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201 (Hertfordshire & Bedfordshire Yeomanry) Battery, Royal Artillery
286th (Hertfordshire & Bedfordshire Yeomanry) Field Regiment, Royal Artillery
Active 1961–1967
1967–2014
2014–present
Country  United Kingdom
Branch  British Army
Type Artillery
Size Battery
Garrison/HQ Luton

The Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire Yeomanry was a cavalry unit of the British Army's part-time force, the Territorial Army. The regiment was formed during reductions to the Hertfordshire Yeomanry and Bedfordshire Yeomanry when they were merged in 1961. The regiment was later reduced to three company-sized units, and even later as just one unit. Following a restructuring of the Army in 2014, the regiment's lineage has ended after 201 Battery was placed in suspended animation.

Formation

In 1961, the British Army's part-time force, the Territorial Army (TA) was cut significantly, especially in the areas of artillery with the merger of two famous wartime yeomanry regiments, the Hertfordshire Yeomanry and Bedfordshire Yeomanry. The former being the 286th (Hertfordshire) Light Regiment and the latter being 305th (Bedfordshire) Light Regiment. However, on 1 May 1961, the two regiments were merged as the 286th (Hertfordshire & Bedfordshire Yeomanry) Field Regiment, Royal Artillery.[1][2][3][4][5] The new regiment was organised as follows:[3]

  • Regimental Headquarters, in Bedford
  • P Battery, in Bedford
  • Q Battery, in Bedford
  • R (South Hertfordshire) Battery, in Luton and Dunstaple[3]

TAVR Background

In 1967, as a result of the 1966 Defence White Paper, the Territorial Army (TA) was completely reorganised with many of the old units with long and distinguished histories reduced to company and platoon sizes and merged into new smaller units. Among the changes was the creation of the Territorial and Army Volunteer Reserve (TAVR), which was divided into three categories: TAVR I (The 'Ever-readies', ready for United Nations commitments and would serve to bring the Regular Army to war establishment, replace casualties, and be ready for rapid deployment); TAVR II (these units were to give the Regular Army administrative units not needed in peacetime. They would serve to bring the establishment and to replace losses. This category became known as the 'Volunteers' with units taking the sub-title of '(Volunteers) or (V)'. The third category, TAVR III was the largest of the branches tasked with home defence and were to maintain law and order in the event of nuclear attack and were also available for help in case of civil emergencies; these units had the subtitle of 'Territorial', not to be confused as the 'Territorials', the name for the TAVR as a whole. Lastly, TAVR IV was the smallest of the branch, comprising the University Officers' Training Corps, Regimental and Corps Bands and miscellaneous support units.[6]

Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire Regiment

Following the changes brought upon the creation of the TAVR, the Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire Yeomanry was split along its routes, becoming three units, with two companies becoming infantry. The first, becoming No. 2 (Hertfordshire Yeomanry) Company in Hamel Hampstead and No. 3 (Bedfordshire Yeomanry) Company in Luton both in TAVR III. These two companies formed part of the fully TAVR III unit, the Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire Regiment (Territorials).[1][4][7][8]

On 1 April 1969, cuts to the TAVR III element just three years after their formation saw the regiment reduced to a cadre, and the two companies merged into one small cadre in Hertford. In 1971, many of the old cadres were reformed and restarted their old lineage, with B (Bedfordshire) Company forming in the new 6th (Volunteer) Battalion, The Royal Anglian Regiment. Though the cadre contributed to this new unit, the yeomanry lineage was discontinued.[1][7][8]

201 Battery

The last of the three companies to be formed from the former regiment was 201 (Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire) Medium Battery based in Luton and later with a detachment in Saint Albans. The new battery was part of the newly formed 100th (Eastern) Medium Regiment, Royal Artillery. This battery formed part of TAVR II. In the battery's role part of the 100th Medium Regiment, the unit was equipped with several 5.5-inch medium howitzers of Second World War vintage.[1][2][3][4][5][9]

