In Collaboration With Charles Griffin

Cheshire Yeomanry, 17 Jan 1797
The date of the raising of the Cheshire Yeomanry is 17 Jan 1797. The decision to raise the regiment was made at a meeting on 21 Nov 1796 at Northwich in the County Palatine of Cheshire. The original intention was to form a regiment of Provisional Cavalry, according to the unpopular Act of 1796, which obliged land owners to supply conscripted men. It was commanded by Colonel Sir John Fleming Leicester but there is some confusion about the status of the Troops. No mention of Provisional Cavalry was mentioned in the records of the unit. There were six Troops, of which Macclesfield was the first, Stockport second and Nether Knutsford the third. The Peace of Amiens in 1802 saw the disbandment of the Volunteer Army but it had to be re-raised in 1803 when hostilities resumed. According to the notes made by P W Reynolds, the Macclesfield and Knutsford Troops remained embodied in 1802-3 so amalgamated with four more locally raised Troops which are named as Tabley, Mere, Northwich and Ashton Heyes.
Western Cheshire Yeomanry, 1803
Major Thomas Crewe Dod of Edge Hall, Malpas was an officer in Sir John Leicester’s Yeomanry from 1798. However, an article in the JSAHR no. 107 claims that he was an officer in the Cheshire Provisional Cavalry. This lasted until the end of the Provisional Cavalry in 1802 but was re-raised as the Western Cheshire Yeomanry in 1803, commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel Dod. The date of his commission was 12 Sep 1803, and another article in JSAHR no.139 says that there were 6 Troops. In 1804 there was a Royal visit by HRH the Duke of Gloucester and his son Prince William Frederick. One of the Western Cheshire Troops provided the escort. Lt-Col Dod left the regiment in 1805 to become Inspector of Yeomanry and Volunteers, but Willson’s Chart names him in 1806 as the CO of the Western Cheshire Cavalry having a strength of 311 men organised into six Troops. It was disbanded in 1810 and absorbed into the Cheshire Yeomanry. But in 1819 it was re-raised as the Prince Regent’s 2nd regiment of Cheshire Yeomanry Cavalry. The final disbandment came in 1828.
The Earl of Chester’s Legion
The Knutsford Loyal Volunteer Infantry, around 300 strong, combined with The Cheshire Yeomanry in 1806, thus making the regiment more than just cavalry, so that it could have been a Corps or a Legion. Willson’s Chart gives a figure of 710 as the strength of the Legion in 1806. The title Earl of Chester’s was conferred in 1803 by the Prince of Wales who was a friend of Sir John Fleming Leicester. The powerful Earls of Chester had ceased to exist as such since 1327 when Edward Plantagenet became King. Since the 14th century the title has been held by successive Princes of Wales as an additional title. It is for this reason, that the regiment has the Prince of Wales plume as its badge. When the infantry was disbanded in 1814 along with most of the other volunteers in Britain, the name of the unit was changed to the Prince Regent’s Cheshire Yeomanry, as the Prince of Wales had assumed the Regency in 1811. Then again, in 1819 four companies of infantry were added to the Yeomanry making them a Legion again. By now the regiment was greatly enlarged because the Macclesfield Troop became a squadron and the Stockport Troop was revived in 1812.
The Blanketeers 1817
The Napoleonic Wars had dominated British life for more than 20 years up until Waterloo in 1815 so that the attitude towards the military, both regulars and volunteers had been favourable, but things changed during the years of ‘peace’. The war had damaged the economy and the post war years brought hardship for many. To add to the difficulties the summer of 1816 brought bad weather (caused by a huge volcanic eruption in Indonesia) and a poor harvest so that hunger and privation were commonplace, and a groundswell of discontent gave rise to public gatherings and demonstrations. In Lancashire the weavers, forced out of work because of the mechanised mills, were being organised for a march on London that was intended to be peaceful. They carried blankets rolled up and slung over their shoulders so that they could keep warm at night and were called Blanketeers as a result. On 10 Mar 1817 they assembled at St Peter’s Field near Manchester, the scene of the more infamous incident in 1819. On this occasion the riot act was read and people were arrested but a few hundred men set off through Cheshire pursued by the Yeomanry. The worst violence was at Stockport where there were several casualties among the marchers who suffered sword wounds. The march never got at far as Derbyshire, and the Cheshire Yeomanry were praised for their efforts. They received the thanks of the Prince Regent, Major-General Sir John Byng and the magistrates of Manchester, Stockport and Macclesfield.
