Military Wiki
Westmorland and Cumberland Yeomanry
Active 1819 – 1971
Country  United Kingdom
Branch  British Army
Type Yeomanry
Size One Regiment

Second Boer War
First World War

France and Flanders 1915–18

Second World War

North Africa 1941–42
Chindits 1944
Battle honours See battle honours below

The Westmorland and Cumberland Yeomanry was a Yeomanry Cavalry Regiment of the British Army that was formed in 1819. The regiment provided troops for the Imperial Yeomanry during the Second Boer War and served on the Western Front in the First World War, latterly as infantry. The regiment converted to artillery in 1920 and served as such in the early years of the Second World War, before becoming part of the Chindits in Burma. Post war it served as a gunner regiment until 1971 when the title disappeared.


Formation and early history

The regiment was raised by Colonel Henry Lowther as the Westmorland Yeomanry Cavalry in 1819.[1] It was re-raised as the Westmorland and Cumberland Yeomanry Cavalry in 1828 and was called on to suppress chartist riots at Penrith and Carlisle in 1839.[1] It was called upon again to suppress fighting between English and Irish labourers working on the Lancaster and Carlisle Railway at Lowther Park in 1846.[1]

Second Boer War

The Yeomanry was not intended to serve overseas, but due to the string of defeats during Black Week in December 1899, the British government realized they were going to need more troops than just the regular army. A Royal Warrant was issued on 24 December 1899 to allow volunteer forces to serve in the Second Boer War. The Royal Warrant asked standing Yeomanry regiments to provide service companies of approximately 115 men each for the Imperial Yeomanry.[2] The regiment formed the 24th (Westmorland and Cumberland) Company of the 8th Battalion in 1900.[3] It was based at Portland Place in Penrith at this time.[4][lower-alpha 1]

First World War

Welsh Border Mounted Brigade
Organisation on 4 August 1914
Assigned units
A Squadron at Shrewsbury
B Squadron at Oswestry
C Squadron at Ludlow
D Squadron at Wellington
A Squadron at Knutsford
B Squadron at Eaton
C Squadron at Northwich
D Squadron at Macclesfield
A Squadron at Wrexham
B Squadron at Denbigh
C Squadron at Bangor (Caernarfonshire)
D Squadron at Birkenhead (Cheshire)
  • Brigade troops
Shropshire RHA, Shrewsbury
Ammunition column, Church Stretton
Transport and Supply Column, ASC,
Training attachments
A Squadron at Oldham
B Squadron at Bolton
C Squadron at Manchester
D Squadron at Preston
  • Westmorland and Cumberland Yeomanry, Penrith, Cumbria|Penrith
A Squadron at Kendal
B Squadron at Penrith
C Squadron at Whitehaven
D Squadron at Carlisle
A Squadron at Ashton-in-Makerfield
B Squadron at St Helens
C Squadron at Newton-le-Willows
D Squadron at Rainhill

In accordance with the Territorial and Reserve Forces Act 1907 (7 Edw. 7, c.9) which brought the Territorial Force into being, the TF was intended to be a home defence force for service during wartime and members could not be compelled to serve outside the country. However, on the outbreak of war on 4 August 1914, many members volunteered for Imperial Service. Therefore, TF units were split in August and September 1914 into 1st Line (liable for overseas service) and 2nd Line (home service for those unable or unwilling to serve overseas) units. Later, a 3rd Line was formed to act as a reserve, providing trained replacements for the 1st and 2nd Line regiments.[6]

1/1st Westmorland and Cumberland Yeomanry

The 1/1st was mobilised in August 1914 and attached to the Welsh Border Mounted Brigade. In the spring of 1915, the regiment was split: A squadron's personnel were divided between the three other Sqns, which were then each assigned to an Infantry Division located in the United Kingdom - B Sqn to 15th (Scottish) Infantry Division; C Sqn to 18th (Eastern) Division; Regimental Headquarters and D Sqn to 20th (Light) Division. The three squadrons (and, of course, the divisions to which they were attached) arrived in France that summer. B Squadron was attached to the 1st Cavalry Division for the first half of April 1916; C and D squadrons were both attached to the 2nd Cavalry Division for a short period in the following month. On 15 May 1916, the regiment reformed and served as XI Corps Cavalry Regiment.[7]

In June 1917, it was announced that, due to manpower shortages, the Regiment would be dismounted and retrained as infantry. On completion of the conversion, the regiment was redesignated as the 7th (Westmoreland and Cumberland Yeomanry) Battalion, the Border Regiment.[7]

2/1st Westmorland and Cumberland Yeomanry

The 2nd line regiment was formed in September 1914. By July 1915, it was under the command of the 2/1st Western Mounted Brigade (along with 2/1st Duke of Lancaster's Own Yeomanry[8] and the 2/1st Lancashire Hussars[9]) and in March 1916 was at Cupar, Fife.[10] On 31 March 1916, the remaining Mounted Brigades were numbered in a single sequence and the brigade became 21st Mounted Brigade, still at Cupar under Scottish Command.[11]

