Thursday, 2 March 2017

Yeomanry become Infantry

In March 1916 the Welsh Border Mounted Brigade and South Wales Mounted Brigade, comprising six yeomanry regiments, were posted to Egypt.

Welsh Border Mounted Brigade | South Wales Mounted Brigade
  • Shropshire Yeomanry
  • Cheshire Yeomanry
  • Denbighshire Yeomanry
  • Pembroke Yeomanry
  • Montgomery Yeomanry
  • Glamorganshire Yeomanry
The Brigades had been dismounted in November 1915, and their cavalry equipment handed in and changed for infantry. In Egypt the two Brigades were amalgamated to form the 4th Dismounted Brigade. Although trained as yeomanry they were to be utilised as infantry and served on Suez Canal defences, and in operations against the Senussi throughout 1916.

By November 1916 Cheshire Yeomanry knew that it was to be formed into an infantry battalion. However, because the establishment of an infantry battalion was so much greater than that of a cavalry regiment it would be necessary for some amalgamations to create  new battalions. Cheshire Yeomanry were to amalgamate with Shropshire Yeomanry to form a Battalion of the King’s Shropshire Light Infantry, and the yeomanry regiments undertook a period of infantry training in preparation for their new role.

On 1 March 1917 Shropshire Yeomanry arrived from Sherira at Helmieh Camp, Zietoun, near Cairo. The following day Cheshire Yeomanry arrived at the camp from Alamein. Here the regiments amalgamated to form 10th (Shropshire & Cheshire Yeomanry) Bn. King's Shropshire Light Infantry.

On 14 January 1917, the General Officer Commanding (GOC) Egyptian Expeditionary Force Sir Edmund Allenby had given orders for the reorganisation of the 2nd, 3rd and 4th Dismounted Brigades of Yeomanry and for their redesignation as the 229th, 230th and 231st Infantry Brigades. The Brigades were organised as the 74th (Yeomanry) Division under Major-General E.S. Girdwood and began to assemble on 4 March 1917 near El Arish.

74th (Yeomanry) Division

229th Infantry Brigade - Commander: Brigadier-General R. Hoare, D.S.O.
  • 16th (Royal 1st Devon & Royal North Devon Yeomanry) Bn. Devonshire Regiment
  • 12th (West Somerset Yeomanry) Bn. Somerset Light Infantry
  • 14th (Fife & Forfar Yeomanry) Bn. Black Watch
  • 12th (Ayr & Lanark Yeomanry) Bn. Royal Scots Fusiliers
  • 4th Machine Gun Company & 229th Light Trench Mortar Battery
230th Infantry Brigade - Commander: Brigadier-General A.J. McNeill, D.S.O.
  • 10th (Royal East Kent & West Kent Yeomanry) Bn. The Buffs
  • 16th (Sussex Yeomanry) Bn. Royal Sussex Regiment
  • 15th (Suffolk Yeomanry) Bn. Suffolk Regiment
  • 12th (Norfolk Yeomanry) Bn. Norfolk Regiment
  • 109th Machine Gun Company & 230th Light Trench Mortar Battery
231st Infantry Brigade - Commander: Brigadier-General E.A. Herbert, M.V.O
  • 10th (Shropshire & Cheshire Yeomanry) Bn. Kings Shropshire Light Infantry
  • 24th (Denbighshire Yeomanry) Bn. Royal Welsh Fusiliers
  • 25th (Montgomery & Welsh Horse Yeomanry) Bn. Royal Welsh Fusiliers
  • 24th (Pembroke & Glamorgan Yeomanry) Bn. Welsh Regiment
  • 210th Machine Gun Company & 231st Light Trench Mortar Battery

The insignia of the 74th (Yeomanry) Division was a "Broken Spur"

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