending of the Peace of Amiens in 1803,[4] the regiment was re-raised as the Dorsetshire Regiment of Volunteer Yeomanry Cavalry again, consisting of seven troops. In 1814, it was once again disbanded.[3]

The next, and longest lived, incarnation came in 1830 when the Dorsetshire Regiment of Volunteer Yeomanry Cavalry was reformed from troops at Wimborne, Blandford, Isle of Purbeck, Wareham and Charborough. In 1833 it gained royal patronage as The Princess Victoria's Regiment of Dorset Yeomanry Cavalry and in June 1843 became the Queen's Own Regiment of Dorset Yeomanry Cavalry. At some point thereafter it was renamed as the Dorset Yeomanry (Queen's Own) with headquarters at Dorchester.

On 1 April 1893, the troops were reorganised in squadrons, and the headquarters moved to Weymouth.[3]

Boer War

On December 13, 1899, the decision to allow volunteer forces to serve in the Second Boer War was made. Due to the string of defeats during Black Week in December, 1899, the British government realized they were going to need more troops than just the regular army, thus issuing a Royal Warrant on December 24, 1899. This warrant officially created the Imperial Yeomanry.

The Royal Warrant asked standing Yeomanry regiments to provide service companies of approximately 115 men each. In addition to this, many British citizens (usually mid-upper class) volunteered to join the new regiment.[5] Although there were strict requirements, many volunteers were accepted with substandard horsemanship/marksmanship, however, they had significant time to train while awaiting transport.

The first contingent of recruits contained 550 officers, 10,371 men with 20 battalions and 4 companies,[6] which arrived in South Africa between February and April, 1900.[7] Upon arrival, the regiment was sent throughout the zone of operations. The Queen's Own Dorset Yeomanry provided troops for the 26th Company, 7th Battalion.[8]

On 17 April 1901, the regiment was renamed as the Dorsetshire Imperial Yeomanry (Queen's Own) and reorganised in four squadrons and a machine gun section. In 1902, the headquarters moved to Sherborne. On 1 April 1908, the regiment was renamed for the final time as the Dorset Yeomanry (Queen's Own) and transferred to the Territorial Force, trained and equipped as hussars. Its organisation was:[3]

Dorset Yeomanry (Queen's Own)
HQ Sherborne
A Squadron Dorchester
(detachments at Bridport, Weymouth, Maiden Newton, Charmouth)
B Squadron Sherborne
(detachments at Yeovil (Somerset), Pulham)
C Squadron Blandford
(detachments at Wimborne, Wareham, Handley)
D Squadron Gillingham
(detachments at Shaftesbury, Stalbridge, Sturminster Newton)

It was ranked as 23rd (of 55) in the order of precedence of the Yeomanry Regiments in the Army List of 1914.[9]

World War I

1st South Western Mounted Brigade
Organisation on 4 August 1914
  • Source
  • Conrad, Mark (1996). "The British Army, 1914".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

In accordance with the Territorial and Reserve Forces Act 1907 (7 Edw. 7, c.9) which brought the Territorial Force into being, the TF was intended to be a home defence force for service during wartime and members could not be compelled to serve outside the country. However, on the outbreak of war on 4 August 1914, many members volunteered for Imperial Service. Therefore, TF units were split in August and September 1914 into 1st Line (liable for overseas service) and 2nd Line (home service for those unable or unwilling to serve overseas) units. Later, a 3rd Line was formed to act as a reserve, providing trained replacements for the 1st and 2nd Line regiments.[10]

1/1st Queen's Own Dorset Yeomanry

The 1st Line regiment was mobilised in August 1914 and attached to the 1st South Western Mounted Brigade. In September 1914, they were moved to the 2nd South Midland Mounted Brigade, 2nd Mounted Division.[11]

In 1915, they were deployed overseas to Egypt, then onwards to participate in the Dardanelles campaign, where they served as dismounted troops and were involved in the Battle of Gallipoli, the Battle of Sari Bair and the Battle of Scimitar Hill.

After the evacuation of Gallipoli, they returned to Egypt in January 1916 and became part of the 6th Mounted Brigade an independent brigade that was involved in the Action of Agagia in February 1916.[12] At this battle, the retreating Senussi were attacked by the Dorset Yeomanry with drawn swords across open ground.[13] Under fire, the Yeomanry lost half their horses, and about a third of their men and officers were casualties (58 of the 184 who took part). Colonel Soutar, leading the regiment in this charge, had his horse shot from under him and was knocked unconscious. When he came to, he found himself alone amongst a group of the enemy. He drew his revolver, shot several, and took the Turkish leader Jaffir Pasha prisoner.[14]

In February 1917, 6th Mounted Brigade joined the Imperial Mounted Division and took part in the First and Second Battles of Gaza, they later transferred to the Yeomanry Mounted Division in June 1917, for the Third Battle of Gaza and the Battle of Beersheba.[11]

