The Staffordshire Yeomanry (Queen's Own Royal Regiment) was a unit of the British Army. Raised in 1794 following Prime Minister William Pitt's order to raise volunteer bodies of men to defend Great Britain from foreign invasion, the Staffordshire Yeomanry began as a volunteer cavalry regiment.
It first served overseas at the time of the Second Boer War. Following distinguished action in Egypt and Palestine in the First World War, it developed with the deployment of artillery and tanks. The Staffordshire Yeomanry became part of the Mercian Yeomanry in 1971 (renamed the Queen's Own Mercian Yeomanry in 1973) with one of the squadrons being designated B (Staffordshire Yeomanry) Squadron. The lineage is maintained by B (Staffordshire, Warwickshire and Worcestershire Yeomanry) Squadron, part of The Royal Yeomanry.
The regiment was formed on 4 July 1794 with commanding officer being Colonel George, Earl Gower.
The regiment was divided into Troops associated with the Staffordshire towns of Newcastle-under-Lyme, Stafford, Lichfield, Leek and Walsall. The uniform of the regiment was: a red jacket with yellow facings, white waistcoat, white leather breeches and military boots. On their head the members wore a helmet with a bearskin crest and feather at the side and were armed with a sword and pistol The regimental motto was "Pro aris et focis" and the badge was the Staffordshire knot. The regiment was first called out in 1795 in order to support the civil powers in suppressing a bread riot.
Future Prime Minister Robert Peel was an officer in the Staffordshire Yeomanry Cavalry in 1820.
In 1842, the regiment was embodied for 6 weeks when riots took place.
As a result, the regiment was presented with 12 silver trumpets inscribed "Presented by a grateful County to the Queen's Own Royal Yeomanry for their services in 1842".
By 1875, the regiment had expanded to 12 Troops with headquarters at Lichfield. The strength on 1 December 1875 was stated to be 495 with 104 wanting to complete. At this point, the uniform was blue with scarlet facing and silver lace.
In 1939, the Staffordshire Yeomanry was part of the 6th Cavalry Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, with the Warwickshire Yeomanry and Cheshire Yeomanry. The 6th Cavalry Brigade arrived in Palestine in January 1940 and took part in mounted operations with the police to suppress disturbances between the Arab and Jewish populations.
The Staffordshire Yeomanry retained its horses until 1941, when it converted to tanks as part of the Royal Armoured Corps (RAC) and then served in North Africa in the 8th Armoured Brigade, which was part of the 10th Armoured Division. When the 10th Armoured Division was ordered back to Egypt, the 8th Armoured Brigade was left behind as an independent brigade. At the end of November, the brigade came under the command of the 7th Armoured Division, the famous Desert Rats and was involved in the battles around El Agheila.
Sherman tank and Crusader AA Mk III of the Staffordshire Yeomanry during Operation Goodwood, July 1944.
During its time in North Africa, the Staffordshire Yeomanry fought at the Battles of Alam Halfa and El Alamein, fighting the Afrika Korps all the way into Tunisia.
Invasion of Normandy
The regiment was transferred to England to serve in the 27th Armoured Brigade, part of the British Second Army, commanded by Lieutenant-General Sir Miles Dempsey. The Staffordshire Yeomanry was probably the only conventional tank unit (i.e. equipped with neither DD nor flail) to land on D-Day, 6 June 1944, on Sword Beach. The Shermans of the Staffordshire Yeomanry landed on the morning of D-Day to support 185th Brigade, the spearhead of 3rd Division's attack inland.
The regiment continued to fight in the Battle of Normandy as part of the 27th Armoured Brigade until July 1944, when the brigade was disbanded after suffering heavy losses and the regiment was once again transferred back to England to join the 79th Armoured Division.
Battle of the Scheldt
The Staffordshire Yeomanry converted to Sherman DD tanks and B Squadron supported the 52nd (Lowland) Infantry Division in the assault on South Beveland, during the Battle of the Scheldt.
Name: Greig, John
Rank: Lance- Corporal
Missing since: 27-10-1944
Next of Kin:Son of James Greig, and of Margaret Greig, of Aberdeen.
Groesbeek Panel: 1
KIA Information: Known to have been killed in a DUKW, during Schelde operation.
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Philip Reinders, 2016