1/1st Glamorgan Yeomanry

Glamorgan Yeomanry
Glamorgan Yeomanry cap badge
Glamorgan Yeomanry cap badge
1861–1873 (Light Horse Volunteers)
Country Kingdom of Great Britain (1794–1800)
 United Kingdom (1801–Present)
BranchFlag of the British Army.svg Territorial Army
Battle honoursWorld War I
Second Battle of Gaza
Third Battle of Gaza
Battle of Beersheba
Battle of Epehy
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.
Col Windham Wyndham-Quin

The Glamorgan Yeomanry was a Yeomanry regiment of the British Army originally raised in the late eighteenth century as a result of concern over the threat of invasion by the French. It was re-raised in the Second Boer War and saw service in both World War I and World War II. The lineage is maintained by C (Glamorgan Yeomanry) Troop, 211 (South Wales) Battery, 104th Regiment Royal Artillery.

French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars[]

After Britain was drawn into the French Revolutionary Wars, Prime Minister William Pitt the Younger proposed on 14 March 1794 that the counties should 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 county.[1] The attempted French landing in South Wales in 1796 (the Battle of Fishguard) gave renewed impetus to the recruitment of Yeomanry, and the Glamorgan Yeomanry Cavalry was raised in 1797.[2] However, the Yeomanry was allowed to decline in the years following the Battle of Waterloo[3] and the last of the Glamorgan troops were disbanded in 1831.[2][4]

Light Horse Volunteers[]

The enthusiasm for the Rifle Volunteer movement following another invasion scare in 1859 saw the creation of many units composed of part-time soldiers eager to supplement the Regular British Army in time of need.[5][6][7] Among these was the 1st Glamorgan Light Horse Volunteers, formed at Cardiff on 15 February 1861.[a] This unit was attached to the 1st Administrative Brigade of Glamorganshire Artillery Volunteers in 1863. It was disbanded in 1873 and there were no more yeomanry or volunteer cavalry in the county for the rest of 19th Century.[10][11][12]

Imperial Yeomanry[]

Imperial Yeomanry galloping over a plain during the Second Boer War.

Following a string of defeats during Black Week in early December 1899, the British government realised that it would need more troops than just the regular army to fight the Second Boer War, particularly mounted troops. On 13 December, the War Office decided to allow volunteer forces to serve in the field, and a Royal Warrant was issued on 24 December that officially created the Imperial Yeomanry (IY). This was organised as county service companies of approximately 115 men enlisted for one year. Volunteers (mainly middle and upper class) quickly filled the new force, which was equipped to operate as Mounted infantry.[13][14][15][16]

Among the earliest IY units raised was 4th (Glamorgan) Company, one of the few companies in the first contingent that was not sponsored by an existing yeomanry regiment.[17][18] It was raised by Windham Wyndham-Quin, Member of Parliament for South Glamorganshire, a retired major in the 16th Lancers who had seen active service in the First Boer War.[19] He was re-commissioned as a captain in the IY on 14 February 1900[20] and the company left Liverpool in March aboard SS Cymric.[21]

Although there were strict requirements, many volunteers were accepted with substandard horsemanship/marksmanship skills, and there was little time for training before the first contingent embarked for South Africa.[22]

4th (Glamorgan) Company served in 1st Battalion, IY, which arrived in South Africa on 20 March 1900.[17][18][23] When Lord Roberts renewed his advance from Bloemfontein in early May 1900 the battalion was serving in Sir Leslie Rundle's Column as part of 8th Division.[24] Rundle's column had the job of preventing any Boers from re-entering the south-eastern Orange Free State. At first, the inexperienced yeoman were roughly handled by the Boers, but by October they were doing good work in the advanced guard of Rundle's column as it advanced on Harrismith.[25]

After the first IY contingent returned home, Major Wyndham-Quin was awarded a DSO,[26] and later (after he had been promoted to lieutenant-colonel in the IY), he was awarded the honorary rank of Colonel.[27]

The Imperial Yeomanry concept was considered a success and before the war ended the existing Yeomanry regiments at home were converted into Imperial Yeomanry, and new regiments raised from returned veterans of the South African War. One of these was the Glamorganshire Imperial Yeomanry, raised in August 1901 to perpetuate the 4th Company, with Lt-Col Wyndham-Quin in command. It comprised a regiment of four squadrons and a machine gun section, with regimental headquarters (RHQ) at Ewenny Road in Maesteg, Bridgend.[2][10][18][28][29]

Territorial Force[]