The Peterloo Massacre 1819
Cheshire Yeomanry (Earl of Chester’s)
Peterloo 1819
There was yet more trouble later in 1817 and the Yeomen were held in readiness but stood down without being called upon. A temporary Yeomanry unit was recruited in Manchester, called the Manchester and Salford Yeomanry, which achieved notoriety as a result of their lack of training and discipline. In 1818 the Stockport Troop were called upon, and reinforced by other Cheshire Troops, when disturbances broke out in Stockport. They remained on duty for several days and were again thanked by local magistrates. The Stockport Troop were kept busy in 1819, being called out in February, but it was in August that the massacre took place on St Peter’s Field, Manchester. The demonstration was well organised and peaceful but the Manchester and Salford Yeomanry, who had been waiting in nearby streets, charged in and cut down people in the crowd. Reports claim that they had been drinking, and they were certainly out of control. The 15th Hussars, regular professional soldiers, were sent in to try to restore order, not just among the protesters but the Yeomanry as well. There were more than a dozen killed and many injuries. All the accounts of the events of that day mention the Manchester and Salford Yeomanry as the main culprits, with the 15th Hussars also being blamed. Little mention is made of the actions of the Cheshire Yeomanry, who, it is claimed, numbered 400 men. The history of the regiment relates that they received the thanks of the magistrates of the counties of Cheshire and Lancashire, the inhabitants of Manchester and Salford, the Prince Regent and the Grand Jury of the County Palatine of Chester, at the assizes, September 1st, 1819.
Lancers and Hussars
Cheshire Yeomanry (Earl of Chester’s)
King's Cheshire Legion 1824
In 1820 the Adlington Lancers were raised and attached to the Macclesfield Squadron. This was raised on 18 Feb by Robert Legh of Adlington and consisted of 30 Lancers equipped with privately purchased lances. This addition to the Legion was an unusual arrangement as most of the cavalry were clothed and equipped as light dragoons. Lancer units in the regular army were separate regiments. The Lancer Troop was disbanded in 1838 along with general reductions in the Yeomanry. Uniformity wasn’t insisted upon by Sir John Leicester; the Stockport Troop were clothed as hussars, a fact noted in a regimental order of 6 June 1823 in which Captain John Howard was complimented on ‘the completeness of their new equipment’ and referring to their having become hussars and wearing the pelisse.
2nd Cheshire Yeomanry 1819 - 1828
In 1819 a meeting was held and funds raised to increase the armed force in Cheshire. There was disagreement as to the use of the money subscribed but eventually it was decided to use the bulk of the money to form a new regiment of yeomanry and the rest to go to Sir John Leicester’s regiment and the independent Wirral Troop. The 2nd regiment was in effect a re-raising of Colonel Dod’s Western Cheshire Yeomanry which had ceased to exist in 1810. Officially this new regiment was to be called the Prince Regent’s Own 2nd Cheshire Yeomanry Cavalry but was also called (after 1820) The King’s 2nd Cheshire Yeomanry or the South Cheshire Yeomanry. By June 1820 this 2nd regiment comprised 6 Troops; Cholmondeley, Sandbach, Devenham, Vale Royal, Tilston and Broxton. These six Troops were under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel Thomas Cholmondeley of Vale Royal, and trained and inspected annually. They came to the aid of the civil power in 1826. However, by early 1828 they were disbanded. There is no information on the uniform worn by the 2nd Cheshire Yeomanry.
The Chartists 1839
The People’s Charter of 1838 was drawn up by activists attempting to reform the undemocratic method of selecting members of parliament. The Charter called for all men over 21 to be allowed to vote, in a secret ballot, and that any man could stand as an MP, not just rich landowners. The supporters of this Charter gathered in all parts of Britain for meetings, but these demonstrations were perceived as a threat to authority. To maintain law and order the Yeomanry were called out ‘in aid of the civil power’. This phrase is quoted in all histories of the Yeomanry and came to define their role, and justify their continued embodiment.