In July 1918, the Brigade was re-designated the 10th Cavalry Brigade and the Division the 4th Cavalry Division. The Regiment remained with them in Palestine until the end of the war.[11]

2/1st Queen's Own Dorset Yeomanry

The 2nd Line regiment was formed at Sherborne in September 1914. In May 1915 it was at Chippenham where it joined the 2/1st South Western Mounted Brigade, then moved to Maresfield in September. In October 1915 it joined the 1/1st South Western Mounted Brigade (replacing the 1/1st Royal Wiltshire Yeomanry) and the brigade was redesignated as 2/1st Southern Mounted Brigade.[15] On 31 March 1916, the remaining Mounted Brigades were ordered to be numbered in a single sequence;[16] the brigade became the 16th Mounted Brigade and joined 4th Mounted Division at Manningtree.[15]

In July 1916 there was a major reorganization of 2nd Line yeomanry units in the United Kingdom. All but 12 regiments were converted to cyclists[16] and as a consequence the regiment was dismounted and joined the 7th Cyclist Brigade (and the division became 2nd Cyclist Division) at Woodbridge.[15]

Further reorganization in November 1916 saw the 2nd Cyclist Division broken up and the regiment was remounted at Maidstone, taking over the horses of the 2/1st Queen's Own West Kent Yeomanry and replacing them in 3rd Mounted Brigade in the new 1st Mounted Division (3rd Mounted Division redesignated). In March 1917 it was at Sevenoaks.[15]

In September 1917, the regiment was converted back to cyclists, this time in 13th Cyclist Brigade in The Cyclist Division, still at Sevenoaks. In December 1917, the 13th Cyclist Brigade was broken up and in early 1918 the regiment moved to Ireland, joining the 6th Cyclist Brigade at The Curragh. There were no further changes before the end of the war.[11][15]

3/1st Queen's Own Dorset Yeomanry

The 3rd Line regiment was formed in 1915 and in the summer was affiliated a Reserve Cavalry Regiment at Tidworth. In July 1916 it was affiliated to the 8th Reserve Cavalry Regiment at The Curragh and in early 1917 it was absorbed into the 2nd Reserve Cavalry Regiment, also at The Curragh.[15]

Between the wars

On 7 February 1920, the Regiment was reconstituted in the Territorial Army with HQ still at Sherborne. Following the experience of the war, it was decided that only the fourteen most senior yeomanry regiments would be retained as horsed cavalry, with the rest being transferred to other roles. As a result, on 25 January 1922, the Regiment was transferred to the Royal Artillery to form two batteries - 375 (Dorset Yeomanry) Battery at Blandford and 376 (Dorset Yeomanry) Battery (Howitzer) at Sherborne - which joined the 94th (Somerset Yeomanry) Brigade, RFA to form 94th (Somerset and Dorset Yeomanry) Brigade, RFA, soon being renamed as 94th (Dorset and Somerset Yeomanry) Brigade, RFA. This was a short-lived marriage, the Somerset Yeomanry batteries being moved to 55th (Wessex) Army Field Brigade, RA in July 1929.[17]

At this time (July 1929) the regiment was renamed as 94th (Queen's Own Dorset Yeomanry) Army Field Brigade, RA with headquarters at Dorchester.[3] It was joined by 224 (Dorset) Battery at Dorchester, transferred from 56 (Wessex) Field Brigade, RA.[18] Some time in the 1930s, 375 Battery moved to Shaftesbury. In February 1938, the regiment gained 218 (Bournemouth) Battery at Bournemouth transferred from 95 (Hampshire) Field Brigade, RA.[19] The final change in title came on 1 November 1938 as artillery brigades became regiments, hence 94th (Queen's Own Dorset Yeomanry) Field Regiment, RA.[3]

In 1939, the Territorial Army was "duplicated" - existing units formed a second unit. 375 and 376 batteries transferred to the duplicate 141st Field Regiment, RA. 94th Field Regiment, RA retained 218 and 224 batteries.[3]

World War II

Field regiments were organised in 1938 into two 12-gun batteries. The experience of the BEF in 1940 showed the problem with this organisation: field regiments were intended to support an infantry brigade of three battalions. This could not be managed without severe disruption to the regiment. As a result, field regiments were reorganised into three 8-gun batteries.[20]

94th (Queen's Own Dorset Yeomanry) Field Regiment, RA

94th (Queen's Own Dorset Yeomanry) Field Regiment served in the Home Forces for most of the war, taking part in the North West Europe Campaign from June 1944.[4]

At the outbreak of the war, 94th Field Regiment was part of 43rd (Wessex) Infantry Division.[21] Initially commanding two batteries - 218 (Bournemouth) at Bournemouth and 224 (Dorset) Battery at Dorchester - the third battery (468) was formed in the regiment on 27 February 1941.[22]

