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Warwickshire Yeomanry Museum
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South Africa

The WkY Museum Archives contain a considerable  amount of material on the War in South Africa 1899-1902, including, diaries original  photographs, newspaper cuttings, letters and other documents.

The Anglo–Boer War of 1899-1902 is a vast  complex subject and  those wishing to learn more will  find the www.angloboerwar.com a valuable resource.

Imperial Yeomanry in South Africa

The Imperial Yeomanry was formed by Royal Warrant on 24th December 1899. It comprised mainly one volunteer Squadron from each Yeomanry Regiment and these were grouped into battalions.

The WKY Squadron became 5th Company, 2nd Bn. Imp.Yeomanry consisting of five Officers and 116 Ors and sailed for South Africa on S.S.Lake Erie, on the 1st February 1900.

At Kheis Drift  (Kleis Drift) on 25th May, 1900, Major Orr-Ewing and 2 ORs were killed when trying to help wounded comrades, ten others were wounded.

     There was a second contingent of Warwickshire Imperial Yeomanry of 146 men who went out to South Africa to replace losses through illness, wounds and death.

The 5th Company  took part in the search for General de Wet in the Spring of 1901. 

In May of that year they received orders to return home; returning to a rapturous welcome on the Warwick Market Square.

The 103rd Company, (Warwickshire) was also in the 2nd Bn Imperial Yeomanry and saw service in South Africa during 1901 - 02.

For further information see ‘With the Warwickshire Yeomanry in South Africa’ by Meynell Hunt, published in 1902 and ‘The History of the Warwickshire Yeomanry Cavalry’ by The Hon H.A .Adderley published in 1912.

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Gallipoli

In August 1915 the 1st  Mounted Brigade were ordered to Gallipoli as dismounted infantry. 25% of the 1st /1st Warwickshire Yeomanry remained behind at Alexandria to look after the horses.

Their destination was Suvla Bay, taking part in the attack on Chocolate Hill, remaining in action for four months before being recalled to Alexandria.

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The Queen’s Own Worcestershire Hussars

The Worcestershire Yeomanry was raised in 1794 by the Hon.J.Somers-Cocks (later Earl Somers). It was disbanded in1827 but was re-raised in 1831.

The Regiment provided the 16th Company of the 5th Bn. Imperial Yeomanry, during the Boer War.  During the Great War the Worcestershire Yeomanry went first to Egypt as part of the 2nd Mounted Division, and then served in Gallipoli from August 1915.  Returning to Egypt the Regiment subsequently fought in the Palestine Campaign after being reconstituted following the bloody battle of Qatia. It took part in the charge at Huj and the capture of the Turkish guns.

In 1920 the Worcestershire Yeomanry was converted to artillery  and provided two batteries, 397 and 398 in 100th (Worcestershire and Oxfordshire Yeomanry)  Brigade, RFA.. Both Batteries were designated ‘Queen’s Own Worcestershire Hussars Yeomanry.’  The unit was re-roled as an anti-tank regiment in 1938 and designated 53rd Anti-Tank Regiment, the two Worcestershire Yeomanry batteries becoming 209 and 210 Anti-Tank Batteries. A ‘duplicate’, unit 63rd Anti-Tank Regiment was raised in 1939 and the Worcestershire Yeomanry batteries were concentrated in the original unit.   53rd Anti-Tank Regiment served with the BEF in 1940 and then joined 6th Airborne Division as 53rd Airlanding Light Regiment. As such it took part in the airborne invasion of Normandy and in the measures to counter the Ardennes offensive.

The Regiment was reformed as 300th (Worcestershire Yeomanry) Anti Tank Regiment, R.A. in 1947 but in 1950 was transferred to the Royal Armoured Corps as the Queen’s Own Worcestershire Hussars. It served as such until amalgamation with the Warwickshire Yeomanry in 1956.

1. See ‘ The Yeomanry Regiments’  by Patrick Mileham  published in 1994,   ISBN 1 898410 36 4.

For further details then why not visit their Museum 
http://www.worcestercitymuseums.org.uk/coll/yeoman/yeoind.htm

www.armymuseums.org.uk/museums/0000000149-Worcestershire-Yeomanry-Museum-Collection.htm

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Palestine

In March 1917 the British mounted a major offensive into Palestine against the Turks. The first two failed attempts to break through at Gaza cost the British over 10,000 men - the Turks lost fewer than half that number.

Then General Sir Edmund Allenby was put in charge, with orders to capture Jerusalem by Christmas. He shook up slack Allied commanders trained his forces hard and built up their number to nearly 90,000, including the horsemen and camel-riders of the Desert Mounted Corps. On 31 October 1917 Allenby broke through the Turkish defences at Beresheba .On 9 December the Allies entered Jerusalem.

Altogether around 140,000 British and 100,000 Indian troops took part in the Palestinian campaign against the Turks. It was the cavalry, freed from their by now accustomed Western Front role as infantry and able to ride unhindered in the vast open landscapes of the region, who harried the Turks from the Sinai deserts through the Lebanon and Syria.

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The Affair of Huj- 8th November 1917

The Affair of Huj  is immortalised in Lady Butler’s watercolour painting, when 163 Officers and men took part in the last classic unsupported Cavalry Charge of the British Army (arme blanche); 76 from the Warwickshire Yeomanry and 87 from the Worcestershire Yeomanry.

The enemy lost nine field guns, three 5.9in howitzers and 3 machine guns.

The Yeoman put a Turkish Infantry Brigade estimated at 2000+ to flight, causing panic and mayhem in the Turkish rear.

Major Oscar Teichman, the Medical Officer for the Worcestershire Yeomanry writing in the Cavalry Journal in 1936 said “The Charge at Huj had it occurred in a minor war would have gone down to history like the Charge of the Light Brigade at Balaclava. In the Great War when gallant deeds were being enacted on all fronts almost daily it was merely an episode, but as the Official Historian remarks, for sheer bravery, the episode remains unmatched.”  

The success of this charge is a remarkable example of the power of mobility in the attack.

See map: 

Map of Affair at Huj

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