Ayrshire (Earl of Carrick's Own) Yeomanry

Ayrshire (Earl of Carrick's Own) Yeomanry

Badge of The Ayrshire Yeomanry
Active 1794–present
Country  Kingdom of Great Britain (1794–1800)
 United Kingdom (1801–present)
Branch  British Army
Type Yeomanry
Role Light Cavalry
Size One squadron
Part of Royal Armoured Corps
Garrison/HQ Ayr
March Garb of Old Gaul

Second Boer War
First World War

Gallipoli 1915
Egypt 1916–17
Palestine 1917–18
France and Flanders 1918

Second World War

North Africa 1942–43
Italy 1944–45
North-West Europe 1944–45
Battle honours See battle honours below
Honorary Colonel Colonel R Callander OBE TD DL
Stable Belt Colours[lower-alpha 1]

The Ayrshire (Earl of Carrick's Own) Yeomanry was a Regiment of the British Yeomanry and is now an armoured Squadron of the Scottish and North Irish Yeomanry (SNIY), part of the British Army Reserve. It is the Lowlands of Scotland's only Royal Armoured Corps Unit and has an unbroken history stretching back to the 1790s.

The Squadron is part of 51st (Scottish) Brigade within the Army's Support Command. The Scottish and North Irish Yeomanry is the only yeomanry regiment that serves in the reconnaissance role, equipped with the Wolf Land Rover with Weapons Mount Installation Kit (WMIK) and with HMG (heavy machine gun 12.7mm L1A1) and GMPG (General purpose machine gun 7.62mm L7A2).[1] On mobilisation, it provides squadrons to reinforce the regular Light Cavalry regiments.[2] It has provided personnel to both Operation HERRICK in Afghanistan and Operation TELIC in Iraq, who have served with their regular counterparts in the Royal Armoured Corps and other arms and services.

The Ayrshire Yeomanry has won numerous battle honours and one Victoria Cross.


A Squadron SNIY is based at Yeomanry House on Chalmers Road in Ayr and consists of a Squadron Headquarters Element (SHQ), 3 Sabre Troops, a Squadron Quarter Master Sergeant (SQMS) Department and a REME Light Aid Detachment (LAD).

The Squadron is supported by Adjutant General's Corps Clerks, Royal Logistics Corps Chefs and Royal Army Medical Corps Medics.

The Army Reserve Officers and Soldiers hold all of the command appointments, but, on a day-to-day basis, the unit is managed by the Permanent Staff Administration Officer (PSAO) with a team of Full Time Reserve Soldiers (FTRS), Permanent Staff Instructors (PSIs) (SNCO instructors posted from the Regular Army) and civil servants.

Regimental history

Early history

The Ayrshire (Earl of Carrick's Own) Yeomanry was formed as an independent troop of Fencible Cavalry by The Earl of Cassillis sometime around 1794. It was formally adopted into the Army List in 1798 as The Ayrshire Regiment of Yeomanry Cavalry making it the 7th most senior Yeomanry Regiment in the Army and the most senior in Scotland. The Yeomanry were established and recruited at this time to provide Britain with a defence against any invasion by French forces under Napoleon.

The Regiment spent its formative years as an aid to the civil powers, reacting to and controlling riots across Ayrshire and beyond, most notably in Paisley. In 1897, the Regiment was granted permission to use the title Ayrshire Yeomanry Cavalry (Earl of Carrick's Own) in honour of the future King Edward VII, as Earl of Carrick is a subsidiary title of the Princes of Wales deriving from the Ayrshire district of Carrick. During these early years, the Regiment adopted the uniform and role of Hussars.

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.[3] With the Lanarkshire Yeomanry, the regiment co-sponsored the 17th (Ayrshire and Lanarkshire) Company for the 6th (Scottish) Battalion in 1900.[4]

On their return in 1901, the regiment was reorganized as mounted infantry and titled the Ayrshire (Earl of Carrick's Own) Imperial Yeomanry. In 1908, it was transferred into the new Territorial Force, returning to the cavalry role as the Ayrshire (Earl of Carrick's Own) Yeomanry.[5]

First World War

Lowland Mounted Brigade

Organisation on 4 August 1914

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 Ayrshire (Earl of Carrick's Own) Yeomanry

