Queen's Own Worcestershire Hussars

Infobox Military Unit
unit_name=Queen's Own Worcestershire Hussars

dates= 1794 - 2007
country= Great Britain
branch= British Army
type= Yeomanry
size= Regiment [World Wars]
Two Squadrons [Present day]
command_structure=Royal Armoured Corps
Royal Signals
Past Commanders=
battle_honours=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. [cite web|title=mod.uk|url=http://www2.army.mod.uk/royalsignals/1sigsqn/history/rby.htm]


The Queen's Own Worcestershire Hussars were formed in 1794, as the Worcestershire Yeomanry, when King George III, was on the throne, William Pitt the Younger was the Prime Minister of Great Britain, and across the English Channel, Britain was faced by a French nation that had recently guillotined its King and possessed a revolutionary army numbering half a million men. The Prime Minister proposed that the counties form a force of Volunteer Yeomanry Cavalry which 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 country. [cite web|title=worcestershire|url=http://www.ph012b2086.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/harry/wyc.htm] Worcestershire's responded quickly the first troop paraded in front of the Unicorn Inn in Worcester on October 25, 1794 under the command of Captain John Somers-Cocks and Lieutenant Thomas Spooner. [cite web|title=worcestershire|url=http://www.ph012b2086.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/harry/wyc.htm] With the threat of a French invasion having receded after the signing of the Peace of Amiens in 1802 the King commended the Worcestershire Yeomanry for their "honourable distinction in forming an essential part of the defence of the country against a foreign enemy in circumstances of extraordinary emergency". [cite web|title=worcestershire|url=http://www.ph012b2086.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/harry/wyc.htm] In 1887, Queen Victoria altered the title of the regiment which was for the future to bear the designation of the Queen's Own Worcestershire Hussars. [cite web|title=worcestershire|url=http://www.ph012b2086.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/harry/wyc.htm]

The Boer War

In 1899, they were called for service in the Imperial Yeomanry , for the Boer War. The War Office was not prepared for the Boer offensive and sent only 10,000 Indian troops, under command of Lord Methuen, to face some 70,000 Boers. [cite web|title=worcestershire|url=http://www.ph012b2086.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/harry/wyc.htm] . After an initial success the British found themselves in trouble owing to lack of cavalry. The result was the English Yeomanry Regiments were called upon and there response was immediate. Lord Windsor , the Commanding Officer asked for volunteers for a newly formed Imperial Yeomanry Cavalry and was able to select 129 men from the 3,021 men who offered their services. [cite web|title=worcestershire|url=http://www.ph012b2086.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/harry/wyc.htm] The Worcestershire contingent formed the 6th Squadron of the 5th Regiment of the Imperial Yeoman Cavalry under the command of Colonel Meyrick. The squadron's orders were to protect the railways, pacify the local Boer farmers and to capture the Boer forces their supplies, arms and equipment. [cite web|title=worcestershire|url=http://www.ph012b2086.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/harry/wyc.htm] The Regiment was armed with the Martini-Henri carbine and 2lb and 3lb guns which were, in fact, the private property of Lord Plymouth and paid for out of private funds. [cite web|title=worcestershire|url=http://www.ph012b2086.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/harry/wyc.htm] The Boer War ended in June 1902 and the Regiment returned to a home having lost 16 NCOs killed in action and 20 wounded. [cite web|title=worcestershire|url=http://www.ph012b2086.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/harry/wyc.htm]

The First World War

The Earl of Dudley who took command of the Worcestershire Yeomanry Cavalry in November 1913 was already convinced that another European war was approaching. He appointed a permanent staff of instructors who trained the Regiment in musketry. [cite web|title=worcestershire|url=http://www.ph012b2086.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/harry/wyc.htm]

