Sqn seniority in QOY

This seems to me to be something of a vexed issue and not of any real interest outside this particular Regiment. I am tasked to research for an essay on the Yeomanry in general and this is a problem and I wonder if anyone can help. Thus far I have it between C and Y Sqns. Y does appear to have a long lineage but C is by far the more blue blooded in origin and an equally long background. I am acquainted with the Yeomanry, (RY) and this sort of thing, including who raised them, where and when does exercise them. Can anyone enlighten me?


Book Reviewer
15/19H in the late 70s, early 80s.

Sabre squadrons took their seniority on parade in order of length of service of the respective squadron leaders.

Freedom of Newcastle parade, September 1977. B Sqn SSM to assembled Squadron Parade Party. "The parade will be led by a pair of mounted orificers, followed by B, followed by (A or C), followed by the band (in the middle to reduce the effects of echo off the buildings) then (C or A), followed by the Old Comrades contingent of the Northumberland Hussars. As such, B Squadron will have the proud honour of being first to tread their best DMS boots in anything the mounted orificers (or their horses) deposit on the way around Newcastle." I cannot now remember whether A or C was senior to the other: they were a long way behind us.

I also seem to recall, but others may contradict me if they remember better, that B also led the Guidon Parade before HRH The Princess Margaret in Paderborn, July 1982.

Bit of a tricky one to answer. Here's my best attempt. I'm not QOY, though, and so won't take offence if corrected.

The squadrons of the QOY are

A Ayrshire
B North Irish Horse
C Fife & Forfar Yeomanry
D Northumberland Hussars
Y Yorkshire

[i]The Yeomanry Regiments[/i] by Patrick Mileham said:
Precedence of the Yeomanry Cavalry regiments, as can be imagined, has always been a controversial matter. ... The rules for establishing precedence, and they were not adhered to in every case, were according to the date of commissioning of the first troop of the regiment and unbroked service, including both official service and accepted unpaid service. ... The official Order of Precedence of the Yeomanry of the Territorial Force, as shown in the Army List of 1914, is:

1. Royal Wiltshire
2. Warwickshire
3. Yorkshire Hussars
4. Nottinghamshire (Sherwood Rangers)
7. Ayrshire
14. Northumberland
40. Fife & Forfar
However, I am not sure where the North Irish Horse fit in. They are younger than all of the others (earlier Irish Yeomanry regiments having had a bad habit of dying out: see here) but enjoy (or enjoyed) the benefits of a special rule of precedence (if not seniority):

[i]The Yeomanry Regiments[/i] by Patrick Mileham said:
The Territorial Force did not extend to Ireland; thus in 1908 the [new Boer War Irish yeomanry regiments] were transferred to the Special Reserve (SR) and redesignated [the North Irish Horse and South Irish Horse]. They took precedence after the Regular Cavalry and before the Yeomanry regiments.
By the way, that book costs £13 from Amazon.co.uk: Yeomanry Regiments.
Correct me if I'm wrong but I think I heard somewhere that C Sqn are the Queen's bodyguards in the Kingdom of Fife, and if that is so would that not put them the most senior? I believe that's how HCR take precedence over the Scots DG, despite the latter having the longest lineage.
I doubt it, buddy. That seniority list from the 1914 Army List is almost certainly the authority on the issue. Maybe within the Kingdom of Fife C Sqn have seniority but outside it they do not - and so if the QOY ever paraded there as a regiment, C Sqn would lead the parade.
There seems to be some confusion over the issue of lineage, The Fife and Forfar Yeomanry are in fact themselves an amalgamation of other Regiments, The Fife Light Horse and The Forfarshire Light Horse Volunteer Corps.

These Units are in fact not the starting point however; The Fife Light Horse was previously the Fifeshire Mounted Rifle Volunteers (Raised 1860). This Unit then became The 1st Fifeshire Volunteer corps in 1870.

Also the seniority list above was published in 1914 at which time the FFY was 14th Battalion the Black Watch

C Sqn can also trace back an association with the Body Guard of the Duke of Athol (The only private army in the UK) although I am going to have to look into this one to confirm details.

I assume these issues play a part in determining the who is the senior SQN??
Yes, they probably do. However, I would still take the 1914 list as the authoritative statement. It took into account all relevant prior lineages and quirky rules.

Using the sources Mileham quotes, you get the following seniority list:

B North Irish Horse
Y Yorkshire
A Ayrshire
D Northumberland Hussars
C Fife & Forfar Yeomanry
Having no day job and a fair amount of boredom, some digging around has revealed the following.

Still unsure as to what the exact title of the original unit was, but it was raised in 1794 as Fencible Cavalry. This is before the Yeomanry act, and therfore makes them older than all other yeomanries. As has been noted, at the time of publication in 1914, the FFY was 14th Bn Black Watch, and therefore bumped off of the yeomanry seniority lists. However, it was reinstated later as yeomanry and also senior regiment in Scotland's reserve forces in 1946.
Cool. They would then come second after the Irish in the QOY seniority list. Being raised in 1794 would place them very high up the list of seniority among all the yeomanry regiments, as the Wiltshires (top of the list) were raised in the same year.

I am still waiting for the official QOY view on this seniority business, though. And I'm a bit bemused about the Paddies being highest on the precedence list. Can any real history boffins help out?
Well, I would be behind the Ayrshire Yeomanry being the oldest around (a couple of family connections), but my father was at their disbandment parade around 1967.