In 1980, the old 100th Medium Regiment became a field regiment as 100th (Yeomanry) Field Regiment, Royal Artillery, and the battery was consequently redesignated as 201 (Hertfordshire & Bedfordshire Yeomanry) Field Battery. The battery was now equipped with the new L118 105mm light gun.[2]

Following the Dissolution of the Soviet Union and subsequent end of the Cold War, the Options for Change reform was published which saw the battery re-equipped with the FH-70 155mm towed howitzer. This change was completed in 1992, and by 1994 was tasked with supporting the 3rd (United Kingdom) Division if mobilised.[2]

After the Strategic Defence Review of 1998, the battery lost its troop based in Saint Albans and was consolidated in Luton. By 2002, the battery's strength was of 90 personnel. Following the removal of the FH-70 from service, the battery was once again equipped with the L118 105mm light gun, but routinely supported units fielding the AS-90 155mm self-propelled howitzer.[2][10] Later the battery was directly affiliated (another words it supports) 40th Regiment, Royal Artillery.[10][11]

In 2003, a further restructuring of the TA saw the battery become 201 (Hertfordshire & Bedfordshire Yeomanry) Parachute Battery. At this time, the battery formed a troop (platoon) in Romford, which became 289 Parachute Troop, this troop had previously been part of 266 (Gloucestershire Volunteer Artillery) Parachute Battery, which became a field battery. The battery, still equipped with the L118 105mm light gun, was now tasked with supporting 7th Parachute Regiment, Royal Horse Artillery on operations and if mobilised.[12][13]

In 2012, following the announcement of the Army 2020 reforms, 100th (Yeomanry) Regiment, Royal Artillery was selected to disband and its batteries either move or be placed in suspended animation. Therefore, on 1 March 2014, 201 (Hertfordshire & Bedfordshire Yeomanry) Battery was merged with E Company, 7th Battalion, The Rifles to form No. 678 (The Rifles) Squadron AAC. The squadron now maintains B Flight, 6th Regiment Army Air Corps in Luton, continuing the lineage of the old yeomanry.[12][14]

Footnotes

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 "Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire Yeomanry [UK"]. 2007-10-18. https://web.archive.org/web/20071018072855/http://regiments.org/regiments/uk/volmil-england/vcav/hertbeds.htm. Retrieved 2022-02-08 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 "201 Battery, Royal Artillery / Territorial Army / TA Gunners / Yeomanry Artillery". 2002-01-06. https://web.archive.org/web/20020106103921/http://www.xstream-media.co.uk/201/history.htm. Retrieved 2022-02-08 
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Lichfield, pp. 18–20
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Frederick, Volume I, pp. 30–32
  5. 5.0 5.1 Volume II, p. 1001
  6. Frederick, p. 326
  7. 7.0 7.1 Frederick, Volume I, p. 332
  8. 8.0 8.1 Frederick, Volume I, p. 347
  9. Frederick, Volume II, p. 1039
  10. 10.0 10.1 "201 Battery, Royal Artillery / Territorial Army / TA Gunners / Yeomanry Artillery". 2001-10-31. https://web.archive.org/web/20011031180033/http://www.xstream-media.co.uk/201/guns.htm. Retrieved 2022-02-08 
  11. "201 Battery, Royal Artillery / Territorial Army / TA Gunners / Yeomanry Artillery". 2002-01-06. https://web.archive.org/web/20020106105442/http://www.xstream-media.co.uk/201/mission.htm. Retrieved 2022-02-08 
  12. 12.0 12.1 "Summary of Army 2020 Reserve Structure and Basing Changes". 3 December 2013. http://www.army.mod.uk/documents/general/20130703-SUMMARY_OF_ARMY_2020_RESERVE_STRUCTURE_AND_BASING.pdf. 
  13. Mackinlay, p. 111
  14. "201 Parachute Battery Disbandment Parade | PEOPLE PRESS". https://peoplepress.photoshelter.com/image/I0000ThKWZPHjSCA. Retrieved 2022-02-08 

References

This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia (view authors).

This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia (view authors).
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