It remained in the United Kingdom until June 1944 when it was deployed to France, still with the 43rd (Wessex) Infantry Division. It remained with 43rd Division until the end of the war.[23]

141st (Queen's Own Dorset Yeomanry) Field Regiment, RA

141st (Queen's Own Dorset Yeomanry) Field Regiment served in the Home Forces throughout the war.[4]

At the outbreak of the war, 141st Field Regiment was also part of 43rd (Wessex) Infantry Division.[24] Initially commanding two batteries - 375 (Dorset Yeomanry) at Shaftesbury and 376 (Dorset Yeomanry) at Sherborne - the third battery (505) was formed in the regiment on 27 February 1941. It was authorised to use the "Queen's Own Dorset Yeomanry" designation from 17 February 1942.[25]

It transferred to the 9th Armoured Division in June 1942, 55th Infantry Division in August 1944 and finally to 61st Infantry Division in June 1945.[26]

Post war

In 1947, the Regiment was reformed in the Territorial Army as the 294th (Queen's Own Dorset Yeomanry) Field Regiment RA. In 1961, the regiment merged with the 255th (West Somerset Yeomanry and Dorest Garrison) Medium Regiment RA, forming the 250th (Queen's Own Dorset and West Somerset Yeomanry) Medium Regiment RA - the dorset's title was passed to P Battery. In February 1967, the new regiment was disbanded and some of its personnel used to form two infantry companies.[27] The final parade was held on Sunday, February 26. The salute was taken by the Lord Lieutenant of Somerset, Lord Hylton.[27]

Dorset Yeomanry

In 1997, an Armoured Replacement Regiment was formed at Bovington and called 'The Dorset Yeomanry'. This new regiment did not inherit the lineage and battle honours of the Queen's Own Dorset Yeomanry.

In 1999, this regiment was reduced to a single squadron, which became "A" Squadron of the Royal Wessex Yeomanry. The other squadrons of this regiment are formed by other old yeomanry regiments that had been reduced to the strength of one squadron:

B (Royal Wiltshire Yeomanry) [RWY] Squadron
C (Royal Gloucestershire Hussars) [RGH] Squadron
D (Royal Devon Yeomanry) [RDY] Squadron

The Regiment has three roles:

  • B, C and D Squadrons - provide replacement Challenger 2 turret crewmen to the Regular Army.
  • Regimental Headquarters and A (Dorset Yeomanry) Armour Replacement Squadron - develop Armour Replacement doctrine and provide the infrastructure to support the Logistic brigades.[28]

See also


  1. "mod.uk".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. Mileham 1994, pp. 8–10
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 Dorset Yeomanry (Queen's Own) at regiments.org by T.F.Mills at the Wayback Machine (archived 23 October 2007)
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 Mileham 1994, p. 83
  5. "Boer War Notes". Retrieved 11 June 2007.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. Imperial Yeomanry at regiments.org by T.F.Mills at the Wayback Machine (archived 29 May 2007)
  7. "Boer War - Imperial Yeomanry Battalions". Retrieved 3 July 2007.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. "anglo boer war".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. Mileham 1994, p. 73
  10. Rinaldi 2008, p. 35
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 Baker, Chris. "Dorset Yeomanry". The Long, Long Trail. Retrieved 6 March 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. "historyofwar".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  13. Rolls S.C. (1937). Steel Chariots in the Desert. Leonaur Books.
  14. Gwatkin-Williams R.S. (1919). Prisoners of the Red Desert. Leonaur Books. pp. 264.
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 15.3 15.4 15.5 James 1978, p. 18
  16. 16.0 16.1 James 1978, p. 36
  17. West Somerset Yeomanry at regiments.org by T.F.Mills at the Wayback Machine (archived 16 August 2007)
  18. 1st Devonshire Artillery Volunteers, Royal Artillery at regiments.org by T.F.Mills at the Wayback Machine (archived 22 November 2007)
  19. Hampshire Yeomanry (Carabiniers) at regiments.org by T.F.Mills at the Wayback Machine (archived 17 October 2007)
  20. Forty 1998, p. 73
  21. Bellis 1995, p. 96
  22. Frederick 1984, p. 524
  23. Barton, Derek. "94 (Queen's Own Dorset Yeo) Field Regiment RA(TA)". The Royal Artillery 1939-45. Retrieved 1 March 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  24. Bellis 1995, p. 101
  25. Frederick 1984, p. 532
  26. Barton, Derek. "141 (Queens Own Dorset Yeo) Field Regiment RA(TA)". The Royal Artillery 1939-45. Retrieved 1 March 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  27. 27.0 27.1 "sommilmuseum".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  28. "army.mod".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>


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External links