In July 1916 there was a major reorganization of 2nd Line yeomanry units in the United Kingdom. All but 12 regiments were converted to cyclists[11] and as a consequence the regiment was dismounted and the brigade converted to 14th Cyclist Brigade. Further reorganization in October and November 1916 saw the brigade redesignated as 10th Cyclist Brigade in October 1916, still at Cupar.[12]

By January 1918, 10th Cyclist Brigade had moved to Lincolnshire with the regiment at Spilsby and Burgh-le-Marsh.[10] About May 1918 the Brigade moved to Ireland[12] and the regiment was stationed at Buttevant and Charleville, County Cork. There were no further changes before the end of the war.[10]

3/1st Westmorland and Cumberland Yeomanry

The 3rd Line regiment was formed in 1915 and in the summer it was affiliated to a Reserve Cavalry Regiment in Ireland. In the summer of 1916 it was affiliated to 10th Reserve Cavalry Regiment at The Curragh. It was absorbed by the 2nd Reserve Cavalry Regiment, still at The Curragh, in early 1917. By 1918 it had left the 2nd Reserve Cavalry Regiment when the 1st Line regiment was converted to infantry and joined 5th (Reserve) Battalion, Durham Light Infantry at Sutton-on-Hull.[10]

Between the wars

Post war, a commission was set up to consider the shape of the Territorial Force (Territorial Army from 1 October 1921). The experience of the First World War made it clear that cavalry was surfeit. The commission decided that only the 14 most senior regiments were to be retained as cavalry (though the Lovat Scouts and the Scottish Horse were also to remain mounted as "scouts"). Eight regiments were converted to Armoured Car Companies of the Royal Tank Corps (RTC), one was reduced to a battery in another regiment, one was absorbed into a local infantry battalion, one became a signals regiment and two were disbanded. The remaining 25 regiments were converted to brigades[lower-alpha 2] of the Royal Field Artillery between 1920 and 1922.[15]

The regiment was converted as 2nd (Cumberland Yeomanry) Army Brigade, RFA. This two-battery brigade was redesignated as the 93rd (Westmorland and Cumberland Yeomanry) Army Brigade, RFA in 1921. In 1923, the brigade was joined by the two Cumberland Artillery batteries from the 51st (East Lancashire and Cumberland) Brigade, RFA and redesignated as the 51st (Westmorland and Cumberland) Brigade, RFA. The four batteries were the 203rd (Cumberland), 204th (Cumberland), 369th (Westmorland Yeomanry) and 370th (Cumberland Yeomanry).[16]

With the union of the RFA, RGA and RHA to form the Royal Regiment of Artillery on 1 June 1924, the brigade was redesignated as the 51st (East Lancashire and Cumberland) Brigade, RA. In November 1938, the Royal Artillery renamed its brigades as regiments.[16]

In 1939, as part of the general duplication of the Territorial Army, the 51st Regiment transferred the 204th and 369th batteries to the 109th Field Artillery Regiment RA.[16]

Second World War

51st (Westmoreland and Cumberland) Field Regiment, RA

The 51st (Westmoreland & Cumberland) Field Artillery Regiment TA, began the war as part of the 42nd (East Lancashire) Infantry Division.[17] In April 1940, the 203rd battery sailed to Norway and took part in the brief Norwegian Campaign.[18][19] The regiment sailed to North Africa towards the end of the year, where it was originally attached to the 6th Australian Division. The regiment saw action in the Western Desert Campaign, serving with the 7th Armoured Division (Desert Rats) in November 1941 and in the siege of Tobruk with the 9th Australian Division.[20]

In February 1942, the regiment served in Ceylon as part of the 16th Infantry Brigade.[21] In February 1943, it moved to India, where it joined the 70th Infantry Division. In September 1943, it was placed in suspended animation.[22] The regiment was at this time assigned as infantry to the Long Range Penetration Group more commonly known as the Chindits.[23]

109th (Westmoreland and Cumberland) Field Regiment, RA

The regiment was authorized a designation on 17 February 1942 hence 109th (Westmoreland and Cumberland) Field Regiment, RA.[24] It served in 66th (East Lancashire) Infantry Division until that formation disbanded in 1940, then in 55th (West Lancashire) Infantry Division until the end of the war. It served in the United Kingdom throughout.[25][26]

Post war

After the War the regiment was re-numbered the 251st (Westmorland and Cumberland) Field Regiment, Royal Artillery.[16] It was broken up in 1961 but re-constituted as B (Westmorland and Cumberland Yeomanry) Company, 4th (Territorial) Battalion, The Border Regiment in 1967.[16] It was reduced to a cadre in 1969 and re-constituted as B (4th Border Regiment) Company, Northumbrian Volunteers in 1971.[16] The yeomanry lineage was discontinued at that time.[16]

Battle honours

The Westmorland and Cumberland Yeomanry was awarded the following battle honours (honours in bold are emblazoned on the regimental colours):[16]

