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Kent Yeomanry
Active 20 August 1920 – 1 May 1961
Country  United Kingdom
Branch Flag of the British Army.svg British Army
Type Field Artillery
Light Anti-Aircraft Artillery
Size One Regiment
Two Regiments (World War II)
Peacetime HQ Maidstone

World War II

North-West Europe 1940, '44–45
North Africa 1942–43
Italy 1944–45

The Kent Yeomanry was an artillery regiment of the Territorial Army formed in 1920 by the amalgamation of the Royal East Kent (The Duke of Connaught's Own) Yeomanry (Mounted Rifles) and West Kent Yeomanry (Queen's Own). For the Second World War it was expanded to form two field artillery regiments – 97th (Kent Yeomanry) Field Regiment, Royal Artillery and 143rd (Kent Yeomanry) Field Regiment, Royal Artillery – which saw active service in North Africa, Italy and North-West Europe, both with the BEF in 1940 and on the Second Front in 1944–45. Post war it was reconstituted as 297th (Kent Yeomanry) Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment, Royal Artillery before being amalgamated in 1961 with the 3rd/4th County of London Yeomanry (Sharpshooters) to form the Kent and Sharpshooters Yeomanry.

History[edit | edit source]

Formation[edit | edit source]

Following the experience of the First World War, it was decided that only the fourteen most senior yeomanry regiments would be retained as horsed cavalry,[1] with the rest being transferred to other roles.[2] As a result, on 20 August 1920, the Royal East Kent (The Duke of Connaught's Own) Yeomanry (Mounted Rifles)[3] was amalgamated with the West Kent Yeomanry (Queen's Own)[4] to form the Kent Yeomanry and simultaneously re-roled as field artillery to form 6th (Kent) Army Brigade, RFA.[5]

In 1921 the regiment regained its yeomanry title and was renumbered as the 97th (Kent Yeomanry) Brigade, Royal Field Artillery. Within the brigade, two batteries were subtitled "Duke of Connaught's Own Yeomanry" – 385th at Canterbury and 386th at Ashford – and two were subtitled "Queen's Own Yeomanry" – 387th at Bromley and 388th at Maidstone. The regiment's HQ was also at Maidstone.[5] Another title change came in June 1924 as the Royal Field Artillery was reamalgamated back into the Royal Artillery and the regiment became 97th (Kent Yeomanry) Field Brigade, RA. The final change came in 1938 as artillery brigades became regiments, and the unit became 97th (Kent Yeomanry) Army Field Regiment, RA in November.[6]

By 1939 it became clear that a new European war was likely to break out, and the doubling of the Territorial Army was authorised, with each unit forming a duplicate.[7] 97th (Kent Yeomanry) Army Field Regiment, RA formed 143rd Field Regiment, RA.[5] The new regiment continued the tradition of including batteries from both East and West Kent.[8]

World War II[edit | edit source]

97th (Kent Yeomanry) Field Regiment, Royal Artillery[edit | edit source]

97th (Kent Yeomanry) Army Field Regiment mobilized on 3 September 1939 at Maidstone under Eastern Command with 385th (Duke of Connaught's Own Yeomanry) and 387th (Queen's Own Yeomanry) Batteries.[9]

The regiment joined the BEF in May 1940, initially with III Corps[9] then with the 5th Infantry Division.[10] During the Battle of France, the regiment saw action at Saint-Valery-en-Caux in June 1940; after the German advance the regiment destroyed its guns and equipment and headed to Dunkirk for evacuation in Operation Dynamo.[11]

Field regiments had been 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.[12] The third battery (470th) was formed in the regiment at Great Baddow in March 1941.[13]

The regiment arrived in Iraq on 20 October 1941 and was initially under command of Tenth Army before being assigned to 10th Indian Infantry Division on 19 November. On 25 April 1942, 470th Battery left to form part of X (later 164th) Field Regt, RA. The rest of the regiment arrived in Egypt with the division on 31 May. On 5 July it came under command of British Troops in Egypt.[14] The regiment dropped the "Army" designation on 13 September[13] and on the same date joined the 7th Armoured Division.[15] Armed with sixteen 25 pounders,[16] the regiment served with 7th Armoured in the Second Battle of El Alamein.[17] On 20 December it was placed under command of GHQ, Middle East Forces[18] and 470th Battery was reformed for the regiment.[13]

In October 1943 it rejoined the 10th Indian Division,[lower-alpha 1] serving in North Africa, Palestine and Italy, where it ended the war on the Adriatic coast near Trieste.[9][11][20]

The Regimental HQ with 385th, 387th and 470th Batteries were placed in suspended animation[lower-alpha 2] on 15 December 1945.[13]

143rd (Kent Yeomanry) Field Regiment, Royal Artillery[edit | edit source]

143rd Field Regiment mobilized on 3 September 1939 at Ashford under Eastern Command with 386th (Duke of Connaught's Own Yeomanry) and 388th (Queen's Own Yeomanry) Batteries.[22] It spent the early part of the war in Iceland. While there, it was reorganised from two 12-gun batteries to three 8-gun batteries when the third battery (507th) was formed in the regiment in May 1941. It was authorised to use the "Kent Yeomanry" designation from 17 February 1942.[23]

Arriving back in the UK, the regiment was assigned to 49th (West Riding) Infantry Division on 26 April 1942; it was to remain with the division for the rest of the war.[24][25] The division began landing in Normandy on 12 June 1944 (D-Day plus 6)[26] and participated in the North-West Europe Campaign.[22] The regiment gave support to the forces attacking Caen (First and Second Battle of the Odon).[26] They were also in action around Le Havre, at the Turnhout Canal[11] and in the Battle of the Scheldt.[26] The winter of 1944-45 was spent on the Dutch - German border along the River Maas. Their final action was at Arnhem in April 1945.[11]