War was declared in August 1914 and the Worcestershire's formed part of the 1st Midland Mounted Brigade commanded by Brigadier E.A. Wiggin. The Brigade was ordered to Egypt and was based in Chatby Camp, close to Alexandria , by April 1915. [cite web|title=worcestershire|url=http://www.ph012b2086.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/harry/wyc.htm] In August the Brigade were informed they were to fight as infantry, and were sent to Suvla Bay , and took part in the Gallipoli campaign. The Regiment were in support of the Anzacs and other British soldiers, in an attempt to break through the Turkish defences.These Turkish defences on the hills overlooking the beaches proved too strong and Gallipoli was evacuated in January 1916. [cite web|title=worcestershire|url=http://www.ph012b2086.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/harry/wyc.htm] The Regiment was sent to Egypt , where their casualties were replaced by fresh troops from England and the Regiment was sent to protect thee eastern side of the Suez Canal.The Regiment dug wells and sent out patrols for reconnaissance to establish the location of the Turkish attack, the Regiment being responsible for patrolling the whole of the Qatia water area. [cite web|title=worcestershire|url=http://www.ph012b2086.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/harry/wyc.htm] The small isolated garrison at Oghratine had been ordered to protect a party on egineers on a well digging expedition ,when at dawn on April 23 , 1916 , 3,000 Turkish troops, including a machine gun battery of 12 guns, attacked. The defending troops repulsed the first attack but were forced back by the weight of the onslaught. The defender's only machine gun was put out of action early in the attack and all the gunners were killed or wounded. [cite web|title=worcestershire|url=http://www.ph012b2086.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/harry/wyc.htm] The victorious Turkish troops then advancede to reinforce the attack taking place against the small garrison at Qatia. Qatia fell to the Turkish forces with the loss of all of the Yeomanry's officers except a Major W.H. Wiggin who was wounded and managed to withdraw with about half the squadron. Anzac troops, who occupied both Qatia and Oghradine four days later, testified to the ferocity of the battle and paid tribute to the valour and tenacity of the defenders. [cite web|title=worcestershire|url=http://www.ph012b2086.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/harry/wyc.htm] In these actions 9 officers and 102 NCOs and men of the Regiment were killed and many other wounded. A composite regiment, including the Worcestershire Yeomanry, was formed in August 1916 and together with Anzac regiments were tasked to force back some 48,000 Turkish forces from Romani , a strategically important and fortified watering hole which was identified as the Turkish base for a major attack on the Suez Canal. After a fierce battle the Turkish forces were forced to retreat and large numbers of guns were captured. [cite web|title=worcestershire|url=http://www.ph012b2086.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/harry/wyc.htm] The Turkish army regrouped at Gaza and made a stand which brought the British advance to a halt until the arrival of General Edmund Allenby , he reorganised the army and allowed them to conduct operations towards the Turkish positions at Beersheba. The resulting operation took the Turkish forces by surprise and they were forced to withdraw. [cite web|title=worcestershire|url=http://www.ph012b2086.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/harry/wyc.htm] In the pursuit that followed the Worcestershire Yeomanry with the Warwickshire Yeomanry took part in the last cavalry charge on guns in British Military history. [cite web|title=worcestershire|url=http://www.ph012b2086.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/harry/wyc.htm] Under Colonel Hugh Cheape the cavalry charged a group of Turkish guns at a place called Huj in November 1917. This action, in defence of the beleaguered 60th London Division, who were pinned down by Turkish fire, succeeded forcing them to withdraw and resulted in the capture of the guns.Yeomanry losses were heavy. Two out of nine officers were killed and four wounded and of 96 NCOs and men 17 were killed and 35 wounded. [cite web|title=worcestershire|url=http://www.ph012b2086.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/harry/wyc.htm]

Between the Wars

The Regiment returned from Palestine in 1919 , under strength but were quickly reformed and up to strength. [cite web|title=worcestershire|url=http://www.ph012b2086.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/harry/wyc.htm] It had become clear during the war that cavalry was obsolete and in 1922 it was announced that the Worcestershire's was to become a Royal Artillery regiment and to provide two batteries of horsed field artillery which together with two batteries of the Oxfordshire's was to form the 100th Field Brigade Royal Artillery. The horses were replaced by tractors in 1922. [cite web|title=worcestershire|url=http://www.ph012b2086.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/harry/wyc.htm]

The Second World War

By 1938 a new war with Germany was near and the Regiment was chosen to convert into an anti tank Regiment. Its eighteen-pounders were replaced by two-pounders and the 53rd Worcestershire Yeomanry Anti-tank regiment R.A. came into being. This Regiment consisted of four batteries; the 209 at Kidderminster, the 210 and 212 at Kings Heath and the 211 at Bewdley. [cite web|title=worcestershire|url=http://www.ph012b2086.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/harry/wyc.htm]