The Imperial Yeomanry were subsumed into the new Territorial Force (TF) under the Haldane Reforms of 1908.[30][31][32] The Glamorgan Yeomanry was designated as a Dragoon regiment and formed part of the TF's South Wales Mounted Brigade with the following organisation:[2][10][33][34][35][36]

World War I[]


The Glamorgan Yeomanry was mobilised on the outbreak of war on 4 August 1914 under the command of Lt-Col J.I.D. Nicholl, who had only taken command on 20 June 1914.[10][34][35] Under the Territorial and Reserve Forces Act 1907, 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, after the outbreak of war, TF units were invited to volunteer for 'Imperial Service' overseas. On 15 August 1914, the War Office issued instructions to separate those men who had signed up for home service only, and form these into reserve units. On 31 August, the formation of a reserve or 2nd Line unit was authorised for each 1st Line unit where 60 per cent or more of the men had volunteered for overseas service. The titles of these 2nd Line units would be the same as the original, but distinguished by a '2/' prefix. In this way, duplicate regiments, brigades and divisions were created, mirroring those TF formations being sent overseas. Later, a 3rd Line was formed to act as a reserve, providing trained replacements for the 1st and 2nd Line regiments.[42][43]

1/1st Glamorgan Yeomanry[]

The 1/1st Glamorgan Yeomanry was mobilised on 4 August 1914 as part of the South Wales Mounted Brigade on the outbreak of the First World War. The brigade was assembled at Hereford and moved to East Anglia by the end of August 1914. It joined the 1st Mounted Division the same month,[44] replacing 1st South Midland Mounted Brigade, which had moved to the 2nd Mounted Division.[36] In November 1915, the brigade was dismounted. It was replaced in 1st Mounted Division by 2/1st Eastern Mounted Brigade when it departed for Egypt.[36]

With the brigade, the regiment was posted to Egypt in March 1916. On 20 March, the South Wales Mounted Brigade was absorbed into the 4th Dismounted Brigade[45] (along with the Welsh Border Mounted Brigade[45]). In March 1917 the regiment was re-roled as infantry and together with the Pembroke Yeomanry was converted into the 24th (Pembroke & Glamorgan) Battalion, The Welsh Regiment. It joined 231st Brigade in the 74th (Yeomanry) Division.[46] In May 1918, the Division moved to France, where the battalion saw action on the Western Front.[34]

As part of the 74th Yeomanry Division, it was involved in the Second Battle of Gaza, the Third Battle of Gaza, the Battle of Beersheba and the Battle of Epehy.[34]

2/1st Glamorgan Yeomanry[]

The 2nd Line regiment was formed in 1914. In January 1915, it joined the 2/1st South Wales Mounted Brigade and by July it was in the Dorchester area. In September 1915, it moved with the brigade to Suffolk and joined the 1st Mounted Division.[47] On 31 March 1916, the remaining Mounted Brigades were ordered to be numbered in a single sequence and the brigade became 4th Mounted Brigade.[45]

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[45] and as a consequence the regiment was dismounted and the brigade converted to 2nd Cyclist Brigade (and the division to 1st Cyclist Division) at Yoxford. Further reorganization in November 1916 saw the regiment departing for the 1st Cyclist Brigade where it was amalgamated with the 2/1st Pembroke Yeomanry as the 2nd (Pembroke and Glamorgan Yeomanry) Cyclist Battalion.[b] The regiment resumed its separate identity as 2/1st Glamorgan Yeomanry in March 1917 at Leiston. It moved to Benacre in July and to Worlingham near Lowestoft at the end of the year. It was still at Worlingham in 1st Cyclist Brigade at the end of the war.[47]

3/1st Glamorgan Yeomanry[]

The 3rd Line regiment was formed in 1915 and in the summer it was affiliated to a Reserve Cavalry Regiment at The Curragh. In the summer of 1916, it was dismounted and attached to the 3rd Line Groups of the Welsh Division as its 1st Line was serving as infantry. The regiment was disbanded in early 1917 with the personnel transferring to the 2nd Line or to the 4th (Reserve) Battalion of the Welsh Regiment at Milford Haven.[47]


Glamorgan Yeomanry memorial unveiled in 1922 on Stalling Down Common, near Cowbridge.