The first emergency occurred when a Chartist meeting was organised at Macclesfield on 22 July 1839. For this, the Tabley and Tatton Troops were ordered to Macclesfield and hold themselves in readiness in case of any disturbances. They remained on duty on the 22nd and 23rd but did not have to take any action. The King’s Cheshire yeomanry Cavalry was at this time commanded by Wilbraham Egerton consisting of 10 Troops. Egerton called for extra armament to be supplied to his yeomen and was given 12 light cavalry carbines per Troop for each the 9 Troops which had been armed only with pistols and swords. The Stockport Troop of hussars was already armed with carbines.

A report came to the notice of Home Secretary, Lord John Russell, that Chartists were planning to march on Chester on 12 Aug 1839 to release prisoners who were to be tried at the Assizes. As Egerton was taking the regiment to Chester on the 12th, a message was brought to him from the magistrates informing him that only one squadron would be sufficient. In consequence the Forest and Arley Troops proceeded alone and remained at Chester until 17 Aug. The rest of the regiment also remained on duty for these 5 day. The Altrincham and Dunham Massey Troops were employed clearing the streets of Macclesfield, reinforced by the Tatton and Tabley Troops. The Stockport and Morley Troops were on duty at Hyde. This activity proved to the authorities ‘the benefit of a yeomanry force’ when regular cavalry was unavailable.

Disturbances July 1842

Unemployment increased dramatically in 1842, causing hardship amongst the working class.This increased the numbers of people attracted to the Chartist movement and those still in work were persuaded to go on strike. The Chartist HQ was in Manchester at this time, and when colliers from Staffordshire marched there they passed through Congleton on 15 July 1842. But the Congleton Troop under Captain Antrobus had been ordered to Newcastle-under-Lyme, 15 km south of Congleton. They remained on duty there with the Uttoxeter Troop of the Staffordshire Yeomanry until 18 July. They did, however, operate in the Congleton area on 22-23 July, along with the Tatton Troop commanded by Captain William Tatton Egerton.

The Strike of August 1842

On 5 Aug 1842 factory workers at Ashton-under-Lyne went on strike followed by strikes at other mills in Ashton, also at Dukinfield and Staleybridge. Thousands of strikers marched to Manchester, calling out other workers. Factories were sabotaged by removing the plugs from the boilers of steam engines. The Chartist organisers claimed that all industry within a 50 mile radius of Manchester was halted, apart from food producers. The whole of the King’s Cheshire Yeomanry was mobilised. A large mob marched on Stockport on 11 Aug, closing down the Mills so that the Yeomanry together with constables charged them and took 60 prisoners, of which 14 were imprisoned in Chester Castle. The worst incident was in Preston where infantry were deployed, firing on the rioters who were throwing stones, so that 7 people were killed. Around Macclesfield and Congleton the mob extorted money from farmers and cottage dwellers, committing ‘outrages’. These acts of violence had to be quelled with swift responses from the Cheshire Yeomanry, and by the end of August the disturbances calmed down.

The Manchester Martyrs 1867
Cheshire Yeomanry (Earl of Chester’s)
The Manchester Martyrs
The Irish Republican Brotherhood incited a Fenian rising in Ireland in 1867 but it failed to win public support, and Irish Americans who landed at Cork expecting to fight were arrested. A Fenian centre was set up in Lancashire and the Yeomanry were put on the alert. In September 1867 Republicans attacked a police carriage to release other Fenian prisoners, during which a policeman was killed. Several men were arrested and three of them, Michael O’Brien, Michael Larkin and William Allen were publicly executed in Salford to become known as the Manchester Martyrs. The hanging was botched by the incompetent executioner and O’Brien took 45 minutes to die. A strong military presence ensured that any attempt to disrupt the proceedings could not happen. Regular troops were reinforced by the Cheshire Yeomanry. The strength of the regiment was 37 officers, 40 NCOs and 560 other ranks. But in 1871 they were ordered to reduce to 8 Troops so the Altrincham and Toft Troops were disbanded.
Boer War 1900 - 1902

21st and 22nd Companies

Cheshire Yeomanry (Earl of Chester’s)
Officers, 21st Company
Up until 1900 the yeomanry were required to serve in Britain and usually in their own county, but after more than 100 years of parochial service they were to be sent to fight in South Africa. The Earl of Chester’s Yeomanry, along with all other yeomanry regiments, was asked to supply a company of 115 volunteers to be sent abroad on active service, operating as mounted infantry. The regiment was one of the largest in Britain so there were far more volunteers than were needed. So two companies were formed; the 21st and 22nd Companies of the 2nd Battalion Imperial Yeomanry. Also in the battalion were the Warwickshire Yeomanry and the Lancashire Hussars forming the 5th and 32nd Companies IY. The following account is taken from a website researching George Hindley and concentrates on the operations of the 22nd Company.

