Military Wiki
Essex Yeomanry
Active 1797–1828
10 February 1831 – 31 March 1877
13 February 1902–present
Country  Kingdom of Great Britain (1797–1800)
 United Kingdom (1801– )
Branch  British Army
Type Yeomanry
Role Signals
Size Squadron
Garrison/HQ Colchester
Motto(s) Decus Et Tutamen (Shield and Protection)

First World War

First Battle of Ypres
Battle of Frezenberg
Battle of Loos
Battle of Arras
Battle of the Hindenburg Line
Battle of the St Quentin Canal
Pursuit to Mons

Second World War

none awarded to artillery
Richard Beale Colvin[1]
Reginald Hobbs

36 (Essex Yeomanry) Signal Squadron, is an reserve squadron of the Royal Signals. It traces its origins to the Essex Yeomanry which originated as a yeomanry regiment raised in 1797. It recruites volunteers from the county of Essex in the East of England.



The Essex Yeomanry was raised in 1797 during the Napoleonic Wars as a number of independent troops. Its Band was formed in 1809.[citation needed] The regiment was brought together as the Essex Yeomanry Cavalry in 1814. It was disbanded in 1828.[2]

On 10 February 1831, the West Essex Corps of Yeomanry Cavalry (of one troop) was formed. It continued to serve without pay from 1838 to 1843. On 23 July 1852, it was designated as the West Essex Regiment of Yeomanry Cavalry. It was disbanded on 31 March 1877, but a troop continued to serve with the Loyal Suffolk Hussars.[2]

Essex Imperial Yeomanry[]

In 1902, the Essex Imperial Yeomanry was raised with four sabre squadrons, one machine gun section, and its regimental headquarters at Colchester Garrison. In 1908, the regiment was renamed the Essex Yeomanry and transferred to the Territorial Force.

  • Regimental Headquarters was based at Colchester
  • A Squadron was based at Colchester
  • B Squadron was based at Braintree
  • C Squadron was based at Waltham Abbey
  • D Squadron was based at Southend

First World War[]

Eastern Mounted Brigade
Organisation on 4 August 1914

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.[3]

1/1st Essex Yeomanry[]

The 1st Line regiment was mobilized at Colchester on the outbreak of the First World War and, with the Eastern Mounted Brigade, joined the 1st Mounted Division in the Ipswich area. By the end of August 1914 it was in the Woodbridge area. At the end of November, it left the brigade and on 1 December landed at Havre.[4] The regiment joined the Royal Horse Guards and the 10th Royal Hussars in France on 12 December 1914 as part of 8th Cavalry Brigade, 3rd Cavalry Division near Hazebrouck. It remained on the Western Front for the rest of the war.[5][6] As such, it was one of only six yeomanry regiments to be posted to a regular cavalry division in the war.[lower-alpha 1]

The brigade and division saw action in the Second Battle of Ypres (Battle of Frezenberg Ridge, 11–13 May) and the Battle of Loos (26–28 September) in 1915. 1916 saw no notable actions, but in 1917 the division took part in the Battle of Arras (First Battle of the Scarpe, 9–12 April).[11] At other times, the brigade formed a dismounted unit and served in the trenches (as a regiment under the command of the brigadier).[12]

On 14 March 1918, the 1/1st Essex Yeomanry left the brigade to become a cyclist unit, then to form a machine gun battalion with the Bedfordshire Yeomanry. The German Spring Offensive forestalled this plan, and the regiment was remounted on 28 March and sent to the 1st Cavalry Division. From 4 April it was split up with a squadron joining each regiment in 1st Cavalry Brigade (2nd Dragoon Guards, 5th Dragoon Guards and 11th Hussars).[4]

Lieutenant Colonel Whitmore of the EY was appointed to command the 10th Royal Hussars, the only Territorial officer without previous regular service to command a regular cavalry regiment.[citation needed] Other officers included members of the Towers family, whose descendants subsequently hung portraits of their menfolk in uniform at Ashridge, where they can still be seen today.[citation needed]

2/1st Essex Yeomanry[]

The 2nd Line regiment was formed at Colchester in 1914. In October it moved to Wickham Market and by January 1915 it was in the 2/1st Eastern Mounted Brigade at Huntingdon. From June 1915 to March 1916 it was at Hounslow.[4] On 31 March 1916, the remaining Mounted Brigades were ordered to be numbered in a single sequence;[13] the brigade was numbered as 13th Mounted Brigade and joined 4th Mounted Division at Great Bentley.[4]