On the outbreak of the First World War, the Regiment was one of the fastest to react to the mobilisation order and received congratulations from Scottish Command, even though there was an initial delay in that the orders came in a code that had not been issued to the Regiment! Following mobilisation, the Regiment joined the Lowland Mounted Brigade and remained in the United Kingdom, on home defence duties, until 1915. The Regiment finally deployed overseas in September of that year, where it took part in the Gallipoli landings, serving as dismounted infantry. The Regiment was attached to the 52nd (Lowland) Division in October; it was withdrawn in January 1916 and moved to Egypt. In early 1917, the Regiment was amalgamated with the Lanarkshire Yeomanry to form the 12th (Ayr and Lanark Yeomanry) Battalion of the Royal Scots Fusiliers in 74th (Yeomanry) Division (The Broken Spurs), seeing service in the Palestine campaign before moving to the Western Front in May 1918.[7] A member of this Regiment, Thomas Caldwell, won the Victoria Cross on 31 October 1918 at Oudenaarde in Belgium.

2/1st Ayrshire (Earl of Carrick's Own) Yeomanry

The 2nd line regiment was formed in 1914. In 1915 it was under the command of the 2/1st Lowland Mounted Brigade in Scotland (along with the 2/1st Lanarkshire Yeomanry[8] and the 2/1st Lothians and Border Horse[9]) and by March 1916 was at Dunbar, East Lothian.[10] On 31 March 1916, the remaining Mounted Brigades were numbered in a single sequence and the brigade became 20th Mounted Brigade, still at Dunbar 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 13th Cyclist Brigade. Further reorganization in October and November 1916 saw the brigade redesignated as 9th Cyclist Brigade in November, still at Dunbar.[12]

About May 1918 the Brigade moved to Ireland[12] and the regiment was stationed at Omagh, County Tyrone. There were no further changes before the end of the war.[10]

3/1st Ayrshire (Earl of Carrick's Own) Yeomanry

The 3rd Line regiment was formed in 1915 and in the summer was affiliated to a Reserve Cavalry Regiment at Aldershot. In June 1916 it left the Reserve Cavalry Regiment and went to Perth. The regiment was disbanded in early 1917 with personnel transferring to the 2nd Line regiment or to the 4th (Reserve) Battalion of the Royal Scots Fusiliers at Catterick.[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] As the 7th most senior regiment in the order of precedence, the regiment was retained as horsed cavalry.[16]

Second World War

Between the First and Second World Wars, the Regiment returned to its horsed Cavalry training in Scotland. However, when the call to duty came again at the beginning of Second World War, the Ayrshire Yeomanry was faced with a difficult choice, they were not required as a cavalry or as an armoured Regiment and were, instead, asked to fill a gap in the Army's Artillery organisation. In 1940, the Regiment transferred into the Royal Artillery and duly formed two Regiments of Field Artillery; 151st (Ayrshire Yeomanry) Field Regiment, RA, formed in February, and 152nd (Ayrshire Yeomanry) Field Regiment, RA, formed in April as a second-line duplicate.

151st (Ayrshire Yeomanry) Field Regiment, RA

The 151st remained in the United Kingdom until 1942, when it was assigned to 46th Infantry Division and fought in the Tunisia Campaign. It was assigned to the 11th Armoured Division in 1944, and remained with it through the campaign in North-Western Europe.[17]

152nd (Ayrshire Yeomanry) Field Regiment, RA

The 152nd was attached to the 6th Armoured Division in mid-1942, and moved with the division to North Africa that November. It remained with the division through the remainder of the war, fighting in the Tunisia Campaign, and the Italian Campaign, ending the war in Austria.[18] When peace was declared, the 152nd Regiment found itself in Austria and immediately organised a gymkhana using horses from a local Cavalry depot.

Both Regiments fought with great courage and between them they won four Distinguished Service Orders, twenty one Military Crosses and twenty four Military Medals.[19]

Post war

After the War, the regiment reconstituted in the Territorial Army as a Yeomanry Regiment, under its old title of The Ayrshire (Earl of Carrick's Own) Yeomanry, and transferred into the Royal Armoured Corps. The regiment was made part of 30 (Lowland) Independent Armoured Brigade.[20] During this time the Regiment were issued with a wide variety of equipments, including at one stage flamethrower tanks. The Regiment consisted of Sabre Squadrons at Ayr, Dalry and Kilmarnock with RHQ and Carrick Troop (HQ Sqn) in Ayr.

In 1961 the Ayrshire Yeomanry paraded at Culzean Castle, where they had been raised so many years before. They were presented with their First Guidon bearing the Honours which had been hard won since the first overseas deployment to South Africa and through two World Wars.

The Ayrshire Yeomanry continued as an independent Regiment until 1969 when, in common with most of the Yeomanry Regiments, it was reduced to a Cadre of just a few men.