Voyage to South Africa

On 30 Jan 1900 both the 21st and 22nd Companies left Liverpool on the SS Lake Erie. 400 horses were on board but 40 were lost on the voyage. The ship stopped at Las Palmas for 2 hours on 6 Feb, and the next day many of the men were inoculated for enteric fever. They arrived at Table Bay on 25 Feb, disembarking the next day. The companies were separated at Maitland Camp, Cape Town. The 21st, commanded by Lord Arthur Grosvenor, were without horses but the 22nd, commanded by Captain Oswald Mosley Leigh, were mounted on the horses brought from England. The two companies were not to be reunited until 11 Sep 1900.

Koegas Pont, 20 Apr - 8 Jun 1900

The 22nd left the camp on 7 Mar and travelled by train to De Aar. They did not have the opportunity to wash until 14 march at Britstown. On 25 Mar there was a terrific rain storm at Stuurmansput. The rain lasted from 22 to 26 Mar so that the men rode and slept in wet clothes. Dysentery was rife. On April 13, Good Friday, two sections came under fire from Boers when they were sent to Koegas Pont 12 miles from Drachoender. On 20 April the Company was at Koegas Pont with Orpen’s Horse, a colonial unit. It was here that the 22nd Company had its first firefight. On 28 April three sections crossed the Pont to load a wagon with stores. Boers arrived and fired from a range of 300 to 600 yards. The enemy outnumbered them by 5 to 1, but were held off by fire from no.1 section. Some of the horses stampeded and the sections retired from hill to hill. The wagon donkeys were killed as well as 13 horses. One man was missing, presumed captured. There were more attacks over the next few weeks during which time Captain Leigh suffered from dysentery and had to be sent to Drachoender, but on 8 June the company left Koegas Pont.

Drachoender, 8 Jun - 6 Sep 1900

At Drachoender the yeomen were given one pound each as a gift from the Lt-Colonel of the regiment Earl Harrington. There was no wood for the fire in the cookhouse so it had to be collected from Reitfontein 9 miles away. By this time four men had died. One of them, Private Bill Lister was one of the best swimmers in England. On 14 Aug a detachment was sent on patrol to Kheis for 6 days. This consisted of 24 men from no.1 section commanded by Captain Daniel, Lieut Massey and Colour Sgt Male. The other three sections were inspected favourably on 17 Aug and congratulated for their good conduct. The patrol, having covered 100 miles, returned on 19 Aug with 2 prisoners, 11 horses and 1,000 sheep and goats. On 30 Aug there was a brief reunion with 21st Company when 39 men from the 21st stopped off on their way to Kimberley where they intended to join the Cape Mounted Police. 22 men of the 22nd Company also joined them and travelled to Kimberley. The remainder of the 22nd left Drachoeder on 6 Sep.

Upington, 11 Sep 1900

The Company travelled 100 miles over 5 days arriving at Upington, Bechuanaland at 1pm on 11 Sep. Their strength was 4 officers, one colour-sergeant, 6 sergeants and 67 rank-and-file. The 21st Company had been posted at Upington since 8 April, and the Cheshire Yeomanry IY were reunited for the first time in 6 months. The weather there was bad; a sandstorm lasted a whole week during September. They spent 7 weeks at Upington which proved to be boring for the men as there was no action. They left for De Aar on 29 Oct and then Colesberg. A few days later they went to Petrusville where they were on patrol. More travelling, back to De Aar, Worcester, then Wellington where they expected to spend Christmas, but had to move on 19 Dec back to De Aar.

Colonel Thorneycroft’s Column

On reaching De Aar in late December 1900 the 22nd Company was ordered to join a column commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel Alexander Thorneycroft. They chased the Boers over a distance of 550 miles in 21 days (plus 2 days rest), to within 40 miles of Cape Town. The forced march was hard on the animals and 400 horses were lost. There was an opportunity for fighting when they reached Carnarvon. Captain Daniel led them on a 4-mile gallop across an open plain to a kopje. They dismounted from their extremely tired horses to attack the boers at the top but the enemy had left and were out of range by the time the yeomen reached the summit.