Battle of France

On May 10th the German attack started and the British Army moved forwards across the Belgian frontier to take position on the River Dyle. [cite web|title=worcestershire|url=http://www.ph012b2086.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/harry/wyc.htm] The British Commanding General, Lord Gort, was aware of the possibility of a northward retreat to the coast and used the 48th Division to cover the 28 miles of the La Bassee Canal. [cite web|title=worcestershire|url=http://www.ph012b2086.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/harry/wyc.htm] Their purpose was to protect the western flank of the British Army by holding strongpoints such as canal crossings. Large enemy losses were inflicted by the 210 battery together with troops of the 211 in support of the Royal Warwickshires who were holding the town of Wormhoudt. [cite web|title=worcestershire|url=http://www.ph012b2086.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/harry/wyc.htm] Orders were received from Brigade to destroy there guns and vehicles and proceed to Dunkirk. Near Oost-Cappell the 212 Battery defended the crossroads against German tanks, some of which were destroyed, until being forced to withdraw after disabling their guns and vehicles. [cite web|title=worcestershire|url=http://www.ph012b2086.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/harry/wyc.htm] Each battery had been ordered to escape to Dunkirk, only five officers and 284 men of the Regiment were evacuated from the beaches of Dunkirk in Operation Dynamo. The Regiment had, however, gained the distinction of having destroyed more enemy tanks than any other anti-tank Regiment. [cite web|title=worcestershire|url=http://www.ph012b2086.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/harry/wyc.htm] In August 1943 the Regiment was attached to the 6th Airborne Division , and become its field artillery regiment as the 53rd Worcestershire Yeomanry Airlanding Light Regiment R.A. [cite web|title=worcestershire|url=http://www.ph012b2086.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/harry/wyc.htm]

D Day

Owing to a shortage of gliders only on Battery (211) participated in the airborne assault on D Day , together with the 6th Airborne Division they were tasked to seize and hold the high wooded area behind Caen on the eastern flank of the Normandy bridgehead. 211 battery, landed near Caen in 27 gliders on June 6, the first British Field Battery ever to have flown into action against an enemy. [cite web|title=worcestershire|url=http://www.ph012b2086.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/harry/wyc.htm] The Regiments other Batteries 210 and 212,landed by sea at Colleville-sur-Orme , on June 14 and joined up with 211 the following day, the complete Regiment going into action on the June 15. The Regiment now manned a series of Forward Observation Posts providing information for the Parachute and Commando Brigades against German mortar strongpoints. By August 16 reports were received that the Germans were pulling out eastwards. [cite web|title=worcestershire|url=http://www.ph012b2086.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/harry/wyc.htm] Major General Gale, Commanding Officer of the 6th Airborne, received orders that his command together with the Regiment was to maintain pressure on the retreating Germans on the coastal route towards the Seine in Operation Paddle.progress was slow but the Regiment reached Honfleur on August 27. They then returned to England to rest and reform.On December 20 , 1944 the Regiment received orders to embark for France again and by December 26 they were in action near Dinant in support of the 6th Airlanding Brigade , as the British defended against the German offensive in the Ardennes. [cite web|title=worcestershire|url=http://www.ph012b2086.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/harry/wyc.htm] The Regiments 210 Battery claimed to be the first to land shells over the frontier on German soil. [cite web|title=worcestershire|url=http://www.ph012b2086.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/harry/wyc.htm]

Operation Varsity

The plan for Operation Varsity , was to drop two Airborne Divisions, including the Regiment, behind enemy lines north of Wesel,isolate the industrial Ruhr and disrupt the German rear defences.On March 24, 78 gliders set off from England for a successful attack that established bridgeheads on the eastern bank of the Rhine. [cite web|title=worcestershire|url=http://www.ph012b2086.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/harry/wyc.htm] The first guns were in action within 10 minutes of the gliders landing. [cite web|title=worcestershire|url=http://www.ph012b2086.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/harry/wyc.htm] By the evening all of the Divisions objectives had been taken but 2 Battery Commanders and 20 Other Ranks had been killed, with 8 officers and 59 men missing or prisoners of war. [cite web|title=worcestershire|url=http://www.ph012b2086.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/harry/wyc.htm] The advance ccontinued and six weeks later they reached the Baltic coast. [cite web|title=worcestershire|url=http://www.ph012b2086.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/harry/wyc.htm] The Regiment had fought in captured the towns of Greven , Lengerich , Osnabruck , Minden and Lahder.Heavy German resistance was encountered near Celle on April 15, when German self-propelled guns caused problems for 6th Airborne until they were outflanked after heavy shelling by the Regiment. The advance met with the Russians westward advance on April 30, on the Baltic Coast at Wismar. [cite web|title=worcestershire|url=http://www.ph012b2086.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/harry/wyc.htm]