The regiment was placed in suspended animation[lower-alpha 2] on 18 April 1946 and was disbanded on 1 January 1947.[23]

Post war[edit | edit source]

The Kent Yeomanry was reconstituted in the Territorial Army on 1 January 1947 as 297th (Kent Yeomanry) Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment, RA. HQ remained at Maidstone.[5] On 1 May 1961, the regiment was amalgamated with 3rd/4th County of London Yeomanry (Sharpshooters)[27] to form Kent and County of London Yeomanry (Sharpshooters).[28]

Battle Honours[edit | edit source]

The Kent Yeomanry was the custodian of the battle honours of The Royal East Kent Mounted Rifles (The Duke of Connaught's Own) and The West Kent Yeomanry (Queen's Own).[5][lower-alpha 3]

World War II

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.[29]

See also[edit | edit source]

Notes[edit | edit source]

  1. Kempton does not support this assertion[19] and Joslen states that the regiment ceased to be under command of Indian Formations on 5 July 1942.[14]
  2. 2.0 2.1 "suspended animation" describes units that continued to exist but without personnel or equipment.[21]
  3. These were:
    Second Boer War
    South Africa 1900–01
    World War I
    Somme 1918, Bapaume 1918, Hindenburg Line, Épehy, Pursuit to Mons, France and Flanders 1918, Gallipoli 1915, Egypt 1916–17, Gaza, Jerusalem, Tell 'Asur, Palestine 1917–18[3][4]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Mileham 1994, p. 48
  2. Mileham 1994, p. 50
  3. 3.0 3.1 Royal East Kent Yeomanry (The Duke of Connaught's Own) (Mounted Rifles) at regiments.org by T.F.Mills at the Wayback Machine (archived 15 July 2007)
  4. 4.0 4.1 West Kent Yeomanry (Queen's Own) at regiments.org by T.F.Mills at the Wayback Machine (archived 15 July 2007)
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 Kent Yeomanry at regiments.org by T.F.Mills at the Wayback Machine (archived 15 July 2007)
  6. Frederick 1984, pp. 34–35
  7. "History of the Army Reserve". MOD. http://www.army.mod.uk/reserve/31793.aspx. Retrieved 2 April 2014. 
  8. Mileham 1994, p. 91
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 "97 (Kent Yeomanry) Field Regiment RA(TA)". http://www.ra39-45.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/field/page97.html. Retrieved 6 May 2014. 
  10. Joslen 1990, p. 47
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 Hughes, David W; Clark, Neil R; Tallett, Kyle D. "97th (Kent Yeomanry) Field Regiment Royal Artillery". Kent War Memorials Transcription Project. http://www.kentfallen.com/PDF%20REPORTS/97th%20KENT%20YEOMANRY%20R.A.pdf. Retrieved 7 May 2014. 
  12. Forty 1998, p. 73
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 13.3 Frederick 1984, p. 525
  14. 14.0 14.1 Joslen 1990, p. 505
  15. Joslen 1990, p. 19
  16. Joslen 1990, p. 569
  17. Joslen 1990, p. 21
  18. Joslen 1990, p. 483
  19. Kempton 2003a, pp. 65–73
  20. Bellis 1995, p. 96
  21. Bellis 1994, p. 8
  22. 22.0 22.1 "143 (Kent Yeomanry) Field Regiment RA(TA)". http://www.ra39-45.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/field/page143.html. Retrieved 6 May 2014. 
  23. 23.0 23.1 Frederick 1984, p. 533
  24. Joslen 1990, p. 79
  25. Bellis 1995, p. 102
  26. 26.0 26.1 26.2 Joslen 1990, p. 80
  27. 3rd/4th County of London Yeomanry (Sharpshooters) at regiments.org by T.F.Mills at the Wayback Machine (archived 15 July 2007)
  28. Kent and Sharpshooters Yeomanry at regiments.org by T.F.Mills at the Wayback Machine (archived 15 July 2007)
  29. Royal Regiment of Artillery at regiments.org by T.F.Mills at the Wayback Machine (archived 15 July 2007)

Bibliography[edit | edit source]

  • Bellis, Malcolm A. (1995). Regiments of the British Army 1939–1945 (Artillery). London: Military Press International. ISBN 0-85420-110-6. 
  • Forty, George (1998). British Army Handbook 1939–1945. Stroud, Gloucestershire: Sutton Publishing Limited. ISBN 0-7509-1403-3. 
  • Frederick, J.B.M. (1984). Lineage Book of British Land Forces 1660–1978. Wakefield, Yorkshire: Microform Academic Publishers. ISBN 1-85117-009-X. 
  • Joslen, Lt-Col H.F. (1990) [1st. Pub. HMSO:1960]. Orders of Battle, Second World War, 1939–1945. London: London Stamp Exchange. ISBN 0-948130-03-2. 
  • Kempton, Chris (2003a). 'Loyalty & Honour', The Indian Army September 1939 – August 1947. Part I Divisions. Milton Keynes: The Miliitary Press. ISBN 0-85420-228-5. 
  • Mileham, Patrick (1994). The Yeomanry Regiments; 200 Years of Tradition. Edinburgh: Canongate Academic. ISBN 1-898410-36-4. 

External links[edit | edit source]

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