Chasing De Wet

In Feb 1901 the 22nd moved with the column to Kraan Kuil, north of De Aar. The Boers could be heard blowing up the railway but the Cheshires were on their way to Petrusville with the column. Eight miles outside the town they came across one of De Wet’s foraging parties who were chased off and their wagons captured. They were then entertained by a display of Heavy Artillery fire directed at the enemy laager. Other columns were in the region also chasing De Wet, but the Boer Commander was able to escape what was thought to be a certain trap. They moved by various stops to De Wet’s Dorp where they were less pleasantly employed moving out women and children, and burning forage. Whilst there they sustained their first fatality from enemy fire. Private Percy Preston was shot in the neck by a Boer sniper and sent to hospital in Springfontein where he died after nine days.

Patrol from Brandfort

The Company moved on to Bloemfontein and then Brandfort. On a night patrol they arrived at a Boer laager and, at 3am, were able to surprise 20 of the enemy who were of different nationalities, German, French, English and Irish. One was dressed in khaki so he was executed. At the end of their time with the column they were posted to Senekal and Winburg districts and thanked for their good service which was favourably compared to that of regular soldiers. The 22nd Company were especially commended for their scouting. They returned home on 17 June 1901.

Cheshire Yeomanry Fatal Casualties

One member of the Cheshire Yeomanry has already been mentioned as having died on 10 May 1901, of wounds from a Boer bullet, Private Percy Preston. A memorial plaque on the wall of Chester Cathedral names 15 more. Most of them died of disease. Not all were in the 2nd Battalion’s 21st or 22nd Companies, Cheshire Imperial Yeomanry. Two of them were officers who had joined other Companies, and two had transferred to the Cape Mounted Police. The following names are inscribed on the memorial plaque:

Cheshire Yeomanry (Earl of Chester’s)
Lieutenant John Wilfred Broadbent killed in action at Gelegenfontein, Orange River Colony, on 24 Nov 1901. He was serving in the 9th Battalion IY. He was born on 21 Sep 1871 and educated at Rugby School. He was the son of Charles and Constance Broadbent of Latchford, Cheshire. He served for 15 months as a trooper in the IY and for 6 months as a lieutenant in the Derbyshire Yeomanry.

Lieutenant Horace Foster Schwabe, 5th son and 8th child of Henry Albert Schwabe of Dingle Bank, Lymm, Cheshire. His mother was Eleanor Burdett. He was educated at Rugby and became a solicitor in 1898. He served in the South African War in the Cheshire Yeomanry but was commissioned into the Warwickshire Yeomanry on 17 April 1901. He was 25 when he died of typhoid fever at Johannesburg on 26 Sep 1901.

Private J C Cramer-Roberts 2nd Battalion. Died at Deefontein on 25 April 1900.

Private George Frederick Fox 21st Company, 2nd Bn. He died on 16 May 1900 at the Woodstock Hospital, Cape Town. He lived at Castle Hill, Ewloe, Flintshire. He was married to Emma.

Private F Davies 22nd Company 2nd Battalion. Died at Drachoender on 15 June 1900.

Private C E Huskisson Cape Mounted Police. Died on 12 Nov 1900 at Vryburg.

Private J J White Date of death not known.

Private G Bradshaw 2nd Bn. Died at Drachoender on 1 April 1900.

Private G Whitelegge 2nd Bn. Died at Maitland on 12 Dec 1900

Private W Lister 22nd Company 2nd Bn. Date of death not known. He was from Manchester and well known for competitive swimming.

Private Henry Thornton Cape Mounted Police. He was born in 1878 at the family home in Lower Bridge Street, Chester. He enlisted in the 21st Company 2nd Bn, but, along with 61 men of the Cheshire Yeomanry he transferred to the CMP in early September 1900. He was killed in action near Hoopstaad, Orange River County, on 23 Oct 1900.

Private E Pritchard 22nd Company 2nd Bn. Died at De Aar on 10 April 1900

Private A A Carrick 22nd Company 2nd Bn. Died at Drachoender on 13 May 1900

Private Percy J Preston 22nd Company 2nd Bn. Shot in the neck by a Boer sniper on 2 May 1901 and sent to hospital at Springfontein where he died on 10 May 1901.

Private H Gough Date of death not known.