On 1 April 1971 this cadre gave rise to two new units; B Squadron of the 2nd Armoured Car Regiment, later renamed The Queen's Own Yeomanry, at the former RHQ in Ayr and 251 Squadron of 154th (Lowland) Transport Regiment in Irvine with no affiliation to the Ayrshire Yeomanry lineage.[5]

The Queen's Own Yeomanry were a BAOR Regiment with an Armoured Reconnaissance role in Germany and the Ayrshire Squadron became Scotland’s only Yeomanry serving in the Royal Armoured Corps. The regiment was equipped with Ferret, Saladin and later CVR(W) Fox Armoured Vehicles.

In 1992, the Squadron was transferred to the newly formed Scottish Yeomanry. They joined a number of historic Scottish Yeomanry Squadrons that had been operating in other roles since 1969. The Scottish Yeomanry retained the Royal Armoured Corps reconnaissance role, but this time it was equipped with reconnaissance Land Rovers.

On 27 June 1998, The Scottish Yeomanry paraded in Ayr to celebrate the Bicentenary of The Ayrshire Yeomanry.

On 17 November 1998, under the Government's "Strategic Defence Review", it was announced that The Scottish Yeomanry was to be amalgamated with The Queen's Own Yeomanry. Two of the Scottish Yeomanry's four Squadrons - The Ayrshire Yeomanry in Ayr, and The Fife and Forfar Yeomanry/Scottish Horse in Cupar - were to continue under command of The Queen's Own Yeomanry and would be equipped with CVR(T) Armoured Vehicles.

On 1 July 2014 The Sqn left The Queens Own Yeomanry to form the Scottish and North Irish Yeomanry in the new Light Cavalry Role paired with the regular Light Cavalry unit The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards.

Victoria Cross

Main article: Thomas Caldwell (VC)
Thomas Caldwell VC

The Victoria Cross is the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces.[21] Thomas Caldwell is the only member of the unit to have been awarded the Victoria Cross.

Caldwell was 24 years old, and a Sergeant in the 12th (Ayr and Lanark Yeomanry) Battalion, the Royal Scots Fusiliers during the First World War when the following deed took place for which he was awarded the VC. The full citation was published in a supplement to the London Gazette of 3 January 1919 (dated 6 January 1919) and read:[22]

For most conspicuous bravery and initiative in attack near Audenarde on 31 October 1918 near Audenarde, Belgium, when in command of a Lewis gun section engaged in clearing a farmhouse. When his section came under intense fire at close range from another farm, Sjt. Caldwell rushed towards the farm, and, in spite of very heavy fire, reached the enemy position, which he captured single-handed, together with 18 prisoners.

This gallant and determined exploit removed a serious obstacle from the line of advance, saved many casualties, and led to the capture by his section of about 70 prisoners, eight machine guns and one trench mortar.

Battle honours

The Ayrshire Yeomanry was awarded the following battle honours (honours in bold are emblazoned on the regimental colours):[5]

Second Boer War South Africa 1900–02
Honorary Distinction from the Second World War, awarded to the Shropshire Yeomanry for service as a Royal Artillery regiment. The Ayrshire Yeomanry Honorary Distinction was similar.
First World War Ypres 1918, France and Flanders 1918, Gallipoli 1915, Rumani, Egypt 1916–17, Gaza, Jerusalem, Tell 'Asur, Palestine 1917–18
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.[23]

Honorary Distinction: Badge of the Royal Regiment of Artillery with year-dates "1942–45" and three scrolls: "North-West Europe", "North Africa" and "Italy"


The Guidon of the Ayrshire Yeomanry

The guidon of The Ayrshire (Earl of Carrick's Own) Yeomanry was presented by General Sir Horatius Murray KBE CB DSO at Culzean Castle, Ayrshire on 24 June 1961.

The badge of the Ayrshire Yeomanry is borne on both sides within a circlet bearing the title of the regiment. The badge appears as a silver lion’s head with gold wings. The whole is within the Union wreath of flowering rose, thistle and shamrock surmounted by the Royal Crown.

The battle honours of the Regiment emblazoned on both sides of the Guidon are as follows:


Placed under the central tie of the Union wreath is the Honorary Distinction: the badge of the Royal Regiment of Artillery within a laurel wreath bearing four scrolls inscribed as follows:



Prior to 1893 The Ayrshire Yeomanry for black-leather helmets and black plumes with a dark blue uniform and scarlet facings. This was replaced by a hussar style uniform, including a fur busby with white plume and scarlet bag. Officers' tunics included a unique "figure-of-eight" front gold braiding, while other-ranks wore hip-length stable jackets of dark blue with scarlet collars and cuffs.[24]

This elaborate uniform was discarded after the Boer War and at the 1911 Coronation the Ayrshire Yeomanry was one of only two mounted regiments participating to wear plain khaki. The former facing-colours were commemorated by scarlet piping on the breeches.[25]

Regimental music

The Band of the Ayrshire Yeomanry in the 1950s

The Regimental March of the Ayrshire Yeomanry is "The Garb of Old Gaul".