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;[13] the 2/1st Essex Yeomanry remained mounted and transferred to the 3rd Mounted Brigade in the new 1st Mounted Division (3rd Mounted Division redesignated) at Leybourne Park, Kent. It moved to Brasted near Sevenoaks in March 1917.[4]

In September 1917, the 1st Mounted Division was converted to The Cyclist Division and the regiment became a cyclist unit in 13th Cyclist Brigade of the division at Sevenoaks. In December 1917, the 13th Cyclist Brigade was broken up and the regiment was posted to the 6th Cyclist Brigade in Ireland in January 1918. It remained with the 6th Cyclist Brigade until the end of the war, stationed at The Curragh.[4]

3/1st Essex Yeomanry[]

The 3rd Line regiment was formed in 1915 and in the summer it was affiliated to a Reserve Cavalry Regiment in Eastern Command. In April 1916 it was affiliated to the 2nd Reserve Cavalry Regiment at Aldershot. Early in 1917 it was absorbed into the 4th Reserve Cavalry Regiment, also at Aldershot.[4]

Between the wars[]

The regiment was reconstituted in 1920 as part of the Territorial Army with regimental headquarters at Colchester. In 1921, the regiment was converted from cavalry to artillery and became the 104th (Essex Yeomanry) Brigade, Royal Field Artillery.

  • Regimental Headquarters was based at Colchester
  • 413 (Essex Yeomanry) Battery was based at Colchester
  • 414 (Essex Yeomanry) Battery was based at Harlow

In 1932, with regimental headquarters and 413 Battery transferred to Chelmsford, the regiment gained a 339 (Essex Royal Horse Artillery) Battery based at Colchester. In 1938, the regiment was renamed 104th (Essex Yeomanry) Regiment, Royal Horse Artillery (RHA).

Second World War[]

At the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939, the "104th (Essex Yeomanry) Regiment, RHA" formed a duplicate regiment as part of the increase in British military manpower. The second Essex Yeomanry regiment was designated 147 Regiment RHA (Essex Yeomanry).

104th (Essex Yeomanry) Regiment, RHA[]

The first line regiment went to the Middle East in 1940 and served in most of the Western Desert battles, notably the Battle of El Alamein and the Siege of Tobruk. It went on to fight in the Italian Campaign and was stood-down in Austria in 1946.

147th (Essex Yeomanry) Regiment, RHA[]

147th Field Regiment (Essex Yeomanry) in North-west Europe 1944-45 (IWM B12023)

The new regiment landed on the beaches of Normandy on D-Day, 1944. It was equipped with Sexton Self Propelled 25 Pounder guns and fought with the British 8th Armoured Brigade as a spearhead unit through France, Belgium, the Netherlands, and into Germany. The regiment stood-down in 1946.

14th Regiment, RHA[]

Another regiment, 14th RHA, was formed in India on 1 September 1942. It commanded 414th (Essex Yeomanry) Battery from 104th RHA, 524th Battery (formerly independent) and the newly formed 525th Battery.

The Regimental Headquarters, 524th and 525th Batteries were disbanded on 27 April 1946 and 414th Battery was placed in suspended animation in Middle East Land Forces on the same date. 414th Battery was reconstituted in 304th (Essex Yeomanry) Field Regiment. Royal Artillery on 1 January 1947.[14]



The Essex Yeomanry was re-raised on 1 June 1947 as 304th (EY) Field Regiment RA with HQ at Chelmsford and batteries at Colchester (P), Southend (Q), and Harlow (R). The title RHA was restored in February 1955 and shoulder chains were added to the green No. 1 dress.[15]


The Essex Yeomanry tradition was continued through the men and women of the Territorial Army who served as members of 70 (Essex Yeomanry) Signal Squadron, which formed part of 71 Yeomanry Signal Regiment in the Royal Corps of Signals. The squadron headquarters and 881 Troop were located in Chelmsford, with 882 Troop based in Harlow. Members of the squadron wore the Green Beret of the Essex Yeomanry and were liable for active duty under the Reserve Forces Act 1996; soldiers from the Squadron contributed to operations in Afghanistan, Bosnia, Kosovo and Iraq[citation needed].