Private E Hodson 2nd Bn. Died at Thabanchu on 21 May 1901

World War One 1914 -18
Cheshire Yeomanry (Earl of Chester’s)
Armoured Car Attack

Dismounted Service in Egypt

The Cheshire Yeomanry was based in Chester in August 1914 as part of the Welsh Border Mounted Brigade in the Mounted Division. In Nov 1915 they were designated as a dismounted unit. They were billeted in Lowestoft, Suffolk when they were given orders to embark at Devonport on the Haverford, on 3 Mar 1916. Their strength was 25 officers and 451 other ranks. They reached Alexandria in Egypt on 15 Mar and proceeded to Beni Salama Camp. A month later they boarded a train for Minia Lower Camp. It was here that a detachment of 35 men and 2 officers were posted to the 6th Imperial Camel Corps. The rest of the regiment was given the task of guarding canal transport at Samalita.

Armoured Car Attack, March 1916

The dismounted Cheshire Yeomanry arrived in Egypt too late to take part in the exploits of the Duke of Westminster who was a major in the Cheshire Yeomanry at that time. He was a motor enthusiast and developed armoured cars for use in the North African campaign against the Senussi Arabs. The allied forces in Libya were commanded by Major-General W E Peyton and successes had already been achieved by South African troops under Brigadier Lukin and by the mounted Dorset Yeomanry’s brilliant charge at Agagia in Feb 1916. The Senussi and their Turkish and German allies occupied Sollum but when the British and South African forces captured nearby Barrani the enemy evacuated Sollum. The Duke’s squadron of armoured cars was given the task of attacking the Senussi camp at Asisa to the west, in Tripoli.

The cars advanced towards the camp in line and were fired on by artillery and machine guns. The guns were put out of action while the cars were 400 yards away, and they were able to charge into the camp scattering the defenders. They pursued the Senussi, but after 10 miles were in danger of running out of petrol. They captured the enemy artillery and 9 machine guns as well as 40 prisoners. One British officer, the only casualty, was slightly wounded.

The Rescue of Sailors at Bir Hakim. 17 Mar 1916

The next objective was to rescue British sailors who were prisoners of the Senussi at Bir Hakim. This was carried out on 17 Mar 1916 starting from Sollum. Nine armoured cars and 26 other cars, along with 10 ambulances set off through unknown country. The exact location of the place was also unknown. The main worry was that they would not reach their objective before fuel ran out. After 100 miles there was tension amongst the vehicle crews, and it was when almost 115 miles had been reached that they spotted Arabs on a mound. This was where the prisoners were. There was little resistance and the mission was completed after The Duke ruthlessly ordered the killing of the captors and the hanging of the man in charge. The starving prisoners were, however, rescued and brought home, and there were no casualties amongst the men under the Duke’s command. The detailed account of these actions, written by Frank Mumby in his book, The Great World War, a History, does not mention the unit(s) involved but it is clear that the Cheshire Yeomanry were represented solely by Major Grosvenor, the Duke of Westminster. There may have been other officers from the Cheshires but there are no other names mentioned except for ‘Lt William Griggs, the famous jockey’ who was from Kent, not a Cheshire Yeoman.

Battle of Et Tireh, 29 - 30 Nov 1917

The Cheshire Yeomanry moved from the Suez Canal to El Alamein in November 1916. In March 1917 they merged with the Shropshire Yeomanry to form the 10th Battalion King’s Shropshire Light Infantry and were involved in a number of actions including the 3rd Battle of Gaza.
Cheshire Yeomanry (Earl of Chester’s)
Advance in Palestine
On 27 Nov 1917 the battalion arrived at the hotly contested Junction Station west of Jerusalem. They proceeded to Latrun in a 29 mile march over rough terrain. At first light on 29 Nov they relieved the troops on the ridge at Beit Dukku-Khan Juena but by the evening were ordered to send two companies to occupy the village of Et Tireh together with the 25th Battalion R Welsh Fusiliers. The two companies, nos.2 and 4, were led by Major Philip Glazebrook in the dark, and took possession of the village with little difficulty. This position was overlooked by two occupied hills to the north while a greater Turkish force held a ridge to the south.

At daybreak Glazebrook took his companies to capture the summit of one hill to the north east and the Welsh Fusiliers took the other northern hill. The Turks counter-attacked and the two companies had to be reinforced by a third from the 10th KSLI. This did not stop the enemy from re-capturing the hills so the 3 companies took refuge in Et Tireh once more. They had suffered heavy casualties but stayed until ordered to retire. Major Glazebrook made his way to the part of his force under most threat from enemy machine-gun fire and brought the men and the wounded out of their dangerous situation. The citation for his DSO said, ‘The unfailing energy and resolution shown by this officer was most noticeable.’