Sound quite funny as they were supposed to go to the laying up of their guidion but the guidon went 'missing' at the hand of some 'loyal' Officers.
However, the seem quite stong these days pitching up to a lot of recruiting days stealing a few potential infantry men from us.

As for you Buggerit Actually The Forfar Troop were not form in 1794, though you are quite correct that they were Fencible Cavalry.

They were raised quite some time prior to this as just after the Jacobite uprising/rebellion had been quelled.
Their link to the Black Watch began around this time as the were nick named the 'Red Watch' becaue of their Scarlet jackets.

But unlike the Black Watch they were purley home service until the FFY went to South Africa with the Imperial Yeomanry.
So it seems that C sqn has a feudal basis to it stretching back quite a bit further than one might imagine. I know that it was the practise of Clan chiefs to employ armed retainers. I assume therefore that any association might be founded on a Chief. Does such a link exist? I thought C sqn had some connection to the Duke of Athol and not a clan chief.

This is all great sruff and much appreciated
Shtop, shtop! Bear in mind that for seniority purposes you need unbroken service from the raising of the first troop to today. So even though the Ayrshire Yeomanry traces its lineage back to the Clan McNasty Mounted Regiment of Riff-Raff Harriers, first raised (mounted on cats) in 1302, that's irrevelant if they were disbanded some time afterwards. My yeomanry squadron traces its lineage back to 1779 but that doesn't count and we show up as new boys in the 1914 list.

This is why I reckon the 1914 list is so important, as I am sure a cast of a thousand colonels had been chucking bound volumes at each other in various gentlemen's clubs for decades before it was finalised. I take buggerit's point about the FFY's absence from the list, though.

As we're discussing squadron seniority within the QOY, then the fact that the Ayrshire Yeomanry was disbanded in 1967 doesn't matter (and the fact that it does not isn't contradictory with the rule about disbandment I mention above). The seniority within the QOY will be based on the seniority of the squadrons as regiments as things stood in 1967.
Dr Evil makes a few valid points. It would seem that the complexity of Yeomanry Regiments is irreducible when viewed within the Regular Army methodology. The 1914 list cannot take account of the these intricacies. What is the significance of this list and why is it cited as precedent.
Also A Sqn from my reading and their own advertisment, is very definitely junior to C,
I have been emailed the seniority from the QOY’s standing orders dated the 30 Sep 2002. The ex-WO2 who sent this to me said that this was all researched for their Guidon by the English equivalent of the Lord Lyon (College of Arms) and the Director of the Royal Armoured Corps' staff.

So this is the list as the MOD and Armoured Corps see it:

C Sqn 1793
Y Sqn 1794
A Sqn 1798
D Sqn 1819
B Sqn 1902
Those dates of the various squadrons' foundings could well all be correct, and so the seniority (with C Sqn restored to their rightful place within the yeomanry) runs C-Y-A-D-B.

However, for the reasons I went into above, the "quirk" of the North Irish Horse being more senior (in terms of order of precedence and all that) should still apply, making the order B-C-Y-A-D, just as the 1914 List would predict.

Take a look at the WW2 victory parade order of march, here. You'll note that the North Irish Horse appear immediately before the Royal Wiltshire Yeomanry (the most senior of the yeomanry regiments).

I guess what we really need is refinement of the question: are we asking "Which squadron has the oldest antecedent?" or "Which squadron should come first in the parade?"

OJARHead asked:

It would seem that the complexity of Yeomanry Regiments is irreducible when viewed within the Regular Army methodology. The 1914 list cannot take account of the these intricacies. What is the significance of this list and why is it cited as precedent.
I'll quote from Patrick Mileham's book in full. This quote answers your questions, as well as (I think, as I don't quite understand it) your statement that "the complexity of Yeomanry Regiments is irreducible when viewed within the Regular Army methodology".

Mileham said:
Precedence of the Yeomanry Cavalry regiments, as can be imagined, has always been a controversial matter. Several lists were drawn up in 1884 and 1885 by the War Office.

The rules for establishing precedence, and they were not always adhered to in every case, were according tothe date of commissioning of the first troop of the regiment and unbroken service, including both official service and accepted unpaid service [author's emphasis]. Disbanded regiments automatically lost precedence.

The subject of [Yeomanry Cavalry] precedence can be followed in the various Army Lists and in Benson Freeman's History of the South Notts Hussars Appendix D. The official Order of Precedence of the Yeomanry of the Territorial Force, as shown in the Army List of 1914, is: see quote above

The Special Reserve Regiments [including the North Irish Horse] took precedence after the Reserve Regiments of Cavalry and before the Yeomanry."
The 1914 list is cited as precedent because it is the definitive statement of the order of precedence as it stood in 1914. From that date you can trace the service of the QOY squadrons (as regiments and then as squadrons on amalgamation) in an uninterrupted line, so the squadrons should have the same order of precedence in 2006 as they did in 1914.

If the QOY's standing orders have altered things, it would be interesting to know why (perhaps the North Irish Horse were "demoted" to Yeomanry Cavalry prior to the QOY's formation, and that demotion was regarded as causing them to lose their special status).

But the bottom line is that despite the relevance of the 1914 List, the QOY's own standing orders must be taken as the definitive statement on the matter.
All this about who's senoir to who, I guess that's to do with the new guideon, Ayrshire may have been disbanded but they still fly their Guideon, well did until just recently. Haven't the other Regiments/ Sqns laid thiers up?
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