The Glamorgan Yeomanry was reformed at Bridgend on 7 February 1920.[2] However, wartime experience proved that there were too many mounted units, and when the TF was reconstituted as the Territorial Army (TA), only the 14 most senior Yeomanry regiments were retained as horsed cavalry, the remainder being converted to armoured cars or artillery. On 1 November 1920, the Glamorgan Yeomanry was converted to the artillery role and became 324 (Glamorgan) Battery at Bridgend in 81st (Welsh) Brigade, Royal Field Artillery (RFA). The battery's title was changed to 324 (Glamorgan Yeomanry) Battery in June 1923. In 1924, the RFA was subsumed into the Royal Artillery (RA), and in 1938 the RA adopted the unit designation of regiment rather than brigade.[2][50]

World War II[]


The TA was doubled in size following the Munich Crisis of 1938, with existing units splitting to form duplicates before the outbreak of World War II. 81st (Welsh) Field Regiment reorganised as two regiments, 81st and 132nd, with 324 (Glamorgan Yeomanry) Field Bty remaining as part of 81st. The regiment mobilised in 53rd (Welsh) Infantry Division.[50][51][52][53][54]

Elements of 53rd (Welsh) Division were sent to Northern Ireland from October 1939, and the whole division was stationed there in 1940–41, after which it returned to mainland Britain. By now, the batteries consisted of eight 25-pounder guns towed by Quad tractors. In 1942, the division joined XII Corps, training for the Allied invasion of Normandy (Operation Overlord).[52]

North West Europe[]

25-pounders and Quad tractors advancing in Normandy August 1944.

53rd (Welsh) Division was among the follow-up troops arriving after D-Day[53][54] and completed its landing on 27 June. It was involved in the Second Battle of the Odon.[52][55] When the breakout from the Normandy beachhead began in early August, 53rd Division helped in closing the Falaise Pocket. By late August, its units were across the Seine and driving over open country towards the River Somme.[56]

The division had an important subsidiary role in Operation Market Garden, protecting the west flank of XXX Corps' main thrust. There was particularly hard fighting at Wintelre, west of Eindhoven, which the Germans held for two days, with the regiment firing several barrages and taking some casualties from return fire. 324 Battery fired from Veldhoven in direct support of 4th Royal Welsh Fusiliers' attack and afterwards of 7th Royal Welsh Fusiliers. During the fighting, the battery commander's half-track took a direct hit; he was unhurt, but the two men with him were killed. The divisional artillery's flank was open and on 1 October a party of Germans penetrated the positions and were engaged by the men of 324 Bty. On 7 October, the regiment moved into the Nijmegen bridgehead captured during Market Garden. On the afternoon of 11 October, the regiment's commanding officer was visiting 324's battery position when he was wounded by anti-personnel bombs dropped by Luftwaffe aircraft and had to be evacuated.[57][58]

25-pounders in action during the advance on 's-Hertogenbosch, 23 October 1944.

After the failure of Market Garden, XII Corps was ordered to advance westwards towards 's-Hertogenbosch. The attack on s'Hertogenbosch (Operation Alan) began at 06.30 on 22 October, the infantry advancing behind a timed programme fired by the guns. The capture of the town took four days of house-to-house fighting, while the artillery fired on the Germans' escape routes.[59][60][61][58]

Next, 81st Field Rgt moved to Wessem with 71 Brigade to relieve the Independent Belgian Brigade on the canal. 324 Battery's Observation Post (OP) was with C Squadron of the divisional Reconnaissance Regiment. On 14 November, the division crossed the Wessem canal (Operation Mallard) with support from the guns, and on 16 November the regiment struggled across the temporary bridges with 71 Bde, ending the day in front of the defended locality of Roermond. 71 Brigade attempted an assault crossing of the River Maas towards Roermond on the night of 21/22 November. Bridging operations were held up until the divisional artillery was able to suppress the German guns. 4th RWF, supported only by 81st Fd Rgt, made several abortive attempts to cross the anti-tank ditch, but 1st Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry succeeded, aided by a smokescreen fired by 81st Fd Rgt.[58]

Further operations were halted by winter weather. 71 Brigade Group including 81st Fd Rgt went for rest in Bocholt, Belgium. In December, the regiment was required to transfer some of its men to the infantry to make up for losses in the campaign so far. On 20 January 1945, the division moved to the Eindhoven area to refit and train for a special operation.[58]

This operation, the Battle of the Reichswald (Operation Veritable), opened at 05.00 on 8 February with the heaviest concentration of artillery employed by the British Army so far in the war. 81st Field Rgt fired in support of 71 Bde as usual. 53rd Division's objectives were in the northern part of the Reichswald. Opposition was not strong but the terrain was difficult. By 02.00 on 9 February, the leading units were through the Siegfried Line defences and next day the division pushed on to the edge of the forest. It was hard to get guns and vehicles along the muddy forest tracks, 81st Field Rgt reporting that the second-in-command's OP tank had to be used to tow out bogged guns and tractors ('its only use; in all other respects it was an infernal nuisance'). Goch fell on 21 February.[58][62]