Death of Major Glazebrook, 7 Mar 1918

They made their way back to the ridge at Beit Dukku-Khan Juena where they were to remain until later in December. In March 1918 the battalion, as part of the general advance moved to Wadi Stour where they were shelled by Turkish artillery. This continued for a week and on 7 Mar Major Glazebrook was killed. He was an inspirational leader and a great loss to the Cheshire Yeomanry, as well as the whole battalion. A fellow officer said that he won the DSO many times over. He was buried in the Jerusalem War Cemetery.

Advance in Palestine

The Cheshire Yeomanry fought as infantry in WW1. This illustration shows British infantry skirmishers clearing the way for the general allied advance towards Jerusalem. Pockets of Turkish resistance had to be sought out and eliminated.

Service in France 1918

The 10th Battalion KSLI (Cheshire and Shropshire Yeomanry) was sent to the Western Front in April 1918. They landed at Marseilles and were sent to the Abbeville area to train for trench warfare and gas defence. They went into action in July as part of the 74th Yeomanry Division, and fought on the Somme, at Bapaume and Epehy. They took part in the final advance in Artois and Flanders and ended up at Tournai. They had suffered heavy casualties against the Germans.

Casualties of WW1

The war memorial in Chester Cathedral for World War One has 186 names of soldiers of the Cheshire Yeomanry that died or were killed in action between 1914 and 1919. As well as Major Glazebrook DSO there are Captain J de Knoop, Captain H Aldersey, and Lieutenants P de M W Grey-Egerton, G B Locket MC, A R Edghill, C L Olav, N Armitage and A A Malcolm. SQMS J Nickson, SSM C Postles, 17 sergeants, 7 corporals, 12 lance corporals, one trumpeter (V M du Plergny) and 137 privates.

Between the Wars
The Cheshire Yeomanry became a horse-mounted regiment once more in 1920. In 1921 a commission set up to examine the role of the Yeomanry decided to allow only the 14 most senior regiments to retain their horses. The rest were converted to the Royal Tank Corps or the Royal Artillery, or disbanded. The Cheshire Yeomanry was 8th in the order of precedence so was permitted to remain horse-mounted. When war broke out they were posted to the Middle East and achieved the reputation of being one of the last regiments to fight on horseback.
World War Two 1939 - 1945

Syria 1941

Cheshire Yeomanry (Earl of Chester’s)
In Palestine 1940
On 31 Aug 1939 they were mobilised and, after handing in their swords for sharpening, embarked for Palestine with their horses. There they were employed in patrolling and reconnaissance work in Palestine, Lebanon and Syria which was controlled by Vichy France. The Germans were able to make use of Syria as a base for providing military aid to Iraq, so the British opened a campaign in early June 1941. The Cheshire Yeomanry was in the 5th Cavalry Brigade along with the North Somerset Yeomanry and the Yorkshire Dragoons. The 5th was part of Wavell’s force that included Foreign Legionnaires, Australians, an Indian Brigade, and a Royal Marine Commando. The Cheshire Yeomanry were attached to the Australians and on 8 June 1941 they advanced into Syria covering 45 miles in the first day.

Adiesse, 9 June 1941

It is claimed that they were the last mounted regiment in the British Army to charge the enemy but that claim may be based on what happened at Adiesse. On the morning of 9 June 1941, B Squadron, Cheshire Yeomanry were in support of the 25th Australian Brigade when they encountered Vichy French Spahis on the road outside the village of Adiesse on the far side of the Litani River. The squadron prepared to charge them but the Spahis retired and the attack was stopped. The next day a recce patrol was sent forward, ahead of the advance to attack the enemy left flank. This caused a Vichy withdrawal as they suspected the patrol was the advance guard of a much larger force. There were no more opportunities for a cavalry charge and they had to be content with patrolling and reconnaissance.
Cheshire Yeomanry (Earl of Chester’s)
WW2 War Memorial
Whilst in Syria the officer’s mess ‘acquired a particular fondness for the wines of Chateau Musar in the Bequaa Valley, a fondness which still persists’ (quoted from Year of the Yeomanry published by the Army Museums Ogilby Trust 1994)

Converted to a Signal Unit 1942

When the Syrian campaign came to an end in early 1942 the Cheshire Yeomanry were reorganised as a mechanised unit within the Royal Signals. They had to give up their horses, an outcome that was probably foreseen but which was generally greeted with dismay. They were designated as 5th Lines of Communications Signals, continuing to serve in the Middle East until 1944. They were then sent to Belgium, re-designated as 17th Line of Communications Signals. They later had a special battle honour displayed on their guidon for N W Europe combined with a R Signals badge within a wreath.