The Regiment had its own well-respected volunteer military band until the Regiment was reduced to cadre status in 1969. Although never formally established, the Regiment, and latterly the Squadron, has enjoyed the services of pipers and drummers from amongst the serving soldiers.

The Ayrshire Yeomanry song, The Proud Trooper, was written as a poem following the Regiment's actions in South Africa and the first verse is now often sung, to the tune of Amazing Grace, when several Ayrshire Yeomen are together.

Lyrics of the first verse of The Proud Trooper;

"I’ve Listed in The County Horse,
A Yeoman don’t you know,
With spurs of steel upon my heel,
full swagger now I go,
I’ve sworn an oath to serve the Queen,
And to defend Her Throne,
I’m proud to be a Trooper in,
The Earl of Carrick’s Own."

The Ayrshire Yeomanry Locomotive

Of the 842 LMS Stanier Class 5 4-6-0 Locomotives, commonly known as "Black Fives", only four were named, and those were in honour of Scottish Regiments: Lanarkshire Yeomanry, The Queens Edinburgh, Ayrshire Yeomanry, Glasgow Highlander and Glasgow Yeomanry.

The Ayrshire Yeomanry Locomotive was built in 1935 by Armstrong Whitworth and carried the number 5156 in LMS Service and 45156 when continuing into service with British Rail.

The Locomotive is a popular model in many scales and is regularly available from Hornby and other model makers.

A replica of the Locomotive's name plate is on display in Yeomanry House, Ayr.


See also


  1. The Queen's Own Yeomanry Stable Belt is now worn by the Squadron.
  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. "RWMIK Land Rover". Ministry of Defence (United Kingdom). Retrieved 11 January 2016.
  2. "The Scottish and North Irish Yeomanry". Ministry of Defence (United Kingdom). Retrieved 11 January 2016.
  3. Mileham 1994, p. 27
  4. "Imperial Yeomanry at regiments.org by T.F.Mills". Archived from the original on 29 May 2007. Retrieved 2007-05-29.
  5. 1 2 3 "The Ayrshire Yeomanry (Earl of Carrick's Own) at regiments.org by T.F.Mills". Archived from the original on 15 July 2007. Retrieved 2008-03-16.
  6. Rinaldi 2008, p. 35
  7. Baker, Chris. "The Ayrshire Yeomanry". The Long, Long Trail. Retrieved 13 February 2014.
  8. Baker, Chris. "The Lanarkshire Yeomanry". The Long, Long Trail. Retrieved 13 February 2014.
  9. Baker, Chris. "The Lothians & Border Horse Yeomanry". The Long, Long Trail. Retrieved 13 February 2014.
  10. 1 2 3 James 1978, p. 16
  11. 1 2 James 1978, p. 36
  12. 1 2 James 1978, pp. 16,21,24
  13. "The Royal Artillery". Ministry of Defence (United Kingdom). Archived from the original on 23 October 2013. 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. Mileham 1994, p. 73
  17. Barton, Derek. "151 (Ayrshire Yeomanry) Field Regiment RA(TA)". The Royal Artillery 1939-45. Retrieved 22 May 2014.
  18. Barton, Derek. "152 (Ayrshire Yeomanry) Field Regiment RA(TA)". The Royal Artillery 1939-45. Retrieved 22 May 2014.
  19. "The Proud Trooper" W.S. Brownlie 1964
  20. THE TERRITORIAL ARMY 1947 Archived 5 December 2013 at the Wayback Machine.
  21. The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 56878. p. 3351. 17 March 2003. Retrieved 10 January 2016.
  22. The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 31108. p. 307. 3 January 1919. Retrieved 2008-03-19.
  23. "Royal Regiment of Artillery at regiments.org by T.F.Mills". Archived from the original on 15 July 2007. Retrieved 2007-07-15.
  24. R.G. Harris, plate 1, "50 Years of Yeomanry Uniforms" Frederick Muller Ltd, London 1972
  25. Smith, R.J. The Yeomanry Force at the 1911 Coronation. p. 3. ISBN 0-948251-26-3.


External links

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