53rd Division was not involved in the assault crossing of the Rhine (Operation Plunder) on 23/24 March, but crossed on 26 March and took part in the drive to the Elbe.[63] The German surrender at Lüneburg Heath, ending the fighting on 21st Army Group's front, came on 4 May.[64]

81st (Welsh) Field Regiment and its batteries were placed in suspended animation in 1946.[50]


The regiment reformed at Port Talbot as 281st (Welsh) Field Regiment in 53rd (Welsh) Division.[2][50][65][66][67]

281st (Welsh) Regiment still had a Glamorgan Yeomanry battery, and on 30 September 1953 the regiment was redesignated 281st (Glamorgan Yeomanry) Field Regiment, effectively ending the Glamorgan Artillery Volunteers lineage. On 31 October 1956, the regiment absorbed the Glamorgan batteries of 408 (Glamorgan and Pembroke) Coast Rgt and 887 Locating Battery, which had been formed in Cardiff in 1947.[2][50][67][68][69]

This was followed on 1 May 1961 by amalgamation with 282nd (Welsh) Heavy Anti-Aircraft Rgt and 283rd (Monmouthshire) Field Rgt to form:[2][50][67][70]

282nd (Glamorgan and Monmouthshire) Field Regiment, RA

Finally, when the TA was reduced into the TAVR in 1967, the combined regiment became 211 (South Wales) Battery, Royal Artillery at Newport in 104 Light Air Defence Regiment, including [2][50][67][70][71]

In 1986, 211 Bty provided a cadre for a new 217 (County of Gwent) Bty at Cwmbran, but this was reabsorbed by 211 Bty in 1992, when the battery was reduced to:[2][70][71]

211 (South Wales) Bty continues in 104th Regiment Royal Artillery (Volunteers) in the Army Reserve today, currently as a close support unit equipped with the L118 light gun at Ty Llewellyn Army Reserve Centre in Cardiff.[72][73]

Uniforms & insignia[]

Glamorgan Yeomanry cap badge and Royal Artillery service cap, ca 1941.[74]

Although designated as a dragoon regiment when it joined the TF, the uniform of the Glamorgan Yeomanry was influenced by lancer styling. The full dress uniform for officers of the Glamorgan Yeomanry in 1909 consisted of a blue shell jacket with white lancer-style plastron front and cuffs, worn with blue overalls carrying double white stripes, and a lancer-style gold and crimson striped waist girdle. The head-dress was a white sun helmet of doeskin-covered cork, wrapped in a white pugri and carrying a brass spike. A white leather cross-belt was worn carrying a black leather pouch.[75]

Between 1920 and about 1941, the officers and men of 324 (Glamorgan Yeomanry) Bty continued to wear the Glamorgan Yeomanry's cap badge. As collar badges, the officers wore gilt Welsh leeks on their blue patrol jackets and bronze regimental cap badges in service dress, while the other ranks wore Welsh Dragon badges.[50][74] During and after World War II, the whole of 81st and 281st Field Rgts wore RA badges, but after 1967 their successors in the Glamorgan Yeomanry Troop of 211 (South Wales) Bty of 104th Light Air Defence Rgt were allowed the regimental collar badge in No 1 uniform.[50]

Honorary Colonel[]

Detail of the Glamorgan Yeomanry's memorial obelisk.

Colonel Robert Windsor-Clive, 1st Earl of Plymouth, was appointed Honorary Colonel of the unit on 3 August 1901. He died in 1923.[10]


A memorial obelisk to the dead of the regiment in World War I was erected at Stalling Down Common, near Cowbridge, and unveiled by the Earl of Plymouth on 2 November 1922.[76]

See also[]


  1. ^ Strictly speaking, the Light Horse Volunteers were not Yeomanry, but both were raised under the Yeomanry and Volunteers Consolidation Act of 1804 until the Volunteer Act of 1863 came into force.[8][9]
  2. ^ This title agrees with agrees with Frederick.[48] James also names the combined unit as 2nd (Pembroke and Glamorgan) Yeomanry Cyclist Regiment.[49]