Post War
Cheshire Yeomanry (Earl of Chester’s)
Armoured Car Parade 1959
After the war, on May Day 1947 the Cheshire Yeomanry reverted back to cavalry but this time with mechanised armour. They were issued with Cromwell and Comet tanks. A recruiting leaflet of 1950 invited prospective yeomen to visit their drill halls at Gilwern, Abbots Park, Chester (on Mondays and Thursdays), 24 Clifton Road, Birkenhead (on Tuesdays), or at their HQ in Mobberley Road, Knutsford on (Tuesdays and Fridays) (previously the Rose and Crown, Knutsford). However, in 1958 they were re-equipped with Daimler Ferret and Dingo armoured cars to operate as a reconnaissance unit. In 1961 they were presented with a new guidon in a parade held on 8 July. The defence reorganisation of 1967 brought about their disbandment except for a small cadre. 80 (CY) Signal Squadron became part of the newly formed 33 Signal Regiment on 1 April 1967, taking on the designation of a former Army Emergency Reserve Signal unit.

C Squadron QOY

In 1971 a yeomanry unit was formed, the Queen’s Own Yeomanry which included C Squadron (Cheshire Yeomanry). The other squadrons were the Queen’s Own Yorkshire Yeomanry (Y Sqn), the Sherwood Rangers (B Sqn) and the Northumberland Hussars (D and HQ Sqns). In 1999, the Strategic Defence Review re-planted them in the Royal Mercian and Lancastrian Yeomanry. This was a grouping of the Warwickshires & Worcesters, the Staffordshires, the Shropshires and the Duke of Lancaster’s. Their role was to provide Reserve Challenger 2 tanks to the Regular Army, so they had to train as tank loaders and gunners. A further re-shuffle brought them back to the Queen’s Own Yeomanry in 2014, based in Chester.

Honorary Colonels
1797 - 1971
Lieutenant-Colonel Commandants
1797 - 1971
1797 - 1971
1797 - 1971
Sabretaches & Pouches
1797 - 1971
1797 - 1971
1797 - 1971
1797 - 1971
Battle Honours
Boer War 1899-1902

World War One 
SOMME 1918 
Egypt 1916-17 

Second World War
SYRIA 1941

1797Cheshire (Provisional) Cavalry (January 1797), Macclesfield Troop and Stockport Troop (June 1797) and Nether Knutsford Association (1798)
1803Earl of Chester’s Regiment of Cheshire Gentlemen and Yeomanry Cavalry, Western Cheshire Cavalry, Knutsford Troop, Macclesfield Troop, Norton Troop, Stockport Troop
1806Earl of Chester’s Legion
1814The Prince Regent’s Regiment of Cheshire Yeomanry
1819The Prince Regent’s Cheshire Volunteer Legion
1820The King’s Cheshire Legion
1826The King’s Cheshire Yeomanry Cavalry
1849The Earl of Chester’s Yeomanry Cavalry
190021st & 22nd Companies 2nd Bn Imperial Yeomanry
1902The Cheshire (Earl of Chester’s) Yeomanry (Hussars)
1971C Squadron (Cheshire Yeomanry), The Queen’s Own Yeomanry
Regimental Museum
Cheshire Military Museum
The Castle

Tel: 01244 327617

Suggested Reading
5,000 Miles With the Cheshire Yeomanry in South Africa
by John H Cooke

The Earl of Chester’s Yeomanry Cavalry; Its Formation and Services 1797 to 1897
by Frederick Leary (Ballantine Press 1898)

The Cheshire (Earl of Chester’s) Yeomanry 1898 - 1967: The Last British Regiment to Fight on Horses
by Lt-Col Sir Richard Verdin (Cheshire Yeomanry Association 1971)

Armed Forces | Art and Culture | Articles | Biographies | Colonies | Discussion | Glossary | Home | Library | Links | Map Room | Sources and Media | Science and Technology | Search | Student Zone | Timelines | TV & Film | Wargames

by Stephen Luscombe