On 25 April 2009, 70 (Essex Yeomanry) Signal Squadron was awarded the freedom of Harlow.[16]


Following the announcement in the Houses of Parliament on Tuesday, 28 April 2009, concerning the restructuring of Royal Signals Territorial Army, Harlow TA Centre was closed on 1 October 2009. 70 (Essex Yeomanry) Signal Squadron amalgamated with 68 (Inns of Court & City Yeomanry) Signal Squadron to form 68 (Inns of Court & City and Essex Yeomanry) Signal Squadron. The official parade where the two Squadrons fell out and then fell back in as one Squadron occurred on Saturday, 26 June 2010. 68 (Inns of Court & City and Essex Yeomanry) Signal Squadron consisted of 3 Troops based at 3 TA Centres, SHQ and 1 Troop at Lincoln's Inn, 907 (Essex Yeomanry) Signal Troop at Chelmsford and 1 Troop at Whipps Cross. Soldiers from the Squadron continued to contribute to operations in Afghanistan and Cyprus.

Present day[]

It was announced on 3 July 2013, as part of the Army 2020 Reserve structure changes the Essex Yeomanry troop will be re-subordinated from 68 (Inns of Court, City & Essex Yeomanry) Signal Squadron to 36 (East Anglian) Signal Squadron which in turn will become 36 (Essex Yeomanry) Signal Squadron. With Sqn HQ at Colchester and one out station at Chelmsford. This is due to take place no later than Dec 2016.[17]

Re-subordination commenced with 907 Troop reverting to rifle green beret with Royal Signals cap badge and the Essex Yeomanry stable belt during April 2014 and the new squadron had its first successful ADE (Annual Deployment Exercise) September 2014. The Squadron is expected to be fully amalgamated and dressed the same by 2015.

'B' Company, Essex Army Cadet Force has an affiliation with the Essex Yeomanry, the company is formally referred to as 'B' (EY) Coy, all adult instructors wear the rifle green beret with the Royal Signals cap badge and are entitled to wear the Essex Yeomanry stable belt.

Battle honours[]

The Essex Yeomanry was awarded the following battle honours:[2]

First World War

Ypres 1915, St. Julien, Frezenberg, Loos, Arras 1917, Scarpe 1917, Somme 1918, Amiens, Albert 1918, Hindenburg Line, St. Quentin Canal, Beaurevoir, Cambrai 1918, Pursuit to Mons, France and Flanders 1914–18

Second World War

The Royal Artillery was present in nearly all battles and would have earned most of the honours awarded to cavalry and infantry regiments. In 1833, William IV awarded the motto Ubique (meaning "everywhere") in place of all battle honours.[18]

Essex Yeomanry Band[]

The Essex Yeomanry Band playing at The Menin Gate, Ypres, in Belgium

Director of Music Major Danny Greer leading the Band on Parade at Audley End House

The Essex Yeomanry Band is one of the oldest established Military bands in the East of England, being originally formed in 1809. The Band is today a self-funding organisation and is based in Chelmsford.


The History of the Band, especially in its formative years, is somewhat sketchy, and not so clearly documented as that of the Essex Yeomanry Regiment. Trumpeters were used by all Cavalry Regiments as a means of giving commands.

The first real evidence of an Essex Yeomanry Band (then on Horseback), was recorded in 1809.

In 1830, the Commanding Officer of the West Essex Yeomanry was financially supporting the Band out of his own pocket. An engraving of 1846 shows a black drummer mounted on a white horse, sporting a plumed turban. The other mounted bandsmen wore the Yeomanry uniform of the period.

In 1877, the West Essex Yeomanry was disbanded, but later reformed to be become the Waltham Abbey Town Band. However, this newly formed band proudly continued to wear the Yeomanry uniform.

The Essex Yeomanry became gunners in 1921, but still retained the Band. The musicians were now dismounted, but continued to entertain all those who heard them play. By 1937, the band was in the full dress uniform of the Regiment, complete with plumed brass helmets.

During the Second World War, the Essex Yeomanry Band was disbanded, but reformed in 1947. This was a difficult time for the players, as all the uniforms had been destroyed with the bombing of Chelmsford in 1943. In 1952, official recognition of the band was given by the War Office, but like the Regiment, it was withdrawn in 1968.

Today, as a result of work given by successive Directors of Music, Bandmasters and the loyalty of musicians, the Band now operates on a self-supporting basis. Members pay an Annual Subscription towards the band's upkeep, together with income from concerts.

The band gives concerts at a wide range of events such as public concerts, bandstands, private functions and events for organisations such as ex-servicemen's charities.

The current Director of Music is Major Danny Greer A.R.C.M. He trained at the Royal Military School of Music and is a former Bandmaster to the Royal Highland Fusiliers.

See also[]




External links[]

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