  1. ^ Rogers, p. 145.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "Glamorgan Yeomanry at Regiments.org". Archived from the original on 26 December 2005. Retrieved 26 December 2005.
  3. ^ Spiers, p. 79.
  4. ^ "Worcestershire Yeomanry Cavalry (1794-1994)". Archived from the original on 15 August 2004.
  5. ^ Beckett.
  6. ^ Litchfield & Westlake, pp. 1–3.
  7. ^ Spiers, pp. 163–8.
  8. ^ Beckett, pp. 70–3, 128.
  9. ^ Spiers, p. 165.
  10. ^ a b c d e Army List, various dates.
  11. ^ Beckett, Appendix X.
  12. ^ Litchfield and Westlake, p. 81.
  13. ^ Rogers, p. 228.
  14. ^ Spiers, p. 239.
  15. ^ Dunlop, pp. 104–18.
  16. ^ IY at Anglo-Boer War.
  17. ^ a b "Imperial Yeomanry at Regiments.org". Archived from the original on 26 December 2005. Retrieved 26 December 2005.
  18. ^ a b c IY Companies at Anglo-Boer War.
  19. ^ Who Was Who.
  20. ^ London Gazette, 13 February 1900.
  21. ^ The Times, 1 March 1900.
  22. ^ McElwee, William (1975). The Art of War. Littlehampton Book Services. p. 224. ISBN 978-0297768654.
  23. ^ IY Companies at Roll of Honour.
  24. ^ Amery (1909), Appendix to Chapters I-XIV, pp. 503–14.
  25. ^ Steve Watt, 'The Imperial Yeomanry, Part 1 – 1900', South African Military History Society, Military History Journal, Vol 13, No 6, December 2006.
  26. ^ London Gazette, 27 September 1901.
  27. ^ London Gazette, 18 October 1901.
  28. ^ "Welsh Regiment Volunteer Battalions 1885-1908" (PDF). Regimental Museum of the Royal Welsh. Retrieved 28 December 2017.
  29. ^ a b c d Glamorganshire at Great War Centenary Drill Halls.
  30. ^ London Gazette, 20 March 1908.
  31. ^ Dunlop, Chapter 14.
  32. ^ Spiers, Chapter 10.
  33. ^ Conrad, British Army 1914.
  34. ^ a b c d Glamorgan Yeomanry at Long, Long Trail.
  35. ^ a b Glamorgan Yeomanry at Regimental Warpath.
  36. ^ a b c Becke, Pt 2a, pp. 1–7.
  37. ^ Swansea at Drill Hall Project.
  38. ^ Neath at Drill Hall Project.
  39. ^ a b c d e f Glamorgan drill stations at Drill Hall Project.
  40. ^ Cardiff at Drill Hall Project.
  41. ^ Merthyr at Drill Hall Project.
  42. ^ Becke, Pt 2b, p. 6.
  43. ^ Rinaldi 2008, p. 35
  44. ^ Rinaldi 2008, p. 60
  45. ^ a b c d James 1978, p. 36
  46. ^ Becke, Pt 2b, pp. 117–122
  47. ^ a b c James 1978, p. 19
  48. ^ Frederick 1978, p. 23
  49. ^ James 1978, pp. 26–27
  50. ^ a b c d e f g h i Litchfield, pp. 78–9, Appendix VII.
  51. ^ Western Command 3 September 1939 at Patriot Files.
  52. ^ a b c Joslen, pp. 87–8.
  53. ^ a b "81 Fd Rgt at RA 1939–45".
  54. ^ a b Field Rgts at British Artillery in WW2.
  55. ^ Ellis, Vol I, p. 334.
  56. ^ Ellis, Vol I, pp. 408, 440, 470.
  57. ^ Ellis, Vol II, p. 44.
  58. ^ a b c d e 81 Fd Rgt at RA Netherlands
  59. ^ Ellis, Vol II, pp. 123–4.
  60. ^ Buckley, pp. 244–5.
  61. ^ Martin, pp. 173–4.
  62. ^ Ellis, Vol II, pp. 257–67.
  63. ^ Ellis, Vol II, pp. 293, 305–6, 310.
  64. ^ "German Surrender Documents ending World War II". The University of Oklahoma College of Law. Archived from the original on 17 May 2007. Retrieved 25 July 2017.
  65. ^ Farndale, Years of Defeat, Annex M.
  66. ^ Watson, TA 1947.
  67. ^ a b c d 266–288 Rgts RA at British Army 1945 onwards.
  68. ^ Litchfield, p. 83.
  69. ^ 372–413 Rgts RA at British Army 1945 onwards.
  70. ^ a b c "South Wales Artillery at Regiments.org". Archived from the original on 27 December 2005. Retrieved 27 December 2005.
  71. ^ a b Litchfield, p. 183.
  72. ^ "Royal Regiment of Artillery, Volunteer Regiments". Archived from the original on 12 December 2008. Retrieved 11 May 2014.
  73. ^ 104 Rgt history at MoD website.
  74. ^ a b Anon, Regimental Badges.
  75. ^ R&C Wilkinson-Latham, Plate 82 & p. 198.
  76. ^ IWM War Memorials Register ref 6722.


External links[]