Second Boer War South Africa 1900–01
First World War Ypres 1917, Poelcappelle, Passchendaele, Somme 1918, St. Quentin, Bapaume 1918, Amiens, Albert 1918, Hindenburg Line, Épehy, Cambrai 1918, Selle, Sambre, France and Flanders 1915–18
Second World War The Royal Artillery was present in nearly all battles and would have earned most of the honours awarded to cavalry and infantry regiments. In 1833, William IV awarded the motto Ubique (meaning "everywhere") in place of all battle honours.[27]


Details of the dress initially worn by the Westmorland Yeomanry Cavalry remain obscure as only a shako has survived from the 1818 era and contemporary written records are vague.[28] However from 1830 to the 1850s a well documented scarlet hussar uniform was in use, heavily braided in white (silver for officers). Facing colours on collars and cuffs were also white, "trowsers" (sic) were of blue cloth and shakos were worn with black feathers. In 1857 a seal-skin busby was adopted and the distinctive scarlet and white hussar dress was retained for full dress, stable duties and walking out dress for the remainder of the century, until plain blue service frocks appeared in 1892.[29] In 1902-03 khaki clothing and slouch hats were issued as working and field dress. White facings were retained even on khaki. As part of the new Territorial Army the regiment continued to wear the now historic hussar jackets as parade dress, although scarlet and white peaked forage caps replaced the busbies for other ranks. On mobilisation in August 1914 the regiment appeared in the standard khaki service dress of the regular cavalry, although initially ordered to retain the scarlet and white jackets of peacetime for off-duty wear.[30]

See also


  1. The drill hall was damaged by fire in 1963 and then demolished in 1965.[5]
  2. The basic organic unit of the Royal Artillery was, and is, the Battery.[13] When grouped together they formed brigades, in the same way that infantry battalions or cavalry regiments were grouped together in brigades. At the outbreak of the First World War, a field artillery brigade of headquarters (4 officers, 37 other ranks), three batteries (5 and 193 each), and a brigade ammunition column (4 and 154)[14] had a total strength just under 800 so was broadly comparable to an infantry battalion (just over 1,000) or a cavalry regiment (about 550). Like an infantry battalion, an artillery brigade was usually commanded by a Lieutenant-Colonel. Artillery brigades were redesignated as regiments in 1938.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 "The Westmorland and Cumberland Yeomanry". Eden District Council. Retrieved 3 November 2017. 
  2. Mileham 1994, p. 27
  3. Imperial Yeomanry at by T.F.Mills at the Wayback Machine (archived 29 May 2007)
  4. "Penrith". The Drill Hall Project. Retrieved 25 December 2017. 
  5. "Farewell to the drill hall". Cumberland and Westmorland Gazette. 15 February 2013. Retrieved 25 December 2017. 
  6. Rinaldi 2008, p. 35
  7. 7.0 7.1 Baker, Chris. "The Westmorland & Cumberland Yeomanry". The Long, Long Trail. Retrieved 12 February 2014. 
  8. Baker, Chris. "The Duke of Lancaster's Own Yeomanry". The Long, Long Trail. Retrieved 12 February 2014. 
  9. Baker, Chris. "The Lancashire Hussars Yeomanry". The Long, Long Trail. Retrieved 12 February 2014. 
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 James 1978, p. 30
  11. 11.0 11.1 James 1978, p. 36
  12. 12.0 12.1 James 1978, pp. 21,22,30
  13. "The Royal Artillery". Ministry of Defence (United Kingdom). Retrieved 18 November 2013. 
  14. Baker, Chris. "What was an artillery brigade?". The Long, Long Trail. Retrieved 18 November 2013. 
  15. Mileham 1994, pp. 48–51
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 16.3 16.4 16.5 16.6 16.7 T. F. Mills (6 March 2006). "The Westmorland and Cumberland Yeomanry 1798-1971". Archived from the original on 20 December 2007. 
  17. Joslen, p. 68.
  18. Barton, Derek. "51 (Westmoreland & Cumberland) Field Regiment RA(TA)". The Royal Artillery 1939–45. Retrieved 22 May 2014. 
  19. Derry, pp. 265–6.
  20. "Artillery Regiments That Served With The 7th Armoured Division". Desert Rats. Retrieved 3 November 2017. 
  21. Joslen, p. 257.
  22. "The Desert Rats - The History of the British 7th Armoured Division". 
  23. "Royal Artillery: 51st Field Artillery Regiment". Wartime Memories Project. Retrieved 3 November 2017. 
  24. Frederick 1984, p. 528
  25. Joslen, pp. 90 & 97.
  26. 109 Fd Rgt at RA 39–45
  27. Royal Regiment of Artillery at by T.F.Mills at the Wayback Machine (archived 15 July 2007)
  28. Barlow, L.. The Uniforms of the British Yeomanry Force 1794-1914. 4: Westmoreland and Cumberland Yeomanry. p. 1. ISBN 0-85936-285X. 
  29. Barlow, L.. The Uniforms of the British Yeomanry Force 1794-1914. 4: Westmoreland and Cumberland Yeomanry. p. 13. ISBN 0-85936-285-X. 
  30. Barlow, L.. The Uniforms of the British Yeomanry Force 1794-1914. 4: Westmoreland and Cumberland Yeomanry. p. 18. ISBN 0-85936-285-X. 


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