The Regiment had returned to England by May 23 and was then ordered in September 1945 to Palestine. Its task was to help establish and maintain security in the Jewish state against Arab hostility and internal Jewish battles for power. [cite web|title=worcestershire|url=http://www.ph012b2086.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/harry/wyc.htm] The Regiment, retrained as infantry to act as a police force, controlling and searching traffic along the north to south roads into Jerusalem , Tel Aviv and Jaffa. Their largest operation was to search Tel Aviv in three days, arresting men suspected of subversive activities and discovering hidden dumps of arms. [cite web|title=worcestershire|url=http://www.ph012b2086.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/harry/wyc.htm]

Post War

The Regiment was to change its title to the 33rd Airborne Light Regiment (Worcestershire Yeomanry) R.A. just prior to the Regiments posting in January 1948 to Schleswig-Holstein in Germany. [cite web|title=worcestershire|url=http://www.ph012b2086.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/harry/wyc.htm] However the Worcestershire Yeomanry had already been reborn in 1947 in Worcestershire as the 300th Anti-tank Regiment R.A. (Worcestershire Yeomanry) [cite web|title=worcestershire|url=http://www.ph012b2086.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/harry/wyc.htm] . It was equipped with six-pounder anti-tank guns and later 17-pounder self-propelled guns. [cite web|title=worcestershire|url=http://www.ph012b2086.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/harry/wyc.htm] In 1950 the Regiment became cavalry again as The Queen's Own Worcestershire Hussars. [cite web|title=worcestershire|url=http://www.ph012b2086.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/harry/wyc.htm] Early in 1956 the Government announced its intention to reduce the size of the T.A. due to the high cost. In November 1956 it was announced that the Warwickshire Yeomanry and The Queen's Own Worcestershire Hussars were to be amalgamated. The new Regiment became "The Queen's Own Warwickshire and Worcestershire Yeomanry" in 1957. Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II , agreed to be Honorary Colonel of the Regiment, the only Regiment in the army to have that singular honour. [cite web|title=worcestershire|url=http://www.ph012b2086.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/harry/wyc.htm] The Regiment continued as an Armoured Regiment with Comet tanks until 1962 when it became an Armoured Car Reconnaissance Regiment. In 1966 it became a light Reconnaissance Regiment equipped with Dinger Scout cars. [cite web|title=worcestershire|url=http://www.ph012b2086.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/harry/wyc.htm] In 1969 the T.A. was dramatically reduced by the Labour Government and except for one Yeomanry Regiment all the others were disbanded but permitted to retain a small cadre of five members for possible expansion in later years. In addition the Regiment was invited to form a Signals Squadron, 67 (QOWWY) Signal Squadron at Stratford-on-Avon and Stourbridge with a Royal Signals role. This Squadron was raised from former members of the QOWWY. [cite web|title=worcestershire|url=http://www.ph012b2086.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/harry/wyc.htm] In 1971 with a change of government each Yeomanry cadre was authorised to expand to Squadron strength (120 men). The three squadrons raised from the cadres of the QOWWY, the Staffordshire Yeomanry and the Shropshire Yeomanry were formed into a new Regiment called "The Queen's Own Mercian Yeomanry" with a reconnaissance role. [cite web|title=worcestershire|url=http://www.ph012b2086.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/harry/wyc.htm] With the defence cuts of 1992 The Queen's Own Mercian Yeomanry were amalgamated with The Duke of Lancaster's Own Yeomanry to form The Royal Mercian and Lancastrian Yeomanry with H.M. The Queen as its Colonel in Chief. It had a medium reconnaissance role and equipped with Land Rovers. [cite web|title=worcestershire|url=http://www.ph012b2086.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/harry/wyc.htm] Therefore The Queen's Own Warwickshire and Worcestershire Yeomanry has two serving successor Squadrons in 1994 as follows:-
* A (QOWWY) Squadron of the Royal Mercian and Lancastrian Yeomanry based at Stourbridge with 2 Troops at Coventry
* 67 (QOWWY) Signal Squadron of 37 Signal Regiment , based at Stratford-on-Avon and Stourbridge.

Further Reading

The Yeomanry Cavalry of Worcestershire 1794-1913

The Yeomanry cavalry of Worcestershire 1914-1922

The Queen's Own Worcestershire Hussars 1922-1956 by D.R. Guttery.

Worcestershire Yeomanry Cavalry (1794-1994) by Derek Woodward


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