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The Royal Wessex Yeomanry

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The Royal Wessex Yeomanry (or the Wessex Yeomanry as it was then known), was formed on 1 April 1971 by the re-raising of squadrons from the cadres of The Royal Wiltshire Yeomanry (RWY), The Royal Gloucestershire Hussars (RGH) and The Royal Devon Yeomanry (RDY)/1st Rifle Volunteers. At that time the Regiment comprised Regimental Headquarters and four squadrons roled as Infantry. In the early 1980s it was re-roled to carry out Reconnaissance and became the military Home Defence Reconnaissance Regiment for parts of southern and eastern England. The Regiment was granted its Royal title on 8 June 1979. Following a Defence Review in the early 1990s the Regiment was re-organised and re-roled. The number of Reconnaissance squadrons was reduced to three and a new HQ Squadron was formed. This structure was to last until the Strategic Defence Review (SDR) of 1998. Under SDR the Regiment merged with The Dorset Yeomanry and was again re-organised and re-roled. The Regiment now consists of Regimental Headquarters and four squadrons. Regimental Headquarters is co located with A (Dorset Yeomanry) Squadron in Bovington, Dorset. B (Royal Wiltshire Yeomanry) Squadron is based in Old Sarum, Wiltshire, C (Royal Gloucestershire Hussars) Squadron is based in Cirencester, Gloucestershire and D (Royal Devon Yeomanry) Squadron is based in Barnstaple, Devon.

The Present

The Regiment has three roles:

  • B Squadron (Royal Wiltshire Yeomanry), C Squadron (Royal Gloucestershire Hussars) and D (Royal Devon Yeomanry) squadron provide replacement Challenger 2 turret crewmen to the Regular Army.
  • Regimental Headquarters and A Squadron (Dorset Yeomanry) Armour Replacement Squadron: to develop Armour Replacement doctrine and provide the infrastructure to support the Logistic Brigades.
  • To provide officers and senior NCOs as liaison officers and watchkeepers to the Regular Army.

The Future

The Regiment has endured a busy period with forty members mobilised since the start of operations in support of the Regular Army in Iraq. Our most demanding commitment is yet to come when the Regiment is lead Yeomanry regiment for The Gulf and will be required to provide a substantial number to be mobilised again. The Regiment has met these demanding new times with traditional professionalism and enthusiasm and will continue to ensure that it is ready to adapt to any further challenges.