North Irish Horse celebrate 60 years
ON Thursday evening over 50 members of the North Irish Horse Association and their guests and partners gathered at The Belfray Country Inn to celebrate a special milestone.
The Association members celebrated their Diamond Commemoration, which saw members travelling from far and near to attend, and among the distinguished guests were Denis Desmond, Lord Lieutenant for the County of Londonderry, Lieutenant Colonel Denis Janelle, Canadian High Commission, London and the Mayor of Londonderry, Alderman Maurice Devenney.
The North Irish Horse was raised in 1902 (originally called the North of Ireland Imperial Yeomanry) by the Early of Shaftsbury at Belfast Castle, having received the command from the Duke of Connaught, who was the Commander-in-Chief in Ireland.
Two squadrons were raised in Ulster, and another two were raised in 1903 with Lord Shaftsbury in command, the Duke of Abercorn second-in-command and Captain R G O Branston Newman as Adjutant.
The Squadron headquarters were at Belfast, Enniskillen, Londonderry and Dundalk, and the new regiment attracted men who had served in the South African War with the Ulster Squadrons of the Imperial Yeomany - so the new regiments started life with the benefit of battle experience and the long traditions of service in the Militia.
In 1912 Lord Shaftesbury relinquished command and was appointed Hon. Colonel, with Lt-Col Eustace Maude succeeding him at the helm.
On August 4, 1914, war broke out, and the regiment was mobilised, with the Expeditionary Force Squadron leaving Ulster on the 7th, for Dublin, from where they sailed on August 17 for Le Harve, France. A second squadron rapidly formed in Belfast and sailed from there on August 20, landing in France on August 22. At that time regimental HQ moved to Antrim and from there began work to enlist and train personnel for future squadrons and as reinforcements. Statistics show that the total number of North Irish Horse who went to a theatre of war were 70 officers, 1,931 of other ranks, of whom 27 officers and 123 other ranks were killed, while 118 other ranks received commissions.
Up until May 1916 all squadrons, with the exception of the first, were Divisional Calvary to various divisions. The first squadron, under command of Lord Cole, were GHQ troops from August 22, 1914, when they joined General Sir John French’s Headquarters at Le Cateau until January 1916.
The second squadron, under command of Lord Massereene, covered the retirement of the 5th Division from St Quentin to south-east of Paris and its subsequent advance to the Marne and Aisne. After moving north to the Ypres Salient they became Divisional Cavalry to the 3rd Division.
In June 1916 three squadrons, under the command of Lord Cole, the Hon Arthur Hamilton Russell and Major Finley, respectively, were formed into one regiment. Two squadrons, under the command of Major Holt Waring and Major Bramston Newman, together with the Divisional Cavalry Squadron of the 36th Division, were formed into a second regiment. Both became Corps Cavalry.
Fittingly they were the last yeomanry in action in 1918 and in all gained 17 battle honours and 68 decorations including one VC.
In 1919 the Regiment was disembodied, only to be reconstituted in May 1939, and transferred to the Royal Armoured Corps, and set to war once more.
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Weather for Londonderry
Thursday 23 May 2013
Temperature: 6 C to 9 C
Wind Speed: 26 mph
Wind direction: North
Temperature: 5 C to 12 C
Wind Speed: 14 mph
Wind direction: North